Tegami (手紙 – Letter)

  • Tegami


    A paper, on which messages or information is written, is called “letter” in English, whereas it is called ‘tegami‘ (手紙) in Japanese.
    用件や情報を書いて人に送るものを英語で “letter” を言いますが、日本語では「手紙」と言います。

    Te‘ (手) means “hand” and ‘gami/kami‘ (紙) means “paper.”
    「手」は “hand,” 「紙」は “paper” を意味します。

    Therefore, the word tegami was originally used to mean a convenient paper at hand.

    The most accepted theory about its etymology is that the character 手 could also mean “technique to write letters” or “characters.”
    これが “letter” を意味するようになった有力な説としては、「手」という字に「文字を書く技」や「文字」という意味が含まれているからというものがあります。

    Incidentally, I heard that 手紙 means “toilet paper” in China.

    When I was writing this entry, I remembered that I needed to buy toilet papers for my apartment.

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