Do you write and take notes when learning Japanese?

I usually don’t write when studying but I’m afraid that that is not a good idea. Do you recommend to write what have you learned in order to acquire it?


Writing won’t guarantee that you remember something, but it forces you to slow down and process it word by word or character by character. That apparently engages your brain and improves retention. I don’t know for certain if it helps, but I felt that writing a list of new words I learnt in French, even if I never reviewed it, helped me to retain those words, especially in terms of spelling conventions.


Being learning for almost a year. Almost never wrote anything down. Not fluent enough but i think if you can understand it without writing it then don’t write it and vice versa

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I’ve actually found it detrimental unless you do one important thing: throw it away after you’ve written it down.

People learn different and I know many people who have dozens of notebooks and learn much better that way.

I, on the other hand, am not that kind of person. My brain is very lazy and the act of writing something down implies to my brain that it doesn’t have to remember this thing anymore since it can just look it up later.

So I never write things down when studying.

You’ll probably have to find out for yourself if you fall into this extreme. :wink:


Hm… you know, I said I find that writing things down might help me remember them, but I tend to write them somewhere with no intention of referring to my notes? Now that you mention it, I might not learn anything when I take things down ‘for future reference’. That’s an interesting thought. I mean, I had an actual vocabulary notebook for French, and I still have one somewhere for Chinese (it was a gift from my teacher), but I only flipped through them occasionally, and mainly to give myself a sense of what I’d seen/learnt recently. As for Japanese… I write on random pieces of paper that eventually vanish a few weeks/months down the road.

Maybe the key thing to do regardless of whether or not we use notebooks is to tell ourselves that we want to remember things for good the first time around, even if it’s not always possible in reality. Our brains might not make the necessary effort otherwise.


Writing down kanji and vocabulary items as I learn them helps drill into my head all the little intricacies of the kanji, so it’s beneficial for me in that way. Makes it easier to recognise them later on.


I write down the grammar points in my notebook so I can go back and take a peek whenever I want. I write down words on small paper and carry them around so I can review them. Other than that I do not go and write the same words 100 times or something. It might be good for kanji but it is boring imo.


Don’t worry about it. I’ve wrote virtually nothing in the past 5 years and had fine progress and retention rates. There are studies saying you remember things you write better, but not writing stuff won’t cause you to have any problems.


I guess it might depend on what you hope to gain from wanikani. I have a notebook in which I copy only the kanjis and their meanings in hiragana at least once during each study session as I encounter them. I find that ‘looking’ at the kanjis per wanikani’s method help me remember definitions, but not necessarily how to write the kanji, i.e. - I can recognize the kanji and give you the definition, but I would not be able to competently write the kanji if you gave me the definition/hiragana. I find writing the kanji helps me not only with retention but accurate writing of the kanji. For me, I have also found stroke order can be important in retaining kanji and the characters - it just gives added ‘form’ to the learning process. Sometimes, the graphics for the kanji presented in wanikani are (accidentally) misleading with respect to stroke (I’m a beginner so my example would be ‘thread’ / ‘ito’). I use a second app to ensure stroke order is correct as I don’t see any info for this in wanikani…unless I’m missing something…


I do write things down but I never look at them again. Writing things down simply helps me to memorize things and if I want to write things down I usually either try to make it as simple as possible (for grammar points) or try to write as much as I can (like writing a short text) which means I think about the topic a lot and really engage my brain.
So that helps a lot. Not to mention that there are numerous studies that prove that writing down helps you to remember things (muscle memory, extra connection etc). but if that is not your learning style it won’t hurt to not do it.


I only take notes for grammar (while watching misa absolute beginner series and Japaneze from zero books), and i realize that helped me a lot on writing and reading kana faster. Sometimes i write some kanjis using (
Im at a very beginner level, started japanese literally from zero 40 days ago. Though, I studied in med school for 6 years, and pediatrics for another 2 years and almost never took notes and never had any problems, but for some reason, i feel its been helping me with grammar.

PS: english is not my native tongue, sorry for errors.


Same for me. I don’t reference what I write after the lessons, but the extra step of writing stuff down makes the lessons stick better for me, probably because more parts of the brain are engaged in the process.


I like writing kanji I find more complex or similar to other kanji. Writing it down by hand kinda creates a some sort of reflex. I haven’t taken any notes other than that. I find that notes takes my focus away.

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I write down every kanji and their readings while studying from wanikani, and will take notes while in classes or learning online about grammar and sentence structure.
Honestly I just like to write in japanese, i think its really fascinating and fun, but I don’t do it often and only write down things for the personal affect of feeling * cool * because of it

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I always write everything I learn, along with the readings and mneononics. I use it to review along with the self study quiz. Though my notes are somewhat disorganized, it helps me out

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