What do we call the different types of strokes of kanji/kana in Japanese?

For example, in Chinese the left-downward stroke is called 撇[piě] and the right-downward stroke is called 捺[nà]. And if I wanted to describe what looks like, I would say (in Chinese) "一个撇, 一个捺".

Are the Japanese names for strokes commonly used? I would assume so since it's a rather convenient way (for me at least) to describe what a Chinese character looks like in the absence of any writing material to show it (alternatively I could write in the air). Can I similarly describe kanji using Japanese names for the strokes?

1 Answer 1


These stroked are called 筆画, and as for kanji, it is traditionally said that there are eight types of strokes (I copied the words from the webpage that I linked below):

1) 点 ([側]{ソク})  
2) 横画 ([勒]{ロク})  
3) 縦画 ([努]{ド})
4) はね, かぎ ([趯]{テキ})  
5) 左はらい ([掠]{リャク})
6) 右はらい ([磔]{タク})

7) 右上がりの横画 ([策]{サク})  
8) 短い左はらい ([啄]{タク})  

And all those eight appear in the character . This web page provides a good explanation.

Modern treatment suggests a slightly different set of strokes. According to this web page, it replaces 7 and 8 above with the following two:

9) かぎ  
10) おれ 

I think this modern set is familiar among Japanese, but when they need to refer to the kanji in the absense of a writing material, it is more common to refer to the radical (部首) or to refer to a word that includes that character (for example, 田んぼの「田」).

There are probably no such notions for kana.

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