Via Language Hat: Borgesian pronouns in Malay, including table rows such as "Malay commoner or raja to older raja" and "Persons to Chinese".

The Japanese radio alphabet! I thought it was weird at first that there were a few English (?) terms in there ("the ra of radio" (rajio), "the ku of club" (kurabu), etc.), but then I remembered: "alpha", "bravo"... d'oh!

Note that since there are no Japanese words that start with ん n, it's known as "oshimai no n", or "the n of endings" or "final n".

Other Japanese voice-only alphabets here! Semaphore here!

Via Emily: kanji with insanely high stroke counts. I've addressed this issue before, but the most complicated character from my dictionary was 䯂, which has a measly thirty-four strokes.

Commenters found bigger ones, including the triple dragon (龘, forty-eight strokes) and a quadruple dragon (sixty-four strokes), but Emily's discovery includes a Japan-made kanji so vast that I can only represent it approximately, by stacking other kanji:



Cloud, cloud cloud, dragon, dragon dragon. That's not a character, it's a lifestyle. It takes eighty-four strokes to write. That's more than it takes to write the entire Roman alphabet.

Its reading is apparently otodo, taito or daito, all of which mean some variant on "big city"/"important dwelling", and it is said to be used as a surname. (This is part of a much larger site entitled "Dictionary of Japan-made kanji", which looks like it could be very interesting indeed.)

However, no-one is able to confirm that this character definitely exists, which is why the site offers another candidate for largest kanji status. I'm not even going to get into that one. Let's just say it's an Edo-period joke about vomiting.

Popularity factor: 4


the first time i saw the "taito" kanji it was from this website about script.


Oh, hey, I found another webpage on Japan-made kanji (or "harmony make Chinese character", as babelfish puts it) while I was looking for a list of kanji frequencies*. Been meaning to give you the link 『和製漢字の小辞典』. Since I don't read Japanese at all competently, I don't really know if it's any good. It does have taito at the bottom, and entries for 【々】and【〆】.

-- Tim May

* No real luck so far, but I found frequency counts for some historical documents (?) here.


Oh, neat. I had no idea so many of those were made in Japan. When are you going to start your own blog, anyway?

For the record, those documents are:

- 御堂関白記 (Midoukanpakuki), the diary of FUJIWARA Michinaga (藤原道長) from 995-1021. Mostly written in Chinese.

- 本朝文粋 (Honchoumonzui), a collection of Chinese poetry edited by FUJIWARA Akihira (藤原明衡), containing works (in Chinese, but by Japanese authors, I think) from the 9th to the 11th century.

- 吾妻鏡 (Azumakagami), a 12th-13th century political history. Chinese.

(I had to look the first two up.)


Oh, and thanks Andy. I must have seen that before too and forgotten about it! Weird that it's on the Chinese page.. it's a "Chinese character" but not actually a Chinese character.

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