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!

Grammar detail: ひらがな and かたかな

ひらがな and かたかな - Hiragana and katakana, the two Japanese syllabaries
261 words
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Hiragana (usually written ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ) are the two Japanese 'syllabaries'. In other words, each of them contains characters which represent every syllable used in the Japanese language, so each of them can be used to write any word in Japanese. In practice, however, they have different purposes.
They are called syllabaries because each symbol maps to a specific syllable, and each syllable in Japanese is represented by just one symbol. In contrast an alphabet is used to represent 'phonemes' - individual sounds - so multiple symbols are required to describe a syllable, and (as with the English alphabet), often the same sound can be written in different ways. So a syllabary is actually in some ways more precise and logical than an alphabet - this is one of many interesting ways in which Japanese differs from English!
The kana are distinct from kanji, the typically more complex characters that represent specific concepts. Although kana descended from kanji, they no longer carry the associated meanings.
Hiragana is typically used for sentence grammar (particles, verb endings etc), whereas katakana is typically used to represent 'loanwords' (words that have been introduced to Japanese from other languages).
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