close

Stroke direction rule 4 – the tehen rule

The tehen shape is the pictogram of a human hand, and it is the simplified form of the character te ‘hand’. The tehen rule says:

The third stroke in the tehen shape is written from the bottom to the top.

In the diagram below the leftmost character is tehen. The red arrow shows the tehen rule, as the third stroke is written with an ascending motion.

The tehen rule also applies to similar shapes. The two other characters in the diagram are:

  • mono, where the shape ushihen ‘cow’ follows the tehen rule. In this case, the bottom-to-top stroke is the 4th stroke.
  • ware, containing an inconspicuous tehen shape within the whole shape of the character. Also in this character the bottom-to-top stroke is the 4th stroke.
Kanji stroke diagram showing the 扌 tehen shape, 物 mono 'thing', 我 ware 'I'. Illustrates stroke direction rule 4: the third stroke in the tehen shape is written bottom to top.
tehen ‘hand’, mono ‘thing’, ware ‘I’.

It is important to pay attention to the following.

NB: do not mistake the tehen shape for the kanji SAI, which is an entirely different shape and character.

The direction of the diagonal stroke in SAI (3rd stroke) follows the normal top-to-bottom rule!

Kanji stroke diagram showing the 扌 tehen shape and 才 SAI 'ability'. Illustrates the difference between the stroke order in tehen and the stroke order in SAI.
Shape tehen ‘hand’ and kanji SAI ‘ability’.

A great number of characters include the tehen shape, as pictograms of hands plays an important role in forming the meaning of many kanji. Some examples are:

  • utsu ‘to hit’,
  • harau ‘to sweep’,
  • atsukau ‘to handle’,
  • oru ‘to snap off’,
  • maneku ‘to invite’,
  • tsukamu ‘to grasp’,

and dozens more.

« PreviousNext »

– Back to Index –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*