Odd radicals

Sometimes I think the differences between kanji radicals and the ones we have learned is too much. Like on this example:

Later, when I try to remember the mnemonic by identifying the radicals I can’t do it for that reason. Later I will be like, oh its sun+2 drops + 2 mouths+tent, or something and I will be lost. I guess I’m ok with small differences, but this one for example is not.


This is a font thing. This character can be written with the mask radical exactly as you see it, or it can be written the way your browser is displaying it. It depends on the font your device is using.

Most kanji that use the mask element on WaniKani are jouyou kanji. This one isn’t, so it sometimes gets updated to look like the others, but often doesn’t.


Sorry but I don’t get it.

Depending on the font and settings of a particular device, this character could look like this


or it could look like this


They are the same character.

The first one is how the “mask” element looks in the new style of writing in Japanese. The bottom one is an older style. Since this isn’t a common use kanji (jouyou kanji) it didn’t get the same uniform update as other kanji that use the same element.

So sometimes it gets updated to look consistent with the others, sometimes it doesn’t. Usually it doesn’t.

I basically just repeated myself, so I’m not sure if that is going to be any more helpful, but I don’t know how else to describe it.

But the main thing is that WaniKani can’t really predict what you’re going to see in the real world. So I would just catalog both forms as the same thing in your memory.

EDIT: And checking, the other mask-using kanji didn’t get fully switched over until 2010 in the jouyou list. So until then, it was still acceptable to print jouyou kanji that use it, like 曽 or 増, in the old style. So if you read books printed before 2010 you could still see this old form for those kanji too.

And just some more examples for fun.

Here’s a cup bean sprout ramen thing that uses the updated version you would be expecting from learning the mask radical.


Here’s a thing for miso ramen that uses the old version and the new version in the same image!

Be ready to encounter both.


I actually have a related question about this. I’m also learning to write the kanji as I go using anki, and I wonder which way of writing I should be teaching myself.
You said that the simpler version was the newer version but most resources and dictionaries seem to list the older version as the correct way to write it so my impression was that if I’m learning to write it, I should learn the older form with more strokes?

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It’s the new version of that element.

If you’re taking Kanken level pre-1 or something, you’d have to check the rules of that level to see if you’d get credit for that specific kanji in the new style or not.

If you’re not taking Kanken… I wouldn’t worry about it too much for writing 噌. Writing either way will be understood by Japanese people. If you want to choose the old style because it’s more established, that’s fine. If you want to use the new one because it’s easier to write, that’s probably fine too.

The fact that it’s not jouyou means it’s not standardized.

The only exception I can think of is if it appeared in a name and you were writing that name. Then you should use what they use.


Thank you!

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