composition

kanji composition

We can decompose kanjis into smaller ideograms; some of these ideograms might be other kanjis, or radicals, katakanas, or other small strokes that were not selected to be as katakanas or radicals. We will decompose our kanjis in such a way that we can write them by writing the list of ideograms, in order. For example,

休 ← 亻 木
口 ← 冂 一
森 ← 木 林

In some cases, a kanji has an ideogram that we cannot write completely before writing a different ideogram. For example, the kanji for 4, 四, is composed of 儿 (the legs radical) and 口 (the mouth radical). However, since 口 surrounds 儿, we have to start writing 口, stop midway to write 儿, and then finish the underside of 口. In such cases, we will further decompose the ideograms to show the correct order of strokes in which we need to write them. Thus, instead of a decomposition with the minimal number of components, like

四 ← 口 儿

we will favor a decomposition with the correct order of strokes, like

四 ← 冂 儿 一

Is this decomposition shown here something official? Absolutely not. Kanjis are composed of other kanjis, radicals and ideograms, that are there for specific reasons, sometimes their meaning, sometimes their sound. Here, though, we are decomposing the kanjis for the exclusive purpose of remembering them and their order of strokes, so we are breaking a kanji into ideograms that match the order of strokes, but not necessarilly because they are actually part of the original kanji. An example is 足. Officially, it is composed of 口 and 止. However, for whatever reason, the strokes of 足 are not the strokes of 口 followed by the strokes of 止. Instead, 足 follows the strokes of 口, followed by ⺊, followed by 人, and thus, those are the ideograms that we would use:

足 ← 口 ⺊ 人

This messes up the historical lineage of 足, which might have something to do with 口 and 止 (mouth and stop) instead of 口, ⺊, and 人 (mouth, divination rod, and person), but this is only relevant if we are studying the origin, history, or evolution of kanjis, which we are not. It is already difficult enough to learn the kanji’s on-yomis, kun-yomis and stroke order to add to that an interest in their evolution, which might have nothing to do with the present shape or meaning of a kanji.

Building blocks

We already saw a number of radicals related to katakanas; here are again, for convenience:


rad. forms & No.
4 – 丿, 乀, 乁
5 – 乛, 乙, ⺄, 乚
7 –
9 – 人, イ, 𠂉
10 –
12 – 八, ハ, 丷
13 – 冂, ⺆
14 –
15 – 冫,⺀
18 – 刀, ⺈, リ
19 –
20 –
21 –
24 –
25 – 卜, ⺊


rad. meaning
slash, bend
second, latter
two
human, person
legs
eight
inverted box
cover
ice
sword, knife
power
wrap
spoon
ten, perfect
divination, rod


rad. forms & No.
28 –
29 –
30 –
31 –
36 –
40 –
42 – 小, ⺌, ⺍
47 – 巛, 川, 巜
48 –
55 –
58 – 彐, ⺔, ⺕
75 – 木, ホ
85 – 水, ⺡, ⺢
113 – 示, ⺬, ネ
140 – 艸, ⺾, ⺿, ⻀


rad. meaning
private
right hand
mouth, opening
enclosure
evening, sunset
shaped crown
small
stream, river
work
two hands
pig snout
tree, wood
water
spirit
grass


Here are the additional radicals that we will need to compose all the kanjis of the kanken-10:


ideogram (Radical #)
丨  #2
丶  #3
亅  #6
亠  #8
凵  #17
厂, ⺁, 丆  #27

寸  #41
幺  #52
止  #77
气  #84
父  #88
牛, 牜, ⺧  #93


composition
 
 
 
丶 一
乚 丨
一 丿

一 亅 丶
丶 丶 ム
⺊ 丨 一
𠂉 一 ⺄
ハ 丿 乀
𠂉 十 , 𠂉 丄


meaning
rod
dash
barb
kettle lid
open box
cliff

thumb
small
stop
steam, air, breath
father
cow


Composition of the kanken 10

Now we use the building blocks to compose our kanjis. Most of the components of these kanjis are radicals but a few contain simpler kanjis, in which case we decompose only those that are not in the kanken-10; for example, both 早 and 草 are kanken-10 kanjis, so 草 is composed of the plant radical 艹 followed by the 早 kanken-10 kanji. If we write the components correctly, then writing them in the correct order results in writing the kanji correctly. We can find the meanings and readings of the kanjis in the posts linked to the subtitles; also, highlightin a kanji gives us the option to listen to its pronunciation.

Numbers and money


kanji (Radical #)
一  #1
二  #7
三 
四 
五 

六 
七  #31
八  #12
九 
十  #24

百 
千 
金  #167
円 


composition
 
一 一
一 二
冂 儿 一
丆 ユ

亠 ハ 
ノ 乚
丿 乁
⺄ 丿
一 丨

一 白 
ノ 十 
ハ 王 丷
冂 亠


comments
 
kat. ニ
 
mounth, legs
 

 
kat. ヒ
kat. ハ
 
 

one, white
 
 
 


Living things


kanji
目  #109
耳  #128
口  #30
手  #64
足  #157

男 
女  #38
子  #39
人  #9
王 
名 

犬  #94
虫  #142
貝  #154

木  #75
林 
森 
竹  #118
花 
草 


composition
冂 二 
一 ⺊ 二 丨
ロ 
丿 二 亅
口 ⺊ 人 

田 力 
く 丿 一 
乛 亅 一 
丿 乀
一 土 
タ ロ 

大 丶
中 一 丶
目 ハ 

十 ハ 
木 木 
木 林 
𠂉 丨  𠂉 亅
艹 亻 匕
艹 早 


comments
 
 
kat. ロ
 
mouth, divination rod, person

rice field, power
ku, no, i
 
 
one, earth
evening, mouth

big, dash
 
eye, eight

 
tree, tree
tree, grove
 
grass, person, spoon
grass, early


verbs, adverbs, and adjectives


kanji
入  #11
出 
休 
立  #117
見  #157
生  #100

早 
正 
大  #37
小  #42

白  #106
赤  #155
靑  青  #174
夕  #36
年 
先 

上 (丄)
下 (丅)
中 
右 
左 


composition
丿 乁
丨 凵 凵
亻 木 
亠 丷 一
目 儿
牛 一

日 十 
一 止 
一 人 
亅 ハ 

丶 日 
土 丿 亅 ㇵ
十 二 (月 / 円)
ク 丶
𠂉 一 丨 十 
⺧ 儿

⺊ 一
一 卜
口 丨
丿 一 口 
一 丿 工 


comments
kat. ハ
 
man, tree
 
eye, human legs
cow, one

sun, ten
one, stop
one, man
 

 
 
靑: official; 青: personal use
kat. タ
 
 

divination rod, one
one, divination rod
 
 
 


Nature


kanji
土  #32
山  #46
石  #112

空 
気 
天 
日  #72
月  #74

水  #85
川  #47
雨  #173

力  #19
火  #86
音  #180


composition
十 一
丨 凵
丆 口 

宀 儿 工 
气 メ
一 大 
冂 二 
⺆ 二 

亅 フ 乀 丶
丿 丨 丨
一 冂 丨 ⺀ ⺀

カ 
丷 人 
立 日 


comments
 
 
 

crown, human legs, work
spirit, kat. メ
one, big
 
 

 
 
 

kat. カ
 
stand up, sun


City life


kanji
校 
学 
本 
文  #67
字 

田  #102
町 
村 

玉  #96
糸  #120
車  #159


composition
木 亠 父 
⺍ 冖 子 
木 一 
亠 丿 乀
宀 子 

冂 丨 ニ 
田 一 亅
木 寸 

王 丶
幺 小 
一 日 一 丨


comments
tree, kettle lid, father
 
tree, one
 
crown, child

 
 
tree, small

king, dash
 
 


Cumulative list of radicals

This concludes the writing portion of kankei 10. We started with 30 radicals related to katakanas; then we added 12 more needed to composed all the kanken-10 kanjis; and finally, it turn out that out of the 80 kanken-10 kanjis, 32 were both kanjis and radicals that we hadn’t encounter. Below is the cumulative list of these 74 radicals we have seen so far. , i.e., a third of the 214 total number of radicals:


rad. forms & No.
1 –
2 –
3 –
4 – 丿, 乀, 乁
5 – 乛, 乙, ⺄, 乚
6 –
7 –
8 –
9 – 人, イ, 𠂉
10 –
11 –
12 – 八, ハ, 丷
13 – 冂, ⺆
14 –
15 – 冫,⺀
17 –
18 – 刀, ⺈, リ
19 –
20 –
21 –
24 –
25 – 卜, ⺊
27 – 厂, ⺁, 丆
28 –
29 –
30 –
31 –
32 –
36 –
38 –
39 –
40 –
41 –
42 – 小, ⺌, ⺍
46 –
47 – 巛, 川, 巜
48 –


rad. meaning
one
rod
dash
slash, bend
second, latter
barb
two
kettle lid
human, person
legs
enter
eight
inverted box
cover
ice
open box
sword, knife
power
wrap
spoon
ten, perfect
divination, rod
cliff
private
right hand
mouth, opening
enclosure
dirt, soil
evening, sunset
woman, female
child
shaped crown
small, little
small
mountain, hill
stream, river
work


rad. forms & No.
52 –
55 –
58 – 彐, ⺔, ⺕
64 – 手, 扌, 龵
67 –
72 –
73 – 月, ⺝
75 – 木, ホ
77 –
84 –
85 – 水,⺡, ⺢
86 – 火, 灬
88 –
93 – 牛, ⺧, 牜
94 – 犬, 犭
96 –
100 –
102 –
108 –
109 –
112 –
113 – 示, ⺬, ネ
118 –
117 –
120 –
128 –
140 – 艸,⺾,⺿,⻀
142 –
147 –
154 –
155 –
157 –
159 –
167 – 金, 钅
173 – 雨, ⻗
174 – 靑, 青
180 –


rad. meaning
short, tiny
two hands
pig snout
hand
sentence
day, sun
month, moon
tree, wood
stop
steam, air
water
fire
father
cow
dog
ball, sphere
to be born
rice field
white, innocent
eye
stone, jewel
spirit
to stand
bamboo
thread, string
ear, hearing
grass
insect
to see
shell
red
foot, leg
car
gold
rain
blue
sound, noise