bonsai
"planted on a tray"


Character
Components
Japanese (Romanized)
Meanings




 bon





 sai

 tray





 planting









 sai









 boku, moku, ki
 judge, decide, cut -- derived from a fancy halberd which might have been thrust into the ground as a marker, used phonetically to express "to plant"








 tree with sweeping branches, wood



NOTES

Henshall, Kenneth G.  A Guide To Remembering Japanese Characters (Rutland, VT and Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle Company; 1988), characters no. 69, 872, 1228, 1828.


See also this parallel research by Tim Riley, http://bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATBonsaikanjisymbols.htm, for additional connotations and denotations of these characters.