Alphabet stroke order?

I once read a (really dodgy) article about how in japan, they have a stroke order for the alphabet. As in, the latin alphabet. It also mentioned how there is a stroke order for arabic numbers.
I have NEVER managed to find this article again, nor have I seen anyone repeat these “facts”.

Is this true at all? And if so, I want to learn said stroke order. Resources please?


I googled アルファベット 筆順
and got this result in images:

(source seems like it’s apparently an English learning DS game, funnily enough)

I feel like any handwriting system has a stroke order? We just don’t like, call it that since with the alphabet we just have to learn it once and never think about it ever again.
Unless you mean something else, I don’t see how this is different from the worksheets done in English-speaking elementary school when learning to write the first time around.


That diagram is very different from how I write several of the letters. It certainly does seem Japanese oriented, with its focus on always going top to bottom.


I’ve heard ALTs in Japan tell stories of English teachers “correcting” their handwriting on the board, I guess in a misguided attempt to convince the students there is only one right way to write the alphabet.

I get when you’re actually writing example letters that are meant to be copied by the students, those should remain consistent with their textbooks, but stopping an ALT and having them rewrite a w with 4 strokes is bizarre if they were just writing a random word on the board for reference.

It’s never happened to me personally though.


That’s bizarre. Even worse than the W is the M though. You can do both with one stroke, but they suggest four. But at least with the W it’s still somewhat left to right, so you could connect it easily. The M jumping from the leftmost to the rightmost stroke is just asking for a poorly connected M.


I do see what you mean… particularly the capital M and N… and the other results from glancing over the google search seem to often use those too. Interesting!

This site though seems to thoroughly explain it - seems like an interesting read (and it shows the more practical/common Ms and Ns etc.)



もし、学校の先生が細かい性格である場合、もしかすると書き順や書き方にいろいろと注意をされるかもしれません。… でもそれは、

Seems like teachers might vary in how much of a stickler they are for particular writing styles (as English ones do too…) but as in English there’s no like, mandated universally correct stroke order (though the article seems to need to really underline that and it might surprise some teachers…)


The commentary on the M order is funny, but on point.


知り合いのネイティブは「 4画で書いている人なんて見たことがない! 」と言っていました。


That’s exactly the way I learned to write (in Australia), and I still write M’s and W’s with four strokes - I’d never thought about how inefficient it probably is, as it’s just ingrained.


Giggles in cursive handwriting


The latin alphabet has never had a stroke order. What matters is the shape of the letter.


As an ALT I can verify that Japanese students are taught the English alphabet with a stroke order and teachers can be very particular about this and variations in the style. I’ve had students get marked wrong because the V in the M did not touch the bottom line…


Yeah I tell all my students that we don’t care about stroke order compared to writing Kanji. Some of the ways they write things I get so confused at because there’s such an easier way to do it. (Like W and M).


I had no idea about this. Seems pretty absurd that the English teachers there also adhere to a stroke system for the Latin Alphabet, but that comes with the rigidity of the education system in Japan I suppose.

Then again, my handwriting looks like if you blended cat vomit and poured it all over the paper, so who am I to say.


I mostly just meant that when teaching handwriting for the first time, teachers don’t go “here’s the shapes of the letters, have at it any way you like - it’s a free for all.” They’ll show or prescribe a particular way to draw the character. And doing it in a strange way would surely make one’s handwriting odd or difficult to read in some circumstances.

Arguably any mandated method of writing the alphabet would involve a stroke order, it’s just a question of how strong the mandate and how wide the context it applies to. Even modern Japanese and Chinese stroke orders don’t necessarily apply to each other after all (必 differs, for example). And the lack of a unified mandate with the alphabet may just speak to the lack of a unified governing body with a need to do so.

The latin alphabet as a whole might not have a set stroke order, but I feel to some extent like my elementary school classrooms did, I guess is what I mean. And arguably the most crucial difference between that and kanji stroke orders is just that someone made sure all the Japanese classrooms agree about those :slight_smile:

I’m just splitting hairs though!


There are teachers who teach that English, like Japanese, has a stroke order. I assume this is to make it easier to understand how to write them since that’s what they’re taught for hiragana, katakana, and kanji. To my knowledge, there is no actual stroke order for the Latin alphabet. As long as the letters are distinguishable from each other, doesn’t matter how you get there imo.
There are some JTEs who agree with that “there is no stroke order” sentiment. There are some who will say the ALT is wrong for even mentioning there’s not. So it’s more of how English is taught in Japan.


I’m in Australia too, and I do my Ws with one stroke and my Ms with two.


In my experience (I work at Junior High School), teachers tend to enforce stroke orders more on younger kids still getting used to writing, but they don’t particularly care about the older kids’ handwriting as much. Plenty of kids still mess up b and d into their third year, so stroke order is the least of their concerns


I guess that would be the equivalent of us (non-Japanese) messing up さ and ち :wink:


I can’t give you a resource but from my experience? YES, they absolutely teach the “correct” way to write letters. So much so that, “They don’t write correctly.” Is not an uncommon complaint from JTEs about ALTs. Literally, native English speakers don’t write the alphabet like the almighty textbook demands. This is more of an elementary school problem and a first year of junior high school.


I’m german and I write both the capital m and w in four strokes. I’ve never thought about it up until now. It’s just how you learn to write in primary school unless you stick to cursive which you only learn from third grade onwards. I do connect the M from left to right but it’s not more difficult to connect it the Japanese way. At least for me, I’ve tried it just now because I was curious. It doesn’t connect poorly but I was insecure how far to the right I had to place the second stroke. I think it’s just a matter of practice.
How do you write a capital M in one stroke? Do you start at the bottom left and just go up or do you start at the top and trace back?