77

The left side is actually a form of 肉, and in traditional dictionaries the radical for these characters is 肉. It's called にくづき (from 肉{にく}+月{つき}) because it looks like 月 but is historically a form of 肉. Because 肉 looks just like 月 in these characters, some less traditional dictionaries list these characters under 月 instead, to make them easier to look up. ...


28

In general, don't overinterpret repeated components. It's inconsistent and largely a hit-and-miss exercise. Sometimes they just mean "lots of" the single repeated component, or some extended meaning from that. For example, in addition to 「木」->「林」->「森」, there is 「火」(fire) ->「炎」(blaze) 「屮」(sprouting plant, not used as an individual character) ->「艸」(full ...


20

In many kanji, some of the components do not provide meaning, but only sound.「桃」(On'yomi: とう) is made up of semantic「木」(tree) and phonetic「兆」(On'yomi: ちょう). Remember: Kanji were created for Chinese vocabulary, so the phonetic component is only relevant to On'yomi. Here's some relevant vocabulary with these On'yomi readings: [桃花]{とうか} (peach blossom) [吉兆]...


17

In principle, it's arbitrary. Dictionary makers are free to put 富 under whichever section they want, and the same goes for 仏 or any other character. And in fact, editors of some dictionaries put characters under different radicals; see for example the New Nelson. As such, they can have different motivations, and it's impossible to answer what the ...


17

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a complicated situation, as there are a few closely related ideas: Any piece of a kanji you might recognize as appearing in multiple kanji. Any piece of a kanji that either is on the official list of radicals from the Kangxi dictionary, or on a closely related list (such as a slightly edited version of that list for another ...


16

Japanese elementary school children are generally taught to write kanji like this (教科書体): I don't know how these are different from how Chinese kids are taught to write these characters. However, this largely depends on the font, and adults actually handwrite these dots in many ways according to their preference. Practically, there is no strict rule here, ...


16

No, because「星」was not the original character for the word meaning star. 「星」was originally written「晶」: These are oracle bone script samples, and by that stage stars were already characterised as being more numerous and smaller than the sun and moon, hence the appearance.「晶」now means sparkling/crystal/radiant, and this is a semantic extension from the ...


15

The two radicals 口 and 囗 are indeed different, even though they are hard to distinguish in modern scripts/fonts. This "standardization" of unifying the looks of unrelated elements is somewhat intentional (presumably to make the script more homogeneous). You can see the same thing happening with 月 and 肉 (see Is there any reason a lot of body parts use the ...


14

In all three, the two dots are 八. As an element in other characters, 八 often appears upside-down; sometimes it depends on the particular font which way it faces. As for meaning, we can consult a variety of sources, but they all agree on the basics: Zhongwen.com describes 八 as "an ideograph representing division". Henshall says it symbolizes "splitting/...


14

It's an older but common variant of the fish radical. (The entries below are for the character「蘇」which is much more common than「鱈」but illustrates the same development) Looks like it is related this way: a. 火 ⇒ 大  b. 火 ⇒ 灬 a. was used commonly in the past, but now b. is more popular. One possible reason for this is that changing to 大 reduces ...


14

The form that looks like 月 has several different origins, most of which are 肉 (flesh), 月 (moon), and 舟 (boat, 𣍝). Those shapes have been conflated during the development until the 9th century. The most authoritative dictionary today, Kangxi Dictionary, divides them in two, 肉-affiliated (にくづき) to radical 肉 (#130) and non-肉 to 月 (#74). This is also what we'...


13

The choice of radicals (部首{ぶしゅ}) as in the dictionary radicals (as opposed to any other selection of components), comes from Chinese and presumably was adopted alongside the kanji themselves. The first source to use radicals was a second-century Chinese dictionary called Shuōwén Jiězì (說文解字 - in Japanese 説文解字{せつもんかいじ}). This included 540 radicals. The set ...


13

In printed form, they are the same except for their size. Mouth is smaller than enclosure. Enclosure encloses other radicals or kanji, but mouth never takes anything inside it. Some common kanji enclosed by enclosure: 国 四 回 団 図 園 因 Notice how 「回」 has both 囗 (enclosure) and 口 (mouth). In 楷書 (regular script), they look almost the same. They are drawn ...


11

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 (...


11

Strictly speaking, each kanji belongs to only one radical. According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine): 部首 A Chinese radical (Chinese: 部首; pinyin: bùshǒu; literally: "section header") is a graphical component of a Chinese character under which the character is traditionally listed in a Chinese dictionary. This component is often a semantic indicator (that ...


11

Good answer from @jogloran - here's an idea of the glyph evolution in case you're not convinced: 商甲乙112合集22148春秋金曾白𩃲簠集成4631秦簡秦律十八種睡虎地秦簡今楷  「印」 is comprised of a hand 「爪・爫」 pressing down on a kneeling person 「卩」. Compare 「妥」. A somewhat lengthy note about this idea of radicals... Kanji are made of radicals, right? No, they're not. Sometimes this might ...


10

Although there have been many sets of radicals and many classifications over the years, the traditional set of 214 radicals is now usually identified with the famous 康煕字典 (Kangxi Zidian). To many people, if you say the radical, it's understood that you're referring to the traditional Kangxi classification. From that point of view, the traditional radical ...


10

So, the general spirit of the question has been answered - the key ideas being that radicals (dictionary headers) are not the same as generic components that are found in characters, and thus in different characters what appears to be somewhat similar components should be clearly differentiated and written differently. The general advice given by the other ...


9

Sure looks like 先に to me. You can see the two horizontal lines for the character in your image both come out the other side of the vertical line they cross, unlike 爿, which I had never seen before your question. The bottom right vertical line also clearly curves out to the right. The sentence also makes sense this way: 先に多く食べた方が勝ちってゲームらしいんだけど (It is) ...


9

You're right that it's not a radical. For instance, the radical of 印 for dictionary purposes is actually 卩. The "E" looking thing is actually a rotated version of the component 爪 found at the top of 妥, which represents a grasping hand. This can be seen from the earliest forms. The second character below is an ancestral form of 印 that shows a hand pressing ...


8

This boils down to the question "What is a radical?" In the loose sense, it's any part of a kanji, which occurs in a number of characters. In some stricter sense, it's one of the 214 kanji radicals that have been used to index kanji characters ever since they appeared in the 1615 Zihui 1716 Kangxi Dictionary dictionaries. For searching by applying a ...


8

While other L-shaped partials, like @blutorange said in his comment (走鬼麦風爪 etc.), are only stylistic alterations when you use these parts in the left side of a kanji, ⻌ is inherently L-shaped, because it originates from the combination of left-sided ⼻ and bottom ⽌. The fact is widely attested in pre-Qin inscriptions or bamboo (wooden) slip recordings (third ...


8

It's a nonstandard variant (異体字) of 鱈. In modern kanji dictionaries, 火 and 灬 (れんが) are usually considered different. But etymologically, these are the same radical, both representing fire. 脚にあるときは、「灬」の形に変わる。 魚 is a 象形文字 (hieroglyph) made from the picture of fish, and the four dots are not related to fire. 魚 is a radical in its own right. But the ...


8

Unfortunately, there's a bit of confusion on this page. The distinction between「口」and「囗」is not how they're drawn, but the functional role they play in characters. While「囗」does indeed mean enclosure, the purpose of this component is not, in fact, to enclose other components in characters, but to provide a semantic hint of enclosure in characters to do with ...


8

Edit: Please read this later answer which corrects much of the mistakes that the Japanese sources (that I used) have with more recent and accurate Chinese information. I'll keep this answer around so that it can be seen what was actually corrected. Short answer: While the relevant set of strokes in 壌 is indeed a version of 衣, the lower set of strokes in 展 ...


8

Do you know the name of this radical ? It is 亜【あ】, which is not only a component (calling it radical is technically wrong) but an independent character that even has a dedicated page on Wiktionary. Do you also know of another Kanji using this radical? Yes, and there is a relatively user-friendly website to look up kanji if you read Japanese. When you ...


8

It appears that the 匕 component that we see in 老 did not start out as the same character as 匕 "spoon", but instead as a stylization of long hair and a cane. This is more apparent if you compare the progression of forms from ancient Shang inscriptions through to the modern shapes: see the 匕 glyph origin at Wiktionary, the 老 glyph origin, and by way of ...


8

While 「氵」 is indeed an abbreviation of 「水」 (water), it is rather unfortunate that the colloquial name of 「冫」 in both Chinese and Japanese implies that 「冫」 has something to do with water. To emphasise, 「冫」 does not have anything to do with water, unless the appearance of 「冫」 is due to graphical corruption from 「氵」. 西周金⿱𠂤一丞卣集成5318秦簡日乙227 冬睡虎地秦簡今楷  「冫」 was ...


7

James Heisig's "Remembering the Kanji" takes the approach of diving the joyo kanji up into all of its "pieces" so you can take a look at that.


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible