Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was told today that the grass radical, e.g. the top of 花 has a gap in the middle of it, and googling it suggests that it is sometime written like this. Is that strictly in Chinese, is it sloppy, or is it just another way of writing? Is the correct way leaving it connected?

share|improve this question
FYI, that radical is called [草冠]{くさ・かんむり}. – istrasci Jul 3 '14 at 15:01
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The form of 花 with a gap in the radical making it 4 strokes instead of 3 is called the 旧字体 (old character form) and the one that is used most of the time these days is called 新字体.

Neither is correct or sloppy, they're just two different ways of writing the same character. This is related to the fact that characters in general have been simplified in different ways over the years, starting from when they were drawn in the old days in China (艸 for this specific radical). You can see more about this radical here:



I also use a kanji reference dictionary called 漢語林 that lists the 旧字体 along with each 新字体.

It seems to me that 旧字体 tend to be used more often in names than in any other words.

share|improve this answer
I think the two variants 艹 and 艸 were both in use before 1947, but the shinjitai reform made it so only the 艹 version was "official" – 無色受想行識 Jul 3 '14 at 4:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.