Kanshudo Component Builder
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Draw a component:
Type a component or its name:
 
Choose from a list:
Change component list
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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
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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
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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

Welcome to Joy o’ Kanji, which will enable you to discover the joy of kanji! Below you’ll find introductions to detailed essays covering every aspect of each Jōyō kanji. With a wealth of sample sentences and images containing the character in question, the essays give you the real-world experience you need so you can master kanji. You can download the essays in PDF form. After reading them, you can play games and use flashcards to work with the vocabulary and sentences from the essay.
Essays are available as an optional addition to a Kanshudo Pro subscription. You can also purchase them individually by clicking the download link, or purchase essay credits that can be used for any essay.
If a Joy o' Kanji essay is available for a kanji, you will see this badge next to it in search results.
You can also find all kanji with essays available using the special search keyword jokessay:true, and if you know the Joy o' Kanji ID (the number under the kanji in the display below), you can use the special keyword jok:1009.
These essays come from our partner,
Joy o' Kanji
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temporarily
JOK: 1311
Find out about a common term that means both "a short while" and "a long while," sometimes confusing native speakers! Learn to talk about tentatively set times, provisional agreements, and interim governments. And see how various ways of saying "It's been awhile!" or "He came back after awhile" have subtly different nuances, as do assorted terms that mean "for awhile."
limb
JOK: 1317
Find out about a kanji in which, etymologically, human limbs are likened to tree branches. Learn to refer to physical disabilities in general, to people who have them, to phantom pain, and to types of paralysis. See how the Japanese compare a sexy woman to a certain lithe animal that pops up three times in this essay. And discover how 肢 ended up in a word for “choices.”
purple
JOK: 1320
Purple (紫) has special meaning in Japan. An old name for one of the four major islands contains 紫. The 'Tale of Genji' author chose an alias that included 紫. Kyoto and Edo each had a shade of purple named after them, thanks to a purple plant dye. Purple is associated with various types of elites in Japan. And some Japanese perceive soy sauce and tobacco smoke as purple!
luxuriant
JOK: 1327
Do you associate "nutritious" with "delicious"? The answer may depend on culture! Find out how to talk about both things with the same term, which can also mean "feast for the senses." See how Japanese and European ideas about medicinal cooking have intertwined, discover how Japanese superstars boost their energy, and learn how to help your ears by tending to your kidneys!
axis
JOK: 1330
From Earth’s axis to a penholder, from a car axle to the shaft of a feather, 軸 represents entities that are straight and long. In addition, 軸 has fun figurative uses, enabling people to say, “the core of my thinking,” “innovative plan,” “central role,” and “Language is a vertical axis connecting you to your ancestors.” Our kanji is also in terms for “Axis powers” and “axis of evil.” Learn their back stories!
varnish
JOK: 1334
This richly illustrated essay features photos of rare lacquered works, including a suit of armor with an image of the deity Fudo-Myoo, a cabinet shaped like a monk's backpack, a tiered picnic set, and a large seated Buddha. Find out about Zeshin Shibata's lacquer art and methods of decorating lacquerwork with gold and silver. Also learn about lacquer toxicity and the meaning of "japanning"!
lawn
JOK: 1335
The lawn grass kanji is intimately tied to the theater world. Knowing about 芝 therefore enables you to discuss the pretension and theatrical behavior that can characterize that culture. Learn how to use the word for "theater" to say that someone is faking something (such as illness).
snake
JOK: 1341
I'm the biggest snake-phobe around, and even so I can tell you that there's plenty to enjoy about an examination of 蛇. It whisks us away in fun figurative directions, as with its connection to heavy drinking. On top of that, delving into this character opens a window onto Japanese culture, from its mythology, festivals, and religions to its musical instruments and children's songs.
bartending
JOK: 1343
Learn to say, “I channeled the composer’s intentions,” “I took over my late father’s shop because that’s what he would have wanted,” and “You should take his youth into account.” See what the Japanese infer about you when you pour your own drink, rather than letting another person do it. And find out how, if someone screws up, the Japanese say in a joking way, “Show no mercy!”
lonely
JOK: 1345
Find out how to say everything from “I miss you a lot” and “The land became terribly desolate” to “A scream broke the silence,” “The patina creates a nice ambiance,” and “This temple garden has an elegant simplicity that is indescribable.” See why author Ryu Murakami said that Japan has become lonelier than ever, and learn what Japanese people think about wabi-sabi. Note: This kanji plays an important role in a Thematic Explorations essay called "The Relationship Between 'M' and 'B.'"
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