What are the Yūrei Moji or Ghost Kanji?


The Yūrei Moji (幽霊文字) ("ghost characters") are kanji which were accidentally created when the JIS kanji sets (see What are JIS level one and two kanji?) were compiled. These characters are the Yūrei Moji:

Origins of the yūrei moji

When place-name kanji were being collected for the 1976 JIS standard, a heap of records were collected. One village name had 哥 in it, and someone had scribbled down the left hand side of the character. The person compiling the kanji list read the scribble as a 弓 radical, and thus created the hitherto unknown kanji. The mistake was picked up in the 1997 review of JIS X 0208, and is documented in the appendices to the revised standard.

seems to have come from which appeared vertically with what looked a stroke between them. This was recorded as a new kanji. Later examination showed it was two kanji with a fold in the paper which made a shadow in the photocopy.


  1. sci.lang.japan message at Google Groups by Jim Breen
  2. Yūrei Moji at Tsūshin Yōgo no Kiso Chishiki (in Japanese)

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