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. Through loads 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.
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.
More info about Joy o' Kanji
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toy
JOK: 1982
Find out about traditional Japanese toys (e.g., limbless kokeshi and wheeled pigeons) and see how they vary regionally. Learn to talk about fiddling with hair, playing with dolls, and keeping pets. Then lose your innocence with terms for toying with people or treating them as playthings. Afterward, redeem yourself by learning to express deep appreciation for things like calligraphy.
seclude
JOK: 1983
Do you know about the kagome pattern or the “bird in the cage” game? Do you know who was called a “caged bird” or how insect cages influenced Kyoto architecture? Do you know how baskets helped when crossing valleys? With this essay you’ll learn all that plus terms for shutting oneself up in one’s study, bottling up discontent, and stammering. Oh, and several words for lanterns!
turtle
JOK: 1985
People universally associate turtles with slowness. The Japanese do, too, but they've taken turtle symbolism quite a bit further. They also see these ponderous animals as representing luck, longevity, wisdom, experience, divisiveness, ugliness, and sexual attractiveness! Ugliness and sexual attractiveness?! Quite a range! As if all that weren't enough, 亀 is also a radical and a new addition to the Joyo set, as of 2010.
city
JOK: 1986
This essay presents everything you always wanted to know about the Kinki region but were afraid to ask! Learn the origin of the name "Kinki," and see how that region compares with Kansai. Find out about a railroad named after the tango, a snack that tastes like deep-fried meat, and old nomenclature for the Kinki area. Also discover what a 都道府県別 approach involves.
mortar
JOK: 1987
Newly added to the Joyo set (probably because it's a radical), 臼 gives us an entry point into the earthy world of grinding crops. Through 臼 we learn about the mortar and pestle, the original (and best?) way of making mochi (and the basis for a saying about how men and women need each other). The essay also introduces medical terms, including one for "molar." After all, "mortars" in the mouth grind food!
turban
JOK: 1989
A new Joyo kanji, 巾 is a versatile character that helps you discuss anything from dishrags to the width of a waterfall. It's in 巾着 (pouch), which has influenced both fashion and food (having lent its pyramidal shape to two dishes that are considered lucky). As a radical, 巾 pops up in scads of kanji, including some of the first ones you learned.
fear
JOK: 1992
Whereas “danger” drives the word “endangered,” fear lies at the heart of Japanese terms about endangered species. This essay is mainly about animals at risk of extinction, but as the book covers and sample sentences show, plants, occupations, and even railways can vanish, too. Learn to discuss all that and to talk about anxiety about matters ranging from real estate to global warming.
bear
JOK: 1995
See why the Japanese fear bears and how to prevent attacks. Find out why various bear names contain 月 (moon), 赤 (red), 白 (white), 灰色 (gray), 袋 (pouch), and 猫 (cat), while combining 熊 with 洗 (washing) or 穴 (hole) produces names of animals that aren’t even bears. Learn about Ainu rituals with bears, as well as the sacred Kumano region and an ancient people who may be mythical.
go deep
JOK: 1996
See which word one author used when critiquing Abe for treating Obama reverently (i.e., as if the PM were visiting a shrine or seeing a god). Find out how a temple can lie in a lucky direction, and learn about birthplace deities. Discover the most popular pilgrimages and what they involve. See how 詣 and 参 relate to each other. And learn to talk about deep knowledge of a subject.
yearn for
JOK: 1997
Our kanji will fill you with yearning, pining, and adoration. You can use it in a highbrow way when describing deep stirrings of the spirit and the life you long to have, or you can use it to talk about people you idolize or find hot. Learn about a festival featuring bamboo lanterns, illuminated buildings, and a "Path of Yearning." See how much 憬 shares with 憧 and how little sets them apart.
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