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Lesson 6: First 10 Radicals

This lesson covers the 10 most common radicals which are the primary radical for 732 Kanji. Since most Kanji have 2 or more radicals this means these radicals will also show up in other Kanji but won't be the primary one (perhaps because they are on the right instead of the left).

Putting a little effort in now to learn the radicals will make it much easier to learn complex Kanji later on.
Top 10 Radicals
RadicalKanji CountPercent
1144.5%
109 4.3%
913.6%
712.8%
672.6%
丿602.4%
592.3%
552.2%
532.1%
532.1%
Total:73230%
1) 水 - Water
The water radical is knownn as さんずい and is common for Kanji having to do with water or liquids.

The original Kanji for water looks like this:



But most of the time this radical shows up as a simplified three-stroke version on the left as in these examples:

Sweat
Oil
Tears

2) 人 - People
The people radical is known as にんべん and is common for Kanji having to do with people but also somewhat random ones.

The original Kanji for person looks like this:



This radical most often shows up as a 2-stroke simplification on the left:

To rest
Other

But it can also show up looking more like its original form at the top of a Kanji:

To remember
To meet

3) 手 - Hand
The hand radical is known as てへん and is common for Kanji having to do with hands.

The original Kanji for person looks like this:



This radical most often shows up as a 3-stroke simplification on the left:

To strike
To fold

There are also a small number of cases where it shows up looking more like its original form on the bottom of a Kanji:

To attack

4) 木 - Tree
The tree radical is known as きへん.

The original Kanji for tree looks like this:



This radical most often shows up on the left:

Pine
School

There are also a small number of cases where it shows up at the top or bottom of a Kanji:

Investigate

Fun

5) 言 - Speech
The Speech radical (Which itself contains the Mouth radical) is known as ごんべん.

The original Kanji for Speech looks like this:



This radical most often shows up on the left:

Permit
Translate

6) 丿 - Katakana No
If you're trying to look up a Kanji and having no luck this guy may be the problem. Always keep this radical in mind when another radical is not apparent. It can show up pretty much anywhere in a kanji. Here are just a few examples:

To come
Year
To ride
Islan

Once again. If you can't tell what the radical is. Try this guy.

7) 糸 - Thread
The Thread radical is known as いとへん.

The original Kanji for Thread looks like this:



This radical most often shows up on the left:

Paper
Continue

8) 心 - Heart
The Heart radical is known as こころ and is common for Kanji having to do with thought or emotion.

The original Kanji for heart looks like this:



This radical has 2 common forms. The first is similar to the original and shows up most often at the bottom of a Kanji:

To think
To feel

The other is also common and shows up on the left side of a Kanji. It is a 3-stroke simplification:

To worry
Emotion

9) 土 - Earth
The Earth radical is known as つちへん.

The original Kanji for earth looks like this:



This radical most often shows up on the left of a Kanji:

Earth
Salt

But it can also show up at the top or the bottom:

Temple
Wall

10) 艸 - Vegetation
The Vegetation radical is known as くさかんむり and is common for Kanji having to do with vegetation.

This radical always shows up at the top of a Kanji:

Grass
Medicine