City kanji = towel +lid radical; but separate city radikal?

Hi, I’m now level 6, learning radikals, kanji and vocabulary… And most of it makes sense. E. G. Same symbol for kanji, radikal and vocabulary is then often the same meaning.
But now for city… What? The city kanji consists of towel and lid radical… Fine… I learned that some levels ago. Now level 6…there is a radical, looking the same as city kanji… Meaning also city… But building a vocabulary that has nothing to do with city…

Things like this really confuse me and this makes it so hard to remember… This makes no sense!
Will there be many more of things like this in future levels?
Or can someone explain the logic behind this? Something that explains this and makes it then easier to remember!
Thanks a lot! And have fun with your reviews!

For instance, 姉? The 市 there was used for its reading, not its meaning. They both have the onyomi し. That’s a normal way that new kanji were made. More than half, actually. Those are called phono-semantic compounds.

Basically it was made by saying “this is the concept related to 女 that sounds like 市.” So more often than not there won’t be a clear connection between all the parts and the overall meaning.

But at the same time, this allows you to often be able to guess how to read words with kanji you’ve never seen before.


It will happen more, you will get new radicals that would be exact kanjis you’ve learned few levels before. I consider them freebies, i already know the kanji, so new item will reinforce the old one and vice versa.

UNTIL … drum roll… the radical meaning is slightly different from kanji, which happened with 申, and couple more. So just be prepared :slight_smile:

The sister kanji are actually quite interesting because the phonetic components still make a decent amount of sense:

  • | 姉 | 市 | 妹 | 未
  • | - | - | - | -
    Go-on | し | (じ) | まい、(め) | み
    Kan-on | し | し | (ばい) | (び)

(Non-Jōyō readings in parentheses)

Oh boy, I’ve completely misread OP question the first time.

Most of kanjis are not gonna make sense like tree or mountain. And most of them are build as semantic phonetic components. There is a great userscript that will show you details:

And bunch of threads discussing it, for example:

I’m on the phone, so cannot see the script right now, but it is very helpful in general. You can guess the reading when you recognize the phonetic part. And both sister and city reading is し.

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