Simplified  强  (12) strokes
Traditional 強  (11) strokes

Are there any other similar cases in which a more complex form was adopted than the Traditional counterpart?

  • They are both variants, the Simplified System simply adopted one at random. If I recall correctly, for some historical reasons, there was only correct character, but people couldn't write the correct one and had to modified it a little bit, because the character appeared in the emperor's name. Emperors are invariably afraid of being talked about, that's why we have notorious Internet censorship system even now.
    – Yang Muye
    Nov 8, 2014 at 16:36
  • The 'variant theory' seems quite plausible.
    – imrek
    Nov 8, 2014 at 18:16
  • 2
    According to the official standard (the latest one is called 通用规范汉字表) in mainland China, 强 is a "standard variant" of 強, but not a "simplified" one -- this part is just like what @YangMuye has mentioned. But the explanation for this kind of variation should have nothing to do with avoiding the naming taboo. The real reason lies in the evolution from 篆書 (seal script) to 隸書 (clerical script): the shape of a closed 口 sometimes is mixed with 厶. You can find many examples (公, 說, 兌, 雖 etc.) for this variation.
    – Stan
    Nov 9, 2014 at 7:00
  • 2
    Some of the variants are not coded in Unicode, so I cannot type them down. You can look them up in Dictionary of Variants maintained by Ministry of Education, R.O.C (Taiwan). It's a good source for learning variants, though if you're a beginner of Chinese, it would be better not to focus on such details :)
    – Stan
    Nov 9, 2014 at 7:07
  • 1
    厶 was represented as a closed circle in early writings, very similar with 口, which probably could explain the mixed usages of the two. Nov 9, 2014 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


"强" has quite many variants such as:

犟、強、彊 ...

see: http://www.zdic.net/z/19/js/5F3A.htm

For example, similar phenomenon occurs to:

為(Hongkong) 爲(Taiwan) 

The fact is, for almost every character, it's likely to have a bunch of variants.

And about the "Simplified Chinese", it did "Simplify" quantities of characters because none of their variants is simple ( like 為->为 ).

However, more than half of the characters were not manually simplified in the last century, since there are very simple format in their variants already. Rather than creating new formats, those simple variants were chosen as standard "Simplified Chinese".

For the specific one "强", after excluding 犟、彊.., it probably was assumed that double '口' is clearer and simpler than "強", which harder to remember than "强"


My assumption has been that the variant 强 was selected as standard because the right hand side of 強 is not its own character, whereas 强 was perceived as easier to remember because it is 弓+虽. However, etymologically, 強 = 弘 + 虫, so the character reform committee kind of screwed the pooch in that sense.

  • Interesting explanation. Now you should have enough rep to comment.
    – imrek
    Nov 12, 2014 at 10:09
  • Also, 虽 is not a common character in Traditional Chinese. Learners will just have to accept learning ⿸ and ⿹ structures (修, 雖, 雜, etc).
    – dROOOze
    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:11

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