I was studying some radicals using an app and one of the radicals listed is defined as river and looks like this:

Yet I know the kanji for river looks like:

Can anyone explain to me what the difference is?

  • There is a second kanji for river. It is 河.
    – istrasci
    Apr 5, 2016 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


川 is the kanji used normally for "river". 巛 (まがりがわ) is a radical, like 氵(さんずい).

When speaking about radicals, 川 and 巛 are said to be the same radical - radical 47, but only 川 is seen as both a radical and a separate kanji while 巛 is only seen as part of other kanji. For example, 山川 is a word where 川 is a whole kanji, and お巡りさん is a word with the 巛 radical (as part of 巡).

  • 3
    Or for example 順, which also uses the vertically straight version of 川. Apr 5, 2016 at 23:31
  • You say 川 is Radical 47, but what categorization system are you referring to?
    – kandyman
    Oct 8, 2017 at 18:48

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