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Kanji Information Sheet for 苦  ( PDF version of this Kanji PDF version )

stroke order illustration  
feel bitter
Bushu (Radical) Info:
艾 (カイ, ゲイ, もぐさ, よもぎ, おさ.める, か.る) – moxa; sagebrush; wormwood; mugwort
艸 (ソウ, くさ, くさかんむり, そうこう) – grass; plants
Henshall Mnemonic: old plant leaves bitter taste
Levels: JLPT N3 | JLPT 2 (old) | Grade 3
Frequency: #623 of the 2500 most used kanji in newspapers

Common Words and/or Phrases Using this Kanji:

Click any individual kanji to view a similar information sheet for it.
Click [K] to look up the word's individual character(s) at WWWJDIC.
Click [D] to look up the word at WWWJDIC (definition is the same but other useful features exist).

Click [Jisho] to look up the word at

JLPT N4 Words

  • い   [にがい]
    (adj) bitter   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N3 Words

  •   [にがて]
    (adj-na,n) poor (at); weak (in); dislike (of)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くつう]
    (adj-na,n) pain; agony   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くろう]
    (adj-na,n,vs) troubles; hardships   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • しい   [くるしい]
    (adj) painful; difficult   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • しむ   [くるしむ]
    (v5m) to suffer; to groan; to be worried   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N2 Words

  •   [くじょう]
    (n) complaint; troubles; objection   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くしん]
    (n,vs) pain; trouble; anxiety; diligence; hard work   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • さま   [ごくろうさま]
    (adj-na,exp,int,n) I appreciate your efforts   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [めちゃくちゃ]
    (adj-na,n) (uk) absurd; unreasonable; excessive; messed up; spoiled; wreaked   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N1 Words

  • しい   [みぐるしい]
    (adj) unsightly; ugly   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [むちゃくちゃ]
    (adj-na,n) (uk) confused; jumbled; mixed up; unreasonable   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • しめる   [くるしめる]
    (v1) to torment; to harass; to inflict pain   [K] [D] [Jisho]

Other Popular Words Not Classified by JLPT

  •   [くきょう]
    (n) trouble; crisis; predicament   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くげん]
    (n) candid (frank) advice; exhortation   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くじゅう]
    (n) bitterness; mortification; difficulty in understanding; distress; affliction   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くしょう]
    (n,vs) bitter smile   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • い   [にがわらい]
    (n,vs) bitter smile   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [びょうく]
    (n) pain of sickness   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くせん]
    (n) hard fight; close game   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くなん]
    (n) trial   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くにくのさく]
    (n) last resort; desperate measure taken under pressure of necessity   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くのう]
    (n,vs) suffering; distress; affliction; anguish; agony; trouble   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くみ]
    (n) bitterness; bitter taste   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [にがみ]
    (n) bitterness; bitter taste   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [くりょ]
    (n,vs) rack one's brains   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • しい   [ねぐるしい]
    (adj) unable to sleep well   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • しい   [おもくるしい]
    (adj) heavy; gloomy; awkward; cumbrous; oppressive; leaden   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • しみ   [くるしみ]
    (n) pain; anguish; distress; suffering; hardship   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しんく]
    (n) hardship; toil; trouble   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • しい   [かたくるしい]
    (adj) formal; strict; ceremonious; stiff   [K] [D] [Jisho]
Find more details for at, Yookoso! or WWWJDIC


The sofware used to generate this kanji information uses the EDICT and KANJIDIC files. These files are the property of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group at Monash University and are used in conformance with the Group's license.

NOTE: I converted the sources just mentioned years ago and have never really updated so there may be some missing or incorrect information that has been addressed in the original sources but not here.

The first Stroke Order image used on this page is courtesy of Ulrich Apel's excellent open source KanjiVG project. The second image is from the folks at the excellent Jisho Japanese-English dictionary site and it too is based on KanjiVG.

Classifying the kanji and popular vocabulary by the new JLPT levels was done by consulting Jonathan Waller‘s JLPT Resources page, renshuu, Wictionary, and Nihongo Ichiban.

The Henshall Mnemonics are the copyright of Tuttle Publishing and are the result of the hard work by Professor Henshall. See the list I used here.

If you are curious about the lexicography shown in the word definitions, visit the WWWJDIC abbreviations and codes guide and the JMdict/Edict Lexicographical details page.