Discrepancy between kanji and radical "母”

母 means mom. Why is the radical called window? We’re made to learn a new definition for a character that has a predefined definition already… Its annoying and unnecessary. Currently we call the マ radical mama. Why not just make it ma, the way you actually read it as a katakana.
On a similar note, the definition of radical 刀 is sword, but the definition of the vocabulary 刀 is katana. Why not just make both katana??

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WaniKani’s radical names are used for mnemonic components in later kanji. You’re free to call the radical what you wish (there’s a place to add user synonyms, which are answers that WaniKani will also accept as correct) but you may need to come up with your own mnemonics later on.


Okay I get that, that’s the whole gimmick of wanikani. But the stories around the radicals are already so ridiculous I feel they could easily have replaced window with mom. On your second point, if I call the radical what I want, I get the answer wrong. Which is what I just did with 母, prompting this post 笑

Except you can add a user synonym and then you’ll be marked correct.

In any case, they’re not the same anyway. The window radical is 毋, while the kanji is 母. The former has a vertical line while the latter has two drops.


Aye, you need to teach it to WaniKani first.



I just figured out how to add synonyms. Thanks homie

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And wow I didnt even realize the difference. You are totally right, they are different. So actually I will keep it as window. I missed that tiny difference. Thanks.


It’s totally cool to make synonyms for radicals! You might have to tweak later kanji mnemonics that rely on it. For example (totally making this up) there might be a kanji where the mnemonic is “you open a WINDOW to see a GAMBLER losing all his money”, and you’ll need to adjust it accordingly to match the mnemonic you’ve chosen.

“my MOTHER was a GAMBLER” ezpz笑.
Another user pointed out to me that the window radical is structurally different from the mom kanji so its a moot point anyway


LOL yup that one works! honestly some of the mnemonics are so silly. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Well, 母 can also be written with a vertical line, like in 海

The difference was that in 母(or 每) the last strokes are horizontal, dot, dot (or horizontal then vertical in semicursive)、 while for 毋 (poison, ドク) it is vertical then horizontal

but it seems that in official Japanese stroke order they deaided to change it for new forms, so 每 has traditional order while 毎 follows 毋 stroke order.

Do you have a source for that?

i mean, as a component.
Like in 毎 (was 每)

The official Joyo list has this:




(Not sure what this means for other kanji that have this kind of component though)
Like for 母 itself, there’s no such mention:


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How about other kanji that are typically written like 母, such as 苺?

Unfortunately 苺 isn’t a Joyo kanji :smiley:

Well, uh… I knew that. This, however, is a travesty.


Yeah, I noticed that when I searched which is why I was asking for a source. It seems like maybe 母 is the old form and 毋 is a modern form that just happened to not be used for 母 itself.

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Or it could be a simple process of “kanji with more strokes got simplified, but 母 is already simple enough so we’ll leave it as it is”. It seems that there are calligraphy styles where the two strokes get united though:

Not sure what to do with this information.

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If you’re interested in the history behind Kanjis I can recommend this website:

It has some really good and helpful information on a good amount of Kanji, for example: