Kanshudo Component Builder
Draw a component:
Type a component or its name:
Choose from a list:
Change component list
By default the Component Builder shows the most common Joyo kanji components (ie, components which are themselves Joyo kanji, or which are used in at least 3 other Joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.

For details of all components and their English names, see the Component collections.
Kanshudo Component Builder Help
For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of. Once you have identified any component, search for it in any of three ways:
  1. Draw it in the drawing area
  2. Type the name in the text area
  3. Look for it in the list
Example: look up 漢
  • Notice that 漢 is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫
  • Draw any of these components (one at a time) in the drawing area, and select it when you see it
  • Alternatively, look for a component in the list. 氵 艹 口 each have three strokes; 夫 has four strokes
  • If you know the meanings of the components, type any of them in the text area: water (氵), grass (艹), mouth (口) or husband (夫)
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.
Kanshudo Component Builder Drawing Help
The Kanshudo Component Builder can recognize any of the 416 components listed in the chart below the drawing area. Tips:
  • Draw a component in the center of the area, as large as you can
  • Try to draw the component as it appears in the kanji you're looking up
  • Don't worry about stroke order or number of strokes
  • Don't draw more than one component at a time
Not finding your component?
If you believe you've drawn your component correctly but the system is not recognizing it, please:
Let us know!

The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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JOK: 99
Learn to associate the キョウ, ケイ, and キン readings of 京 with very different contexts. Find out which three cities this character can represent. See how 京 pairs with all cardinal directions—but how “western capital” and “southern capital” aren’t what you’d expect. (One has a relationship to miso, the other to peanuts!) And learn about the people of Tokyo and Kyoto through old proverbs.
JOK: 110
See why 午 means both “noon” and “sign of the horse,” thanks to its role in a number system based on 12, not 10. (Jupiter inspired the system!) Learn to say, “first thing in the afternoon” and “I slept the whole afternoon away.” Find out about the Hour of the Horse, the Year of the Fire Horse (and its link to murderous wives), and the significance of the first Day of the Horse in February.
JOK: 1009
Discover the connection between latitude and weaving. (Hint: It's as if the planet is wrapped in thread!) Learn to explain how things got to be a certain way. Read about a criminal case related to nail care. Learn about latitudes versus parallels of latitude. And play a game by considering latitudes in various titles and following them around the world to see which locations they represent.
JOK: 1011
From Hokkaido to Okinawa, the Japanese grow many types of white potatoes and sweet potatoes and have scads of ways of eating them. Find out when 芋 represents which of its many definitions, why a "new potato" label is crucial, what "sweet potato color" means, and what a potato stamp is. Also see why sweet potatoes prompt passion, nostalgia, embarrassed laughter, and excuses.
JOK: 1018
See how the Japanese use “sharp” to describe not only knives and pain but also keen senses and nimble minds. Learn what the “select few” policy is and the contexts in which the Japanese value elitism. Also find out how to say, “spirited newcomer,” “Is he the man the papers depicted as an up-and-coming scholar?” and “Our company will try hard to create a better environment.”
JOK: 1019
Learn Japanese words for “epidemic,” “pandemic,” “quarantine,” and “immunity.” Find out how to say, “An epidemic has broken out,” “In ancient times, many people died of plagues,” and “A worldwide plague of theft emptied art museums,” as well as “immune to measles.” Also learn to speak of immunity figuratively, as in, “I graduated from a boys’ school, so I have no immunity to women.”
JOK: 1020
Learn to talk about delight and pleasure, sexual and otherwise. See how the Japanese refer to religious exultation, and peek into a monk's daily life. Find out how to say, "I'm so happy for you," "I am very pleased to hear the news," and "I am most humbly delighted" (which is handy if you meet a VIP!). Get some culture by reading about fine artists, writers, a singer, and a folk-craft movement.
JOK: 1021
If you want to outdistance others, beat them to the punch, defer work till later, move to Kawagoe, climb over a wall, cross a mountain, be promoted over your boss, or simply excel, you'll need 越. It's also useful for violating borders and walking all over people. Finally, 越 enables you to cross into a new year - if you've taken the proper measures to welcome the New Year's gods.
JOK: 1022
Did you know that in 1582 teenage Japanese envoys went to Europe and met the pope in Rome? And did you know that a 19th-century British painter depicted Queen Victoria’s encounter with a mysterious kneeling black king? Find out about all this, plus terms for meeting such VIPs. Also learn who opened Japan to foreign trade (not Perry!) and discover surprising words for “pope.”
JOK: 1028
In Japanese words and expressions, the monkey alternately comes off as badly behaved, wise, foolish, cunning, imitative, and uncontrolled in its passions. The interpretations of this creature's mind shift as quickly as a monkey jumping from branch to branch. Find out the Japanese equivalents of "fighting like cats and dogs," "monkey mind," and "Curious George." Also learn about the world-famous monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.