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Here are the characters that I'm looking for the meanings. I fed Google Image with one of the characters, but non of the results was relative.

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Beside, I used Jisho.org project, and the results were not matching.

May you translate these characters or give me some help to find out them?

  • 6
    陸上自衛隊 if I'm not mistaken
    – oals
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 18:20
  • @oals So as google translation says, it means 'Japan Ground Self-Defense Force' and so you're correct, Thanks! Any suggestion on how can I do that writing-to-typed conversion?
    – Farzad
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 19:05
  • Handwriting-to-typed conversion is a very complicated task for software, no matter the language. It's even more complicated for Japanese, given how complex the individual glyphs (characters) are, and how different they can be depending on 1) the individual's handwriting, 2) the degree of cursive-ness, and 3) differences in calligraphy styles. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:29
  • There are various optical character recognition (OCR - 光学{こうがく}文字{もじ}認識{にんしき}) products on the market for Japanese, some of which are listed here on the Japanese Wikipedia article. So far as I know, there are no good free solutions. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:29
  • 1
    @Farzad As with Western cursive handwriting, one learns to read Japanese cursive kind of by osmosis, usually while learning to write them. There are dictionaries of cursive forms (look for 三体、くずし字、 or 草書); but no real lookup method. If you really want a pattern-matching device to read cursive Japanese, your best bet is to train your brain to become one, through traditional reading/writing practice. One gradual reader is this: amzn.com/0870116983 Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 1:43

2 Answers 2


If you are using Windows, you can draw the characters in the IME Pad.

It is also possible to find an electronic dictionary that supports drawing input, or Nintendo DS games or dictionaries that allow this same feature.

One such example is Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten DS.

From Wikipedia:

The software allows for the input of kanji symbols via the stylus, and for the lookup of words in English, as well as the two Japanese alphabets (hiragana and katakana), and also provides pronunciation.

Another option (that I just found by googling) is to use an online service that allows input by drawing. One such example is kanji.sljfaq.org

As for the specific kanji in your image; they are 陸上自衛隊{りくじょうじえいたい}.


It clearly reads 陸上自衛隊、meaning the Ground Self-Defense Force.

The below character is 自(ji), which can be used in many ways like 自分、自身、自体-myself,itself, 自慢 - boasting, 自動 ‐ automatic movement, 自信 - self-conviction, 自覚 ‐ self-realization, 自白 ー confession, 自殺 - suicide, most of which refer to one(it)-self, as you know. 衛 (ei in 音読み、mamoru in 訓読み)means to defend. Therefore 自衛 used here means self-defence. In 訓読み, 自 can be reflected as おのず or みず(から)。自ずから means "by itself (it's own)".、

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