I am a Japanese learner going through the jōyō kanji. I have run into a kanji that appears to have an ambiguous stroke order / count. Does the kanji 離 have 19 or 18 strokes?

Different dictionaries give contradictory results. Here is a small selection:

https://www.japandict.com/kanji/%E9%9B%A2?lang=en 19 strokes

https://www.tanoshiijapanese.com/dictionary/kanji_details.cfm?character_id=38626&k=%E9%9B%A2 18 strokes

https://www.kanshudo.com/kanji/%E9%9B%A2 19 strokes

https://jitenon.com/kanji/%E9%9B%A2 18 strokes

https://www.nihongomaster.com/japanese/dictionary/kanji/2825/%E9%9B%A2 18 strokes

It appears the confusion stems from the following “primitive”: 厶 This part of the kanji 離 is written differently in different dictionaries.

There appears to be the same ambiguity for 璃 as this one has the same strokes on the right (this one varies between 15 and 14 strokes in different dictionaries).

Do you know of any other kanji that are written differently in different dictionaries? Which stroke order/count do you think I should lean more towards? Why is it that this kanji appears to have two different stroke orders/counts (is it a on’yomi / kun’yomi thing)?


2 Answers 2


I didn't know this, but this "Radial 114" seems to have a complicated history, making it difficult to definitively say 禸 is either 4 or 5 strokes. The 禸 component is rendered differently depending on the language, the kanji, and the font. While the bottom parts of 离 and 禹 look fairly different at least on my PC, they're historically the same radical, so traditional dictionaries tend to treat 禸 as having 5 strokes regardless of its appearance, for the sake of consistency and searchability. (In dictionaries for Japanese elementary and junior high school students, the stroke counts might be as they appear visually. I couldn't confirm this since I threw them away long ago.)

This page lists several other examples of ambiguous stroke counts.

That being said, if you're only interested in how to handwrite 離 in Japanese, it's safe to write ム with 2 strokes. That's how I've always believed this kanji should be written in my life. Japanese Wikipedia, among other pages, also explicitly says this:



Counting it (ム) as having 3 strokes is just for the sake of classification in dictionaries that have to organize letters by stroke count. This does not mean you must deliberately write them separately when writing it by hand.


Stroke numbers is a convention, much like stroke orders. In the case of the letter 禸, it is usually written in 4 strokes but the dictionaries conventionally will list it as a 5 strokes letter, as seen in the two links from @naruto and in the addendum in the Japanese site of Jitenon.kanji.:


English: (Addendum) It has a total of 18 strokes if 离 is written in 10 strokes, or 19 total if it's written in 11 strokes.

Please also note that in the link provided by yourself, Jitenon lists it as a 18 strokes letter, but if you check the strokes order it will say it has 19.

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