Far fetched radicals in Kanji

Screenshot 2021-01-11 at 14.55.00

How exactly do you see the radical Moon here?

The way the radicals are supposed to appear in Kanji sometimes makes absolutely no sense, and this one is a good example. Feel free to convince me otherwise though.

It originally is a moon (nikuzuki), the upper part is a modified version of 肰, a character not used in Japanese.


Phono-semantic compound (形聲, OC *njen): phonetic 肰 (OC *njen, “dog meat”) + semantic 火 (“fire”) – to burn. Also ideogrammic compound (會意). The derivative 燃 (OC *njen) stands for the original word in Modern Chinese.

Note that the upper left component is analyzed as 肉 (meat), and in the component 肰 it is drawn as a tilted 月 (“moon”), appearing more like 夕 (“evening”) with an extra stroke; compare 祭, 將.

This is one case of WK’s radicals matching the origin to the letter.


I don’t have any troubles seeing the moon here. Just like with 月 there are four strokes. There are two long legs and the two shorter strokes between them. To me it’s just a wobbly moon (I guess that’s because it’s made of cheese and there is a fire underneath.)🥸


Seeing that first reminds me of 夕(evening)

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月 and 夕 are both effectively derived from nearly identical crescent moon pictograms. The 月 one eventually got an extra line in the middle.

It’s moons all the way down.


In general, radicals can have multiple variants that look vastly different, e. g. 人 and 亻 are actually the same radical according to jisho, or 氵is just a variant of 水.

Wanikani’s use of the term “radical”, and what it treats as a radical (as well as many radical’s names) is very different with how the rest of the world uses that term.

In the case of the kanji featured in this thread, well, just take 月 and bend it at bit…


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