Who Can I Trust?

I have a question about radicals. I know WaniKani uses radicals too, but I’m referring to the unique radical that is assigned to every Kanji. Take the Kanji 州, for example. In some places (websites) I see the main radical listed as 川, but in other places (apps on my phone) I see the main radical listed as the vertical stroke “⼁”.

Which one is correct? Where do you go when you look for radical information?

Here are the main places I check, in no particular order:

Kanji alive Web Application (says 川)
www.kanjitisiki.com (says 川)
www.kanjipedia.com (says 川)
The Shirabe Jisho App (says ⼁)
The imiwa? App (says ⼁)

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There actually is no One True Source for radicals. They are whatever a kanji dictionary decides to use. Different paper dictionaries can put kanji in different sections. Though obviously history and consistency are things to consider for them.

Kanjipedia is made by the people who make Kanken, so if you ever wanted to take Kanken, then that would be the dictionary to reference.

Other than that, it wouldn’t be that important.

They also don’t have official names in Japanese, as a side note. They often have several names that just refer to their shape or a specific kanji they appear in.


Well… that’s unfortunate. It’s not for any test, I’m just making a database so I just wondered where I should check first. On a side note, it makes me appreciate the people of WaniKani even more for putting some sort of order and structure to the crazy world of Kanji.

Thank you for the information.


What Leebo said, but here’s a bit more info on the “official” radicals, with links to some interesting articles:


Wow, thank you so much. That Tofugu article was really helpful! Thanks for the help. I got the information I needed :smiley:

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