Some Kanji characters are written slightly differently in the Mincho/Gothic typefaces or handwriting. Ones that come to mind are 令、心, and these have been discussed before [1]. This font-dependent variation is consistent when the character occurs as a sub-element of another character (e.g. as in 冷).

Today, I encountered the character 賭 (as in 賭け, 賭博) that looks like it's consists of the sub-elements 貝 and 者. Interestingly, the Mincho font on my machine puts one extra stroke on the top right of the 日 on the right hand side.

I was puzzled because the character 者 by itself doesn't show this variation. Thoughts?

[1] Why are there two versions of the kanji for 冷?

  • What kind of extra stroke? A picture is worth a thousand words. Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:14
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    See for instance tangorin.com/kanji/%E8%B3%AD. If you put the mouse over the character, the display switches from Mincho to Gothic. Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:36
  • Ah yes. Interesting because it looks like it should change the stroke count for the character. Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:40
  • I found a webpage where this stroke is counted as stroke 12, so that rules out my pet idea that it could be a mistake in the font: jiten.go-kanken.com/kanjie/2070.html Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:44
  • Check this Google search showing just as many sites saying this has 15 strokes as web sites saying it has 16 strokes! google.com/… Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:49

3 Answers 3


In fact, the 者 character has the dot in the Kangxi dictionary. This variant is coded in Unicode as 者 and is etymologically the older one.

It is worth pointing out that 賭 was only added to the Jōyō kanji list in 2010. Computer fonts usually use traditional (= Kangxi) shapes for characters not on the list; cf Asahi characters and extended shinjitai. Curiously, if you look at the official list, they explicitly say (p. 3) that this variation is permitted for 賭:

付  情報機器に搭載されている印刷文字字体の関係で、本表の通用字体とは異なる字体(通用字体の「頰・賭・剝」に対する「頬・賭・剥」など)を使用することは差し支えない。

See also p. 9.


The variation on「者」(without the dot) and「{{ko:者}}」(with the dot) doesn't mean anything.「者」is the older shape inherited from brush calligraphy, while「{{ko:者}}」is the product of introducing Shuowen small seal script features into the character.「{{ko:者}}」is now established as the Traditional print shape, and the print forms of newly introduced kanji into the Jōyō list will contain the dot (making no further efforts to bring the print shapes closer to the handwritten shape).

「{{ko:者}}」is not older than「者」! The bottom component of「者」was originally「口」, which then changed to「甘」through the addition of a mark.

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Shuowen erroneously says that「{{ko:者}}」contains「𦣹・白」(自), but「𦣹・白」is just a graphical corruption of「甘」. The dot in「{{ko:者}}」comes from the first stroke of「白」.

「白」is not white in this context, but a variant of「自」with only one horizontal line in the middle.

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For reference, the glyph evolution of「自」(picture of a nose):

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There are many reasons that could explain why there are some differences of shape in different type-faces.

  • Japanese and Chinese type-faces are slightly different. See for example the compounds of 糸.
  • The stroke order of character may vary from Chinese to Japanese writing. See, for example
  • The simplification of kanji over the time. See, for example , and .

This list is not exhaustive and if someone wants to add other reasons feel free to edit.

  • Both Gothic and Mincho are Japanese fonts though, so the first two points won't apply. For the third point, Unicode regards them as separate characters whereas the OP seems to be asking about the same character in two different but specifically Japanese fonts \-: Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:22
  • @hippietrail, I tried to input 者 using both Gothic and Mincho and in both cases the extra stroke above the right of 日 is missing. I was able to get the extra stroke with the Gulim font, which is a Japanese one. So I think that this extra stroke get simplified and that 躇 uses the old form of 者. Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:38
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    I'm pretty sure Gulim is a Korean font. Korean hanja generally uses Traditional Chinese forms. I wonder if there's a website that will show you the same character in as many fonts as possible ... Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:42
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    @hippietrail, I was wrong, as you said, Gulim is a Korean font (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_CJK_fonts#Korean_2). Here is a very light list of character variants: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variant_Chinese_character Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 21:07

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