RE: The Currency Symbol of China

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Mon Sep 30 2002 - 21:11:36 EDT

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    Barry Caplan wrote [further morphing this thread]:

    > I also think (but I could be wrong) that "ye" is not one
    > of the characters in the famous Buddhist poem that uses
    > each of the kana once and only once, and establishes a
    > de facto sorting order by virtue of being the only such poem.
    > OTOH, I am pretty sure that poem is either from or
    > post-dates the Heian era, so it wouldn't rule out your point.

    In a totally different context, I was looking into this recently
    and found some stuff the list might find amusing.

    The kana that is usually missing from the poem is -n, i.e. U+3093.


    P.S. In case you don't have it already, the i-ro-ha order is:

    i ro ha ni ho he to
    chi ri nu ru wo
    wa ka yo ta re so
    tsu ne na ra mu
    u wi no o ku ya ma
    ke fu ko e te
            [^ that is one ]
    a sa ki yu me mi shi
    ye hi mo se su
    [^ that is the other -- probably should be (w)e ]

    See, e.g.,

    [Attributed to middle Heian, around A.D. 1000.]

    It was actually printed in the Unicode 1.0 book, when the
    circled Katakana characters at U+32D0..U+32FE were in i-ro-ha
    order. That was changed for Unicode 1.1, to synch up with the
    preferring a-i-u-e-o order for these characters in 10646.

    BTW, the translation of Kukai's iroha poem at that link
    leaves much to be desired, though the various version
    shown in hiragana, katakana, and with kanji are interesting.
    A much, much better translation can be found at:

    or, in German(!), at:

    The English translation is quite literal. The German --
    how shall I put it -- takes some poetic license. ;-)


    Or, for a really challenging version, you can try puzzling

    which shows a manyoogana version (all kanji, used
    syllabically), tacking on the epenthetic U+65E0 mu
    for the "-n", which some versions of the poem do, just
    to be tidy.


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