The いとへん (aka 糸部{べきぶ}) has two written forms, one written with three dots on the bottom and one written with a 小 on the bottom. In modern Japanese computer fonts (esp. Mincho fonts), the latter form is used. In the K'ang-hsi (康熙) Dictionary (which is the de facto standard for the Japanese 旧字体), the later is treated as the standard writing shape.

The 当用漢字字体表 also uses the latter form as the standard, but meanwhile it also states that, for the いとへん, 「点画の...方向...必ずしも拘束しないものがある」. (see, e.g., the 文化庁's page here).

Therefore, could both written shapes of the いとへん be considered equally correct in handwriting? Which would be more common, in casual and formal handwriting, respectively?

  • I'm almost positive this has been asked before. If anyone remembers, please post the link. – istrasci May 22 '17 at 21:04

The "小" version is the standard form which is taught at elementary school. The "three-dots" version is considered equally correct, and is mainly used by old people and by people who are good at cursive scripts (行書) or calligraphy. While the "three dots" version will look beautiful and natural if written by a good writer, I would say ordinary people and beginners should usually use the "小" version.

  • Thank you. In fact, I'm Chinese and I have been writing (simplified and traditional, and now also Japanese) Chinese characters for many years. I usually write 糸部 with three dots, and I'm looking for the convention in Japan. – xuq01 May 23 '17 at 23:21
  • @xuq01 Oh then you can always use the "dots" version! – naruto May 24 '17 at 1:40

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