East Asian Writing Systems

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The Japanese word kasa means 'umbrella', normally written with the Chinese character . That's how it appears in the following sign at a station kiosk:

Totsuzen no ame ni... kasa, arimasu.
In case of sudden rain... we have umbrellas.

But strangely enough, it can sometimes also be found as katakana , as seen at another station kiosk:

Dorinku, kasa, tabako
Drinks, umbrellas, cigarettes

It's hard to fathom why this perfectly normal word was written in katakana, unless it was the desire to harmonise with dorinku at the left (although tabako at right is in hiragana).


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