The upper part of this character is often explained as assembling 日 ‘sun’ and 月 ‘moon’ to mean very ‘bright,’ which, however, is a misinterpretation. Dr Shirakawa has scolded explanations propounding simultaneous appearance of the sun and the moon in the sky as ‘idiotic.’ In the ancient character forms, the left part of 明 shows a 囧 window and the whole character part gets the meaning of moonlight shining through the window. Deification of the moon can be observed in all parts of the world. The moon is not just the light of the night; there also is the possibility of it showing the appropriate point of time for concluding an alliance. To regard pledges or oaths being guaranteed and authorized by the gods was a measure that enabled to treat traitors against an alliance the same as opponents to the gods. The 皿 (usually ‘plate’) actually is a version of 血 ‘blood’ shortened by one stroke. As this is a blood alliance, the alliance ritual consists in sipping blood from a plate together, swearing to be each others allies.
- Editoral supervision: Dr. Christoph Schmitz, Researcher of Shirakawa Kanji Science, General and Japanese History of Philosophy and Thought