What does 명치 (明治) mean?

ANSWER: enlightened (rule ()

The Chinese character 明 (명) means “bright” and 治 (치) means “to rule” or “to govern,” so 명치 (明治) can literally translate as “enlightened (明) rule (治).” In Japan, 明治 (명치) is pronounced “Meiji,” and Meiji was an era of Japanese history that lasted from 1868 to 1912, which corresponds with the reign of Emperor Meiji (明治大帝 명치대제), the posthumous name given to Japan’s 122nd emperor.

In China, however, “three” (三 삼) “enlightened rules” (明治 명치) is a “sandwich” (三明治 삼명치).

  • 三月 (삼월) March
  • 三次 (삼차) three times
  • 三思 (삼사) to think carefully
  • 三倍 (삼배) triple
  • 三角形 (삼각형) triangle
  • 三角學 (삼각학) trigonometry
  • 三明治 (삼명치) sandwich
  • 三輪車 (삼륜차) tricycle
From Understanding Chinese: A Guide to the Usage of Chinese Characters

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