Kanji in this term

Grade: 2

Glyph originEdit

Orthographic borrowing from Literary Chinese (to write).


From Old Japanese. First attested in the Kojiki of 712 CE.[1] Ultimately from Proto-Japonic *kaku (to scratch). Cognate with 掻く (kaku, scratch). Letters were originally scratched or carved into wood in order to write.


  • Tokyo pitch accent of conjugated forms of "書く"
Source: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary
Stem forms
Terminal (終止形)
Attributive (連体形)
書く [káꜜkù]
Imperative (命令形) 書け [káꜜkè]
Key constructions
Passive 書かれる かれ [kàkáréꜜrù]
Causative 書かせる かせ [kàkáséꜜrù]
Potential 書ける [kàkéꜜrù]
Volitional 書こう [kàkóꜜò]
Negative 書かない ない [kàkáꜜnàì]
Negative perfective 書かなかった なかった [kàkáꜜnàkàttà]
Formal 書きます きま [kàkímáꜜsù]
Perfective 書いた いた [káꜜìtà]
Conjunctive 書いて いて [káꜜìtè]
Hypothetical conditional 書けば けば [káꜜkèbà]


() (kakutransitive godan (stem () (kaki), past ()いた (kaita))

  1. write; record (words, figures) on the surface of (something)
    Kinō Chen-san wa toshokan de repōto o kaite imashita.
    Mr. Chen was writing a report at the library yesterday.
  2. compose; put (an idea, etc) into words


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


  • 2002, Ineko Kondō; Fumi Takano; Mary E Althaus; et. al., Shogakukan Progressive Japanese-English Dictionary, Third Edition, Tokyo: Shōgakukan, →ISBN.
  1. ^ 書・描”, in 日本国語大辞典 (Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, Nihon Kokugo Daijiten)[1] (in Japanese), 2nd edition, Tōkyō: Shogakukan, 2000, →ISBN
  2. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  3. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN