Welcome to, a website dedicated to the study of Chinese characters. Some of the main points of the website are given below, along with ideas for getting started.

Real characters uses photographic images of real-life characters*. These come from various signs in China: shop signs, street signs, advertisements etc. Hence the name of the site: SinoCharacters (Sino of course meaning Chinese), which sounds like 'sign-o-characters'.

* Not all characters have images at present: this is a long-term project! Characters with no image are displayed with regular Chinese text.

Study guide

The main study tool is the Characters section, which has information on over 9000 individual characters, including pronunciation, meaning, and example words. Themed characters (such as numbers, zodiac animals, and colours) can be found in the Themes section. Other useful sections are the Tools section and the Study section.

Get started

There are many ways to start exploring the site. You could begin with the Index page for the first 100 characters: how many of these do you already know? Alternatively, jump in by selecting one of the nine characters** above, which are chosen at random from the first 300 characters.

** The number 9 (九) is considered to be a lucky number in China, because it is a homophone for the word 久 (jiǔ), meaning 'lasting for a long time'. Just like the study of Chinese characters!