narrow, cramped, tight, constricted
Kanji 1166

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.


The word “narrow” makes me think of “skinny,” as in the delightfully named diet book Skinny Bitch. But skinny isn’t what you’ll find with 狭, even though it means “narrow.” The Japanese associate 狭 with crowdedness. Learn various words for cramped spaces, from a tiny apartment to a clogged artery. We'll even cover narrow-mindedness and narrow interpretations of words. You'll get the skinny on all of it!

Revision history: 

June 29, 2021: 

  • p. 1, Character Profile: Added a link to the Radical Note, as the link had disappeared. Also added two missing keywords.
  • pp. 1, 7, 10: Added 狭まる to the discussion and pointed out all the Joyo yomi when they’re introduced.

Jan. 19, 2020: 

  • p. 2: Etymology Box: Replaced the old Henshall etymology with the new one.
  • p. 2: Removed some content from the Etymology Box and created a new sidebar called "A Mnemonic."
  • p. 10: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

Mar. 24, 2017: Fixed the shared shape in the look-alike listing on p. 1. Also updated definitions of look-alike kanji.

Dec. 5, 2014: Made changes to both photo captions on p. 12. Fixed formatting in the first one. Italicized Guinness Book of Records in the second one.

Feb. 7, 2014: Made slight improvements to the first photo caption on p. 3.

Mar. 31, 2013: Fixed link on p. 11.

Sept. 19, 2012: Added 2 photos to pp. 12 and 13.

June 15, 2012: Added a photo to p. 12.


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せま-い, せば-める, せば-まる
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