The radical “barb”亅is a real kanji?

It was a surprice for me to discover that radical “barb”亅is also the kanji, which has its own on’yomi and kun’yomi readings. At least jisho and wiktionary say so.

But neither jisho nor wiktionary could find any word with it and I coudn’t too. Maybe this kanji is the word which means “barb”?

So, do you know any words using the kanji “barb”亅? Did you see it as a separate word? Or if there are no words why does this kanji even exist and have any readings?

seems like it’s very uncommon Hyōgai kanji, only used in names (and still rarely)


Thanks! Maybe there is a bunch of unused kanji out there, I don’t know. Btw, how did you know it’s used in names?

The japanese section of the wiktionary for 亅linked me to this:ōgai_kanji
It seems like they’re not even used in normal names, just sometimes in manga accompanied by furigana. But I’m just reading what’s there. I have no idea what I’m talking about.

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Almost all the shapes within kanji that you see can also be considered kanji on their own, but many of them became less frequently used long before kanji even made it to Japan. So they’ll be documented in kanji dictionaries, because the thing they conveyed was used in oracle bone script or something, but now you won’t see them unless they are mixed with other elements.


But kanji亅has its own kun’yomi reading!

I’m not seeing one in my kanji origin dictionary. It lists へつ for the kan-on reading and へち for the go-on reading, and nothing else.

EDIT: I’ll leave the images here since the conversation would be confusing otherwise, but I looked at and posted the wrong thing. Discussed further below.

Here’s 人 for comparison



I see it in Jisho and wiktionary: かぎ :slight_smile:

At the bottom of the Japanese entry in Wiktionary:

Appears only as a radical.

I don’t know where they got those readings from, but I trust my kanji origin dictionary. And their own assessment that it only appears as a radical in Japanese.

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Well, I am sure you’re right. But it’s still strange. My teacher gave me this as a kanji and said to learn
both readings. Don’t want to spend time on remembering outdated things.

Actually, my bad, the thing I took a picture of was slide, not barb… but barb only lists けつ and ごち as readings.

Probably not a great idea to try to discuss things and get ready at the same time

Notice that かぎ does appear under “meaning.” But that doesn’t mean you would ever see it and read it as かぎ in a sentence, which is what it means for it to have that as a kunyomi.

The shape was based on a key and was used in earlier forms of Chinese writing. (You can see that to the left of the “meaning” explanation.)


What is the name of that book?


Awesome thanks.

I suspect you’ll only ever see it being used as a kanji when it is being used to describe the radical. An arguable example of a word including this character is


which simply means “the 亅 radical”, as seen on Japanese Wikipedia.

According to that same article, its popular names are かぎ (presumably for “key” or “hook”) and はねぼう (presumably for 羽箒, “feather duster”).

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