Post by yosushi
migi (right ) and nishi ( west )
hidari (left) and higashi (east )
The emperor palace used to face south and have a left ( east ) wing and
right (west ) wing. Does anyone know for sure if this is behind these
words being very close, or if this is more due to sheer luck ?
No. Chance coincidence.
The etymology of higashi is given as follows in the 大辞林:
higashi < hingashi < himukashi
My personal belief is that nishi is related to inishie - given that for
the Ryukyuan languages, nishi = north; the theory being that since for
the Japanese, who migrated eastward, nishi = west, and that for the
Ryukyuans, who migrated southwards, nishi = north... The exception seems
to be Amami, who think like the mainlanders. (What is stranger: for
Japanese, 北枕 is taboo. For Ryukyuans, 北枕 and 西枕 are taboo.)