Etymology of Hatoko (はとこ) Part 2

  • Etymology of Hatoko (はとこ) Part 2

    「はとこ」の語源 Part 2

    Today, I will my two original theories about the etymology of hatoko (はとこ – “second cousin”).

    The first theory is that it came from Iroha Uta (いろは歌 – “Iroha song”).

    Iroha Uta is an old poem for learning kana (Japanese characters), which is something like the ABC song for English.
    「いろは歌」は、日本で昔使われていた、仮名を学習するための歌で、ABC song のようなものです。

    The first three characters of Iroha Uta are i (い), ro (ろ), and ha (は).

    Therefore, the relationship between itoko (いとこ – “first cousin”) and hatoko (はとこ – “second cousin”) may have been linked to the positions of i (い) and ha (は) in Iroha Uta.

    The second theory is that it came from the shape of the katakana ha (ハ).

    Imagine a family tree. When drawing a line from yourself to your grandparents and from your grandparents’ siblings to your second cousin, doesn’t it look like the katakana ha (ハ)?

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