Break down kanji with us!


What’s going on here?

There are many databases of kanji and their breakdowns, for example: James Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji, Andreas Foerster and Naoko Tamura’s Kanji ABC, KANJIDAMAGE, and many others.

KanjiBreak is a way to collaboratively build new databases of kanji breakdowns. You can submit your favorite ways to decompose kanji. You can use someone else’s breakdown as your own. You can export all the kanji you’ve decomposed, or that everyone’s decomposed.

KanjiBreak contains 2,991 jōyō (common-use) and jinmeiyō (name) kanji available for breaking down. There are also 469 “primitives”, of which 175 are not kanji, that you may use in decompositions, including most traditional Kangxi radicals. These primitives are inspired by Foerster–Tamura’s Kanji ABC—see below for a detailed explanation of how these primitives relate to and differ from Kanji ABC. If you have a good idea for another primitive, please get in touch!

Therefore, in all there are 3,166 characters available for breaking down. A decomposition can consist of one or more of any of these characters.

See legal notices for more details but since anyone can download the entire KanjiBreak database of all breakdowns, by contributing your breakdown, you agree to share it with others.


Please get in touch, with questions, comments, suggestions, anything! This website is created by Ahmed Fasih:

Website errors

If you’re encountering a problem using KanjiBreak, please write to me!

But the most common problem seems to be with login. If you are repeatedly asked to log in, it’s likely you’re running a browser add-on like PrivacyBadger that is blocking you from accessing auth0.com or fasiha.auth0.com, which are the services we use for login. More details about legal notices are given below, but KanjiBreak does not track you in any way. Please consider allowing your browser access to domains ending in auth0.com.


Kanji ABC! KanjiVG!

Legal notices

As both a programmer and a citizen, I am very concerned about the way websites closely track and monitor users’ activities. I refuse to make websites that do this. KanjiBreak uses a third-party service, Auth0 to handle login, but otherwise uses no trackers or analytics. This means that Auth0, and your social network login provider (Facebook, GitHub), know when you log into KanjiBreak. But other than this, KanjiBreak does not record or store any data about its visitors, other than the bare minimum needed to function.

When you submit a breakdown for a kanji, the username you logged in with is cryptographically hashed and stored in the KanjiBreak database. That means that if evil hackers steal our database, in some future where being interested in Japanese is illegal (and given today’s political climate, who knows?), they won’t be able to know who submitted kanji breakdowns.

Because of this, the breakdowns that users contribute are available for everyone to download under a CC0 “no rights reserved” license. Hopefully you’re ok with that—if not, don’t contribute any breakdowns.

Technical appendix: Deviations from Kanji ABC

The 484 graphemes in Kanji ABC have been condensed for KanjiBreak by combining variants of the same primitive. While Kanji ABC is a tool for learning kanji, KanjiBreak is a tool for making kanji-learning resources, and so the decision was made to ignore sufficiently-similar variants, e.g., 雨 versus ⻗ (U+2ED7). Note, however, that this isn’t a clear-cut distinction as KanjiBreak recognizes the difference between, e.g., 心 and 忄 (U+5FC4).

Below is the list of normalized Kanji ABC graphemes.

禾: LE6, G4

米: LE7, J10

⻏: LE8, RI3

弓: LE9, Y11

糸: LE14, Q16

王: LE15, I17

木: LE16, J1

言: LE17, B2

足: LE18, O8

酉: LE19, N7

食: LE20, T7

金: LE21, T5

馬: LE22, Y8

日: LE23, C1

月: LE24, RI8, BO5, L14

隹: RI7, G14

心: BO3, N3

土: FR6, I3

大: FR7, V9

In addition to condensing Kanji ABC’s primitives, KanjiBreak adds some new ones, listed below.

to TO

to TO

inch to EN

丿 to FR

to FR

to FR

to FR

fishy to FR