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!

Point of interest: Early kanji forms

Early kanji forms
247 words
Kanji have been in existence for over 4000 years, but early forms looked quite different to the modern forms in use today. Over time, kanji have passed through several distinct stages of evolution.

Oracle script / bone script  

The earliest forms of kanji were inscribed on bones called 'oracle bones' (actually pieces of bone from ox or turtle). Oracle script is very stylized, simple, and usually pictographic - it is often relatively easy to identify what a character represents.

Bronze script / bronzeware script  

The next key stage of kanji were inscribed on bronze bells, cauldrons etc, typically by writing the characters in the clay of the casting mold (although sometimes by inscribing them on the finished product). This period spanned multiple writing styles and regional differences, so characters from this era ranged from highly pictorial to much more abstract and artistic.

Seal script  

The next key stage of kanji, seal script, was used for decorative engraving and for seals (ie, the stamps officials used to write their names). It was the first to be adopted as a formal script for the whole of China, and was in common use from about 500 BC. Characters written in seal script are often recognizably close to their modern equivalents, although one key difference is that they were not formed with brushes, so they tend to use curved lines and not to have the varying widths characteristic of brushstrokes.

Kanji used in this point of interest

コウ   カン    #1, first; armor   
コツ   ほね bone   
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ブン   モン    literature   ふみ a letter   
キン   コン   かね gold; money   
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ショウ   かね bell   
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テイ   three-legged stool   かなえ three legged kettle   
テン    seal-style characters   
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ショ   か to write   
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