The Japanese kanji for “parent” is composed of two elements.

kanjiThe first element, on the left, has two parts. The top part is used in the verb “tatsu,” or To Stand. The bottom part is a small version of “ki,” for Tree. Placed together one on top of the other, this is a “small tree” that “stands up”: a bush. Specifically, a thorn bush.

The second element, on the right, is composed of “eye” on the top and a sort of stick figure-like human on the bottom. This represents a person who is the target of the eye, and represents sight; therefore, it is used for the verb, To See.

Put together, we obtain the meaning of: One who watches sharply, like the thorn of a thorn bush.

In other words, a parent.