The hardest kanji I know

This is a short post just for fun. Here are some of the hardest kanji I’ve run into over my years studying Japanese. If you learn these words, you can be confident in the knowledge that you’ve already tackled the hardest kanji (that I can think of).

躊躇(ちゅう・ちょ) – hesitation

朦朧(もう・ろう) – dim, hazy

憂鬱(ゆう・うつ) – depression

瀟洒(しょう・しゃ) – elegant; trim

The most difficult kanji is 「鬱」 with a total of 29 strokes. With a sufficiently small font size, it just looks like a black scribbly thing.

And here is my vote for the sneakiest kanji ever.

曰く(いわ・く) – to say

Fun stuff.

8 thoughts on “The hardest kanji I know

  1. I don’t know if this post answers a question that I have long wondered about, but what kanji has the most strokes that is not repeticious. I know there are kanji with a huge number of strokes but they are usual just four mirror images of simplier kanji. I always wondered what kanji had the most strokes but didn’t have that sort of repetition in it.

  2. The 龗 is the largest I found that my computer supports. (33 strokes) I’m sure you could find more in an extensive paper dictionary but I’d have no way to type it here anyway. The biggest I know of that is used in an actual word is 鬱 but then again I don’t know every word in the dictionary!

  3. Well the mentioned kanji are indeed some hard ones but I find them to be easy as they are used frequently. I think more tricky are ones like 攫, 欒,麒麟,鸚鵡,疇,顰蹙,囀 and 齧 which are hardly used.

  4. Hm I might as well post some mean ones 戍戌 are a bit mean…okay only a bit 巳已己 are a bit mean. 日曰 was already mentioned. And now the one I fell for …干于. I really read tried to read the 于 as 干. >_<

  5. The most difficult kanji that exists – as far as I can research – has a total of 64 strokes. It isn’t used in Japanese, but it is the kanji 興 written four times in a little square. I haven’t even found the Chinese pronunciation.

  6. You know what is the most scary thing in learning kanji? The way it gets more difficult over the time…when I started learning japanese, the hiragana fu (ふ) was the hardest character I knew for weeks. Then I got introduced to 手 (te: hand), and I actually got a stroke, and lay for weeks in a hospital, when I learned the days of the week, and had to memorize the 曜 kanji… 🙂

  7. My method is always to break it down into pieces, a bit like chemistry. Know your H20 then you know 替 for example is 夫2白. You may refer to for more.
    I couldn’t handle big kanji myself. I guess I just write down some that you listed on a card and slip it in my 財布, it will be handy anytime I need it. I still keep my かな and 한골in it.


  8. How about 苟 and 茍 perhaps? I almost threw in the towel when I came across those two…

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