How do you all practice writing Kanji?

Not everyone writes but some people find it easier to remember if you hand write kanji. Here’s a few things that I do!

  1. Master stroke order. Often kanji will look like a big mess of things, and it’s even harder to visualize or write them down if you can’t first break a character down into its smaller pieces. Learn the rules of stroke order, and practice them on the new radicals you learn!

  2. Like some already mentioned, practice writing them in every day vocabulary. This will take them from being abstract concepts from your mind and turn them into something more every day, so you’re more likely to remember them. I think keeping a daily journal of 3-5 sentences in Japanese using vocabulary words you’ve learned is a good place to start. (it can be something as simple as 今日、この言葉を勉強しました!)

  3. Expose yourself to new sentences using the kanji you are learning. Whether you go read picture books or look for examples from a dictionary, it always helps to see words you want to write being put into use.

I use the app HelloTalk to have native speakers correct my grammar on what I’ve written for the day before immortalizing it in ink, too, to reinforce good grammar if I were to ever look back and read old entries. I also get to see things written by Japanese people on there, or else hop into Japanese Twitter to see other people saying things in everyday ways.

Some people want to master writing every kanji, and memorize them perfectly, but remember that not even native Japanese speakers can perfectly write every kanji beyond a certain point. Unless you plan on taking the kanken or need to prove your kanji worth in a 闇のゲーム, try not to push yourself too hard and burning yourself out!


I study to pass the kanken kanji test there you are forced to write. It is a good motivation and you get a nice certificate. Its also a good challenge and will give you feedback of your kanji knowledge. Furthermore you learn a ton of new vocab since its aimed for Japanese.

If you have an iPhone I’d recommend the app KanjiBox. I can’t remember if it’s free, as I’ve had it on my phone for… a long time - but it’s got an optional add on called KanjiDraw which is about 99p. This tests you on your stroke order as you draw the kanji right on the screen and will grade you with a green/orange/red system for accuracy for each stroke.

It’s also got some other drills like multiple choice kanji meaning/readings, a missing kanji task which gives you vocabulary and you have to fill in the blank with the correct kanji which helps reinforce the meanings through context. There’s also some grammar drill tasks which aren’t as effective as things like bunpro and reading practice but are a nice inclusion.

I pretty much used this app to learn all the N5 and N4 kanji and then decided I wanted something a bit more involved for later levels (hence moving here), but it’s still my go to for handwriting and on-the-go testing when I don’t have any reviews. It’s not a pretty app but it’s certainly useful! There is a web based version of it but I’ve only used the app so cannot comment on any other versions.


Thank you everyone for replying to my post! The things you have said have been really helpful!

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I use an (android) app called Japanese Kanji Study which tests on stroke order, which has really helped me. I also do handwritten homework for my classes so I’m regularly using some that way. I know a lot of people think it’s unnecessary to learn to write kanji because of smartphones but it has definitely improved my memory for them.

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Just to answer this part specifically and emphasise something that auruille said - beyond writing, this issue will get a lot better if you have exposure to kanji outside of the WaniKani environment. If your grammar isn’t yet at a level where you can read anything then I wouldn’t worry about this too much; you’ll get practice when you get practice.

If you do think you can start to read, then I’d take a look at getting some low-level graded readers or similar to give you a bit of exposure.

I might also recommend this font randomiser script, as it can help to reduce your dependence on the WaniKani font specifically.

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I watched a really interesting YouTube video relating to this recently! It was super informative and basically suggesting using Remembering the Kanji as a way to drill and practice writing kanji. Here it is if interested (he explains it with much more depth and eloquence while writing kanji in the background). It’s a little anti WaniKani but WaniKani works the best for me so I don’t see the reason in stopping it if we all learn differently. I’m gonna buy RTK at some point and continue using WaniKani as a supplement since you can’t practice writing with WK.

I second this, I love that it separates into the JLPT levels and it helped me a lot in my vocab sections when I took the tests.

Get this trash out of here.

Why do you think it’s trash? Genuine question and not looking to argue either.

What would stop you? Are the mnemonics in RTK that much different? I didn’t make it far before quitting.

Also that’s not him writing the kanji. He does give credit in the description, but I think I’ve seen multiple people think it was him. It kind of lends the impression that he used RTK to get super amazing at calligraphy.

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It’s just an RTK ad made by someone who learnt from it and then refused to accept that there were better methods, like wanikani, and so started saying they’re bad, even though WK is literally RTK but with more information.

It’s not that I’m saying RTK is bad, or that writing is bad (It can only help), or that WK is all there is, but I just think that video and the creature who made it are trashy.

I guess because it’s not physical or made with the intent of practising your handwriting? With Kanji practice books there are literal spaces for practising writing the kanji with a guided stroke order so I meant it in a very literal sense. But I didn’t mean you actually ‘can’t’. I should have phrased it as ‘you don’t practice writing with WaniKani actively’ to be more precise. Oh and thanks for the clarification about the kanji writing in the background, that’s a shame and makes the credibility of his video much lower.


I see! That’s fair enough. It’s the first and only video I’ve seen by them so I’m not really familiar with the rest of their opinions or how much I agree with them. Though I did think the video I initially linked was pretty interesting is all.

rtk isn’t bad, writing what you learn with it is actually the intended way to do the book.

personally, i believe that just writing something like a diary, or random stuff, every day, will be more helpful. like, pick a couple words you just learned on wk, then try to use them, and write it all by hand.

mind you, that’s what i’d do if i was handwriting… which i am not, or at least not yet. time is a real problem for me.


Hi Ukaiji, fancy seeing you here :wink:
I think what everyone has said here is very useful, definitely going to give that KanjiBox app a try.
Personally I have a notebook that I write in at home. I also do a lot of doodling at work (especially in long boring meetings) I try to recall as many kanji as I can. I find that my biggest problem is that I can’t really see or visualize the kanji in my mind, so I’m trying to think in kanji which is really hard.

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I don’t practise writing kanji at all. Considering that I basically never write anything by hand, even in English, I don’t see it as an effective use of my time.

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That video has just been debated to death a few times already. Recently even. Search on the forums if you are interested for lengthy discussions but there’s not much to add to the discussion anymore.

Have you tried Kanji Study app ( 5) for Android? I can’t stress enough how great this app is. Among other great features it teaches stroke order and it has kanji writing training and kanji writing quiz modes. It is possible (once the app is purchased) to create custom lists of kanji and go through them.
When I see kanji in WK I read mnemonics and immediately add this new kanji to the custom group in Kanji Study. Usually I have groups for each WK level and divide each group on 5-10 kanji. I drill handwriting (fingerwriting in that case, haha) during the day and then repeat a few days after.

It really helps in remembering.

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I write out the lessons at least once and whenever I get it wrong, I write it again and chant the mnemonic (true story) to try and reinforce it or imprint it in my memory somehow. I look up the stroke order online. I’m not big on drills and writing it over and over again though cos then it becomes muscle memory and you’re not really focused on anything: kanji itself nor the meaning of it.

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Those are only the last 21 levels (excluding 42, seems that I lost it)