Character Rotation Game

Fierce Wind Zone

Fierce Wind Zone

My friend Jason recently brought to my attention this cool logo for a band called 凶风区 (“Fierce Wind Zone”). This brought to mind a Chinese character game I proposed on my Chinese blog years ago in a post called 转字游戏 (literally, “Turn Characters Game”). I’m not sure why I never posted this stuff in English, but I figure better late than never!

Here are the rules of the game as I originally posted them, in Chinese:


Basically, the aim of the game is to take any character and rotate it (most likely 180 or 90 degrees) to get a different character. So focusing on symmetrical characters like 田 is missing the point. The easy example I gave is the pair 由/甲.

And here are some of the solutions I provided (SPOILERS BELOW!), the second row being a bit less strict than the first row:


Some additional solutions provided in the comments of the original post include:

– 曱/甴 (not common characters!)
– 末/半
– 共/并
– 人/丫
– 义/弋
– 甘/丹 (a bit questionable)
– 长/木 (a bit questionable)

Can you come up with any more?


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Isn’t that great? I want to see them live just to support their name. Also, there’s an awesome (and super Chinese-nerdy) drinking game somewhere in your 转字游戏 for sure.

  2. There’s 冈 gāng also, like in 山冈 mountain ridge.

    It’s mainly used in place names and transliteration:
    冈比亚 Gambia
    梵蒂冈 Vatikan
    福冈 Fukuoka

  3. Here’s one for you mate: pian and pan 片/爿

    I believe I may have also unearthed another nerdy game for you.. find the characters that can be mirror imaged to create a different character!

  4. 卐 [wàn] and 卍 [wàn]

    I think a longer-lasting and more fun Hanzi game is giving clever clues based on the radicals in the character. Like this: ”十个兄“ (hard) or “cloud power” (easy)

  5. David Moser Says: February 7, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Great! What about just 目and 皿, or is that cheating? Reminds me of a nice game to play on a short train ride. Ask your Chinese friend to find as many characters as they can that involve only a 口 element and two other strokes, of any kind. Examples are 叶, 古, 甲,由,四,只and 史,but there are many, many more, and it can be quite addicting once you start. The fun thing is that foreigners are often better at this game than native Chinese, for some reason.

  6. I don’t think there’s much left if you don’t cheat a little bit…


    But look, I made a bird 😀

    And did you know 后 and 司 are in fact mirror images (etymologically)?

  7. Hey, the bird was destroyed by the text parser 🙁

    Maybe if I put empty lines in between? Like this:


  8. All this and nobody mentioned 乒乓, the two characters specifically designed to go together? 😀

  9. […] out the Character Rotation Game from Sinosplice. 凶风区 (“Fierce Wind Zone”) should give you the […]

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