Kase-tai and I Vowel1. This is kase-tai. The shape describes light and heat from the sun from sunrise to sunset, first rising to its peak midday and then declining to sunset. To ancient people, light and heating from the sun were vitally important.
2. Now, let’s study kase-tai more closely. The shape of kase-tai can also be considered to be the temperature change during one day as the sun rises and starts heating atmosphere and ground. The warmed air moves lightly, and it is called kase, wind. See above figure.
3. However the original meaning of kase is most important. Kase is separated out from male cosmic energy of utuho. It is the part that has regular movement like sunrise and sunset. Kase means there is movement or change. Something has actually occurred. However what has occurred is not visible to the eye. Therefore kase has this meaning of a regularly repeating movement, although it may be unseen. Furthermore, it has the even deeper connotation that time exists.
4. Ka is the stem of two important words, kasu (on the left) above and kase (right). Kasu is a verb which means the sun moves during one day.
5. Ka-sou is written as a vertical. It is the consonant k. It represents solar energy coming straight down to the ground.
6. To form the syllable ideogram ka, let us look at utuho-tai again.
Utuho-tai is a state of energy. It has other meanings: that which is not visible to the eye; superior; something light and floating; primordial; a certain place; possibility of change, potentiality of transformation.
7. Combine ka-sou with utuho-tai and we get the ideogram for syllable ka. Ka is light shining on the ground. As a result, ka came to mean the time of one day duration, from one sunrise to the next sunrise. Even today, we find ka meaning day in spoken Japanese. From counting hi (1), fu (2), mi (3), yo (4), i (5), we have futsuka, the second day; mikka, the third day; yokka, the fourth day; and itsuka, the fifth day of the month. The first day is called tsui-tachi, from tsuki (moon) tachi (starting), namely new moon starts on tsui-tachi. So, until the tenth day of the month, the number is followed by ka. Other meanings of ka are bright; right; wealthy; right-side; west; autumn.
8. Let us study iki. See figure below. The ideogram for i is the kase-tai bell-shape with the dot of Amenomiwoya in the center which represents Source. When we see kase-tai, we pronounce it i . The ideogram for ki is kase-tai with the vertical line of k . The modern word iki means breath.
9. What is the etymology of breath? Consider the verse shown with iki which is found in Mikasafumi lines 11349-11352. It reads:
ame tuti imata
naru zaru ni ame no miwoya no
nasu iki ha kiwanaku ugoku
amotokami mitu ni ahurano
When ame and tuti are not yet separated, Amenomiwoya’s breath is eternally and everywhere moving. An important part of the breath of Amemiwoya is called A-moto Kami. A-moto is powerful energy of space, and Kami is an honorific title.
Remember that ka-sou is energy from space that goes straight down to the ground. And kase-tai expresses regular movement of an invisible very light thing. Therefore, that is the meaning of iki, a regular movement of an invisible very light thing. Even now, iki is commonly used to mean breath.
The word ki means tree. When we look at this ideogram, are we not reminded of the Tree of Life? Iki is the breath of life.
Repetitive Movement of Sun
10. The kase-tai image is very like the astronomical elevation angle of the sun during the course of a day. Shown in the chart are the angles on summer solstice, equinoxes, and winter solstice, all for a location of 56 degrees North latitude.