How important/helpful is it to practise writing Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji?

I was wondering what everyones experiences were with learning/practising writing in Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji? I was thinking of learning to write Hiragana and Katakana so that I am more confident in reading them (theres still a few Katakana characters that I struggle to remember how to read) but I wasnt sure whether its really necessary to learn to write Kanji as there are so many different characters to learn.

Any advice would be appreciated


If you have a habit of writing things down as a part of your learning process, why not :slight_smile: .
Otherwise, it’s not necessary. You can be able to read kana and kanji, but not always be able to write them. For instance, I sometimes forget how to write some kana during class and more complex kanji as well, because I haven’t been writing in Japanese for over a year.


I find it essential to my learning process. I write out all kanji as I’m learning them in WK many, many times. I have no doubt it’s helping me a lot.


If you plan on living in Japan, I would say it’s better if you do at least some light practice (no need to painfully go over all characters nor anything like that).
I say that because as much as “everything is typed nowadays anyway”, I’m sure sooner or later you will be prompted to write a memo, fill in a form, write a message for someone, whatever.
And if you’ve NEVER done any writing, it will probably be a chaos and people around will be confused to say the least.

If you have no intentions on ever coming to Japan and is just learning so you can consume Japanese media as it is, I don’t think it’s necessary indeed. Helpful as a study method for several people as already mentioned, yes. But not “necessary”.


Completely unnecessary in the sense that people can get to a high level of general proficiency without touching handwriting.

For me it’s a fundamental part of how I learn Japanese and I spend more than an hour a day practicing writing (mostly on the train) just because I enjoy it.


I blank every time I need to write even the simplest of characters. I do fine with hiragana to some degree, but katakana and especially kanji are MIA


I did handwrite while learning grammar, but those are usually in Hiragana. Kanji and Katakana are by sight and copying immediately. Perhaps I should have taken note by typing…

My opinion would simply be of, not get hanged on not being able to write Kanji correctly, or almost not at all. Hiragana might consider being able to write by nature. Katakana may need a little looking up and getting used to.

But yes, another reason to write Kanji, would about being able to identify all the components; but that’s optional and quite a thorny path. (Especially when counting writing in a word or a sentence.)

I don’t know how to write kana or kanji.

Not important but it seems to be a method of reinforcing used by some. I think what matters is what you are using Japanese for, I will likely never have a reason to write Japanese so I didn’t learn it. If I’m visiting Japan, and there comes a time for me to write something brief, I don’t really mind pulling up a kana chart real quick so I can copy some characters down.
That being said, nothing wrong with learning for the fun of it.

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Given what everyone has said here, and given that I dont plan on living in Japan, I will give writing Kana and Kanji a miss. Not really any reason to currently as I’m not the sort of person that reinforces my learning by writing it down. Might consider writing Kana further down the line but not for the minute. Thanks everyone!


I didn’t learn how to write kana at the start because it was technically “unnecessary”, and then ended up deeply regretting it months later because I couldn’t write simple answers in my textbook or even write down the name of the manga I was reading in my journal. The longer I put off learning how to write, the harder it got to motivate myself to start.

I think there are a lot of benefits from learning how to write, like you learn the relationship between し and シ, and つ and ツ, which makes those kana easier to memorize. Plus being able to take even simple notes in Japanese is useful. Otherwise, you will be entirely dependent on having access to a keyboard, or writing in romaji.

I recommend at least practicing writing some kanji, too, even if you don’t memorize how to write any of them, because learning the basics of stroke order will help immensely when you want to look up an unknown kanji. Drawing it on the IME pad is way easier than trying to look something up by the radical. I got a basic familiarity with stroke order just by practicing a little bit every day until I’d practiced a few hundred kanji, and now I can quickly draw a kanji on the IME pad and successfully get it to give me the one I’m looking for 99% of the time.

So I guess I’d say that it’s very beneficial, but it is a time sink, and some people don’t think the time it takes is worth it for the benefits. I personally recommend learning to write at least the basics (all of the kana, and enough kanji practice to understand the fundamentals of stroke order). Learning how to write the kana is ultimately a very small portion of the time you’ll spend studying the language, it’s practically insignificant in the grand scheme of things.


Deeply agree.

Practicing kanji and caring about stroke order is a time sink and I can understand people wanting to avoid it if possible. Fair.

However, practicing kana gets done very quickly and won’t make much difference to your total study time when compared to the daunting task of learning 2,000 kanji and such. And even if you are not planning on coming to Japan, having writing experience does help on recognizing handwritten text on Japanese media, which I would say is one of the top questions we always get in the forums, lol.
While speech balloons in manga are properly printed, very often you will find hand written text floating around.

The most recent example I could remember from Short Questions thread:


Poster was confused because they were reading a ろ instead of a ら.
I can totally see why someone who never practice writing would have trouble identifying it as a ら.

That being said, again, if you feel like it’s unneeded, sure. No need to do it I guess.


I think it can largely depend on your goals. I want to be as fluent as possible in every aspect, so it’s definitely necessary for me to feel proficient in writing.
Even if that wasn’t my goal, I think that regularly practicing writing kanji really helps me wrap my head around each character. When you fully understand every stroke, I think it makes it so much easier to remember and apply. The process of writing anything will reinforce it in your memory. So, I think it’s undeniably helpful, but if your only goals are only to be able to engage in conversation, or being able to consume some sort of media, maybe it isn’t necessary.


My perspective might be skewed, because I started learning Japanese in college courses (and learning how to write was therefore required lol), but handwriting was EXTREMELY helpful for me in the early stages and continues to be helpful and practical for my continued Japanese study.

Physically writing out the kana was essential to my early retention, and nowadays I write out all the new kanji to try to get them into my muscle memory even though I don’t have to write exams or do homework anymore. It’s also nice to have all my kanji written out in physical space to reference quickly.

Obviously a factor that influences how useful it is for me is living in Japan; I need to fill out forms and write memos to my coworkers, but being at least vaguely familiar with how kanji are written is also useful in the abstract. I can look at an unknown kanji and draw it out into my dictionary app, then learn what it means. Sometimes this is faster/more accurate than trying to mess with Google picture translation, especially for handwritten things that Google can’t recognize. (I would also argue that knowing the right stroke order makes it much easier for the dictionary app to figure out what you’re trying to look for).

(A more efficient way would be to figure out how to look up kanji using radicals but that is a step beyond my current ability at the moment lol).



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:sweat_smile: yeah i havent done a lot of practice with it. Sometimes it’s hard for me to suss out radical components of kanji, especially ones I don’t know. i need to practice with it more :triumph:

in terms of speed, it’s still usually faster for me to draw out a kanji than scroll around in the radical menu :sweat:


Radical search is a paper-dictionary era concept. If you know the basics of stroke order it’s definitely easier and faster just writing it.

And of course if you absolutely NEVER practiced handwriting, it probably won’t work because you will likely divide individual strokes into multiple ones, merge separate ones, make them out of order and pretty much screw the recognition algorithm.

Thinking about it now, that might be the most important use for anyone outside of Japan, indeed.


In my case, I use writing practice to help me memorize the kanji. No vague notions of “I’m pretty sure I could recognize this kanji if I saw it in the wild” by the time I’ve gone through a few SRS rounds, if I practice writing it, too. This is because I know the radicals/parts and where they are in relation to each other by heart. This also helps me prevent mistakes with visually similar kanji.

I’ve also noticed I can more easily recognize kanji written in font faces not used in my resources/apps (especially highly stylized ones) if I’ve practiced writing it. Because I’m looking for the composition, not my brain’s memory stamp of “this general shape” I saw in WaniKani or my graded reading material.

I feel that being able to successfully recognize AND recall something accurately makes one’s memory of that item stronger and faster to access.

Oh, and the same goes for kana for me. I’ve noticed there are occasionally font faces where telling apart シツンソ is pretty much entirely dependent on something in the style indicating where the strokes started (such as one end being thicker), because the angle of the lil’ dashes is next to impossible to distinguish from one another in the different characters.

This being said, most of my writing practice comes from an app that allows me to set how strict it is about my stroke placement, and I have it at a very forgiving setting (sometimes a little too forgiving, but fortunately I’m honest). Because my goal isn’t to have perfect handwriting (and I’m using a finger on my phone anyway, so not exactly handwriting practice…). My goal is to know the shapes of the kanji.

As others have mentioned, looking up kanji can be a little easier if you know the general rules of thumb of stroke direction and have knowledge of most or all the radicals within the kanji you’re looking up (since it’ll make it easier to draw). There is at least one online dictionary I know of that even allows you to ignore stroke order, so as long as you’ve got the strokes’ relative positioning decently enough, you’re good to go.

All the ones I use don’t have writing. :smiling_face_with_tear:

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