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Why is the Hiragana ‘mi’ so similar to the Devanagri ‘ma’?


I’ve always been bothered with that question. The similarity is unmistakable, but I fail to see any connection. The katakana mi isn’t similar to the hiragana mi, why should the hiragana mi develop such an unusually strong resemblance to the devanagri ma?

A look at the history of Hiragana shows that the alphabet originated from the Chinese man’yōgana. Here’s a table showing the evolution of the man’yōgana to the hiragana, sourced from Wikipedia:

For mi, check second row, fifth slot

For mi, check second row, fifth slot

This appears to hint that there is no connection between the devanagri ma and the hiragana mi, as the man’yōgana mi looks vastly different from either of the two letters.

I suppose the only answer left is coincidence.

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