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漢字 (Kanji)

How to use the Kanji dictionaries

By using Kanji dictionaries, you can learn the meaning and reading of any Kanji and Kanji compound word. In a「漢和辞典 (Kanji-Japanese dictionary)」or 「漢英辞典 (Kanji-English dictionary)」, Kanji are organized according to radicals. Radicals are further organized according to the number of strokes. Some of the ways of using 漢和/漢英辞典 are introduced here.

Example: How to find the meaning of

  • Using 「部首索引[ぶしゅさくいん]」(Radical index): If you know the radical of a Kanji but don't know the reading of it, it is most convenient to use this index.
    1. Identify and count the number of strokes of the radical of the Kanji. The radical of is(ごんべん) and has seven strokes.
    2. In the "radical index" (部首索引), look up the radicals with seven strokes. There are many radicals with seven strokes, among which you find the radicalas well as 「見」,「足」, and such. Go to the page number given for the radical.
    3. Count the strokes of the rest of . 「売」has seven strokes.
    4. Kanji with the same radical are arranged by the number of strokes for the remaining part of that Kanji. Therefore, you can find 、「語」、and「説」among the Kanji with the radical plus seven strokes.. (With some of the electronic dictionaries, you might be asked to count all the strokes ofafter finding the section.)
  • Using 「総画索引[そうかくさくいん]」(Stroke index): If you can't identify the radical or if you don't know the reading of a Kanji at all, you must use this index.

    Count all the strokes of the Kanjiwhich is 14 strokes; and then look for it in the "stroke index" (総画索引) among the Kanji with 14 strokes. In the section for Kanji with 14 strokes. Kanji are arranged by the number of strokes for the radicals of those Kanji. Thus, the Kanjiis found in the Kanji section of 14 strokes under the radical(7 strokes). The page number is given under the Kanji .

  • Using 「音訓索引[おんくんさくいん]」( "On-kun" index): If you know the "on" or "kun" reading of a Kanji, this is a convenient index to use, you can find the Kanji in "the index of 'on-kun' " (音訓索引)

    Here, the Kanji are arranged in the order of the Kana, as あ、い、う、え、お. The on-reading of is 「どく」, so you look it up under「どく」in "on-kun" index. In the section of the 「どく」, Kanji are arranged by the number of strokes. Under the reading「どく」with 14 strokes, you can find the page number for the Kanji . You can do the same with the kun-reading of which is 「よ」.

For each Kanji listed in a dictionary, you will find the on-reading and kun-reading, meaning, and etymological interpretation of each Kanji. Some of 漢和辞典 and 漢英辞典 have the stroke order included. You will also find compound words with the same Kanji as the first or head Kanji (and in some dictionaries, compound words with the same Kanji in any position).


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