Decided to not learn how to write Kanji

I thought about it for a while now and decided that i will not want to learn writing kanji. If i want to comunicate its in typing and speaking form.
Without going through all that writing stuff I can safe so much time and invest it somewhere else

I watched a few videos about that topic and what i get from native speakers is that they do not need to write kanji in their daily lifes anyway.

What is your take on that?


If you live in Japan you might come across a situation that you need to take a note for someone with pen and paper so knowing how to write is useful sometimes. Also, writing kanji down helps you remember them.

Otherwise devoting hours into it while you have other things to do is probably not worth it.


If you’re willing to put in a heavy upfront investment, it may end up saving some time in the long run for learning kanji, but that time could also be devoted to grammar and reading, which is going to give you kanji and vocabulary in-context. It’s a preference thing. If you have a practical use for hand writing Japanese, then go for it. If not, you can always come back to it later, and it will be faster to perfect the strokes when you already know thousands of kanji and vocab.


This is also the recommendation from Tofugu, though I don’t remember in which article I read that. Basically, unless you’re living in Japan and have particular need for it, you don’t really need to write kanji by hand in this day and age. Learning to read and type using an IME is quite enough. :slight_smile:

Edit: here you go: (first sentence ^^')


I think writing Kanji is definitely a valuable skill, especially if you plan on living in Japan in some time of the future.

That said, I agree that at this stage it might be more valuable to invest that time into something else. Japanese is a very study-heavy language, so it’s not bad to try to trim down the study part to its most essential parts in my opinion.

You can still teach yourself to write Kanji afterwards. I think the worst thing that could happen is if you overwhelm yourself with too much to study that it makes you want to give up. If you stop halfway, none of your hard effort is going to amount for anything, so reap the benefits first.


Living in Japan, I think it’s good to know how to write some basic kanji, but it’s not essential to be able to write tons of kanji.

I’d recommend maybe being able to write the most common 50-100 or so (私, time, days, numbers, etc) because in situations where you want to write, having at least a few kanji keeps it from looking “childish.”

Personally I do actually regret not practicing writing more, because I think that would really help with my Japanese studies overall (writing linked to higher memory retention than typing and all), but I’ve never been in a situation here where not being able to write a kanji has had any big negative impact.
So really, do whatever suits your language goals the most!


I am the same, however I have found that by only learning recognition and typing, I do not “know” the kanji as well as the ones I learned to write some time ago. You’ll have to experiment and figure out for yourself if the time saved in not learning to write is worth the less stable kanji memory in the long run. Its basically the active recall vs passive recognition thing.


I find learning to write kanji really helps me remember how to read kanji better. I become more aware of what radicals are in more complex kanji, especially. Plus, it’s kinda fun to do.


After two years living/working here I relatively rarely have to write any kanji, with the most common being my address.
I made the choice to put speaking listening and reading before writing and I think that those three have the greater impact on interactions that you realistically will come across.
However, if you do plan to go for a job that requires N2/N1 level Japanese they will likely expect that you can write if needed.

Plus, its a way to really impress natives if you want the highest level of 「日本語上手ですね!」


My stance is that it is absolutely and with complete certainty a waste of time in this day and age. If you want to work in Japan at a job where you will have to hand write in Japanese, then yes.

But otherwise it’s futile. It is also futile to learn stroke order. Now, some people like it and learn it and it’s important to them which is fine. I’m not saying it is wrong. It’s simply my opinion.

If I ever need to hand write it, I’ll whip out my phone type it and then copy it Lol. If I find myself without a phone and need to write it?? Tough luck. I’ll move on :slight_smile:


This is good but I still don’t recommend it. You could practice how to write the most common 100 for example once you’re fluent. I compare it to learning how to drive. You should learn how to drive first and then—if you wish— you can learn how to drive a stick.

You dont have to know how to drive a stick but it’s nice to know it. But to learn how to drive on a stick shift? Nah

My take is, if it helps to remember Kanji’s radical details. Also, it may aid remembering by moving more muscles (small muscles of hands). Some people may be an appropriate learning type for this.

So, I wrote every Kanji in WaniKani, but not as far as particular details as preferred by natives. (I followed Japanese stroke orders, however.)

Still, I believe it is not necessary to learn to write by hand at vocabulary level, or at sentence/essay level; as it may take a lot of time to learn thoroughly.


I started with Dr. Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji, and just learned meaning<>kanji without on’yomi or kun’yomi. It probably wasn’t the best path to start on, but I did learn the writing as I went for 1K+ Kanji. That’s enough for me. Am I going to have perfect stroke order on every single kanji, every time? No. However, it’s good enough to help reading hand-written and write if I need to write. Once you get the hang of a few hundred, I’d say you probably can best guess most kanji well enough that it’s fine.

Perks I can think of:

  • Reading hand-written
  • Being able to write legibly
  • Helping to contrast similar looking kanji such as 人 v. 入

Long story short, learn a few hundred or so later on when you have the inclination, and it’ll give you some perks.


I’ve found learning to write kanji to be essential, namely for reading accuracy for visually similar kanji once you get exposure to a high number kanji (and not necessarily for the sake of writing). This was a huge misconception I had, I wish I had worked on this sooner. The muscle memory of the stroke is something you won’t get with sheer radical memorization or holding on to 1000s of radical mnemonic stories which is neither practical or efficient.

The feat and time investment is not nearly as daunting, especially after putting in time here…still will use radical/mnemonics sometimes as it is still applicable. But I’d say it depends when you start for kanji writing. Long ago, I tried and it was too slow and completely overwhelming and was inexperienced; didn’t seem like a practical skill so gave up. But going through WK and then learning more additional kanji on top of that, it can easily turn into a kanji soup. You can read a bunch but it’s not always efficient I find as you can sort cheat often on the collocations on the context. And WK is a collocation system, which is great for short term progress and confidence, but I find it eventually bottlenecks. Natives warned me earlier on it would eventually come to this, they may not write as much nowadays but their writing experience is with them in other aspects.


I had an easier time learning kanji by writing it down. You do not even have to use paper, just do it in Anki in your phone and it works. The reason why I think it helped me is because writing them down made it easier on my head to break down each part of the kanji, which translated into me having an easier time associating stuff down the road when I was studying N1 kanji.

But that’s just me.

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I live in Japan and there’s no need for me to be able to write kanji from memory.

If it helps you in particular study and memorize the kanji itself, great! If not, no worries. Although I would caution that many learner materials lack good instructions for writing. They maybe have an outline of the kanji (usually some variation of a computer font), but rarely any instructions or advice on the balance or positioning of the kanji and its radicals. So you might learn how to write like a computer types, maybe.

There are DS/3DS games that give instruction or feedback and of course a real native speaker could too. I would recommend these over just studying it on one’s own, unless the goal is just to memorize the kanji and not to be able to write it. I’ve looked for and asked about apps that do the same, but have yet to find any.


I feel that this highly depends on what your goals are. You just want to talk or understand Japanese? Then you probably even don’t need the Hiragana and Katakana, and can save time learning them in detail. As you are learning Kanji that’s not the case for you. For me, reading and writing are essential skills which is why I always look up the stroke order and write it down myself. It’s not too essential for me to be a fast and skillful writer, so I don’t stress on it too much. I hardly write anything in my other languages as well. But I need to write stuff down to get it into my brain (and if I have to do it anyways, I can also concentrate on proper stroke order). I feel like after writing a couple of Kanji you somehow get a hang of how they are generally written, I.e. for new Kanji you can start guessing the order. I know that there are a couple of people like me, who need to write things down to really learn them, but if you aren’t I don’t see much value in it. You could also postpone it to later and might be faster then because you can concentrate on stroke order and don’t also need to remember a couple of meanings and readings for it.

Even I wouldn’t spent time on getting every of the 2000 Kanji correct with every stroke. But getting a general feel and being able to reproduce them half-way readable is important to me.

I thought the same thing about Hiragana and Katakana. But after writing each one 50 times a day for a week, it helped immensely with being able to read and remember them, and seeing the difference between the ones that look similar. Kanji is a totally different beast, but I think I’ll probably spend some time on the writing too. But yeah, it’s definitely my lowest priority.

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Priorities can change. I’ll say that I do think there’s merit in learning how to handwrite and that’s mostly for taking quick notes. I definitely miss that part and it is something I might consider adding to my routine in the near future.

I’ve written the first 500 Kanji I’ve learned down over and over again. I needed to write them on exams in my first 2 semesters but after that everything was pretty much digital anyway.
I’ve stopped writing them down completely, and many of the others I’ve studied with did the same lol, it was just time consuming and didn’t really help anymore in the long run.

Ive been living in Japan for 3 months now and have never come across a situation where I had to write Kanji other than maybe my address, but that’s it.
I think it’s perfectly fine to prioritise other things over handwriting, I barely ever handwrite anything anyway and I guess that’s the case with almost everyone. Even if you happen to have to write something in Kanji, you might be able to just look it up on you phone before writing it down lol