to return; revert; resume; restore; go backward
Kanji 1920

Thank you for visiting this Character Home Page. Below you'll find a synopsis of the essay. If you wish to read the full text, the PDF of the essay is available for purchase to the right.


With the eminently useful 戻 kanji, you can talk about returning to a place, recovering from illness or jet lag, and making up with someone. Mastering 戻 enables you to say, "We can't backslide," "He brought the world back to its senses," "We must work hard to make up for lost time," "I’d like a refund," "The article revived my passion for Eastern religions," and much more!

Revision history:

Mar. 3, 2023: p. 6: Revised the last sample sentence so that it includes 北極圏, not 北極, because it’s not correct that the Japanese abbreviate 北極圏 as 北極, as I'd said.

Feb. 19, 2022: 

  • p. 2, Etymology Box: Updated the Henshall etymology and Sears link.
  • p. 17: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

Oct. 9, 2015:

  • p. 1: Adjusted the "look-alikes" section by adding one look-alike and by removing the bit about レイ as an on-echo.
  • p. 3: Deleted the sidebar on the on-echo レイ. Previously, I had included two Joyo yomi in this series—戻 and 涙 (1916: tears)—under the mistaken belief that 涙 had an on-yomi of レイ. The Chinese read this character as lei, which may have led some dictionaries (such as Denshi Jisho and English Wiktionary) to indicate an on-yomi of レイ, but that's incorrect. Anyway, although 戻 and several non-Joyo kanji do form an on-echo series, a series needs to have at least two Joyo kanji if I'm going to present it in an essay. I can't do that now that 涙 is out of the picture. The good news is that the omission of the sidebar leaves a lot more room for the photo on p. 3, which has become more legible.
  • p. 7: In expressions such as 1893年, the 年 is not a counter, simply a kanji meaning "year," so I changed the vocab. listing to reflect that.

May 20, 2014: Changed the photo on page 1.

May 9, 2014: Originally published.


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