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Japanese 糸 Radical Style

DPod   July 28th, 2010 11:08a.m.

I've been using Skritter quite a bit lately for practice to expand my Japanese vocabulary and writing, and I've been really pleased with it as a whole. There has been just one thing bugging me about characters which contain the "ito" radical (糸).

When I learned characters such as 緑, 緒, 終, etc. in my Japanese class, we were taught to write the 糸 radical on the left like a skinny version of the full 糸 character. Specifically, we were taught to form the bottom 3 strokes just like the 小 character, by first writing the middle stroke, then adding the left stroke, and finally the right stroke. This is also how I have always seen the radical in print with most fonts, such as those in my textbooks.

Skritter, however, seems to use a different variant for this radical where the bottom 3 strokes are simplified down to 3 "dots" (which I believe originated from the Chinese way of writing the character). While this form is still recognizable, I can't help but feel that it's "incorrect," or at least not the way a native Japanese speaker would write it.

Was the use of the Chinese version of the radical in Japanese study mode a conscious decision made by the dev team, or was it simply a mistake or oversight on their part?

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   July 28th, 2010 12:23p.m.

You know, This was kind of was bugging me but I have been mentioning too many things lately and didn't want to bring it up!

I think it's a "simplified" version?

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   July 28th, 2010 12:28p.m.

In the meantime though, I just write the Middle line connecting, and the two on the sides not, however they still need to be all slanting to the left, instead of having the two sides point in towards the middle, its a little closer that way at least

scott   July 28th, 2010 12:39p.m.

We will be changing this. It's been brought up a few times, and there are actually a couple other radicals that have variable styles. Here's a good site for comparing different styles of writing Japanese characters:


You'll see for characters like 緑 it's written both ways, with the three dots we have being written for 楷書体 style (handwritten?) and with 小 in most of the other styles, including the textbook style. So it seems like both styles are used, but using 小 is more common.

The other two radicals that I know of that follow this pattern are the roof radical (病 for example, first stroke drawn vertically attached to the horizontal line vs drawn diagonally and not connected to the horizontal line) and the character 今 (third stroke drawn horizontally vs diagonally). You can put these characters into the same site to see the same stylistic pattern.

We have the strokes to replace the three dots with 小 and to fix characters like 今, but the roof radical change will have to wait until the next round of strokes being added to our system.

ジェレミー (Jeremy)   July 28th, 2010 1:05p.m.

That is such an awesome website, I've been looking for something like this-- Thank you!

pts   July 28th, 2010 1:18p.m.

There is a comment about the relationship between the print font and the handwritten font when the Japanese Government (文化厅) issued the “frequently used hanzi table”.
The URL is http://www.bunka.go.jp/kokugo/main.asp?fl=show&id=1000004340&clc=1000000068&cmc=1000003929&cli=1000004317&cmi=1000004330
I’ve copied it here and added my own translation.

常用漢字表では,個々の漢字の字体(文字の骨組み)を,明朝体活字のうちの一種 を例に用いて示した

In the frequently used hanzi table, each hanzi font will be shown using one of the Ming Dynasty print font as an example.


The purpose of this is not to change the handwriting habit according to what is shown.

字体としては同じであつても,明朝体活字(写真植字を含む。)の形と筆写の楷書 の形との間には,いろいろな点で違いがある。

Even if the same font is used, there will be various differences between the shape of the Ming Dynasty print font and the handwritten font.

それらは,印刷上と手書き上のそれぞれの習慣の相違に基づく表現の差と見るべき ものである。

These differences are just expressions of the differences between the printed and handwritten habits.

Then, in another page, http://www.bunka.go.jp/kokugo/main.asp?fl=show&id=1000004342&clc=1000000068&cmc=1000003929&cli=1000004317&cmi=1000004330
the various variations of the handwritten fonts are show. In item number (2), two ways of hand writing the character 糸 are shown and one of them is the “3 dots” way.

So, what is said is that, one does not need to write in exactly the same way as the characters are printed. Also, the “3 dots” way is an acceptable way of writing the character 糸.

jww1066   July 28th, 2010 2:09p.m.

@pts again with the amazing erudition... where do you learn all this stuff?

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