The hardest kanji?

This is my take on what could be considered the hardest kanji. Obviously the ‘difficulty’ of a kanji is completely subjective but I thought I’d go with the angle of, which has the most strokes.

Certainly found some interesting characters during my research. Really makes you feel like reaching lvl 60 on Wanikani means nothing! haha


This was really entertaining, thank you!

My understanding was that kanji are always supposed to be ‘balanced’, so that each kanji in a piece of writing fills the same amount of space. The really complex ones look completely impossible to fit into a standard box size, even the ones that don’t just contain repeats…


I guess that’s why you never see them aha. Those kind of kanji are very rare and pretty much only exist in dictionaries.

I can’t imagine what compelled someone to create them originally though…

Ah, ok, that makes more sense! I was imagining a weird kanji bulging out of the lines, or just reduced to a solid blob of ink :joy:

I wonder if some of them were originally just a joke…!

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Perhaps the creation process of new kanji will shed some light on this question…!



Hangover is absolute genius.

Balance and curfew are also pretty damn funny.


Interesting article, thanks!

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Fun fact: the spelling “Japan” comes from Marco Polo’s Italian rendition of the Shanghainese rendition of 日本.

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And here I thought I can now face head-on every kanji… but this really overwhelmed me physically and emotionally.


Except that’s absolutely not a good way to do it, this video is a combination of saying “F” is a harder letter than “I” or that þ is the hardest English letter. The only difference being that þ was actually used at one point. “Difficulty” in this case sounds like utter click-bait. I guess because “Most complex characters” doesn’t sound as bait-y.

Also as far as your dictionaries, I’m pretty sure neither of those are even encoded nor have ever actually been used. They only exist in things like Online dictionaries. Below is the character you actually should’ve used because it is actually used in the real world:


Sorry for not watching the video before commenting, but yeah, stroke count doesn’t seem like a good metric for determining a character’s “difficulty” since, as we all know, the strokes aren’t random. There are patterns, and once you know the patterns, even something like the one Syphus posted can be memorized without much trouble because it’s really only a handful of elements.

To me, a kanji that has elements I’ve never seen before (elements that don’t appear in other kanji), even if there are only a few strokes, is going to be much harder than a new kanji with 義 on the righthand side, because I’m just remembering one new piece of info there.

Jeez guys, it’s just a video about interesting kanji with lots of strokes. Maybe “hardest kanji” isn’t the best title, but he literally said in the OP that “obviously the difficulty of a kanji is completely subjective”.


They just needed to tell everyone about their objectively correct answer to a subjective question!!!

Well like I already said it’s subjective to my opinion. It’s nothing about being ‘bait-y’ and the terms difficult and complexity are usual synonymous with each other. Usually, if something is hard, it’s because it’s complex. If it’s complex, it’s probably difficult. There no need to get to pedantic about my terminology.

Yes, I’ve seen that kanji before, but it’s only used in China (for biang biang noodles if I’m not mistaken) and my channel covers stuff related to the Japanese language so I didn’t feel the need to mention it. Obviously most’s kanji’s origins are Chinese, but I old wanted to discuss ones that have been recorded as being used in the Japanese language.

Sure it’s subjective, and yet he didn’t give any convincing reason, aside from clickbait, that this was a good metric.

But it’s not even a good video about complex Kanji because that is simply two random Kanji that are never even used in real life and just created by some random person. Something like 薔薇 or 鬱陶しい would’ve made a much more interesting video as these are actual, usable Kanji. Aside from that, he blathers on for 7 minutes but gives no real insight. So by pretty much any metric this is a video of a topic that is beaten to death, which provides no actual content.

If the video was, “Look at that, that’s crazy!” he could’ve said that in 30 seconds. But you can’t monetize a 30 second video.

His post seems to have been removed from /r/learnjapanese but there’s a reason it was at a score of 0. By any measure this is a poorly put-together, click-bait-y dead-horse-beating contentless video.

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Yea I can understand you reasoning a bit more, but again, subjectively… everyone knows different things about kanji and has different ways of remembering things. Like I mention at the end of the video, I always get mixed up with some relatively simple kanji that are under 10 strokes. The stroke order is just a value that is objective, it’s always the same for everyone. Maybe it’s not the perfect way to judge the complexity of a character, but in my mind it makes sense.

I know right?.. The title of the video even has a question mark in it! I was trying to shed small degree of doubt on my statements haha

Hey man, there’s no need to be getting so nasty about it. I just made a video about something I though was interesting. I was also trying to put some information in there for people who know nothing or very little about kanji, which is why I wanted to show my process of how I got to the answer.

I really don’t do this for monetization (not that I get anyway), it’s just a hobby of mine. Clearly it’s not for everyone…

Also I deleted that post off reddit myself because I couldn’t be bothered with the drama that some guy was trying to start with a comment.


Ha, some of these are great. I particularly like スマホ for its simplicity and 上には上がある, because not only do I love that figure of speech but I like the implication of an infinite fractal the kanji gives. I can imagine it zooming in only to see more 上 going up and up.


Holy moly

Wanikani should do an April Fool’s joke where this comes up in everyone’s reviews.

Also @koichi I challenge you to come up with a mnemonic for this one. Has to use all the radicals.


You’re on a water slide, while wearing a helmet, saying something to a horse. You’re trying not to drop its reins, which are actually two long threads, so it doesn’t run off with your heart to the moon with a drunkard. It’s your war horse and you need it to help fight this battle on the water slide with you, so you’re telling it that you’ll feed it all the biangbiang noodles it wants to convince it to stay with you and not break your heart by running off to the moon with the a drunkard.