Caligraphy Set!

I began studying Japanese a few weeks before the holiday season, and a traditional Japanese-style calligraphy set was one of my only requests to my parents to be gifted for Christmas. I was excited to use it, but I felt like I needed to continue practicing my writing skills. Today, after almost two months of using pencils to make my flashcards(example on the bottom left), I felt ready to put it to use.

Look at how much more character my flashcards have now! Clearly I’m an amateur, but I feel like I’m making art every time I learn a new vocab or kanji.


I ordered a book from Amazon Japan, that teaches the way you can write most strokes. It’s entirely in Japanese, but it’s got big pictures:

Also, I know a calligraphy teacher who teaches online from the Netherlands.


I compromise, I use the fudenosuke soft tip brush pen and write out all my WK reviews (kanji, main reading, main meaning). I also changed the font in wanikani to represent stroke types and stroke order with userscripts.


Oh, nice! I’m going to download that kanji stroke order script.

I combine the kanjistrokeorder script and an edited version of Jitai, I summarized the approach here: Jitai (字体): The font randomizer that fits - #495 by DasHannes

I get Yu Mincho as default font for basic stroke types and per mouseover I see the stroke order. Works great.

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If you like calligraphy it can be fun to watch on youtube. There are channels like this one and here’s another one. And a video for writing hiragana with a brush pen. Makes me feel self conscious about my poor handwriting though :sob:

Also, calligraphy is a fantastic way to review the kanji I think. Good job!


For anyone interested, this video goes over like how to position the paper, your hands, how to move the brush, etc. if you want to do it like in a formal class or something. Obviously it’s a bigger paper than a flashcard, but some of the principles still apply (like moving from your shoulder and not your wrist). It is aimed at Japanese people so it is all in Japanese, but you can infer the positioning from the body language and it’s still helpful to learn by mimicking the movements. My calligraphy teacher when I was in Japan spoke no English and my Japanese was probably lower N3 at the time, but I was still able to learn a lot from her so it can still be useful.


I watched a video of how to use the set to figure out how to make the ink, and I saw that his writing style was that of suspending his hand and arm in the air above the table. This is a strange adjustment, as naturally my wrist rests on the table. In English writing, letters tend to move left to right, so characters with right to left strokes feel unnatural. I’ll check out that video soon!

Yeah, it will feel weird at first for sure, that is normal. For me, I have a fine art background and so using my shoulder to draw was already natural for me so that was an advantage I think, but you will get used to it too! There are other channels and videos on making the basic strokes (an pointers on it) that I have found if you ever want to watch those. Calligraphy is a challenge for sure, but it is a rewarding practice (and it really helps with remembering the kanji/vocab I think as they begin to become works of art and the logic of the strokes makes the most sense in calligraphy… at least I think so)!

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i started writing the kanji normal after hitting lvl 20 on wk because i think its good for learning kanji overall better, ofcourse for the price of having to put alot more effort into it overall. I m also kinda interested in Caligraphy, but i will only start it when my normal kanji writing skills are somewhat decent.

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I actually think it does not really cost time, because one trades item quantity against learning depth. Of course I will spend more time on WK this way, but I will spend significantly less time relearning things I forgot in the process due to lack of learning depth.

Regarding calligraphy: At the very least displaying a more handwriting like font such as Yu Mincho helps a lot to make similar looking kanji more distinguishable. in the standard font, many kanji are quite simplified and the lack of detail makes it in my experience harder to clearly remember them correctly.

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