How many people practice writing the kanji? Does it help?

Hello Everyone - just wondering how many people spend some time handwriting kanji.

I worked my way through Heisig and wrote out every kanji at least a few times. It definitely
gave me an understanding of how they should be written. Since then, though, I’ve only
worked on being able to recognize them. Writing isn’t a part of my WaniKani routine at all.

Is anybody making writing a part of their daily WK work? Thanks!

Does writing in an app (rather than by hand) count? I write a few dozen kanji in Skritter every day…

Writing is extremely helpful in bolstering my memory, but I use it now only for mistakes. I will go back and write out any missed reviews. If there are similar kanji that I continually mistake for the wrong kanji, I will do a “study” and rewrite all of the similar kanji as well.

I used to write all of my lessons as I went through them, but I very quickly burned out on this, and never returned to that practice. However, writing out my mistakes has been a helpful replacement practice.


That sounds like a great approach. I think I need to start writing to deal with leeches.

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I spent about 6 months focusing heavily on kanji writing, and while it made me much better at writing the kanji, there isn’t a lot of carry-over effect. It’s something you should do because writing is necessary, not because it’s helpful for kanji memorization.


Still counts in my book!

That makes sense. My plan has been to focus on recognition and reading, and then to circle back at some point to work on writing, if necessary. But I also think writing some of my leeches out, and the similar-looking kanji, is probably going to make me slow down enough to learn those particular kanji better.

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No, but I do take a lot of notes from Tobira and write out responses to questions there.

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I should do that more often, when I try to write down something I realize, that even the Kana don’t come as naturally as before.

For context, 10 years ago I studied Japanese in classes and then I could write really fast (using only a few Kanji though). Now I know a lot more overall, but I write like a baby :smiley:

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My handwriting is awful as well, to be honest. But subjectively speaking I write more clearly in kana than I do in English, especially now that I write mostly kana and kanji.

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I am writing kanji by hand pretty much everyday. The reason for that is so I can do exercises in my study books and because now and then I am actually tested on my hand writing.

Of course it helps with recognizing kanji I can read much faster now.


Now that i finished WK, i spend my SRS time on KameSame, which is another SRS system that focuses on production.
I use it on my phone with an handwriting keyboard. I’m basically writing all the kanjis and vocab of wk!

The WK and KS databases are linked, so you can learn production based on your WK progress. But the SRS system of KS is way more flexible, and you can add random words you meet during your japanese journey, whenever you want.

And, most imortant, it’s free!

Best benefit for me, is that it locks in the recognition of very similar kanjis. You’re forced to focus on the tiny details of the radicals. Would recommend.


I like to write kanji using the app kanji tree. I’d advise getting a tablet or phone pen because it will help with muscle memory when it come to writing with a regular pen.

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I try to practice writing every day, though sometimes I miss a day and have to catch up later. I use the lesson filter userscript to learn 3-4 kanji a day on WK, along with 9-10 vocab lessons, and I learn to write each kanji as I learn them here. One user put together some printable PDF writing practice sheets that are organized by WK level, and I combined all of them into a gigantic PDF and have just been printing off pages from it a few at a time. Practicing just a few kanji every single day honestly isn’t that much of a time commitment, so I’ve found it worthwhile.

I don’t know if I can definitively say whether or not it has helped my WK accuracy improve, but it has absolutely improved my ability to recognize other people’s handwritten kanji, as well as teaching me stroke order, which helps me get much better results with the IME pad when I’m trying to look up unknown kanji. Plus, it allows me to take physical notes, as well as write in my workbooks, and it makes me feel like I’m actually learning and internalizing this stuff when I can sit outside with my workbook and read and write entirely in Japanese without needing to use my phone or computer at all.

The biggest benefit, I think, is that writing the kanji has helped me enjoy them a lot more. I started out viewing them as essentially an obstacle in the way of my understanding, but now I appreciate them as fascinating things in themselves. I also love the Keisei semantic-phonetic composition script because it helps deepen my appreciation for how kanji evolved (in addition to just being very handy!).

I think if you’re doing WK at full speed, trying to write on top of everything else would probably be way too intense of a workload, but if you take it slowly enough, learning to write can help you appreciate the journey a little more.


i practice writing hanzi on another program only because the creators advised to do it once in every anki review session since their whole method is built upon mnemonics for tone visualization. It definitely helps a little but in terms of time investment, I dunno how really it’s beneficial. + if you want to take hsk - the test requires handwriting unlike jlpt.

In Japanese i don’t do it. intentionally last time I used the pen was like 10 years ago. my handwriting was always so bad to the point that even I could not understand it. Thanks to the advent of the ipad+evernote its no longer necessary. I just print all my assignments.

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I believe doing it before one is done knowing all the jojo kanji is a huge time sink that isn’t worth it. There is so many other things one could be doing with the time and cram way more info in. Regarding leeches, maybe? Believe in brute forcing them though. It’ll most likely stick eventually.


I write occasionally as I find that it helps to solidify the Kanji in my memory, and develop a skill that WK does not bother with: recall.
But as someone above mentioned, it’s a good idea to learn to write because writing is an essential part of the linguistic experience (regardless of what some will say about not having to write anymore because of technology, literacy is characterized in part by the ability to read and write).

On an Android tablet, Kanji Study is excellent, can be set up to mirror WK levels easily, and costs 13 bucks as a one-time-payment. I’d be happy to help with set-up to mirror WK if you’d like. Drop me your Discord handle if you’re interested :+1:.


I can’t even read my own handwriting in my native langauge so…


Thanks, everyone, for all the intelligent and helpful replies!

The WK community is always such a big help - I appreciate it.

I have tried it at the start, but it didn’t really last long. Now as new kanji are still a struggle, I kinda wish I did write them down during lessons. It’s too late late for me now with wanikani, so it will be something worth doing in the future.

I’d probably have to restart from hiragana, as I have written them like 2 years ago for the last time. Anyway my advice is if you wanna pick it up again is to do it fairly regularly. It’s easy to forget how to do things, but luckily it doesn’t take that long to recover the things you lost.

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