How much handwriting do you do as part of learning Japanese?

And I don’t mean just kanji - do you write in hiragana a lot? Do you notice that it helps you with reading it faster, too? Do you do written exercises by using pen and paper? I’ve done a lot of typing in hiragana on my phone but haven’t done much writing. Wondering if I’m missing out as surely handwriting increases retention. :thinking:


Zero. Hell, I barely handwrite in English these days. Thanks technology.


Sometimes I randomly handwrite the hiragana and katakana charts on my notepad at work. But that’s about it. I don’t do it enough though, so sometimes there’s a few I can’t remember how to write. :disappointed:


I was doing kana and kanji writing practice regularly for a while. No formal exercises. It does help with reading speed and retention. It is very time consuming though. At least it was for me. I reached a point where I would rather spend the time reading and stopped.


I do a lot of writing of both kanji and kana for my Kanken practice, but I don’t do much writing of full sentences or paragraphs or essays or anything. I would like to at some point, since I am interested in taking the Bunshouken some day.


Even though I’m at a pretty low level, I practice writing quite a bit. I use an anki deck that gives me the reading and the meaning of a kanji and I write down the kanji on genkouyoushi paper. It’s a good way of remembering kanji, actually. Recognizing is good, but you can elevate that recognition by knowing how to write the kanji as well. It’s quite time consuming, though.


I’ve wanted to get better at writing but everything i read says no one handwrites japanese nowadays so theres no real incentive for me to force myself to learn

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I mean, it depends on how you like to work. I still handwrite at work (in English) fairly often, so…


A lot of my notes are littered with doodles and among the doodles there’s often plenty of Japanese. :stuck_out_tongue: I used to keep a journal in Japanese, but I haven’t been writing in it as of late. I take handwritten grammar notes though. Otherwise, that’s pretty much it.

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Whenever I hand write something it looks like a toddler’s handwriting. People make comments while I’m whiteboarding things at work :rofl:

My handwriting on paper is horrendous, but I actually quite like writing on whiteboards and blackboards, and things come out cleaner.

I think maybe I just have more patience when writing big. No one else will see my paper handwriting, so it just turns into scribbles.

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In my second year of university, I pretty much had to practice handwriting for my Japanese classes. I wholeheartedly believe that knowing how to write hiragana, katakana, and kanji only benefits you in your learning journey.

To memorize hiragana, I used to write the AIUEO charts for the different sounds in both hiragana and katakana repeatedly and constantly. Whenever I had a break in between classes, I’d write it on an index card, and study it. Highly recommended whenever you have the time to do it.


I prefer making physical notes when I’m reading a textbook so pretty often. I also write physical letters and send to Japan every once in a while. In terms of helping your learning, it really depends person to person, I find it useful to remember stuff by writing it down (not exclusive to Japanese).


I try to write notes in study material in Japanese, and handwrite in Japanese occasionally at work (ALT in Japan), whether in notes to teachers or in my own planner, but it’s not part of my normal study routine.

For a while I was making physical flashcards, which was great for writing practice, but it wound up being impractical time- and space-wise in comparison to digital apps. I’d like to make carve out some regular kanji-writing time, since it is important, but as it’s the least important area for me to study and practice right now, it keeps getting put on back burner.


Thanks everyone. Looks like a lot of people don’t do that much handwriting either so I’m not alone in that.

I was trying to go to sleep the other night and suddenly realised that for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to write す. I mean I’ve read it a million times by now and I know exactly where it is on the keyboard but that was a freaky experience. That’s partially why I’m considering starting handwriting a bit.


Before this year, I didn’t think much of writing but then there have been a few situations where I couldn’t write my address. I don’t write in my textbooks so I write everything in notebooks. I don’t like katakana and neglected it for sometime then realized it is every bit as important. Even though I dislike writing at times (have to for a course) I’ve begun to appreciate it.


I keep a loooooooooong list of all the vocabulary I learn. I write down the kanji, the meaning, the reading, is it on or kun or both, and the type of word.

When I have a leech, I write it down on a little blackboard. I also use it for Anki, when it asks me certain words, I write them out to see if I remember how to write them. I hate wasting paper, which is why I use the blackboard when I don’t need to keep it.

But all the exercises i just do in word. I keep a file that keeps growing. I also have a file where I put down all grammar points I learn, in alphabetic order, just like in the Dictionary of Japanese grammar.

Back in college, they made us do the exercises on paper so they could check the answers and such. Which is why I’m fairly confident in my writing skills today. My college also had native Japanese students (foreign exchange program) that checked our writing and corrected any mistakes. They also encouraged us to speak to them in Japanese from day one. All of their lessons were in Japanese and the Dutch teacher would then later explain the things we didn’t understand. But almost all work we did, was on paper.
This was between 2007 and 2011.


Do you think that was helpful and made learning easier in some ways?

Yes, I think writing in this language (and any that uses symbols other than roman letters) is especially beneficial since it will really enforce the way a kanji looks. This also goes for the kana, though that’s probably done faster since you see them pretty much everywhere.

Obviously, doing the exercises themselves helped a lot too, but more on reinforcing the grammar than the kanji. I don’t know if you know the Minna no Nihongo series, but we had every single book for it, and did it all. One chapter a week.

Edit: I have to add, this of course was a college specializing in learning Japanese. So you had plenty time to do all this, because there weren’t many other classes (there were some, marketing, business etc) that required our attention.


I have been writing down all of the kanji I come across. I may not be writing them in the correct stroke order, but I do find that writing them down helps my retention of the kanji. Also I write down its meanings and its different readings :slight_smile: