It has been suggested on Korean.SE that many - perhaps most - questions on glyph origin of Hanja (한자/漢字) and etymology of Hanja-based words should be made here (on Chinese.SE) - partly because it's thought you'll deal with them better!

However, from what I have been told, 'Hanja' are not associated with 'Traditional' or 'Simplified' representations, but in some cases need to be considered separately.

Additionally I notice that there is some concern about character representations on this site:

Are there any questions about glyph origin of Hanja (한자/漢字) and etymology of Hanja-based words that would not be welcome here?

2 Answers 2


Full disclosure: user1228 was briefly used as my previous account, and I was the one who gave that answer about Hanja being not quite the same as "traditional characters" used in Taiwan and Hong Kong on Korean StackExchange.

The answer still stands, as Korea has its own standard of Chinese characters, and all Korean fonts and proper use of Mixed-Script Korean must adhere to that standard. However, note that the differences between Korean Hanja and the forms used in Taiwan and Hong Kong are much, much smaller than the difference between PRC's Simplified Chinese and Taiwan/Hong Kong's Traditional Chinese, so Hanja glyph origins are very on topic here, apart from the special categories of Gukja and Yakja as mentioned by @user3306356, both of which are exceedingly small in quantity.

Note that I also fully disagree with the answers given to Should we edit to provide both 简体字 and 繁体字?, and support that the default form of answers should be given in "Traditional" Chinese, with Simplified Chinese taking a secondary role. This is because

  • Traditional Chinese has a wider scope in audience (questions about characters are applicable to interested Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese readers);

  • Unfamiliar traditional characters are given in comprehensive Simplified Chinese dictionaries, which means that Simplified-only users have the resources to check up Traditional Characters. The opposite is not true; unfamiliar Simplified characters are not given in the majority of Traditional Chinese dictionaries, let alone Japanese or Korean character dictionaries.

At the moment, users ask in whatever script they want, and answers are given in either script, and there has been no complaints, so I don't expect you to get any objections on asking about Korean Hanja. I've just finished appropriately tagging all relevant questions with the newly created glyph-origin tag here on Chinese SE, as opposed to the previous combined etymology tag, so the timing is fresh to start asking about characters (or words).

The only thing I'd say is that, in your questions, clearly state that you're interested in classical meanings and not Modern Chinese meanings, and request that any source texts given to be rendered in Traditional Chinese. This way you'll get the most out of the questions you ask, and not have replies going off on a tangent with irrelevant information.


Apart from gukja (국자, 國字) and yakja (약자, 略字) everything else would be considered on-topic.

  • Gukja are characters invented by Korea.

  • Yakja are simplifications made in Korea.

We wouldn't know what to do with those.

As far as character representations go, the rule of thumb is to answer any question in the language it was written in. So, not a whole lot of restraints on the person asking the question, but obviously English and/or Chinese is preferred.

As long as the context is clear, then there will be very few issues.

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