How to start learning handwriting...?

I’m at Level 21 on WaniKani currently, and I like being able to write Japanese by hand (+ I think it would help me remember the kanji much better). I have absolutely no idea how to go about learning it for the kanji I already know. Honestly not sure what the most effective way would be for new kanji, either.

I don’t want to do anything fancy, I just want to memorise how to write kanji using the proper stroke orders. There are obviously a lot of resources for stroke orders, but I’m looking for a method for memorising them.

Does anyone have any recommendations (programs, websites, resources, Anki decks, etc.)?? Thanks a ton


G’day mate!
I personally havent made the leap to try handwriting kanji, but my friend has and he recommended Japanese Kanji Study by Chase Colburn on the app store (can confirm it is on Google Play)


For apps there’s Ringotan which is probably the most tightly integrated with WK and is still free afaik.

There’s also skritter which is more robust, but was a relatively expensive sub the last I looked at it.

Personally speaking, most of my writing practice was just using a cheapie composition notebook from the grocery store. A lot of the others I’ve seen have ordered paper specific for kanji/japanese, but if it’s really just the basics any practice is good. Kind of like how WK breaks things down into radicals after a while there’s something of a feel for writing kanji/stroke order without having to meticulously study all of them.

I know there were some people discussing more penmanship related topics on the forums here before and I hope they catch this thread. There’s a lot of stuff that just won’t show from stroke order diagrams. Speaking of stroke order diagrams both Jisho and JPDB show them on the kanji pages. There’s an open svg library out there as well, but that’s more for techies.


I do not think there is a trick to “learning” kanji handwriting. You memorize how to write them by writing them. You will also quickly forget how to write them if you stop writing them.


I’m not sure if this answers your question, but my technique in the past was using the website Tanoshii Japanese for the stroke order, and I practiced the stroke order during my wanikani reviews/lessons anytime the vocab words came up. I just focused on the muscle memory of the movement by using my finger either in the air or on my computer or desk. Then, when I wanted to write, I’d know the order already, whether or not I had written the kanji before. For previous kanji that you maybe already burned, you might just have to practice those when they come up when reading/studying Japanese. Also, it gets easier to guess the stroke order of kanji the more you learn.


I learned how to write kanji (or got started doing it, at least) by printing out these worksheets made by a WK user, which have the kanji ordered by WK level. Makes it really easy to practice writing kanji that you’ve already learned.

By the time I’d learned how to write a few hundred kanji, stoke order came pretty easily to me, and I can now write most new kanji without having to look up stroke order charts, and am able to draw unknown kanji on the IME pad and get it to give me the kanji that I’m looking for 99% of the time.

Granted, I have not memorized how to write very many kanji, just practiced a bunch, but I’ve gotten loads of additional practice writing the kanji I use in my textbook exercises. An app might be a better choice for testing your long-term memory, but I think those printable worksheets are a great way to learn initially.


it’s really just a matter of intentional practice,

  1. using the correct stroke order which DOES matter even though people will tell you it doesn’t
  2. using the pre-printed practice squares and critiquing and improving

It helps to learn the general rules for stroke order first but there are still exceptions.

Also, there’s a difference between writing and writing beautifully. There’s a guy on youtube who demonstrates all the kana and some kanji, while he explains the fine points in japanese, super helpful but not necessary. i’ll post it later when i’m not on my phone.


This guy


Like other people have said, so many resources show stroke order. I personally like to use the Japanese app on iOS because it has an animation for stroke order.

With enough practice you should be able to accurately guess the stroke order.

Use your radical mnemonics to build the kanji from memory. For me, this right here has made memorizing how to write kanji so much easier. You still need to do it frequently to “burn” the movements into your brain.

Maybe this is just me, but seeing a kanji and then writing it a bunch of times doesn’t really help because I’m usually using a fresh image in my mind. Having to pull it completely from memory is what helps me.

With that in mind, these are some of the things I like to do for writing practice:

  1. Doing the sentence writing exercises from a grammar textbook. I have not used many textbooks, but I’m sure all of them have some sort of question/answer section that have you write using the vocabulary and grammar taught in that chapter. This would require you to pull both the word and kanji from memory.

  2. Writing out the lyrics to all my favorite Japanese songs. It’s been great doing this along my WK journey. I’ve even discovered a lot of my WK leaches in song lyrics that have been rattling in my brain for decades without knowing the actual words.

  3. Assuming you learn a set amount of WK vocabulary per day, try to write those all from memory. If that’s too much, pick just a few per day that don’t have any overlapping kanji.

  4. Notetaking while listening to a podcast or watching a video/movie/anime. I’ll jot down words I recognize and try to write the kanji from memory.

I could go on. I love writing Kanji. My penmanship still sucks though lol.

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Same. Recognizing meaning from the radicals is not the same as remembering which radicals from the meaning. I wish there was a Kani-Wani style app that made you write the kanji.

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I actually used KaniWani specifically to do this. Every answer I would write in Kanji first, then type it in KW. This worked pretty well. But between WK and KW, I felt like I was spending too much time on SRS so I stopped KW altogether.


I did that too, with my IME, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it stop cheating by giving me suggestions. Then I was doing it on paper, which helped with the handwriting, but not as easy to do any time. I needed paper and a desk and stuff, instead of just taking 30 seconds waiting in line somewhere.

I didn’t keep it up, but it WAS helping.

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EN => JP vocabularies + Kanji Stroke Orders font on Anki is also possible (and I have done it). AnkiDroid (on Android) allows writing on the screen, and I would also make the JP text vertical.

It isn’t that much more difficult, and it helps a lot with focusing on that vocabulary, rather click Correct, and done.


Right now I’m using kanji kentei books aimed at children and I’ve found they really help with writing practice! especially if you right the “how to read” sentences out instead of just answering.


i’m using a script that shows stroke order along with my lessons on wanikani.
whenever i unlock a kanji while doing my lessons, i immediately practice writing it down on paper.

I did a diary for a little bit. Its really hard to think of something new every day, so I only do it if I feel like it, which is rare. I like the idea of copying down lyrics from songs. Maybe you can listen to some media and write down what you hear? Or just have JP subs and copy those. Even if you don’t want to write personal stuff, you can definitely find stuff to copy down from other sources.

There’s this app called renshuu and I think it’s great for that( and vocabulary and grammar of course) but the thing I want to shed light on is its game quick draw, you draw kanji and kana with different modes and difficulty levels while fighting apples and dangos!
And the more you write and the more places you conquer, the more new locations and kanji you unlock! :star_struck::sparkles:

It looks something like this and it’s awesome! It’s not an add or anything and it works best if you have any kind of pencil you can write with on your device, but it’s still great for practice and kanji memorization!

I’ve been getting into it more recently when I realized that I had forgotten how to write the kanji for watashi (I or me) …


I practice handwriting while doing reviews here on Wanikani using this userscript,

Just write the kanji or vocab once or twice per review and you’ll be writing fast in no time!
It does make reviwing take a little longer but it’s time well spent imo :grinning:


Stroke order does matter, but I don’t think you need any particularly fancy tricks for memorizing it. In almost all cases it’s just “write each component in the correct order, and use the correct stroke order in each individual component”, and the components come up so much that they just end up in muscle memory. So if you read one of the explanations of the basic standard stroke order rules, and then pay a bit of attention when you first learn each character, that should be enough and repetition will drill in the rest.

The parts of handwriting that do require effort are (1) “given this word, which kanji is it?” and (2) “for this kanji, which components does it have and in what layout?”. Mnemonics and SRS are the usual tools, and they do work here too, but it’s a lot harder than the simple-recognition direction.

Edit: oh, also I think you need to have some habit, need or thing you like to do that involves handwriting, so you’re not just using SRS. When I was studying at a language school I was handwriting stuff every day, which meant I had both motivation and out-of-SRS practice and reinforcement. Since then I’ve pretty much stopped needing to hand-write, and I’m sure I’d be much worse at it now than I was back then.


Thank you so much, that’s the kind of thing I was looking for!! I didn’t know that userscript existed. Will definitely be using it from now on.

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