くノ一 (kunoichi) is a Japanese word meaning “female ninja” or “woman”, written as a combination of hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Why is it written this way? According to goo, the answer is simple: have a look at 女 (onna, “woman”). If you decompose its three strokes, you get く, ノ, and 一. I hear that the 広辞苑 also supports this theory. The Japanese Wikipedia isn’t so sure, though. I don’t know, either, but I’ll accept goo’s explanation, and consider it one of the little quirks that makes Japanese fun to learn.
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