A simple after-review ritual to practice kanji stroke orders


I had three situations to deal with.

I came to realize that some kanjis were hard to memorize because they were looking too intricate, I couldn’t figure out where one radical would end and another would begin. In the end I couldn’t even remember the mnemonics because I wasn’t recognizing the radicals in the kanjis - all I could see were some vague shapes.

At the same time, whenever I finished reviews, I would check up all the items I got wrong one by one, figuring out what exactly I got wrong, e.g., was it the reading or the meaning? I would do this “after-review ritual” to not quickly forget the items I had gotten wrong, but it was beginning to seem too time-consuming for me and not worth the hassle.

Finally, I also wished I got a better hang on the stroke order of kanjis. After all, I’m very keen on handwriting notes. Not only that, I actually like writing kanjis. It feels like drawing and I love drawing.

The solution? I came up with a better “after-review ritual” that incorporated kanji handwriting into it and helped me recognize intricate kanjis better in the future. In other words, we can kill three birds with a single stone.

I thought it would be worth sharing it with the community because others here probably like writing kanji as much as I do.

The after-review ritual

  • After every review, check the items you got wrong. Grab a piece of paper and write down each item, with furigana above for the reading and the meaning below.

  • If it’s a radical, you don’t need to write the reading above.

  • Follow the correct stroke order for each kanji, so check it up on Jisho if you need. I use this plugin to access Jisho’s stroke orders straight on WaniKani.

  • Optional: I use katakana for the on’yomi readings of kanji items and hiragana for everything else, from kanji items that use the kun’yomi reading such as 泳 (およ) to vocabulary items that use on’yomi readings such as 罰 (ばつ).

  • Optional: These rules can be easily repurposed into an “after-lessons” ritual as well. Simply write down every learned item indiscriminatingly. This way, you’ll guarantee you write down every single WaniKani item at least once, even the ones you never get wrong (well, supposing they exist).

Final considerations

Personally, I don’t often write the meanings below each item, but I thought it would be worth including in the rules. Here’s how my notebook usually looks like:

Some users might find the ritual too time-consuming. Frankly, I don’t mind and I think it’s worth the effort. In fact, whereas before I would feel terrible whenever I got an item wrong in my reviews, now I actually cheer a little whenever I get one wrong. “Hurray, I’ll get to practice the stroke orders of these kanjis!” That’s the best part of it: the fun doesn’t have to stop because just because you did something wrong.


This is a great way to turn the negative feeling of failed reviews into a more positive one, and reinforces them at the same time. Great idea, I think I’ll try it!


Your handwriting is really nice!!


Thanks! I just came back from a hiatus and I got many, many incorrect answers while I caught up with my reviews. In other words, I had plenty of practice these days. :laughing:

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I see, I really should practice more as well :scream:
Thank you for this method!! I should start using this as I have too many new kanji now with the fast levels :scream:

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Definitely +1 for writing down the kanji (and shoutout to jisho for… well, everything). I did a lot of that early on (during Duolingo before I ever started WK, but that’s my personal situation) and it seriously helped my kanji retention a ton through now and likely all of my future learning. After a while, you get a feel for the particular stroke order so you don’t have to look any of them up - and writing in general helps with retention.

I do write down every lesson, but I don’t usually write anything after that and it would probably be good for, at the very least, items that end up as leeches. I’m inspired, so thanks :slight_smile:


I don’t really like writing at all but your notes are so pretty to look at that I wanna give it a go myself.


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