Sun Moon Eyeglasses


I recently noticed an eyeware shop called 日月眼镜 (literally, “Sun Moon” Eyeglasses”). This is a good example of a name that plays on common knowledge of characters and character components. The glasses themselves, of course, are unrelated to celestial bodies, but when you put the characters for sun () and moon () together, you get , a character which means “bright.”

Why “bright”? There are two reasons:

1. The word 明亮 (“bright”), is frequently used to describe attractive, alert, healthy young eyes. So it’s a good association.
2. Another association, although less direct, is that can refer to eyesight itself. There’s a word 失明 (literally, “lose brightness”) which means “to lose one’s eyesight.” Logically, then, can refer to eyesight, but there’s no word (of which I am aware) other than 失明 which uses to mean “eyesight.”

Have you noticed any other Chinese shop or brand names that use “deconstructed characters” in their names?


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Sorry for the lack of exact reference, but I know that in some traditional Chinese medical texts that 明 does indeed refer to eyesight

    ~ E

    • Maybe you’re thinking of 明目 and 复明? Those are the only ones I could find, but apparently they’re not in common usage.

      • Also 失明, the opposite of 复明. My knowledge comes from Japanese, but in my experience 失明 is a fairly commonly understood word.

        (Small correction: that should be 日月眼镜 not 眼睛.)

      • Yes, 失明 is the one mentioned in the original article.

        I can’t believe I typoed “眼镜”. I was very careful to get the pinyin right, but typoed the 汉字. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Aaron, you beat me to it! Good catch on the character, I’ve been meaning to post about that since I first saw this post a few days ago… however never had the time, just got a moment, came to point out the 眼睛 vs 眼镜, but looks like you beat me too it… ; ) Nice work.

  3. Tingyun Says: April 1, 2014 at 8:26 am

    To the above discussion – 明 was used to refer to eyesight, or good eyesight, and any good classical dictionary will give you plenty of examples. 失明 does seem to be the most prominent common modern result of this usage. Anyway, see below, from 汉语大词典 for 明.

    25 眼睛;视力。

    子夏 喪其子而喪其明。

    郑玄 注
    明, 目精。

    汉 董仲舒 《春秋繁露·三代改制质文》
    至 舜 形體大上而員首, 而明有二童子。

    唐 柳宗元 《非国语上·无射》
    氣在口爲言, 在目爲明。言以信名, 明以時動。
    26 眼力好;视觉敏锐。

    離婁 之明, 公輸子 之巧, 不以規矩, 不能成方圓。

    臣聞聰者聽於無聲, 明者見於未形。

    宋 沈辽 《花药山法堂碑》
    求我道能達此事者, 若瞽而明, 若瞶而聰。

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