8 strokes
mouth, opening
fate, command, decree, destiny, life, appoint
Jōyō kanji, taught in grade 3
JLPT level N3
465 of 2500 most used kanji in newspapers


Stroke order

On reading compounds

  • 命 【メイ】 order, command, decree, life, destiny, fate
  • 命じる 【メイジル】 to order, to command, to appoint
  • 延命 【エンメイ】 keeping alive longer, prolonging life, life extension, life-support
  • 十月革命 【ジュウガツカクメイ】 October Revolution
  • 命婦 【ミョウブ】 title for high-ranking court ladies
  • 延命 【エンメイ】 keeping alive longer, prolonging life, life extension, life-support
  • 安心立命 【アンシンリツメイ】 spiritual peace and enlightenment, keeping an unperturbed mind through faith

Kun reading compounds

  • 命 【いのち】 life, life force, lifetime, lifespan, most important thing, foundation, core, paired tattoos of the "life" kanji on the upper arms of a man and woman (indicating unwavering love), fate, destiny, karma
  • 命からがら 【いのちからがら】 for dear life, barely escaping alive
  • 貴い命 【たっといいのち】 precious life
  • 露の命 【つゆのいのち】 life as evanescent as the dew


Mandarin Chinese (pinyin):


  • orden
  • mandato
  • vida


  • destino
  • comando
  • decreto
  • vida


  • destinée
  • destin
  • ordre
  • décret
  • vie
  • nommer (à un poste)
519 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese (Florence Sakade)
416 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese 3rd edition (Henshall, Seeley and De Groot)
394 A Guide To Remembering Japanese Characters (Kenneth G. Henshall)
388 A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage
430 Classic Nelson (Andrew Nelson)
387 Essential Kanji (P.G. O’Neill)
411 Japanese Kanji Flashcards (Max Hodges and Tomoko Okazaki)
671 Japanese Names (P.G. O’Neill)
578 Kanji and Kana (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
587 Kanji and Kana, 2nd Edition (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
997 Kanji in Context (Nishiguchi and Kono)
325 Kodansha Compact Kanji Guide
2553 Kodansha Kanji Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
1303 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
1772 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition (Jack Halpern)
1412 Les Kanjis dans la tete (Yves Maniette)
3473 Morohashi
2058 New Japanese English Character Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
767 New Nelson (John Haig)
1400 Remembering The Kanji (James Heisig)
1502 Remembering The Kanji, 6th edition (James Heisig)
249 The Kanji Way to Japanese Language Power (Dale Crowley)
316 Tuttle Kanji Cards (Alexander Kask)
2844 2001 Kanji
2a6.26 The Kanji Dictionary
2-2-6 SKIP code
2-3-5 SKIP code
8062.7 Four corner code
1-44-31 JIS X 0208-1997 kuten code
547d Unicode hex code