Ongoing List of Radicals Which I Just Can't Imagine

I can’t seem to visualize the radicals for boat 舟 and 鳥. Can anyone please help me? I’ll be updating this post with more radicals that I can’t imagine. Might be of help to other users too. My first post btw. :grin:


These are two where it’s literally just exactly what the characters mean in the original sense.

Maybe looking at their evolution from picture form to now helps?



The boat looks exactly like the middle mast of this:


and the bird…



For 鳥, I suggest you look at this:

From this Tweet by Kayo-sensei (@kayoshodo):

(You may want to take a look at her Tweets and follow her, honestly, because some of her explanations are really interesting. Her Tweets are especially useful if you want to learn to write Japanese nicely.)

For 舟, I think what Leebo posted is great. Compare it with this boat:

The uppermost slanted stroke is the head of the boat, and all the little bits in between are just the framework of the boat. (See the wooden beams?) You could also pretend the two dots are passengers if that’s easier for you. Whatever works.


Thanks a lot man. This boat one is very very useful. Just Followed her.

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The bird one is totally relatable now that i see the origin :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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The boat looks almost the same. Thanks a lot.

@banira can you pls help me with the radical for brush. The one in level 9. I just can’t get myself to see the bristles in it.

It’s not the same kind of brush, but I assumed they were suggesting it looks like this.

In reality, the horizontal lines were originally a hand grabbing the vertical line, which was a brush for writing.


I see, thank you