Uh Oh! Dirt vs. Samurai?

Hello fellow learners! I tried to search the topic to see if anyone else posted any clarification before I posted this. Unfortunately, I did not see anything. I am worried about the 2 radicals that appear to be identical. Dirt. and Samurai. I honestly cannot tell them apart. It says one of the top crosses is longer than the other, but I went back to look at the dirt radical and truly cannot see any difference at all! Is anyone else having or had an issue with this one?

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You will probably run into a similar problem trying to distinguish between 未 and 末

But if you stare at them closely the difference should become apparent (some fonts are easier than others, though).


I can actually see the difference between those two. The one with the shoter stem on top is “Not yet” right? This dirt and Samurai… I seriously don’t see the difference at all! Is it the base that is longer? I really can’t see it. It is bugging me out bad!

Usually in the samurai one I see it exaggerated a little bit more, with the bottom horizontal clearly short. Dirt looks like a roughly pyramid shape with the base the largest part, samurai looks like an airplane with long wings and a short stubby tail.
Screen Shot 2023-09-25 at 10.13.25 PM
Screen Shot 2023-09-25 at 10.13.40 PM


My favorite is かき vs. こけら, which typically look indistinguishable at normal font sizes.

Luckily こけら is exceedingly rare, so this is mostly a trivia curiosity.


There is that fun word (or expression or whatever) “已己巳己” meaning “all the same”


Not to be that guy, but it means more like “to look similar”. Which 100% applies for this thread


“all the same” is how it appears in the dictionary (jmdict likely), which is why I said that


剌 and 刺 can be a problemas well :sweat_smile:


hey, do you remember that one kanji that had completely opposite meanings, among others? and then i said “well, bark can either refer to the tissues outside the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term, or the sound a dog makes”, nad then you said “yeah, but this word has opposite meanings”. well, i found a word in english that has opposite meanings!


You did? What is that word?

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can either mean “sick, man!” or “you’re sick!”


And “you are sick” can also have different meanings – it can mean that one is literally sick (like, with high temperature) or it can mean that one has very twisted mind :sweat_smile:


basically, my sister (she has the cold) (and i do not want to see what goes on in her mind) (because she’s crazy enough already)


English has quite a few words that are known as “contronyms” or “Janus words” - words that have two opposite meanings.

“Buckle” is my favorite - it can mean either to fasten together or to break apart. But there’s also “sanction,” for example, which means both to authorize and to penalize. (It confused me mightily as a child watching the evening news that the verb “sanction” means “approve of” but if you didn’t approve of what a foreign country was doing you would impose sanctions on them!)


Honestly, I’ve never had this actually become a problem while reading. I can’t really think of a two common kanji where the only radical changed is dirt and samurai. It’s like tough and though. Yes, they are similar and can be confusing to english learners but in context no one (well natives at least) actually confuses them.

This one just got me recently! I was trying to figure out what this powerpoint was saying, haha:

So I looked up the one kanji I didn’t know by drawing it on my IME pad, and I was baffled when nothing came up for “杮の種” :sweat_smile:. I googled it and all of the results were for “柿の種”, and I was so confused why Yomichan suddenly had an entry for the word now when it didn’t the first time I tried mousing over the phrase…

:smiling_face_with_tear: 柿杮




Ah!! Thank you!! In your images i do see that the bottom horizontal line is shorter!! The problem I suppose, is with the flash cards here on WaniKani I do not see that difference. Your picture looks different than what I see here when I review the flash cards. I should take screenshots of what I see. If it is presented as you have shown, I may get the answer correct. If they show it as it is here, on WaniKani I won’t be able to see the difference at all.

I have a secret for you: my images are screenshots from WaniKani. :smiley:

It’s just a matter of training your eye what feature to look for, and it becomes subconscious after a while. You’ll start seeing it too, and then not even seeing it just kind of sensing it at a glance, and then wondering why you ever had a hard time with it.

It’s more obvious when you see them side-by-side which WaniKani hardly ever shows you.