8 strokes
grass 艸 (艹)
suffering, trial, worry, hardship, feel bitter, scowl
Jōyō kanji, taught in grade 3
JLPT level N3
623 of 2500 most used kanji in newspapers


Stroke order

On reading compounds

  • 苦 【ク】 pain, anguish, suffering, distress, anxiety, worry, trouble, difficulty, hardship, duhkha (suffering)
  • 苦境 【クキョウ】 difficult situation, adverse circumstances, predicament, trouble, dilemma, distress
  • 生活苦 【セイカツク】 hardships of life (esp. due to lack of money), life's struggles
  • 病苦 【ビョウク】 pain of sickness

Kun reading compounds

  • 苦しい 【くるしい】 painful, difficult, tough, hard, distressing, (psychologically) difficult, stressful, awkward (e.g. position), straitened (circumstances), tight (financial situation), needy, struggling, strained (interpretation, explanation, etc.), lame (e.g. excuse), forced (e.g. smile), far-fetched, hard to do, unpleasant
  • 苦しい言い訳 【くるしいいいわけ】 lame excuse, poor excuse
  • 苦しむ 【くるしむ】 to suffer, to groan, to be worried
  • 苦しめる 【くるしめる】 to torment, to pain, to inflict (physical) pain, to hurt, to harass, to cause (emotional) pain, to afflict, to distress, to bother, to trouble, to stump, to baffle
  • 苦い 【にがい】 bitter
  • 苦い薬 【にがいくすり】 bitter medicine
  • 苦る 【にがる】 to feel bitter, to scowl


Mandarin Chinese (pinyin):


  • sufrimiento
  • pena
  • doloroso
  • penoso
  • trabajoso
  • amargo


  • sofrimento
  • experiência
  • preocupar
  • dificuldade
  • sentir- se amargo
  • tristeza


  • souffrir
  • peine
  • affliction
  • souci
  • amer
  • renfrogné
197 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese (Florence Sakade)
283 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese 3rd edition (Henshall, Seeley and De Groot)
264 A Guide To Remembering Japanese Characters (Kenneth G. Henshall)
597 A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage
3928 Classic Nelson (Andrew Nelson)
264 Essential Kanji (P.G. O’Neill)
864 Japanese Kanji Flashcards (Max Hodges and Tomoko Okazaki)
687 Japanese Names (P.G. O’Neill)
545 Kanji and Kana (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
554 Kanji and Kana, 2nd Edition (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
342 Kanji in Context (Nishiguchi and Kono)
646 Kodansha Compact Kanji Guide
2789 Kodansha Kanji Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
1433 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
1932 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition (Jack Halpern)
230 Les Kanjis dans la tete (Yves Maniette)
30797P Morohashi
2243 New Japanese English Character Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
5009 New Nelson (John Haig)
225 Remembering The Kanji (James Heisig)
239 Remembering The Kanji, 6th edition (James Heisig)
344 The Kanji Way to Japanese Language Power (Dale Crowley)
295 Tuttle Kanji Cards (Alexander Kask)
1977 2001 Kanji
3k5.24 The Kanji Dictionary
2-3-5 SKIP code
4460.4 Four corner code
1-22-76 JIS X 0208-1997 kuten code
82e6 Unicode hex code