Radicals and Kanji

What exactly are Radicals? I think I read that they are combined to form Kanji. But then, what are Kanji? Why are some radicals, hiragana, and katakana the same as Kanji characters. I can’t come up with an example at the moment but when I clicked on one of the first 26 radicals that are introduced, the kanji was exactly the same as the radical.


The only official radicals are not from WaniKani, but…

For WaniKani radicals, they are what Jisho.org and Heisig called “parts”.

And, what kanji (and kokuji) means…

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On WK the term radical basically refers to kanji parts. Patterns with which kanji are built. There are a few kanji which are the same as a radical, that’s because the kanji is built with only one radical. However, most kanji are made with several radicals.
In real Japanese, more so than in WK, some radicals carry meaning and sound (though not all of them can really be said to do so anymore).

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Someone had a similar question the other day with regard to 力…You could also check out that thread: Newbie question about "power"

The way wanikani uses the terms:

Radical = part of a kanji. A lot of the names for these are made up by wanikani to make funny, memorable mnemonics.
i.e. 力 as a radical for power, can be a part of other kanji like 効, which is made up of 力 + 交

Kanji = character that represents an idea. 力 represents “power” and wanikani first teaches it to be read as りょく

A lot of the kanji in the beginning double as radicals since the characters are so simple and you find them as parts of other kanji.

Hiragana and Katakana characters are simplified parts of kanji, that’s how they were formed.

Edit: This is not really important to know, but this chart illustrates how hiragana and katakana were simplified from the chinese kanji:

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A cross-link from a previous post that may answer your question in more detail, and a few other questions that you may have some day. (You’ll need to click the link to read the whole thing):

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