I have a tea cup with kanjis of sea creatures printed on them, mostly fish.

Each of those around 50 names has the kanji for fish on the left, and then other radicals on the right.

Except for one (enter image description here).

What is the reason for this? Are there rules for radical positioning?

1 Answer 1


What is the reason for this?

There is unfortunately no "reason" for this other than "this is how it has been, ever since the character was created in China".

Chinese characters are made by different people throughout different ages, some are even made by Japanese people in Japan(not this one though). There is some general rules that governs how a character should be made, but there is no rule governing the position of radicals. It was whatever the creator of this character seemed fit.

Other examples are: 話 評 説 but 誓 警
鮭 鮪 鯨 but 鯊 鰲
銀 銅 鋼 but 釜 鑒
焼 炊 灼 but 熱 点 烈 but also 燙 熨 煲
河 渇 流 but 漿 泉
憎 忙 快 but 思 想 but also 愛 憂 (heart is in the middle)

Are there rules for radical positioning?

No, like I mentioned above. However, it's also interesting to note that even for the same character there could be different arrangements of radicals. For example: 群 and 羣, 峯 and 峰 are considered the same character, have the exact same pronunciation, usage, and definitions. The only different between them is the arrangement of parts.

These are called 異体字(variant characters), but not all variant characters differ only by part arrangement, some differ much more greatly, but all variant characters have the exact same sound and meaning, otherwise they'd be considered different characters, not simply the variants of the same character.

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