Light 光

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Kanji: 光
Hiragana: ひかり、ひか(る)、こう、みつ
Pronunciation: Hikari, Hika(ru), Ko, Koh, Kou, Mitsu
Meaning: Light

Compounds:
日光 (nikko, nikkoh, nikkou) sunlight
光線 (kosen, kohsen, kousen) beam; light ray
発光 (hakko, hakkoh, hakkou) luminescence; emission of light; radiation of light
蛍光灯 (keikoto, keikohtoh, keikou) fluorescent light

蛍雪の功 (keisetsu-no-ko) Achievement of hard study;
“Keisetsu” refers to the light of fireflies and the light of snow. During the Jin Dynasty in China, a young man named 車胤 (Che Yin) was too poor to buy oil for his lamp, so he put fireflies in a thin cloth bag and studied by reading books under the light of the bag. Another young man, 孫康 (Sun Kang), who was also poor, studied in the winter by the light of the snow coming in through his window.

Kun:
蛍の光 (hotaruno-hikari) light of a firefly;
“Hotaru no Hikari” is a Japanese arrangement of the Scottish folk song “Auld Lang Syne.” The Japanese lyrics were translated by 稲垣千頴 (Chiaki Inagaki). The opening line, “Hotaru no hikari mado no yuki,” is derived from a Chinese tale called “蛍雪の功 (Keisetsu no ko)” which praises the devotion to scholarly pursuits.

This song is widely known in Japan and holds significance as a classic graduation song, often sung during farewell ceremonies. It captures the emotions associated with parting ways and has become a symbol of goodbyes in Japan.

Interestingly, “Hotaru no Hikari” is also frequently played as background music (BGM) in various public facilities such as libraries, museums, shopping centers, and supermarkets, signaling the closing time or store closing announcements. It serves as an implicit cue for customers to conclude their visit. Additionally, you may hear this song being played on certain public transportation when arriving at the final destination.

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