Best kanji app

I know there are a few threads about kanji apps, but I wanted to know people’s experiences with these apps, to find one that better suits my needs.

I want an app where I can go through the JLPT kanji, not necessarily SRS, and write it to practice it.

I downloaded Ringotan, and it’s good, but I’m not the biggest fan of it not letting you actually write the kanji and just comparing what you write to the ideal strokes, plus the lines are more confusing than helpful.

I’ve seen a few dictionary apps that have kanji writing as an extra, like obenkyo, I think. But l mostly remember that one having kanji and vocab quizzes.

I know I could download all the kanji apps and compare them, which is what I usually do, but I figured I might as well ask.

I don’t want to be gated by levels and stuff, which is why I don’t feel like using WaniKani at the moment.

Any comments are appreciated.

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I don’t know if you are a Kitsun user but posted this kanji deck that uses the app for productive entry. I have it tagged by N level along with Jisho links for the video stroke order and WK link so you can reference the entry.

I’m using a simplified Chinese keyboard for the handwriting. It is usually good but it can picky so I’ll use it a scratch pad and flip it can not not find entry for the pass. Otherwise, nothing gated of course and you could filter by WK level of preferred (separate WK filter deck, set to ‘known’, etc.)

Been using it for 8-9 months now, ~800 kanji atm at a casual pace and has been a huge help. And with WK experience and reference, it’s a lot easier than past writing attempts

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I’ve never used Ringotan, so I’m not sure exactly what you mean here (it sounds like you both can and can’t write in the app, in your description). What does Ringotan have you do? A picture might help me understand.

I use Kanji Study, but it’s important to note that it’s only fully fleshed out on Android. The creator abandoned the iOS version.

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Kanjitree
Has a good writing system, I used it for a while until I gave up on writing to favor speed

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For anyone using iOS (might be on other operating systems as well), I personally liked “Kanji Teacher - Learn Japanese” developed by Christian Rusche, and it does have an SRS system but if I remember correctly it was more or less optional (though I guess all SRS systems are more or less optional).

I got curious about this app. Sadly, I found a comment pointing out it appears to be abandoned by the developers.

Last updated on Jul 10, 2020

Which means, it might break with further OS-updates. Since it’s not for free, that’s something to keep in mind if you get it. :slightly_frowning_face:

Otherwise, it’s got some stellar reviews and seems very good.

I used to use an Anki deck with Kanji Stroke Order font which can easily cover up to the level of vocabularies as well, not only Kanji. There is this version for WaniKani in Anki – [Version 1.05 | 2016-01-31] Anki deck for kanji writing practice

Last time I tried, Kitsun doesn’t seem to have whiteboard feature; and I totally forgot about possibility of using Android handwriting keyboards. (While AnkiDroid (Anki for AnkiDroid) does have whiteboard feature.)

Japanese handwriting keyboard is always a possibility. I think Kanji are usually more similar to traditional Chinese variants, though.


There is also a trick possible with simply Excel or Google Sheets – Kanji / Explanations on column A-B, wider than the screen column C, Hints on column D. Then, try to work up 10 Kanji at a time. Colorize each row sets, if that helps.

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Kanji Study for android is amazing. I used to make a deck for each level on wanikani and practice memorizing writing them. It has quizzes on writing order, reading (and meaning too i think?). I’m pretty sure it also has pre-made decks with the joyo kanji (divided by japan school grades) or the jlpt kanji.

It’s not free but it’s not too expensive either. If you pay a little extra you can also unlock the phonetic semantic information (if that’s your thing).

Unfortunately I don’t think they ever made an iOS version, or they just never updated that version.

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Several apps, Kanji Study and Skritter included, don’t allow freestyle writing. Instead, the stroke must be matched, to continued to the next stroke. I don’t know if it is preferred or not (by the OP).

Also, in practice, I think rather than wrong stroke order, wrong Kanji itself is also possible. And there is also a thing about Chinese and Japanese having different stroke orders, and sometimes different number of strokes, down to the particle level.

Kanji Study certainly allows free style writing. You just write the kanji and compare the strokes after. I use it all the time. Maybe there’s some other settings I don’t use, but the way I use it definitely allows you to write whatever you want before checking the answer.

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This is what I mean.

And yes, I didn’t specify, but I’m using android.

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I’m not a kitsun user atm, and I don’t have another keyboard besides the default android one, but that’s mostly because I’m lazy. I might download one with handwriting capability if needed.

I’ll check it out. :slight_smile:

I’ve heard good things about anki, of course, but I’ve always been put off by having to do the work myself compared to wk for example, but since I’m not planning on using wk anyway, might give it a try.

I’ll check kanji study, I did see some people saying it was good.

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I use iphone, I’ve used a few 3rd party handwriting Japanese keyboards but the native iphone simplified Chinese keyboard has still been the best thus far. As mentioned, I do work like a whiteboard scratchpad just the same if the production can’t get to match, which I’m fine with that as well. It may flag if the stroke order is incorrect or I’m not writing the radical proportion correctly or just simply miss (or produce you can to find the kanji . Then there are 国字 which I wouldn’t expect but haven’t encountered that much yet.

Supposedly, ipad was a native handwriting keyboard. Android probably has more options or various keyboard options, curious to hear other’s experiences if they have used them.

If curious, this is what is looks like

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You already mentioned my favorite for Android which is Obenkyo.

For pure kanji study that’s my favorite, and I like that I can select and deselect which kanji I want to study and then use the “test” feature with “Kanji Draw” to test recall and handwriting recognition.

Not exactly relevant to your ask about studying kanji out of order, but another app I strongly recommend downloading as a dictionary app is Akebi. It supports typing “?” for 1 or more characters in a word and then you can press on the “?” and draw that character, or type a common reading or another word with that character and choose the kanji you want. REALLY useful for looking up words from manga or books without furigana where you know none or only some of the kanji in the compound and can’t guess the reading.

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Confirmation bias, let’s go.

Apparently akebi also has a kanji test?

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Oh weird, I never noticed that feature before! I guess I just get so used to using the same apps for the same things. It does seem to be a pretty awkward interface for that, but looks like you can send words you look up or add to a list directly to that Kanji grid and then test on them.

I also keep Takoboto as a separate dictionary app because I like it’s search results and vocab list structure best of all the apps I’ve tried. I keep a separate list there for each book / manga / etc. I’m reading and it works really well for quickly reviewing common vocab from that source. Also has Anki integration, but I stopped using Anki a while back (SRS fatigue).

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