Same radical, different look

I’m very early on and already I’m a bit confused, the “toe” radical appears slightly different in the three examples given and I don’t know why.

Can a radical appear slightly different?
If yes, why is this never mentioned?
For complex kanji, how do I determine where one radical begins and another starts?
How do I know if it’s a different version of the “toe” radical, and not another radical altogether?


Sometimes in the kanji pages, it’s mentioned that the radical has been tweaked a bit, but yeah, sometimes WaniKani gets extremely liberal with radical shapes. Part of the reason for this is because they’re not radicals in the officially-recognised sense of the term, but instead they’re more like mnemonic components - memorable shapes that you can hang mnemonic elements onto in order to make a story.



They do kind of mention things like this now and then, but usually only when it’s a significant change like the number of strokes is different. A slightly different angle is not so big a deal. Those kinds of little changes will be there now and then.

Well, “radicals” as defined in WaniKani are just a thing to help you memorize the overall shapes. They aren’t strictly defined or anything. But WaniKani will generally not cause situations like that, in my experience.

It’s also worth mentioning that “official” radicals can change shape too. So it’s not unique to WaniKani.


A fair point - for example, 火 and 灬 are the same radical on official listings, but are regarded as different on WaniKani.


You’ll kind of get an idea of what to look for after looking at a lot of Kanji through WK. For example, 以 has the person radical 人 on the right side.


when you move on to learning kanji, you will always be told which radicals it includes, which will help you make sense of it! don’t worry too much for now, its unlikely to be something that messes you up on the kanji/vocab. just focus on memorizing the radicals you have now and worry about the kanji when you get to it :slight_smile:


Thank you :slight_smile:

A big ありがとう to everyone for your great insight.

I’d like to finish this thread by saying that WaniKani should make it more obvious when starting that radicals can differ from time to time.

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