S.K.I.P, a Short Introduction

Jack Halpern, in his New Japanese-English Character Dictionary, presents a very useful way to find characters that you can see, but don't know how to pronounce.

This is a simplistic description of the method. Please see the dictionary for a complete description.

Three numbers

A SKIP code is composed of three numbers, such as ``2-7-5'' or ``4-8-3''. The first number indicates the visual style of the character. For most codes, the remaining two numbers are stroke-count information.

Divide and Conquer: Decide the Style

Look at the character in question and decide if it can visually be divided as (choose the first that applies): The number that applies is the first number of the SKIP pattern.

For styles #1, #2, and #3:

For #1, #2, and #3, count the strokes in the left/upper/enclosing part, and then the number of strokes left in the right/lower/internal part. These two numbers, along with the 1, 2, or 3, form your skip code.

For example, is a left/right (#1) style, so the pattern begins ``1-''. The left side has four strokes, and the right half has 5, so the entire SKIP pattern is ``1-4-5''.

If you search only via this SKIP pattern, the various characters that match will be displayed, and from the list you can select the one in question.

Other examples

The SKIP patterns for the examples shown above are, in order,

For style #4:

If the SKIP pattern is of style 4, count all the strokes in the character, and then choose the first from (inserting the stroke-count where the ``#'' is shown):

Comments appreciated
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