I have been practicing and interested in calligraphy for a while. Recently I was looking in general for books on the subject and I often encountered this word: くずし字 (for example in books titles etc).

Now, I have more or less an idea but I can't really find a clear definition. A dictionary I checked simply redirects to 草書体, and Midori more or less the same. But is it actually really just a synonymous of "cursive"? I wonder if that isn't somehow a simplification. Looking at books and topics where this word comes out I have a feeling it might have a different or anyway more general meaning than that. Of course maybe I'm just wrong.

I found something related here but I'm not sure is the answer I'm looking for. Anyone knows more about this here?

Thanks as usual.

Ps. Does the くずし have any relation to the verb 崩す, as in "breaking down" a character, or is it totally unrelated to such meaning? (Apparently according to Midori dictionary it can also be written as 崩し字 indeed).

  • 1
    The word くずす should be understood more like "loosened", "deformed" than something hard "breaks down". Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


くずし is obviously from 崩し.

My understanding is that 行書/草書 refers to only (semi-)cursive kanji. It's used for Chinese documents written in cursive styles.

According to this article and others, くずし字 usually refers to cursive Japanese sentences which are found typically in documents in the Edo period and contain both 行書/草書 kanji and cursive kana (including 変体仮名).

So there is no such thing as 草書体のひらがな, but くずし字のひらがな exist.

  • Thanks, it's quite clear. Somehow googling around I could not find the reference you posted, so thanks again.
    – Tommy
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 5:53

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