Air drawing / 空書 for kanji recall

I ran into this cool blog post summarising some research on how native speakers memorise and recall kanji by drawing them in the air, and how this is more effective than writing them on paper for difficult characters. It seems like a pretty easy and useful technique, so I’ll probably try using it from now on :3

Does anyone do this already? Has it helped?


Taking Adult Course 101. That’s what we are learning. Works for me. I use it for kana too, like when I need a quick reminder of how to write a katakana that I haven’t used in a while.

I’ve been doing that for quite a long time. Not because I read about it or anything though, but because I never feel like actually writing anything lol. I can’t say whether or not it has helped me in memory though, but I imagine it would help remember the mnemonics better if you kind of say the story to yourself in your head as you write it.

I don’t exactly draw in the air, but I like to draw on my desk surface when trying to call a kanji’s stroke order. It definitely helps but I found it completely different to actually writing it out. It helps with remembering the order but when it comes to actually writing it it feels very different as you are now concerned with how it looks, and it shows in your handwriting how much care you put in. I imagine it’s the same with shodo, as I look at it and think “I know the stroke order of this kanji, how hard can it be?” and proceed to make it look not-so-great.

tl;dr: good for remembering stroke order. Doesn’t actually do anything to improve your handwriting.

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I do both, though I prefer to trace it on my skin (palm if I’m standing, thigh if I’m sitting) rather than in the air. Can’t say it’s been any more useful than writing on paper.

I do it when I need to count strokes for dictionary look-up.


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