Chinese Number Sudoku

Every now and then I came across an idea that is brilliant in its simplicity. This is one of them: Chinese number sudoku!

Chinese Sudoku by Earnshaw Books
Chinese Sudoku by Earnshaw Books

So it’s just sudoku (数独 = sudoku = shùdú), but using the Chinese characters numbers 1-9: 一、二、三、四、五、六、七、八、九.

If you want to improve your handwriting in Chinese, it can be hard to come up with a way that isn’t mind-numbingly boring. Well, if you like sudoku, this should do the trick.

(Technically you could do this with any set of 10 characters; they don’t even need to be numbers. I imagine it’s very difficult mentally, to pull off, though, if they’re not in a very clear sequence.)

Anyway, these images come from the book Chinese Sudoku by Earnshaw Books (posted with permission), and it’s also on Amazon.


John Pasden

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


  1. The idea to use 数独 to practice your Chinese is cool. In your example with any set of 10 characters, what one could do to make it at little less difficult is use characters with respectively 1,2,… 9 strokes to begin with, then 2,3,…10 strokes (as 一 is too obvious). Not too difficult to create such 数独 generator, will give it a try when I have a moment!

    • Yeah, that’s a good idea! (Although, depending on the characters, it might be hard to remember how many strokes are in which character when you’re not actually putting pen to paper.)

      There are opensource sudoku generators out there. I imagine modifying one to use a set of 9 characters wouldn’t be too bad. You could also print the set of 9 characters across the top to remind yourself what they are… ha ha.

  2. Here’s what it could look like
    The characters are based on highest frequency, this could be adjusted. More Interactivity can be added too

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