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JLPT: N4

School Grade: 2nd (7 years old)

This character is a combination of thread (here meaning silk thread) and  family/clan. In this context 氏 is working phonetically to express “smooth,” so this character originally meant “smooth silk,” and more generally “smooth cloth.” Because cloth was used as writing material, 紙 came to mean “writing material,” and eventually “paper.”

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