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Basic Japanese Language Course
SKIP Code, a Short Introduction

 

Finding a kanji

Jack Halpern, in his New Japanese-English Character Dictionary, presents a very useful way to find kanji that you can see, but don't know how to pronounce. A SKIP code is composed of three numbers, such as 2-7-5. The first number indicates one of the four possible visual styles of the kanji. The remaining two numbers are usually stroke-count information. Once you have identified the SKIP code of a kanji, you can search for it e.g. in the kanji database. Or you can enter the SKIP code here and search for the or kanji with this SKIP code. Usually there are about 5 up to 30 different kanji for one SKIP code, but even in a list with 30 kanji it's easy to find the one you're looking for.

The Visual Style of a Kanji

Look at the kanji in question and decide if it can visually be divided as (choose the first that applies): The style number that applies is the first number of the SKIP code.

For styles 1, 2 and 3:

For styles 1, 2 and 3 count the strokes in the left/upper/enclosing part and then the number of strokes left in the right/lower/internal part. These two numbers, along with the 1, 2 or 3, form your SKIP code.

For example, is a left/right style (style 1), so the code begins with 1-. The left side has four strokes, and the right half has 5, so the entire SKIP code is 1-4-5.

If you search only via this SKIP code, the various characters that match will be displayed, and from the list you can select the one in question. The SKIP codes for the examples shown above are:

For style 4:

If the SKIP code is of style 4, count all the strokes in the character, and then choose the first from (inserting the stroke-count where the ? is shown):

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