Is the radical for 教 (teach) wrong?

I started to learn 教 (teach), but noticed that it has a wrong radical “winter” (夂), where it should have “strike” (攵). Why this is important? Because “strike” (攵) and “winter” (夂) have different number of strokes, which I sometimes use to find kanji in a dictionary. Additionally when using a kanji search with radicals it won’t be possible to find it with “winter” radical. Is there a chance that could be fixed?

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No - that’s not how WK does it.

Just read Leebo’s amazing solution below.


They don’t have 攵 as a separate thing in the system. There are few times where they use one element to represent slightly different things that have different numbers of strokes. For instance, ネ (spirit) is used to represent the left side radical in both 礼 and the one in 初, even though in 初 it has an extra stroke because it’s based on 衣 and not 示 the way ネ is.

They are aware that they are doing this, so I think it’s safe to say that they decided it intentionally. Basically, the primary objective of WaniKani is to teach people how to read the kanji and there aren’t situations where the only distinction between two kanji is one of these differences, so they combined them.

It’s a perfectly reasonable stance to think they shouldn’t do that, but since they decided to do it that way, presumably they have their reasons for doing it.

Discussions about whether WaniKani should use the “real” radicals have been had countless times, and you can find many of them if you search around. WaniKani basically states in their FAQ that they don’t use traditional radicals, so if it’s important to you to learn them, another resource might be better.


Thanks a lot for the explanation!
I should have done some research before buying it :frowning:

It doesn’t make WK a waste…

Tofugu does have an article about it:


Thanks, this is a really good article, I am using it to find radicals.
Unfortunately this is not the only issue I have with Wanikani :frowning:
I am going to continue for now, but will think about switching to Anki.

In case anybody is interested what are the other issues I have with WK:

  • Mnemonics are mostly useless to me because either I don’t understand them due to wast references to American culture (celebrities, movies, sport, etc.) or they are too violent (blood, death, etc)
  • Names of radicals are different from what I learned
  • Artificial, 1 fits all, limit on number of words “in progress” of learning
  • Not so common words are taught

I’ve discovered recently “Meaning note” and “Reading note”, however they have issues with Tsurukame and they do not support any formatting. I have also found that I can add aliases for radicals, but WK’s name is shown in kanji description anyways, so it only partially solves the issue.

PS: thanks for adding notes to Tsurukame!

Fixed in an unreleased beta version authored by yours truly! :wink:

As for formatting, that’s a good idea… maybe the same HTML tags that WK uses?

What did you learn? Did you learn the 214 somewhere else?

That is great! Thanks a lot for your work :slight_smile:
If you mean the way how WK highlights meaning and pronunciation hints in mnemonics that would be super helpful. I once found a plugin for a browser that support such formatting, the syntax is odd though.

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I was learning radicals together with kanjis to make them easier to remember and I was using as a dictionary to look up parts that a kanji consists of. I don’t think I learned all 214, however I can provide some examples that make me particularly uncomfortable in WK:

  • Poop (幺) - short thread
  • Triceratops (⺌) - small
  • Loiter (彳) - step
  • Scooter (⻌) - walk

And many more like this. I understand that some official names of kanjis are difficult to visualize (like卜 - divintation), but why there was a need to change other simple radicals - I don’t get.

Just a note that the tool Jisho uses to look up kanji by their elements is just as “made up” as WaniKani’s configurations. Some of them make no sense, and there’s very little consistency.

So I wouldn’t worry about WaniKani interferring with using Jisho at all. I mean, strictly speaking, they “interfere” with each other, but it’s not something to worry about.

For example, here’s a stack exchange question prompted by weird kanji configurations on Jisho and a few people breaking down the weridness.


You are right. Jisho is not perfect either. I think there is no “perfect” tool in relation to radicals simply because originally there supposed to be exactly one radical per kanji for categorization, everything else are parts and not radicals (as pointed out in the Tofugu’s article, linked above by UInt2048).

I also often found weird parts on Jisho and was trying to cross-check with the list of radicals in wikipedia. I agree that there are some variations in radical names, however I don’t think inventing another name is a way to go.

This actually reminded me why radicals so important to me: prior WK I was using and iOS app “Japanese” to learn kanji and as part of a learning process I was also trying to remember how to “write” them with nice animations of the stroke order. Unfortunately this functionality is missing in WK.

In the case of some of them, it’s purely a matter of making more memorable mnemonics. It’s true that ⺌ is a variation of the 小 element in other kanji, but in many cases it’s actually just something else that was changed to that shape and the “small” meaning isn’t even relevant. Additionally, on WaniKani “small” is already the name of 小 as a radical. So if you are creating a tool that isn’t meant to be teaching people how to write or attempting to teach the etymology of the characters, why not give it a memorable and distinctive name?

Sure, people who want to learn the traditional radicals will not be interested in the product, but they weren’t aiming to attract them in the first place.


I agree, it is totally my fault that I didn’t research the tool before buying a 1 year subscription, I won’t complain anymore :slight_smile:

And I’m grateful you did. I mean, you help paying for development of a product I really love. :smirk::grin:


You could try explaining why you want to stop and see if they could do something. Couldn’t guarantee anything, but there’s no harm in asking politely via email.


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