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How to find a kanji with SKIP

The System of Kanji Indexing by Patterns (SKIP) gives codes to kanji. A SKIP code is three numbers. For example 好 has skip code 1-3-3. The first number represents the shape. If a kanji can be divided into two parts vertically, like 相, the first number is "1". If it can be divided horizontally, like 委, it is "2". If it can be divided into an enclosing and enclosed part, like 道, it is "3". The second and third parts are the number of strokes used to draw the kanji on the left and right, top and bottom, or enclosed and enclosing parts, respectively.

To choose the first part, either enter the number into Part 1, or choose the corresponding button from the top row of buttons. Then add the stroke counts for the other two parts into Part 2 and Part 3 respectively. The entry box on the right of Part 2 and Part 3 is a margin of error, for example if Part 2 is set to 3 and the right box contains 2, stroke counts from 1 to 5 will be valid.

If the kanji cannot be divided, the first number is 4. The second number is the total number of strokes. If the kanji has a horizontal line at the top, like 雨, the third number is 1. If the kanji has a horizontal line at the bottom, like 白, the third number is 2. If the kanji has a vertical line dividing it, like 虫, the third number is 3. If none of these apply, for example 丼, the third number is 4.

To choose pattern four, enter 4 into Part 1 and then choose 1, 2, 3, or 4 from Part 3. Alternatively, select one of the lower rows of buttons.


The SKIP (System of Kanji Indexing by Patterns) system for ordering kanji was developed by Jack Halpern (Kanji Dictionary Publishing Society at, and is used with his permission.

For queries, please email Ben Bullock or use the discussion forum. / Privacy