UCL WIKI

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北 Běi is North:

The traditional explanation is that the character is a picture of two people sitting back to back on the North Pole.

Common word: 北京 Běijīng

背 Bèi is 'back'

Common word: 背景 bèijǐng 'background'

南 Nán is 'South':

Note that the element in the enclosure at the bottom is not 羊 yáng 'sheep' as it lacks a horizontal stroke.

Common word: 南京 Nánjīng

Other 京s

东京 Dōngjīng 'Tokyo' (lit. 'Eastern Capital'). Note how Japanese often has k where Mandarin has j and ng in Mandarin becomes a long vowel in Japanese.

In case you wondered, 西京 Xījīng (lit. 'Western Capital') used to be used for modern 西安 Xiān in the Han Dynasty.

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