Well, I was right. It was an easy puzzle. Probably easier than I initially imagined. I tried to get clever and talk about radicals (awesome! bodacious!), but four people flooded me with correct possibilities – 手、頭、目、髪、耳、お尻、鼻、指、足、口、顎、爪先、首。Hell, all of them, basically!
Which got me thinking, why is that the case? Sure, 月 is often associated with body parts, but it isn’t used in any of the main ones. The reason is, I believe, because many of the other body parts are so useful in the kind of basic explanation required in pictograms, that they themselves become radicals.
手 The hand, manipulator of things, is used all over the place. Of course it gets in on the finger character (指), but it also grasps (握る), points (指す), holds (持つ), picks up (拾う), and digs (掘る).
口 The mouth, drinker of booze and consumer of grilled chicken parts, is another one you’ll see all over. It eats (喰う), yells (叫ぶ), beeps (鳴る), and cries (鳴く).
I could go on for a while, but I’ll save that for another post when I have more time. Matt from no-sword emailed me with a link to one of his archives where he talks further about the 月 radical. First of all, read the link – a great classic no-sword post. He explains that the body part radical is actually 肉 which eventually became the same as 月. It makes sense if you think about it. The characters that have the 月 radical all are internal organy type parts – 腸、腹、心臓、肝臓, etc. Much more purely fleshy than our external sensory organs.
The winner by random number generation (everything is officially on the Internets, hooray) is Jens. Congrats.