Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shinobi Sunday: Kunoichi

Kunoichi is the Japanese term for a ninja of the fairer sex.  As most Japanophile geeks know, it comes from the stroke order of the Chinese character for woman, .

It's written with three strokes:
く looks like the phonetic hiragana character pronounced 'ku'
ノ looks like the phonetic katakana character pronounced 'no'
一 looks like the Chinese character for the number 1, pronounced 'ichi'

Matsushima Kaede as a kunoichi in what I'm sure must be an Oscar worthy performance in a film of superior quality and refined taste.
Of course, the picture above is one of the tamer ones I found doing a Google search for kunoichi.  If I didn't know better, I'd get the impression 'kunoichi' was Japanese for bondage porn.

Time to work on my stroke order...


  1. I guessing "stroke order" was a deliberate double entendre? ;)

    I'm almost tempted to find a copy of Naked Sword now...

  2. Heh superb post. In few lines ya just made me learn lots.

    1. I d never have written 女 in this order and so I was wrong. o_O
    2. Discovering the kunoichi term XD
    (never been a bushido addict contrary to most of the "japanophile geeks" :P)
    3. This mix of the 3 types of characters in 1 only word is just amazing as semantic concept. O_o
    4. The discussions about the possible hidden meanings (or origin) are also very interesting. Number of holes / deadly technics / martial schools...etc. Am sure dissertations on that can be found on some uni dusty shelves. :D
    5. a new english wordplay thanks to The Acrobatic Flea that pointed it out :P

    Looking forward next sunday O_oV