Is there a list of the symbols shown in "The Matrix" when operators do they work watching it? How many are they? What are their names? Which ones didn't exist by the time the movie was shot?

  • 9
    Looks like this question would be highly relevant... don't think it's a duplicate though.
    – Radhil
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 18:45
  • Mmm, it didn´t appear another one when I was typing. Let us see in a few time.
    – Feuergeist
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 18:48
  • 1
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:35
  • @Radhil - No. With the edit it's not a dupe, although my answer does speak to what the "rain" is made up of in terms of characters.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:42
  • 2
    Since you seem particularly insistent on getting a full list of the characters that were used, I have to ask: why? What are you trying to do that the existing answer is insufficient for? Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 22:15

4 Answers 4


As explained in the answer to this closely related question, all of those symbols are "real" characters, they've just been flipped horizontally to mirror images of themselves. If you look at a still image flipped back, it's easier to tell:

Matrix code falling Matrix code falling, flipped

The top is from the movie, the bottom is the same shot mirrored left-to-right. You can tell that many of the symbols are just normal Latin alphabet digits, letters, and symbols. The rest are Japanese characters (mostly half-width katakana, though there's at least one kanji in there as well). None of them were created specifically for the movie.

  • 8
    feel free to write your own answer with all of their names.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:25
  • 4
    Katakana, not kanji. They don't really have "names" separate from their values, no more than the letters of the Latin alphabet have names.
    – user41830
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:26
  • 8
    @Feuergeist you have got to be kidding me... just look at a katakana chart And, if there are kanji in there (Mike's right that there's at least one), there are potentially thousands of kanji if you were to freeze frame every single iteration from the film. Limited lists are one thing... this list is too big. This answer seems perfectly acceptable.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:58
  • 1
    @Feuergeist Yes... Thousands. See this question on Japanese Language. Even if you only consider the most commonly used ones, there are over 2K. Also, if you don't speak Japanese, figuring out which ones are used can be very difficult. They have character dictionaries but "naming" each of them will be... complex.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 20:12
  • 4
    What I believe you are missing is the fact that it will be a terrible answer. The answer will be a list of the letters of two alphabets and the Arabic digits. Listing them all out, e.g. "LETTER A. LETTER B. LETTER C. LETTER D. LETTER E." is just a huge waste of space.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 0:38

So I was curious myself so watched the opening of the first film frame by frame in mirror mode and noted down what I saw. That being the case there is probably some missing.

Notably, there is no 6 and the only Kanji I found is (roughly meaning day/sun). The only Roman letter is Z until the title appears in which case letters in "THE MATRIX" appear. Most of the symbols are Katakana, however they are not uniformly distributed. Some appear very frequently while others are completely absent.

Identifiable symbols (all are mirror versions unless noted)

  • Kanji: "日"
  • Katakana: "ハミヒーウシナモニサワツオリアホテマケメエカキムユラセネスタヌヘ"
  • Missing Katakana: "ヲイクコソチトノフヤヨルレロン" (at least I couldn't find them)
  • Numbers: "012345789", "3" is upside down, "4" has underscore, "7" is not mirrored
  • Roman: "Z" only, then "THEMATRIX" for the title.
  • Punctuation/Arithmetic: ":・."=*+-<>"
  • Other: "¦|" and dashed underscore (╌ but lower down)
  • Unknown: Something like ç and something like リ but with an overbar (might be ク).

In total that's around 67 characters.

  • 2
    Additional Kanji - I also see the kanji 二 (meaning two) often in the opening title sequence. Katakana - I see the additional following: コ (backwards) ソ (backwards), and what appears to be a slightly stylized ヤ (backwards)
    – Matt S
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 18:11
  • Do you know if pi(3,14159265...) appears in the rain? It would be notable, because is the presence of Trinity. But well, the Wachowski couldn't think about everything, the movie is too damn good already. Let us hope that this universe continues.
    – Feuergeist
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 12:49
  • I think we are doing a great job here. Soon we will have the entire list. Maybe I will help with it.
    – Feuergeist
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 12:57
  • I think that in a few years or months there will be a software that will do this job for us. Please, don't call it AI. It has nothing to do with been intelligent.
    – Feuergeist
    Commented Jan 21 at 2:11
  • @Feuergeist The goalposts of what is or is not "AI" have continually been shifting. Things we now call "Algorithms" were previously AI. Even simple decision trees and numeric calculation was AI at one point. So don't worry, Intelligence will always [eventually] be redefined to what computers cannot do.
    – AnnanFay
    Commented Jan 23 at 10:38

These are mostly known characters, but they are flipped (mirrored). They include Arabic digits, Latin letters, punctuation/math/etc characters, Kanji and halfwidth Katakana. Here you are, a list (I believe it's 100% full) from analyzing the code rain in opening scene (0:30-0:37) and dream scene:


  • mirrored: 2, 5, 9, 8 (two identical circles – hard to tell if mirrored)
  • not mirrored: 1, 7 (without the line crossing through the middle), 0 (a "slashed zero" form), 3 (a "flat-topped three" form, upside down), 4 (a "closed top four" form, with underscore, but see )
  • *) there is no 6


  • Z (sans-serif)
  • *) +(letters AEHIMRTX at the end of intro forming "THE MATRIX", but it's clearly visible that they were added to the video after generating the code rain because they misalign, glow brighter, are thinner and have serif font-face)

PUNCTUATION/MATH/ETC. (symmetrical, so no sense saying if mirrored)

  • :."=*+-¦|_
  • [space] (I assume so; sometimes there is an empty place in a column and one could treat that as blank place, not [space] generated; but sometimes it really appears in a sequence in spots where the symbols change frequently)
  • ╌ (← "double dash horizontal" but low, on the bottom line, like underscore; I haven't found such glyph in Unicode table and online)
  • *) there's no dot in the middle of the text line (・/∙/•/etc.) (as Annan stated) – it's rather normal full stop [.], because it's on the bottom

(MOST OF) HALF-WIDTH KATAKANA (MIRRORED) (in order of appearance in Unicode table)

  • ヲアウエオカキケコサシスセソタツテナニヌネハヒホマミムメモヤユラリワ
  • missing ones: イクチトノフヘヨルレロン
  • *) Annan said that character [ヘ] is present in code – I believe he was wrong; I think he must've seen a fragment of another character during appearing (they appear not each at once but each unhiding from top to bottom)
  • **) what's interesting – [ウオケ] are with overscore, [ネホヤ] are with underscore; I think this is somewhat because of emulating technical problems of old screens; just like the underscore in digit [4]



Check out this news article - "Secrets of ‘The Matrix’ code". Written by Ian Failes, posted on March 27, 2019 on a website called beforesandafters.com

It took me two hours to research people connected to the movie who could have created the Code we see generated during the Matrix, who were connected to Japanese cooking and family members as a fringe influence. That led to the story linked... if community standards allow it. Knowing the people who created the code might help unravel it, but you may have already seen it.

According to the article and IMDB the programmer who designed the green rain code is Simon Whiteley----

Quote from the article "Secrets of ‘The Matrix’ code"

“The original design for the code was this three-dimensional type that clicked over as it tumbled,” recalls Simon Whiteley, a production designer at Animal Logic, the studio behind the code shots.

Quotes from "Secrets of ‘The Matrix’ code" that support the Sushi theory behind the Matrix Code.

Whiteley’s wife is Japanese, and he attributes getting the gig to design the code to his familiarity with different kinds of Japanese typography. “I knew the Katakana, the Hiragana and the Kanji. We looked at all the graphics of those and the Hiragana and the Kanji were almost too complex – too many little fiddly bits. So we ended up aiming for the Katakana, which has these very nice simple strokes.”

But it was some very specific Japanese typography that Whiteley ended up referencing. “My wife is an amazing cook and we’ve just got tonnes of cookbooks and cooking magazines at home. So I started looking through the cookbooks, and also these alphabet books my kids had from Japanese school, and I ended up hand-drawing all of the graphics using the alphabet sheets and the cookbooks.”

“To be at the beginning of all that back then, and just messing around with some type from a Japanese cookbook, it’s just ridiculous where it went from there,” reflects Whiteley. “The number of people who called me up and asked me about it was insane. But movies aren’t made by single people. They’re made by massive crews and everyone had input into it.”

“I have a lot of Japanese friends and they loved it, too,” adds Whiteley. “They love the idea that it came from Japanese cookbooks. They’d be looking into the code to see whether they could see sushi falling down the screen or menus or cooking recipes, which is hilarious.”

Whiteley also explained,

"Another addition to the look and feel was to make it appear as if you were inside the code looking out. “I turned all of the numbers and the graphics back to front as if we were in the code looking at a screen of code from the inside, because basically Neo was inside the code in the movie,” describes Whiteley. That’s why it’s all back to front.”

"Whiteley had hand-drawn everything so it needed to be scanned into the computer. This had the effect of clipping some of the tops and bottoms of the characters, which were further ‘messed with’ by adding in line strokes and dots and graphic icons. “If you look at closely at the code,” says Whiteley, “you’ll find that it’s not clean pieces of type. There’s a lot of little artefacts and rubbish that comes with it. I really liked that.”

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Instead of just linking to the story you should quote some examples and essential points in case the article becomes inaccessible.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 19 at 3:26
  • "It took me two hours to research..." Are you the author of this article? If so, it's also good to mention that.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 19 at 15:47
  • Fez, thank you for the editing and I will need to learn more about formatting. I didn't write the article, "Secrets of ‘The Matrix’ code," that I referenced in my research. Commented Jan 23 at 0:39

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