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I was looking up the use of the 豆 radical and I noticed something strange in multiple dictionaries. Of the 60 kanji that use 豆, 59 of them are also said to use 口. The the 1 that does not is . Numerous other kanji appear to use 豆 in the same way as 鱧, so why is 鱧 an exception?

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  • Could you tell us which dictionaries you consulted?
    – Earthliŋ
    Aug 22 '20 at 17:19
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    What do you mean by “use 口”. 豆 contains the strokes of 口, and so does 鱧. If you’re looking for more than “X contains the strokes of Y”, I’m afraid that jisho.org is completely wrong in that regard for most of their “parts decomposition”, as 豆 picture of a round-bottomed ancient bronze vessel doesn’t contain 口 picture of a mouth at all. (I checked jisho’s entry of 頭, which listed 并 as a part. I don’t even know how they got that.)
    – dROOOze
    Aug 23 '20 at 0:34
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    @dROOOze the "radical" information for Jisho comes from edrdg.org/krad/kradinf.html another Jim Breen project. Generally speaking, very little of the content on Jisho is made by the creators of Jisho.
    – Leebo
    Aug 23 '20 at 2:42
  • @Leebo that's fine, but I'm just confused as to how 頭 is supposed to contain 并 (according to Jim Breen?). I don't even see a stroke correspondence.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 23 '20 at 2:52
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    After checking, the other dictionaries I referenced used the same Jim Breen data, which explains the consistency.
    – adamSrgnt
    Aug 23 '20 at 21:01
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So I downloaded ftp://ftp.monash.edu/pub/nihongo/kradzip.zip, unpacked it and re-encoded all files using iconv -s -f EUC-JP-MS -t UTF-8 kradfile > kradfile.utf8.txt and so on. Yes, this is a somewhat ancient encoding apparently modified by Microsoft. Gross. When I then search with rg --color ansi --line-number --follow -Pi 并 . for occurrences of 并 I find, among others, these entries:

平 : 干 并
屰 : 一 并 屮
崹 : | 亠 并 冂 冖 山 巾
嵭 : 亠 并 冖 山 方
嵰 : | 丶 ノ 并 山 ヨ
嶒 : | ハ 并 口 山 日
嶟 : 并 寸 山 酉

It would look like 并 has been used to symbolize 䒑 which probably has no JIS code. So that's that.

Now when you look for characters with 豆 then sure enough 鱧 is among them. Furthermore, all characters that have 豆 also have 并 (meaning 䒑) and 口, except for 鱧, which lacks it (and it also appears in only one of the two files with character components):

鱧 : | 魚 田 豆 日 杰
尌 : 并 十 口 士 寸 豆
巇 : 并 匕 卜 厂 口 山 戈 虍 豆
幮 : | 并 冂 十 口 士 寸 巾 广 豆
愷 : 并 口 山 忙 豆
憘 : 并 十 口 士 忙 豆
暟 : 并 口 山 日 曰 豆
暿 : 一 并 十 口 士 日 豆
曀 : 并 冖 口 士 日 豆
梪 : 并 口 木 豆

Mystery solved, it's just a quirk of the kradfile data that Jisho is sourced on which has a few bumps. Observe that in the above, 忙 is yet another surprising replacement character (for 忄 in this case), and you could probably find many more eastereggs if you were to sift through the data.

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    Gosh that is so bizarre...well thanks for this effort. Maybe the folks at jisho would appreciate this find and try to fix it. Don't let this work get buried in a random answer!
    – dROOOze
    Aug 23 '20 at 13:44
  • Thank you! This is exactly the answer I was looking for.
    – adamSrgnt
    Aug 23 '20 at 21:03
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For accuracy purposes, I'll advise you to ignore whatever you've read from jisho or elsewhere about "radicals". If you wish to use these graphical primitive parts for mnemonics purposes, that's fine, but since they don't really have anything to do with the Japanese language, I would classify such ways of looking at kanji as opinion-based. 「口」 isn't functionally in any of these characters, apart from its appearance as a collection of strokes written in the shape of 「口」.


「[鱧]{れい}」 (a type of fish) is comprised of semantic 「魚」 (fish) and phonetic 「[豊]{れい}」. It's not a good idea to further try decomposing 「豊」 (and generally not a good idea to decompose characters at more than a surface-level), as the results likely won't have anything to do with the meanings or sounds of 「鱧」 in a direct manner.

「[豊]{れい}」 is part of a phonetic series of characters, but due to some modern changes in the Japanese writing system, the phonetic nature of this kanji is difficult to get a grasp on, and shows up very rarely:

  • Japanese uses the shape 「豊」 as a simplification of 「[豐]{ほう}」, but this is non-orthodox, as 「豊」 and 「豐」 originally represented different morphemes;
  • 「[豊]{れい}」 is the phonetic component of 「[體]{たい}」 (Shinjitai: 「体」);
  • 「[豊]{れい}」 is the phonetic component of 「[禮]{れい}」 (Shinjitai: 「礼」).

The following would be better asked in separate questions, as they don't actually have anything to do with the meanings and sounds of 「鱧」:

  • Why does 「豊」 look like it contains 「豆」?
  • Why does 「豆」 look like it contains 「口」?
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  • But isn’t this ハモ...? Aug 23 '20 at 4:10
  • @DariusJahandarie ハモ is kun'yomi. Phonetic components relate only to on'yomi (れい). Yes, this is the unfortunate thing about kanji structure, but we can't really do anything about that...
    – dROOOze
    Aug 23 '20 at 4:14
  • Right, but “「鱧{れい}」 (a type of fish)” seems confusing because the fish is called ハモ. Aug 23 '20 at 4:18
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    @DariusJahandarie you're right, the on'yomi is not used. But the kanji structure reflects the on'yomi. This is what I mean by "we can't really do anything about that", as the objective analysis of the kanji structure is what it is; anything else is really opinion-based. "A type of fish" is the direct relation to semantic component 「魚」, and れい is its on'yomi.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 23 '20 at 4:23
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    Generally, it's probable in Japanese that the kanji structure may not reflect the word that the kanji represents in Japanese very well. In this case, れい and ハモ aren't even synonyms. But this is an assignment of a Japanese word to a kanji, and the difficulty of association between the word and the kanji is at the mercy of whoever assigned the kanji to the word.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 23 '20 at 4:25

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