I was trying to figure out the characters for Sapporo, the Japanese beer, the other day and found:


was one of the translations for it.

My initial reaction was to search 「七寶」 in my Japanese dictionary, which returned nothing(!); searching 「七宝」 though returned

しっぽう, しちほう【七宝】


  1. the seven treasures (gold, silver, pearls, agate, crystal, coral, lapis lazuli) noun, の-adjective

  2. cloisonne ware (abbreviation) (see also: 七宝焼)

I figured Japanese would use 「寶」 over 「宝」.

Even in Hong Kong Sapporo is called 「七宝」 and not 「七寶」.

I don't really get it.

  • Does 「宝」 have its own history separate from 「寶」?
  • 3
    You might want to learn something about 日本新字体.
    – Stan
    Aug 26 '15 at 4:00
  • 1
    Here's some information: Chinese characters has evolved and simplified by many for the purpose of production or incorrect writing, but officials have marked the "official/real" versions as "正體字" and the rest is called "異體字". A part of simplified Chinese has a history because some people swapped out part of the character to write faster and thus some in Simplified Chinese are actual characters used since long ago. Aug 26 '15 at 7:25
  • Also I want to add, some simplified pencil stroke characters are evolved from Cursive/Semi-Cursive which has already simplified the writing. It just made them angular and done with the simplifying process. Such can be seen from 貝(tc) and 贝(sc). Aug 26 '15 at 7:29

As Stan hinted at, 宝 is a Japanese Shinjitai character. It is also a simplified Chinese character, but that's coincidental.

Perhaps this fact isn't so well known, but PRC aren't the only ones that performed simplification to Chinese characters - it is merely the most well known and widespread. Japan attempted their own simplification process, but theirs was less extensive and less radical.

Therefore, to the uninitiated, it may seem that Japanese Kanji is identical to Traditional Chinese. But there are simplified forms that are not as simple as PRC's Simplified Chinese, e.g.

廣: (Shinjitai: 広), (Simplifed Chinese: 广)

And those that have been simplified differently, e.g.:

圓 (Shinjitai: 円), (Simplified Chinese: 圆)

And forms that happen to be the same; 宝 is an example but so are 台 and 国.

Although the two simplification systems happened independently, may simplified characters are based on cursive forms so it's no surprise that there are many characters that are the same between the two systems.


well, I think you might misunderstand the true meaning of Sapporo beer. To be frank, if you put this question on "Japanese Language" category, you may get better answers.

  1. Sapporo is a city of Hokkaido (State? maybe) of Japan, Chinese character is "札幌"。 Sapporo (Full name is Sapporo Breweries) is a beer maker as well, see wiki. And "七宝" is one of the beer product's name. this is the pic Therefore, Sapporo IS NOT '七宝'.
  2. What is '七宝'? According to Infinite Life Sutra, '七宝' are seven different treasure: gold, silver, Veluriyam(Pali), quartz, Tridacninae, coral, agate. According to Lotus Sutra, '七宝' are: gold, silver, agate, Tridacninae, Veluriyam(Pali), pearl, ruby. For Sapporo beer, '七宝' is an abbreviation of '七宝文様', a traditional texture of Japan. It is used on the pic.
  3. Now we can turn to your question '宝' and '寶'; This is easier. As you can see, '寶' is much more difficult than '宝', for simplifying the character, Chinese/Japanese people just reset it... for the evolution of this character, since 200-300 AC, we have '宝' and '寶' both. see this:

enter image description here

Tip: The time series on the pic is not very exactly...:>

  • Personal suggestion: better not to quote the source in 象形字典, because the editor of this dictionary often proposes some strange theory without citing others' work. And for this example, I highly doubt whether that calligraphic character 宝 is credited to 颜真卿.
    – Stan
    Aug 26 '15 at 10:10

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