On

望郷 (bōkyō: homesickness; nostalgia)     to look afar + hometown

You may associate (BŌ, MŌ, nozo(mu)) with words such as 望み (nozomi: wish, desire) and 失望 (shitsubō (suru): to be disappointed, lose hope, to lose + hope). In those cases, means “hope, wish, desire.”

But Halpern delineates a group of words in which means “to look afar, gaze into the distance, command a view of.” Some examples:

望遠鏡 (bōenkyō: telescope)
     to look afar + distant + -scope
眺望 (chōbō: view, prospect, outlook)
     to look out over + to command a view of
望見 (bōken: watching from afar)     to look afar + to see
展望 (tenbō: having a view of)
     to take an extensive view of + to look afar


Henshall offers insights into this second group of meanings. The character once showed a person on the ground, gazing at the moon. Now all the shapes have changed, except , “moon.” Anyway, staring at the moon came to mean both “wishful thinking” and “gazing.” Neat!

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