Today’s second #kanji is #国, which is made of #くにがまえ(囗) and 玉. 玉 is a jewel or a precious stone, so “a jewel protected by 囗 = a country” makes some sense. Having said that, 国’s original form was 國, so jewels don’t have much to do with it and that’s why 玉 does not serve as a pronunciation marker.

Meaning: a country, a person’s home

Reading: コク(コッ、ゴク)、くに(ぐに)

国家(コッカ): a state, a nation, a country
国歌(コッカ): a national anthem
国語(コクゴ): Japanese (as a school subject) <== the national language
国際(コクサイ): international, world, global, universal
国土(コクド): a territory, a realm, a domain
外国(ガイコク): a foreign country

本国(ホンゴク): a person’s country of origin, one’s home country

国(くに): a country, a land; a province; a region; a person’s hometown
国(くに)に帰(かえ)る: to go back to one’s old home (country)

島国(しまぐに)根性(コンジョウ): an island country mentality, an islander’s way of thinking, an insular spirit, insularity

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