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Help with kanji

curmudgeon

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Dear forum members,

Without knowledge of Japanese language, I am researching some aspects of history of Abe clan. Normally I wouldn’t be dumb enough to attempt something like this, but no more qualified person is available to undertake it. I have encountered several family names written with kanji that I am unable to find. (I have NTC Japanese-English Character Dictionary and the reprint edn of Koop & Inada, so I have looked for them seriously before asking for help.)

I am currently puzzled by two characters, parts of two different names. Both characters have the same structure: two parts on the upper level and one on the lower. As they are constituent pieces of family names, they may refer to a geographical location, but I cannot suggest any toponyms. One of these consists of 彡 on the left, 巨 on the right, and 木 below. The other has 女 on the left, ㄡ on the right (又, I suppose), and 刀 below. I hope I have identified all the parts correctly.

My thanks to anyone who can tell me how to pronounce these and what they mean.


Curmudgeon
 

mdchachi

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Can you provide photos of the characters in question?
 

Majestic

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You are saying the first one looks like this?
It would be slightly unusual since this kanji is rarely, rarely used in Japan, and is even more unusual in a name.

I think the second one you are referring to is 努? (on the bottom is 力 instead of 刀). But this one sounds unusual in a name also.
 

Toritoribe

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As they are constituent pieces of family names

The other has 女 on the left, ㄡ on the right (又, I suppose), and 刀 below.
Isn't it possible that it's a given name, not a part of a family name? 努 can be a relatively common male given name, reading "Tsutomu".
 

curmudgeon

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Can you provide photos of the characters in question?

I will see if I can find png's of them. Meanwhile 1) will get most original source I have, as Majestic suggests I submitted a similar but wrong kanji, which is quite possible (I was using a copy written by hand by collaborator, very good knowledge of kanji but still room for error at several points of transmission) 2) will submit with this message the numbers of the kanji in _NTC New Japanese-English Character Dictionary, in case you have access to it; and 3) if not you can still locate them online in Unicode CJK Unified Ideographs, the numbers I will also send below.

First Character:
left, NTC 1927, Unicode U+5F61; right, NTC 3039, Unicode U+5DE8; below, NTC 3450, Unicode U+6728

Second Character:
left, NTC 3418, Unicode U+F981' right, looks like katakana su or nu; I suppose it is NTC 3351, Unicode U+53C8; below, I had NTC 2926, Unicode U+5200, but note message from Majestic, who wants to correct it to NTC 3371, Unicode U+529B, and I believe that he is right.
 

Toritoribe

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First Character:
left, NTC 1927, Unicode U+5F61; right, NTC 3039, Unicode U+5DE8; below, NTC 3450, Unicode U+6728
彡 Unicode U+5F61 is a component called "sanzukuri" in Japanese, and this component is never used at the left or upper left side of kanji ("Tukuri" means "the right component of kanji". The pronunciation "tsu" is changed to "zu" because of a phenomenon called rendaku here.) Thus, it actually must be 氵 Unicode U+6C35 "sanzui", as Majestic-san interpreted, and you would misread it.
 

curmudgeon

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Note that I believe Majestic is right in suggesting that the last kanji ought to be 力 and not 刀. These are supposed to parts of the names of families in Clan Abe, so they should not be given names, unless there is some overlap and some name could be either.
彡 Unicode U+5F61 is a component called "sanzukuri" in Japanese, and this component is never used at the left or upper left side of kanji ("Tukuri" means "the right component of kanji". The pronunciation "tsu" is changed to "zu" because of a phenomenon called rendaku here.) Thus, it actually must be 氵 Unicode U+6C35 "sanzui", as Majestic-san interpreted, and you would misread it.
Right you are, Toritoribe! The copy I had made it look like U+5F61, or possibly 三 U+4E09,but in fact it is the one that Majestic identified, and the first part is ⺡, U+2EA1, the left variant of ⺢, U+2EA2. = radical 85. NTC Dictionary, which on the whole I find pretty useful, classifies U+5F61 as an up-down sign, № 1927, and tells the reader nothing about its being a right-only element; I would have thought that detail would be of interest to users of the dictionary. The correct element is № 1925 in the dictionary, on the same page; it seems to be a left-only sign, but nothing is said about this either.
 

curmudgeon

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With the help of Majestic san & Totoribe san, I have the proper reading of this name. It should be
渠 會倍. I am a bit uncertain about the top element of the second character, as in my source it looks more like ⼋ than like 亼 .
 

curmudgeon

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The last of these is an unproblematic (I hope) be, but we don't know how to prunounce the name as a whole. I expect that these names will be unusual; if they were not, we could have found them Koop & Inada. I appreciate the help you folks have provided! I hope I can request this sort of assistance from time to time. Now please, how is this name to be pronounced?
 

Toritoribe

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Well, 會 is the traditional form of 会, so 會倍 is 会倍 in modern kanji. However, it's quite highly possible that this family name doesn't exist.

The following page is a site regarding Japanese family names.

It's said that there are ten thousand or so, or maybe thirty thousand family names in Japan. This site contains approximately ten thousand family names, which covers over 99% of the Japanese population, but 会倍 or 會倍 isn't in it. It's not found in google search results, either. The most common kanji for "Abe" are 安部, 安倍, 阿部 or 阿倍.

Is it possible to post the picture of the hand-written copy you are referring to? We may be able to help you to identify the kanji.
 

Toritoribe

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I am a bit uncertain about the top element of the second character, as in my source it looks more like ⼋
If the top component is really ⼋, the kanji you are referring to might be 曾. As you can see in the following picture, if it's 會, there is a horizontal line under the top component, while the line doesn't exist in 曾.
kai_sou.jpg

曾 is the traditional form of 曽. A quick google search result says that there was 許曾倍 Kosobe clan who were a branch family of 阿倍 Abe clan. (There are variations for the first kanji "ko", so 巨曾倍津嶋 is also a member of Kosobe clan.)

(all in Japanese)

As in the wikipedia page linked above, Kosobe was taken from the name of a location in the present Takatsuki city, Osaka prefecture. The kanji 古曽部 is used for present location name, but the pronunciation is the same "Kosobe".


EDIT:
Finally, I found out a family name 渠曾倍 in an article 〈論説〉皇極朝の阿部氏:乙巳の変の歴史的前提 "Dissertation" Abe Clan in the Reign of the Empress Kōgyoku: Historical Settings for the Isshi Incident in Kyoto University Research Information Repository.

皇極朝の阿倍氏 - 京都大学学術情報リポジトリ
(30 pages pdf file, 1.71MB, all in Japanese)

Page No.116~117 (the 14th and 15th pages in the pdf file)
まず一つ目だが、『新撰姓氏録』左京皇別上に阿倍朝臣と同祖、大彦命の後裔を主張する許曾倍朝臣がみえる。許曾倍氏の史料上の初出は『紀』大化元年九月戊辰条の阿倍渠曾倍臣であり、古人大兄皇子を討伐する将の一人として登場している。許曾倍氏の本拠は、栗田寛が指摘したように、島上郡内に相当する現高槻市古曽部町付近であったとしてよい。古曽部は応徳三(一〇八六)年成立の『後拾遺和歌集』に確認される古地名である。なお、加藤謙吉は、阿倍内・阿倍渠曾倍・阿倍引田・阿倍久努・阿倍晋(布)勢・阿倍狛・阿倍他(長)田の七氏は血縁的親族関係にあった可能性が高いとし、このような複姓の成立時期を推古朝頃に求めている。従うべき所説であり、ここでは特に阿倍内氏と阿倍渠曾倍氏との密接な結び付きに注意を払っておきたい。

The names (including a location name) in bold are all variations of Kosobe. Thus, the family name you are researching must be 渠曾倍, reading Kosobe.


Incidentally, we can see a family name 阿倍久努 in this article (the red one), so the one including the kanji "努" would be 久努, reading Kunu.
(all in Japanese)


So, you are looking for ancient family names that don't exist now. Well, then, it's reasonable that we are not familiar with the names or the kanji used in them...
 

curmudgeon

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Majestic san, Toritoribe san, you have provided me with a wealth of information. I am most grateful. I am quite satisfied that the name in question is Kosobe. The top element in the second character is like the one on the right of the two examples provided by Toritoribe san, but with a short horizontal stroke running between the upper ends of the top sign, not touching either. Whatever it is, I don't believe that it changes the reading of the kanji. Apparently it is one more of a number of possible ways to write the second syllable of the name. I will make use of the links you have sent. I have only one more question at present, concerning a single character, which I shall bring up in a day or two. I am glad to have found your site and most grateful for the excellent help you have provided.
 

Toritoribe

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The top element in the second character is like the one on the right of the two examples provided by Toritoribe san, but with a short horizontal stroke running between the upper ends of the top sign, not touching either.
It's just variations in fonts/writing styles. Unlike the existence/non-existence of the horizontal line under the top component I mentioned in my previous post, you don't need to pay much attention to those differences.

FYI, the followings are all the same kanji 曾.
sou.jpg
 

curmudgeon

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Yes, I recognize the different type faces. The one I refer to looks more like ⼋ U+2F0B. But the little horizontal at at the top is not connect to the right stroke, so it cannot be two-stroke U+2F0B. I suppose it is either an obscure variant or defective type (it is in a printed source). But in any case it cannot interfere with the identification of the kanji, or of the whole as "kosobe".
 

curmudgeon

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Majestic san, Toritoribe san, you have provided me with a wealth of information. I am most grateful. I am quite satisfied that the name in question is Kosobe. The top element in the second character is like the one on the right of the two examples provided by Toritoribe san, but with a short horizontal stroke running between the upper ends of the top sign, not touching either. Whatever it is, I don't believe that it changes the reading of the kanji. Apparently it is one more of a number of possible ways to write the second syllable of the name. I will make use of the links you have sent. I have only one more question at present, concerning a single character, which I shall bring up in a day or two. I am glad to have found your site and most grateful for the excellent help you have provided.
I have been out of touch for several weeks due to computer problems and being swamped with work, but I have continued to struggle with the project with which you have so generously helped me. Most of the items I believe have been pinned down, and about a few I am still uncertain. Let me trouble you once more, with the complete list (of families of the Abe Clan acc. to Kato). There are three sets.
Families listed by Kato belonging to Ancient Abe

Abe no Uchi 阿倍 内

Abe no Kosobe 阿倍 渠會倍 [Chūbu Region.]

NB is the traditional orthography for the character now written as

Abe no Hikita 阿倍 引田

[Kansai Region; they claimed to be main line of Clan Abe.]

Abe no Hisa 阿倍 久努

Abe no Fuse 阿倍 布勢 or 普勢

[Ōsaka ; theyclaimed to be main line.]

Abe no Koma 阿倍 拍

[There are at least eighteen komagatake mountains—‘horse mountains’—in Japan, and many places named Koma because they were settled by immigrants from the Koguryo or ‘Koma’ kingdom in Korea; there is a Koma Clan of nobles descended from the royal house of Koguryo, not to be confused, of course, with Abe no Koma). could also be read as Utsu, but Koma seems correct here.]

Abe no Nagata 阿倍 長田 [Kobe]

[Papinot, ‘Mélanges,’ p. 418, transcribes it as Nagata ; Frank & Kikuchi Brinkley, History of the Japanese People (1912), p. 93, transcribe it as Osada. ]
 

curmudgeon

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The verbiage in square brackets is my notes culled from here and there. The second set:
Listed by Kato as provincial gōzoku families genetically unrelated to Ancient Abe :

Abe no Azumi or Adzumi [1] 阿倍 安積

[This is a more complex issue than here represented. See the footnote. 安積 could also be read as Ansaka.]

Abe no Aizu 阿倍 会津

[I find this only as toponym. NB is the simplified form, now used in Japan and mainland China, of the character traditionally written as 會.]

Abe no Shinobu 阿倍 信夫 [Mt Shinobu, Fukushima]

Abe no Shibata 阿倍 祡田 [Chūbu Region]

Abe no Mutsu 阿倍 陡奥 [traditional form of kanji : ]

It could also be read as Michinoku

Abe no Sarushima 阿倍 猿嶋

[Papinot, loc. Cit., mentions Abe no Sarushima ; Sarushima is an island in Tokyo Bay, now serving as a national marine park. 猿嶋 could also be read as Kito.]

Abe no Banjō [no Iwaki?] 阿倍 磐城



[1] The Azumi are not merely a branch of Abe. It appears that they existed as a distinct ethnic group, not Yayoi but possibly of Austronesian origin, living on Kyūshū and perhaps related to the Hayato people of southern Kyūshū, but perhaps also enemies of Hayato. They had profound knowledge of tides and currents, of astronomy and navigation, of weather, of marine biology, and of all things needful to the seaman. They could sail at night and knew all the waters around the Japanese islands ; they sailed regularly to the Asian continent for trade. A central aspect of their religion was rites and ceremonies to keep them in contact with the sea deities, especially with a benevolent Neptune figure named Isora, to whom they performed an elaborate dance. The Azumi seem to have gotten on well with the Yayoi immigrants, suggesting that Yayoi appreciated their maritime skills and enlisted their help in emigrating to Japan. As the Yamato court was gaining strength, the Azumi formed a sort of navy for them. They also supervised fishing. In time, some of them moved to the island of Shinshu and took up agriculture, and others moved to the vicinity of the imperial court. How a part of the Azumi were absorbed into Clan Abe is not known, but they include one of the most famous Abes of History, Hirafu. Hirafu had the title Shōgun ; in his case it meant more ‘admiral’ than ‘general’. Hirafu was also the head of Abe no Hikita, and it is not clear how he could be both Azumi and Hikita, but it is possible that Hikita could not arrive at a consensus on one of its own and went outside the family for a new head man. The alliance of the Azumi with the imperial court lasted until Emperor Temmu, deceived by propaganda of his enemies on Kyūshū (the Hayato, I expect), became distrustful of them and disbanded them.
 

curmudgeon

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The third set:
Listed by Kato as having estates in Kinai but unrelated to Ancient Abe:

Abe no Tan (no Ashita?) 阿倍 旦

Abe no Shōden (no Koden?) 阿倍 小殿

Abe no Shihi 阿倍 志斐

I have found references to Shihi, but not to the other two, and I do not know what to make of them. I would appreciate any corrections or other comments to any item in any of these three sets of family names.
 

Toritoribe

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Well, I'm not going to insult you, but it seems to me that the problem is on "without knowledge of Japanese language (and maybe also including kanji)", as you yourself wrote in your initial post. There are points where you should or shouldn't pay attention when identifying kanji.

Also, a space is usually not inserted after 阿倍, because those names are single family names. A space is sometimes put between a family name and given name, like 阿倍久努 麻呂 Abenokunu no Maro.


Abe no Kosobe 阿倍 渠會倍 [Chūbu Region.]

NB is the traditional orthography for the character now written as
As I already wrote in my previous post, this character is , i.e., the traditional form of , not , i.e., the traditional form of . The most important point to distinguish 會 and 曾 is whether there is a horizontal line under the top component or not.

Also, the two diagonal lines must be connected directly in the top component of 會, as you can see in the following variants.
kai.jpg

You said that "a short horizontal stroke" is not touching either lines, but it must be just a result of the printing condition. This "short horizontal stroke" is just an elongated starting part of the right diagonal line. It is just a variation whether this short horizontal stroke exists or not, as you can see in the variants in my previous post.

Abe no Hisa 阿倍 久努
The reading of 阿倍久努 is "Abenokunu", as I already pointed out in my previous post. "Hisa" is a reading of the single kanji 久, not the family name 久努.

Abe no Koma 阿倍 拍

[There are at least eighteen komagatake mountains—‘horse mountains’—in Japan, and many places named Koma because they were settled by immigrants from the Koguryo or ‘Koma’ kingdom in Korea; there is a Koma Clan of nobles descended from the royal house of Koguryo, not to be confused, of course, with Abe no Koma). could also be read as Utsu, but Koma seems correct here.]
You are confusing two different characters 拍 and 狛. The one you wrote is 拍, while the correct one is 狛.

The radical of 拍 is 扌 "tehen". "Te" means "hand", so kanji with this radical have something to do with hand, for example, 拍手 means "hand clapping".

On the other hand, the radical of 狛 is 犭 "kemonohen". You can see that the vertical line of this radical is curved, and the upper line is diagonal, not horizontal, unlike tehen. "Kemono" means "animal", so kanji with this radical have something to do with animal. Now it's obvious why this radical is used for "koma", right?

By the way, "koma" means dog, wolf, or Korea for this kanji. "Koma" indeed can also mean "horse", but the kanji 駒 is used for this meaning. In fact, Komagatake mountains you mentioned are all written as 駒ヶ岳 in kanji.


You can check in your dictionaries that 會/会 and 拍 are not read "so/sō" and "koma", unlike 曾/曽 and 狛, respectively.


I might be able to check other family names later.
 

Toritoribe

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Abe no Hikita 阿倍 引田
The reading is Abenohiketa.

本姓は引田(ひた)

Abe no Nagata 阿倍 長田 [Kobe]

[Papinot, ‘Mélanges,’ p. 418, transcribes it as Nagata ; Frank & Kikuchi Brinkley, History of the Japanese People (1912), p. 93, transcribe it as Osada. ]
阿倍長田
Abenoosada

佐伯地方の姓氏(十四)―伊藤氏・安東氏・阿部氏―
(10 pages pdf file, 461KB, all in Japanese)

Page No.12 (the 5th page in the pdf file)
阿倍臣は大和朝廷の臣僚として、各々その居住地の地名を本姓に連ねて一族の呼称にした。すなわち阿部長田臣、阿部小殿臣、阿部引田臣、阿部布勢臣というように名乗ったのである。

You can see furigana おさだ "osada" at the right side of 長田.

Abe no Azumi or Adzumi [1] 阿倍 安積

[This is a more complex issue than here represented. See the footnote. 安積 could also be read as Ansaka.]
阿倍安積
Abenoasaka (not ansaka)

Abe no Shibata 阿倍 祡田 [Chūbu Region]
阿倍
Abenoshibata

Shibata is a location in southern Miyagi prefecture now, i.e., Tohoku region, not Chubu.

Abe no Mutsu 阿倍 陡奥 [traditional form of kanji : ]

It could also be read as Michinoku
阿倍
Abenomutsu (not Michinoku)

Abe no Banjō [no Iwaki?] 阿倍 磐城
阿倍磐城
Abenoiwaki (not banjō)

Refer to the following page for these four names.

Abe no Sarushima 阿倍 猿嶋

[Papinot, loc. Cit., mentions Abe no Sarushima ; Sarushima is an island in Tokyo Bay, now serving as a national marine park. 猿嶋 could also be read as Kito.]
阿倍猿嶋
Abenosashima (not sarushima)

正六位上阿倍猿嶋朝臣墨縄外従五位下勲五等。
正六位上の阿倍猿嶋朝臣墨縄(あべさしまのおみすみただ)に外従五位下・勲五等を、…授けました。


You can also see the name 阿部猨嶋 with furigana さしま "sashima" on the page No.13 (the 6th page) of 佐伯地方の姓氏(十四) I linked above. (猨 is the traditional form of 猿.)

It seems that 猿嶋 is more likely a location in 下総 Shimousa province, the present Ibaraki prefecture. 猨嶋/猿嶋 still exists there.

Abe no Tan (no Ashita?) 阿倍 旦
The following is the only one result of 阿倍旦 I can find out so far.

【名字】旦
【読み】だん,たん,あさ
安倍氏(祖先は第八代孝元天皇の孫)という説もある。

(安倍 is a variant of 阿倍. )

Thus, dan, tan or asa are all possible.

EDIT:
I found 安部旦, reading Abenoasa.

あべのあさ
安部旦


Abe no Shōden (no Koden?) 阿倍 小殿
阿倍小殿
Abenoodono

阿倍小殿浄足 あべのおどのの-きよたり

Abe no Shihi 阿倍 志斐
阿倍志斐
Abenoshii (not shihi)

阿倍志斐連(あべのしいのむらじ)
 

curmudgeon

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Toritoribe san, I am greatly obliged by all the information you have supplied. Earlier this week I started a new file, with the aim of analyzing each individual kanji in Kato's list. I also searched for more confirmation of each proposed transcription. As a result, I had already corrected to Iwaki and Odono. I have now incorporated your latest corrections. I have allowed some of the uncorrected readings to survive, following after your corrections, not because I question the latter but because that is how I found them in various writings in Western languages, and others will continue to find them there, and should be able to identify them with better readings (yours). F. ex. I have consistently seen "Hikita" rather than "Hiketa", and "Nagata" more often than "Osada". And stylistically the same is true--'CJK ideographs', as Unicode calls them, are of course written without spaces between words, but my impression is that this rule is followed by users of systems of Romaji intended for native speakers of Japanese and highly proficient others (which nowadays means Kunrei), but not by users of systems designed with foreigners in view (essentially one or another variant of Hepburn). As I expect the little group that will read what I have come up with to be mostly in the latter category, likely to be dismayed by a block of text in which their perception is that "all the words have been run together", please don't take it amiss if I don't follow your lead in this matter. Even most scholarly books in Western languages use the barbarian spaces. I will attach the present version of this new file. I cannot work on it more at the moment, and I don't doubt that it can be improved, but I hope you will see some signs of progress in the efforts of this rank beginner.
 

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Majestic

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Japanese use both Kunrei and Hepburn systems. If I'm not mistaken, they learn Kunrei-shiki up until Junior High School. From there forward, they use Hepburn.

To be honest though, I'm really confused about what you are trying to do. At first it seemed you were studying the history of the Abe family, but now it seems you are trying to study the orthography of the various branches of the Abe family?
 
Last edited:

Majestic

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Anyway, more grist for the mill

安 nanori is just "a". It is the second kanji (積) that gives the 安積 the azumi pronunciation. (tsumi with rendaku)
津 tsu (dzu) is just normal pronunciation (or normal pronunciation with rendaku). not nanori
陸奥 mutsu
柴 traditionally counted as 9 strokes, but nowadays counted as 10.
猿島 is a location in Ibaraki. Ironically, it is landlocked, and devoid of monkeys. Anyway, Sashima, Ibaraki, is formerly Shimōsa Province. It has nothing to do with the island in Tokyo Bay. The naming is coincidental.
 

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嶋 you have misinterpreted this. It is just an alternate form of 島, and the components are 山 and 鳥. Actually, the original form was 山 under 鳥, but this was gradually modified to be 島. In any case, it is its own descrete kanji. You don't consider the 山 to be silent (and more than you would consider the 鳥 to be silent).
 

curmudgeon

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Japanese use both Kunrei and Hepburn systems. If I'm not mistaken, they learn Kunrei-shiki up until Junior High School. From there forward, they use Hepburn.

To be honest though, I'm really confused about what you are trying to do. At first it seemed you were studying the history of the Abe family, but now it seems you are trying to study the orthography of the various branches of the Abe family?
Majestic san, yes, essentially I am looking at the history of Abe clan. I am putting together some info for my Golden Years Girl, herself Abe no Mutsu. She knows family traditions that appear nowhere we have found, but has no training as a researcher. She learned kanji in school and knows more than most Japanese, who were taught a shorter list (I occasionally ask her to read some short thing in Chinese and she can do it fairly well). But when we came across this list she was stumped by a good deal of it, so I tackled it although it is well outside of any area I have any competence in. Fortunately I stumbled upon Japan Ref. and had the benefit of your comments and those of Toritoribe san, who has put up with my ignorance and guided me through a philological minefield. I had no intention of getting into orthography originally, but wanted to get that list of Abe families right. I had compiled a list from publications in several Western languages, and I now know that the authors of these, competent enough overall, were sometimes misled by the intricacies of what must be the world's most complicated writing system. The complexities were severe enough that I decided to do the list of names character by character. Some of the names I could figured out and some I would probably have got right sooner or later, but a lot of them would probably have gone unsolved were it not for the assistance I have received from you and Toritoribe san. I intend to flesh out the list with a bibliography and notes on how these names have been transcribed and sometimes misunderstood by the Western writers I have consulted. Wiktionary has been pretty helpful, with articles on each character. Koop and Inada is quite useful, but it's a century old and I wish someone would enlarge and revise it.
Meanwhile I will continue to revise and will of course incorporate your remarks above. By 'silent' I meant only that 'yama' is not part of the name as spoken. I have to look up the correct terminology for the distinction in compound characters between parts that tell you what it means and parts that tell you how it sounds.
 
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