A few years ago, I came across the issue of one kanji having multiple stroke counts. Now, I need to review this:
牙 = (4 or 5 strokes)
瓜 = (5 or 6 strokes)
邑 = (6 or 7 strokes)

If native speakers don't know about this ambiguity, then I'll just ignore it. But, if it is something to be aware of, can someone please check these assertions?
(1) Depending on the era, some kanji's stroke counts changed. One stroke count is considered correct in modern Japan, while the other is just a historical footnote.
(2) Counter to the trend of simplifying kanji, the modern writings have the greater number of strokes.

Any more information would be welcomed. thanks.

  • 臣 = 6 or 7, hehe.
    – user1478
    Commented Nov 16, 2013 at 1:13
  • 1
    How do you write 邑 with 6 strokes?
    – user1016
    Commented Nov 16, 2013 at 4:29
  • 1
    Officially, 臣 is 7.
    – user4032
    Commented Nov 16, 2013 at 8:52

2 Answers 2


There are currently 1,006 kanji that are taught in elementary schools and those are named 教育漢字. It is only these 1,006 kanji that are given "official" stroke counts by 文部科学省, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Strange as it may seem, the other kanji simply do not have official stroke counts. What that means is that it is left to the discretion of the individual publisher and dictionary author.

The 1,006 kanji are listed here on Wikipedia.

  • Do you know how many 常用漢字 there are, which do not belong to these 1006 and have parts, which break the usual simple rules (left to right, etc.) and do not appear in these 1006? For example, the stroke order of 邑 can be guessed from 色, 臣 is a 4th year character, 牙 appears in 芽.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Nov 16, 2013 at 22:30

According to http://kakijun.jp/page/uri06200.html citing the 康煕字典, 瓜 used to be written with 5 strokes. Those strokes were 「ノ」「ノ」「レ」、テン、はらい (the down left as the top part, then down left as the left side, then a down stroke with a hook to the right at the end, then a mark against that one, and finally a stroke sweeping down and right from the top right of the first down-left stroke. (Probably the reason it changed to six is due to looking at print fonts -- Cf. 比べる - stroke count for 比 is 4. but on many fonts I cannot imagine how you get the bottom part to look like printed fonts).

Also from kakijun, 牙 was simplified and had two forms but one was removed recently in a simplification for the same of computer fonts! The stroke reduction was done to make it easier to write.

I don't see any info on the other two where I'm looking...

This is for ちょこれーと ... because I don't have the rep points to write beneath the Q, but to write 邑 with 6 strokes was intriguing enough that I wanted to figure out how. Answer: 3 strokes for the mouth. Then a line down, then an 乙 and a line between.

  • I think 臣 was changed post-war (I'm not sure whether it counts as a simplification!), and I think the traditional way of writing it is still used in China and Korea. Wikipedia has some brief discussion.
    – user1478
    Commented Nov 16, 2013 at 17:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .