Kanji Box?

Shitsumon ga aru. Can you find four kanji, and arrange them in a 2x2 grid, where each kanji forms a compound with the kanji vertically and horizontally adjacent? If someone’s atama is especially ii, maybe you could try a 3x3 grid!?!?

Good luck!


Yes you can, and in fact I’ve seen Sudoku-esque puzzels like this in Japan.

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Is this hypothetical or did you have a specific puzzle in mind?

This is hypothetical! I’m trying to find Kanji boxes with the very few kanji I’m using with WaniKani and others I knew already. I find playing with new information helps me keep it upstairs for longer.

I wonder if this can be done with 四字熟語 :thinking:

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I wrote a tiny program that looks through EDICT2 for pairs of three-kanji words with two overlapping kanji. But it didn’t find any! My hope was to create a 3x3 square like


where ABC, BCD, and CDE are all valid compounds.

It found very many fun kanji rectangles, though. Here are some with entirely JLPT N5 kanji:

大学生 (university student)
半年後 (after half a year)
(columns: 大半 majority, 学年 school year, 生後 post-natal)

日本食 (Japanese food)
中国人 (Chinese person)
(columns: 日中 daytime, 本国 one’s own country, 食人 cannibalism)

EDIT: I fixed a bug in my program, and found some cool 3x3 squares. Such as:

同一人 (the same person)
国家間 (cross-national)
民族学 (ethnology)

同国民 (fellow countrymen)
一家族 (one family)
人間学 (anthropology)


I remember posting somewhere a link to a game like that. Maybe in the ultimate resources thread?

I’m on my phone, so it’s a bit hard to look it up right now, but I’ll post it here as well when I find it.

Edit: found it, it was indeed in the ultimate resources thread. but it’s slightly different from what @jakemurphy was asking for (I didn’t read properly, I guess). It’s a cool game too, though.

Colour me impressed!!! I’m looking forward to having more Kanji under my belt so I can start figuring out things like this de novo with a pen and paper when bored. Thanks for all the replies! <3

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