第359課: The 214 部首

Classifying Kanji is controversial. The first classification attempt was done by Xu Shen in his work "Shuōwén Jiězì 說文解字", creating the 六書りくしょ. The 六書 is the categorization of characters by 6 principles. There is still great debate on them since his work was so broad.


 The 六書

  • Principle I:  Principle I refers to 象形文字. These characters are pictograms that resemble what they mean. It is generally the case that they were more similar to what they represented in the beginning, but due to stylistic alterations and simplifications, these sorts of characters tend to no longer apparently resemble what they stand for.
    Ex. 日 (sun/day), 月 (moon/month), 山 (mountain), 鳥 (bird), 木 (tree), 魚 (fish), 龍 (dragon)
  • Principle II: Principle II refers to 指示文字. These characters are compound pictograms, more often referred to as ideograms.   
    Ex. 一 (one), 二 (two), 三 (three), 上 (above), 下 (below)
  • Principle III: Principle III refers to 会意文字. These characters are compound ideograms, more complex than those characters classified under Principle II.
    Ex. 休 (rest), 森 (forest/grove), 好 (like), 明 (bright), 信 (believe). 
  • Principle IV: Principle IV refers to 形成文字. About 90% of characters are in this type. They are composed generally of two parts: one of a limited set of character (the semantic indicator, often graphically simplified) which suggests the general meaning of the compound character, and another character (the phonetic indicator) whose pronunciation suggests the pronunciation of the compound character.
    Ex. 河 (river), 湖 (lake), 流 (flow), 沖 (offing), 江 (inlet). In these characters, the left side provides meaning and the right side provides sound. 
  • Principle V: Principle V refers to 転注文字. These are 漢字 with common origin that have evolved differently.
    Ex. 老 (Old) & 考 (Thought)
  • Principle VI: Principle VI refers to 仮借文字. These rebus characters cover cases where an existing character is used to represent an unrelated word with similar or identical pronunciation
    Ex. 自 originally meant "nose" instead of "oneself". The meaning of nose has been given to 鼻. Ex. 萬 is from a pictogram of a scorpion, but through phonetic association with the word for 10,000, it lost its meaning of scorpion.  
    Ex. 北 = "north" but meant "back", which is now 背.
    Ex. 四 originally meant tonsils, but this meaning has been given up to 泗 to mean "sniffle". The original character for four, 亖, is no longer used as an effect. 

偏旁冠脚

    The usage of 部首 is often referred to as "偏旁冠脚(へんぼうかんきゃく)". This method relies on the fact that there is generally 1 or more different radicals in a character and 4 main locations where the "true" radical may be located. As 90% of all characters are 形声文字, the "true" radical should almost always be apparent. Due to simplification, though, some characters are impossible to categorize appropriately. When such cases exist, you must rely on your knowledge of 旧字体. However, most 新字体 are easily assigned a 部首.

     The number of 部首 has been a controversial issue. As the characters evolved, so did their parts. As it is not as if this evolution caused the creation of completely different radicals, we often classify variants of the same thing as a single 部首. It is here where the classification of 部首 is different in China and Japan. In Japan, there is a somewhat agreement classification with 214 distinct 部首.

     In listing radicals, there are two accepted steps: counting the strokes of the radical and figuring out the 音読み and listing in a 五十音図 style ordering. For example, a character that has 3 strokes whose radical has an 音読み with the first letter K would be before a character with that same amount of strokes but with the first letter T. Voiced consonants, in dictionaries, are shown after their non-voiced counterparts with the only issue being h. In this case, h is first, b is second, and p is last. When searching for words or characters, you must understand that the small y かな are treated as full characters.

     There are some radicals whose strokes may be counted differently depending on one's viewpoint and choice of font. For example, the 部首 瓜,  阝, 鬼, and 臣 are considered to have 5, 3, 10, and 7 strokes in Japan respectively but are considered to have 6, 2, 9, and 6 in China respectively. To find the 部首 of a character, a system of different positions has been created to pinpoint where it is normally located.


           THE STANDARD PATTERNS

  • Busyu - hen.png : The 部首 is on the left. For example, 略's 部首 is 田 and its phonetic is 各.
  • Busyu - tsukuri.png : The 部首 is on the right. For example, 艶's phonetic is 豊 and its 部首 is 色.
  • Busyu - kanmuri.png : The 部首 is on the top. For example, 歩's 部首 is 止 and its phonetic is 少.
  • Busyu - ashi.png : The 部首 is on the bottom. For example, 志's phonetic is 士 and its 部首 is 心.
  • Busyu - tare.png :The 部首 is on the top and side of a character. For example, 房's 部首 is 戸 and its phonetic is 方.  
  • Busyu - nyou.png :The 部首 is on the side on the bottom of a character. For example, 起's 部首 is 走 and its phonetic is 己. 
  • Busyu - kamae(1).png :The 部首 surrounds the phonetic. For example, 国's 部首 is 口and its phonetic is 玉. 

        脚の変形: Irregularities of the Ashi pattern.

  • Busyu - ashi(2).png: In this irregularity, the 部首 is on the top and the bottom. For example, 亘's radical is 一 on the top and the bottom and the phonetic is 日.
  • Busyu - ashi(3).png: In this irregularity, the 部首 is in the middle. For example, 昼's phonetic is 尺 and its 部首 is 日and 一.

        構の変形: Irregularities of the 構 pattern.

  • Busyu - kamae(2).png: In this irregularity, the 部首 surrounds the phonetic with a bottom opening. For example, 間's 部首 is 門 and its phonetic is 日.
  • Busyu - kamae(3).png: In this irregularity, the 部首 surrounds the phonetic with a top opening. For example, 凶's radical is 凵 and its phonetic is メ.
  • Busyu - kamae(4).png: In this irregularity, the 部首 surrounds the phonetic with an opening on the right side. For example, 医's radical is 匚 and its phonetic is 矢.
  • Busyu - kamae(5).png: In this irregularity, the 部首 is only on the top and the right side. For example, 式's radical is 弋 and its phonetic is 工.
  • Busyu - kamae(6).png: In this irregularity, the 部首 surrounds the phonetic only on the sides. For example, 街's radical is 行 and its phonetic is 圭.

The 214 部首

THE 214 BUSHU ACCORDING TO THE 康熙(こうき)字典

 # Radical Stroke Number Name  Popular/Normal Name Meaning
 1. 一 1 一部 いちぶ イチ ”One" radical
 2. 丨 1 |部 こんぶ たてぼう ”Bar" radical
 3. 丶 1丶部 ちゅぶ テン ”Dot" radical
 4. 丿 1 丿部 へつぶ の ”Slash" radical
 5. 乙・ 1 乙部 おつぶ おつ、おつにょう、つばり ”Fish-hook" radical
 6. 亅 1 亅部 けつぶ はねぼう、かぎ ”Hook" radical
 7. 二 2 二部 にぶ に ”Two" radical
 8. 亠 2 亠部 とうぶ なべぶた、け(い)さんかんむり ”Top" radical
 9. 人・亻 2 人部 じんぶ ひと、にんべん、ひとがしら、ひとやね ”Person" radical
 10. 儿 2 儿部 じんぶ にんにょう、ひとあし ”Legs" radical
 11. 入 2 入部 にゅうぶ いる、いりがしら、いりやね、にゅう ”Enter" radical
 12. 八 2 八部 はちぶ はち、はちがしら ”Eight" radical
 13. 冂 2 冂部 けいぶ けいがまえ、まきがまえ、どうがまえ、えんがまえ ”Down-box" radical
 14. 冖 2 冖部 べきぶ わかんむり、べきかんむり ”Cover" radical
 15. 冫 2 冫部 ひょうぶ にすい ”Ice" radical
 16. 几 2 几部 きぶ つくえ、きにょう、つくえきにょう、かぜかんむり、かぜがまえ ”Table" radical
 17. 凵 2 凵部 かんぶ かんにょう、うけばこ、したばこ ”Up-box" radical
 18. 刀・刂 2 刀部 とうぶ かたな、りっとう ”Sword" radical
 19. 力 2 力部 りょくぶ ちから ”Strength" radical
 20. 勹 2 勹部 ほうぶ つつみがまえ ”Wrap" radical
 21. 匕 2 匕部 ひぶ ひ、さじ、さじのひ ”Spoon" radical
 22. 匚 2 匚部 ほうぶ はこがまえ "Right-open-box" radical
 23. 匸 2 匸部 けいぶ かくしがまえ ”Hiding enclosure" radical
 24. 十 2 十部 じゅうぶ じゅう ”Ten" radical
 25. 卜 2 卜部 ぼくぶ ぼく、ぼくのと、うらない

 ”Divination" radical

 26. 卩・⺋ 2 卩部 せつぶ ふしづくり、まげわりふ ”Seal" radical
 27. 厂 2 厂部 かんぶ がんだれ ”Cliff" radical
 28. 厶 2 厶部 しぶ む ”Private" radical
 29. 又 2 又部 ゆうぶ また ”Again" radical
 30. 口 3 口部 こうぶ くち、くちへん ”Mouth" radical
 31. 囗 3 囗部 いぶ くにがまえ ”Enclosure" radical
 32. 土 3 土部 どぶ つち、つちへん ”Earth" radical
 33. 士 3 士部 しぶ さむらい、さむらいかんむり ”Scholar" radical
 34. 夂 3 夂部 ちぶ ふゆがしら、ちかんむり、のまたかんむり ”Go" radical
 35. 夊 3 夊部 すいぶ すいにょう、すいにゅう、なつあし ”Go slowly" radical
 36. 夕 3 夕部 せきぶ ゆうべ、ゆう、た ”Evening" radical
 37. 大 3 大部 だいぶ だい、だいがしら、だいかんむり ”Big" radical
 38. 女 3 女部 じょぶ おんな、おんなへん ”Woman" radical
 39. 子 3 子部 しぶ こ、こども、こへん、こどもへん ”Child" radical
 40. 宀 3 宀部 べんぶ うかんむり ”Roof" radical
 41. 寸 3 寸部 すんぶ すん ”Inch" radical
 42. 小 3 小部 しょうぶ しょう、しょうがしら、なおがしら ”Small" radical
 43. 尢・尣 3 尢部 おうぶ まげあし、だいのまげあし、おうにょう ”Lame" radical
 44. 尸 3 尸部 しぶ しかばね、しかばねかんむり、かばねだれ ”Corpse" radical
 45. 屮 3 屮部 てつぶ てつ、めばえ ”Sprout" radical
 46. 山 3 山部 さんぶ やま、やまへん ”Mountain" radical
 47. 巛・川 3 巛部 せんぶ かわ、まがりがわ、さんぽがわ ”River" radical
 48. 工 3 工部 こうぶ こう、たくみ、たくみへん ”Work" radical
 49. 己・已・巳 3 己部 きぶ おのれ ”Self" radical
 50. 巾 3 巾部 きんぶ はば、はばへん、きんへん、きんべん ”Turban" radical
 51. 干 3 干部 かんぶ ほす、かん、いちじゅう ”Dry" radical
 52. 幺 3 幺部 ようぶ いとがしら ”Thread" radical
 53. 广 3 广部 げんぶ まだれ ”Dotted cliff" radical
 54. 廴 3 廴部 いんぶ えんにょう、えんにゅう、いんにょう ”Long stride" radical
 55. 廾 3 廾部 きょうぶ こまぬき ”Two hands" radical
 56. 弋 3 弋部 よくぶ しきがまえ ”Shoot" radical
 57. 弓 3 弓部 きゅうぶ ゆみ、ゆみへん ”Bow" radical
 58. 彐・彑 3 彐部 けいぶ けいがしら、いのこがしら ”Snout" radical
 59. 彡 3 彡部 さんぶ
 さんづくり、かみかざり ”Bristle" radical
 60. 彳 3 彳部 てきぶ ぎょうにんべん ”Step" radical
 61. 心・忄・㣺 4 心部 しんぶ こころ・りっしんべん・したごころ ”Heart" radical
 62. 戈 4 戈部 かぶ ほこがまえ、ほこづくり、たすき、かのほこ ”Halberd" radical
 63. 戶・戸 4 戶部 こぶ と、とかんむり、とだれ、とびらのと ”Door" radical
 64. 手・扌 4 手部 しゅぶ て、てへん ”Hand" radical
 65. 支 4 支部 しぶ しにょう、えだにょう、じゅうまた ”Branch" radical
 66. 攴・攵 4 攴部 ぼくぶ ぼくづくり、ぼくにょう、のぶん、しぶん、とまた ”Strike" radical
 67. 文 4 文部 ぶんぶ ぶん、ぶんにょう、ふみづくり ”Writing" radical
 68. 斗 4 斗部 とぶ と、ます、とます ”Dipper" radical
 69. 斤 4 斤部 きんぶ おの、おのづくり ”Ax" radical
 70. 方 4 方部 ほうぶ かたへん、ほうへん ”Square" radical
 71. 无 4 无部 むぶ なし、むにょう、すでのつくり ”Not" radical
 72. 日 4 日部 にちぶ にち、ひへん ”Day" radical
 73. 曰 4 曰部 えつぶ ひらび、いわく ”Say" radical
 74. 月 4 月部 げつぶ つき、つきへん ”Moon" radical
 75. 木 4 木部 もくぶ き、きへん ”Tree" radical
 76. 欠 4 欠部 けんぶ あくび、かける ”Lack" radical
 77. 止 4 止部 しぶ とめる、とめへん ”Stop" radical
 78. 歹 4 歹部 がつぶ かばねへん、がつ、がつへん、しにがまえ、いちたへん ”Death" radical
 79. 殳 4 殳部 しゅぶ ほこ、ほこづくり、るまた ”Weapon" radical
 80. 毋 4 毋部 ぶぶ なかれ "Do not" radical
 81. 比 4 比部 ひぶ ならびひ、くらべる "Compare" radical
 82. 毛 4 毛部 もうぶ け "Hair" radical
 83. 氏 4 氏部 しぶ うじ "Clan" radical
 84. 气 4 气部 きぶ きがまえ "Air" radical
 85. 水・氵・氺 4 水部 すいぶ みず・さんずい・したみず "Water" radical
 86. 火・灬 4 火部 かぶ ひ、ひへん、れんが、れっか "Fire" radical
 87. 爪・爫 4 爪部 そうぶ つめ、そうにょう、つめかんむり "Nail" radical
 88. 父 4 父部 ふぶ ちち "Father" radical
 89. 爻 4 爻部 こうぶ 

 "Yao" radical

 90. 爿・丬 4/3 爿部 しょうぶ しょうへん "Half tree trunk" radical
 91. 片 4 片部 へんぶ かた、かたへん "Slice" radical
 92. 牙 4/5 牙部 がぶ きば "Fang" radical
 93. 牛・牜 4 牛部 ぎゅうぶ うし、うしへん "Cow" radical
 94. 犬・犭 4 犬部 けんぶ いぬ、けものへん "Dog" radical
 95. 玄 5 玄部 げんぶ げん "Profound" radical
 96. 玉・王・玊 5 玉部 ぎょくぶ たま、たまへん、ぎょくへん、おうへん "Jade" radical
 97. 瓜 5 瓜部 かぶ うり "Melon" radical
 98. 瓦 5 瓦部 がぶ かわら "Tile" radical
 99. 甘 5 甘部 かんぶ あまい、かん "Sweet" radical
 100. 生 5 生部 せいぶ いきる、うまれる、せい、しょう "Life" radical
 101. 用・ 甩 5 用部 ようぶ もちいる、よう "Use" radical
 102. 田 5 田部 でんぶ た、たへん "Field" radical
 103. 疋 5 疋部 しょうぶ ひき "Bolt of cloth" radical
 104. 疒 5 疒部 だくぶ やまいだれ "Disease" radical
 105. 癶 5 癶部 はつぶ はつがしら "Dotted tent" radical
 106. 白 5 白部 はくぶ しろ、しろへん "White" radical
 107. 皮 5 皮部 ひぶ けがわ、ひのかわ "Skin" radical
 108. 皿 5 皿部 べいぶ さら "Plate" radical
 109. 目・罒 5 目部 もくぶ め、めへん "Eye" radical
 110. 矛 5 矛部 ぼうぶ ほこ、ほこへん "Spear" radical
 111. 矢 5 矢部 しぶ や、やへん "Arrow" radical
 112. 石 5 石部 せきぶ いし、いしへん "Stone" radical
 113. 示・礻 5 示部 しぶ しめす、しめすへん、ねへん "Spirit" radical
 114. 禸 5 禸部 じゅうぶ ぐうのあし "Track" radical
 115. 禾 5 禾部 かぶ いね、いねへん、のぎ、のぎへん "Grain" radical
 116. 穴 5 穴部 けつぶ あな、あなかんむり "Hole" radical
 117. 立 5 立部 りゅうぶ たつ、たつへん "Stand" radical
 118. 竹 6 竹部 ちくぶ たけ、たけかんむり "Bamboo" radical
 119. 米 6 米部 べいぶ こめ、こめへん "Rice" radical
 120. 糸・糹 6 糸部 べきぶ いと、いとへん "Thread" radical
 121. 缶 6 缶部 ふぶ ほとぎ、ほとぎへん、かん "Can" radical
 122. 网・罒・罓 6 网部 もうぶ あみがしら・よんがしら・あみめ "Net" radical
 123. 羊 6 羊部 ようぶ ひつじ、ひつじへん "Sheep" radical
 124. 羽 6 羽部 うぶ はね "Wing" radical
 125. 老・耂 6/4 老部 ろうぶ おいがしら・おいかんむり "Age" radical
 126. 而 6 而部 じぶ しこうして "And" radical
 127. 耒 6 耒部 らいぶ すきへん、らいすき "Plow" radical
 128. 耳 6 耳部 じぶ みみ、みみへん "Ear" radical
 129. 聿・肀 6/4 聿部 いつぶ ふでづくり "Brush" radical
 130. 肉・月 6/4 肉部 にくぶ にく・にくづき "Meat" radical
 131. 臣 6/7 臣部 しんぶ しん "Minister" radical
 132. 自 6 自部 じぶ みずから "Own" radical
 133. 至 6 至部 しぶ いたる、いたるへん "Arrive"radical
 134. 臼 6 臼部 きゅうぶ うす "Mortar" radical
 135. 舌 6 舌部 ぜつぶ した "Tongue" radical
 136. 舛 6・7 舛部 せんぶ ます、まいあし "Oppose" radical
 137. 舟 6 舟部 しゅうぶ ふね、ふねへん "Boat" radical
 138. 艮 6 艮部 ごんぶ こんづくり、ごんづくり、ごん、ねづくり "Stopping" radical
 139. 色 6 色部 しょくぶ いろ "Color" radical
 140. 艸・艹 6/3 艸部 そうぶ くさかんむり 、くさ、そうこう "Grass" radical
 141. 虍 6 虍部 こぶ とらがしら "Tiger" radical
 142. 虫 6 虫部 きぶ むし、むしへん "Bug" radical
 143. 血 6 血部 けつぶ ち、ちへん "Blood" radical
 144. 行 6 行部 こうぶ ゆきがまえ、ぎょうがまえ "Walk enclosure" radical
 145. 衣・衤 6 衣部 いぶ ころも、ころもへん "Clothes" radical
 146. 襾・覀・西 6 襾部 あぶ にし "West" radical
 147. 見 7 見部 けんぶ みる "See" radical
 148. 角 7 角部 かくぶ つの、つのへん "Horn" radical
 149. 言・訁 7 言部 げんぶ ごんべん "Talk" radical
 150. 谷 7 谷部 こくぶ たに "Valley" radical
 151. 豆 7 豆部 とうぶ まめ "Bean" radical
 152. 豕 7 豕部 しぶ いのこ、いのこへん "Boar" radical
 153. 豸 7 豸部 ちぶ むじなへん "Badger" radical
 154. 貝 7 貝部 ばいぶ かい、かいへん "Shell" radical
 155. 赤 7 赤部 せきぶ あか、あかへん "Red" radical
 156. 走 7 走部 そうぶ はしる、そうにょう "Run" radical
 157. 足 7 足部 そくぶ あし、あしへん "Foot" radical
 158. 身 7  身部 しんぶ み、みへん "Body" radical
 159. 車 7 車部 しゃぶ くるま、くるまへん "Vehicle" radical
 160. 辛 7 辛部 しんぶ からい "Bitter" radical
 161. 辰 7 辰部 しんぶ しんのたつ "Morning" radical
 162. 辵・辶 7/3 辵部 ちゃくぶ しんにょう "Walk" radical
 163. 邑・阝 7/3 邑部 ゆうぶ おおざと "City" radical
 164. 酉 7 酉部 ゆうぶ ひよみのとり、とりへん、さけつくり "Wine" radical
 165. 釆 7 釆部 はんぶ のごめ、のごめへん "Distinguish" radical
 166. 里 7 里部 りぶ さと、さとへん "Village" radical
 167. 金 8 金部 きんぶ かね、かねへん "Gold" radical
 168. 長 8 長部 ちょうぶ ながい "Long" radical
 169. 門 8 門部 もんぶ もんがまえ、かどがまえ "Gate" radical
 170. 阜・阝 8 阜部 ふぶ こざとへん "Mound" radical
 171. 隶 8 隶部 たいぶ れいづくり "Slave" radical
 172. 隹 8 隹部 すいぶ ふるとり "Tailed bird" radical
 173. 雨 8 雨部 うぶ あめかんむり "Rain" radical
 174. 靑・青 8 青部 せいぶ あお "Blue" radical"
 175. 非 8 非部 ひぶ あらず "Wrong" radical
 176. 面 9 面部 めんぶ めん "Face" radical
 177. 革 9 革部 かくぶ かわへん、つくりがわ "Leather" radical
 178. 韋 9・10 韋部 いぶ なめしがわ "Tanned leather" radical
 179. 韭 9 韭部 きゅうぶ にら "Leek" radical
 180. 音 9 音部 おんぶ おと、おとへん "Sound" radical
 181. 頁 9 頁部 けつぶ おおがい "Leaf" radical
 182. 風 9 風部 ふうぶ かぜ "Wind" radical
 183. 飛 9 飛部 ひぶ とぶ "Flight" radical
 184. 食・飠 9/8 食部 しょくぶ しょくへん "Food" radical
 185. 首 9 首部 しゅぶ くび "Neck" radical
 186. 香 9 香部 こうぶ かおり "Smell" radical
 187. 馬 10 馬部 ばぶ うまへん "Horse" radical
 188. 骨 10 骨部 こつぶ ほねへん "Bone" radical
 189. 高・髙 10 高部 こうぶ たかい "Tall" radical
 190. 髟 10 髟部 ひょうぶ かみがしら "Long hair" radical
 191. 鬥 10 鬥部 とうぶ たたかいがまえ、とうがまえ "Fight" radical
 192. 鬯 10 鬯部 ちょうぶ ちょう、においざけ "Sacrificial wine' radical
 193. 鬲 10 鬲部 れきぶ かなえ、れき "Tripod" radical
 194. 鬼 10 鬼部 きぶ おに、きにょう "Demon" radical
 195. 魚 11 魚部 ぎょぶ うお、うおへん "Fish" radical
 196. 鳥 11 鳥部 ちょうぶ とり "Bird" radical
 197. 鹵 11 鹵部 ろぶ ろ、しお "Salt" radical
 198. 鹿 11 鹿部 ろくぶ しか "Dear" radical
 199. 麥・麦 11 麦部 ばくぶ むぎ、ばくにょう "Wheat" radical
 200. 麻 11 麻部 まぶ あさ、あさかんむり "Hemp" radical
 201. 黃・黄 12 黄部 こうぶ き "Yellow" radical
 202. 黍 12 黍部 しょぶ きび "Millet" radical
 203. 黑・黒 12/11 黒部 こくぶ くろ "Black" radical
 204. 黹 12 黹部 ちぶ ち、ぬいとり、ふつへん "Embroidery" radical
 205. 黽 13 黽部 ぼうぶ べんあし、べん、かえる "Frog" radical
 206. 鼎 13 鼎部 ていぶ てい、かなえ "Tripod" radical
 207. 鼓 13 鼓部 こぶ つづみ "Drum" radical
 208. 鼠 13 鼠部 そぶ ねずみ "Mouse" radical
 209. 鼻 14 鼻部 びぶ はな、はなへん "Nose" radical
 210. 齊・斉 14/8 斉部 せいぶ せい "Even" radical
 211. 齒・歯 15/12 歯部 しぶ は、はへん "Tooth" radical
 212. 龍・竜 16/10 竜部 りゅうぶ りゅう "Dragon" radical
 213. 龜・亀 16/11 亀部 きぶ かめ "Turtle" radical
 214. 龠 17 龠部 やくぶ やく、ふえ "Flute" radical

Chart Note: Some variants have been omitted due to the unavailability of the respectful glyphs.

Name Note: If you learn any of the names, you should focus on the popular ones.