Invest Time in Writing?

I can write kana, but I cannot write any kanji. I barely, if ever, write anything by hand even in English. Assuming i’m not going to take the 漢検, is there any point in learning how to write?


The only other thing I can think of is that might help with being able to read handwriting, calligraphy, or stylized fonts.

I don’t have the exact link, but there are several threads where this question was thoroughly answered. I’m sure a quick search will turn them up. Hope you find what you are looking for.

It has the added benefit of improving your recognition, because you can’t get away with just vaguely knowing the makeup of the kanji. You have to know all the parts exactly. It helps you to avoid thinking a similar looking kanji that you haven’t learned yet is one you’ve learned but don’t remember well.

For instance, 因 is a level 17 kanji, and 困 is a level 19 kanji. If you just remember “it’s something inside a box” then you might think that 困 is 因 if you haven’t learned it yet but happen to see it.


This is one of the threads you were talking about?

^ Interesting read! A food for thought.

I can’t imagine how you got to level 56 without any writing ability. I think writing to practice is an invaluable tool in reinforcing kanji. Furthermore, I feel like being able to write a language is almost as important a skill as being able to speak it. Yes, people always like to post that video about Japanese people not remembering how to write certain Kanji, but usually the Kanji they pick for those videos aren’t terribly common. Most Japanese people can write just fine. Even if that means knowing how to write 1000 Kanji instead of 2000, that’s still good.

At the end of the day it is your time and study pattern, but I personally think writing is useful, if only as an extra way to practice.


Yeah, there is a huge difference between “oh, I can’t remember which kanji that is pronounced そ is the one that is used here” (the kind of “not being able to write” that Japanese people deal with) and learners who simply have never written before.

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I don’t think many people make the argument that writing isn’t valuable at all, moreso that it’s the least valuable of speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills. That is to say, for most cases, you will need the first 3 skills more. Certainly, writing can help reinforce kanji, but that time you spend writing, you could double or triple the amount of kanji you learn (or work on more grammar). And since most people are busy enough as it is, their study time needs to be spent efficiently. Personally, I’ve foregone writing, but do plan on swinging back around at least somewhat once I can read most of the Jouyou kanji.

But here I am reiterating what has been said more thoroughly in many of these threads :3 I broke my own rule of redundancy /shrug


About usefulness… can’t you just write everything in hiragana/Katakana, and only very few in Kanji? I don’t think you would know 0 Kanji.

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Did you learn simplified Chinese before learning Kanji?

Recognition is a different process in the brain than production. Obviously WaniKani is designed for recognition, so I don’t think it’s surprising at all to find people without the ability to produce a single kanji character by memory. In the end, it is what a learner decides to prioritize for their studies. You feel being able to write is invaluable; I wholeheartedly agree, but when writing is pitted against the other language skills one needs to be fully proficient in Japanese, as others have pointed out, learning it is not as high of a priority in the greater scheme of things according to my own person learning goals.

The digital age has made written communication more accessible to learners (as well as native speakers) by automating the process of producing characters through keyboard input. It has certainly taken its toll on the importance of the skill (art) of writing words in any language.

With that being said, I too have grown weary to seeing the same video with the Japanese people unable to correctly write out esoteric vocabulary words being posted as a response to why learning to write is unimportant or less important. As Leebo pointed out, being unable to recall is not the same as unable to produce. Additionally the handful of volunteers willing to be in the YouTube video is by no means a random sample, so no worthwhile correlations or conclusions can even be made anyway.

@mrsaturn : You should spend time on solidifying the skills you will need to fulfill why you are learning Japanese. If having the ability to write is included in the reasons why you are learning Japanese but you haven’t been working on that skill, then it’s high time to do so. If not, get to it once the essentials (the skills you’ve set off to learn) are well established.


I’ll agree with people above, writing is useful, helps to improve your recognition etc. The nly problem - it requires a lot of time and output is very low. And it’s not like you’ll need this skill often IRL. It’s basically a waste of time. It’s better to spend that time on grammar or another round of SRS. Best option, in my opinion, is to learn writing after you complete WK.


Just to say that, writing individual Kanji helps in recognition between characters, but not enough to write a real line of text. You can still put in the wrong Kanji.

If you want to know exactly how much you don’t know what a kanji looks like… Try visualising it in detail while doing kaniwani. You might find (at least that what I did) that you have absolutely no idea. Is it a tree or a pelican? Is it to the left or the right? And where is the rice paddy? No frickin’ clue.

I practice with KanjiLS on iOS. Part of its kanji writing drills is for you to complete words with their missing kanji.

So you have to choose the correct kanji, get the form right, and have the proper stroke order.

I don’t really suggest mindlessly writing the same kanji over and over in notebooks.

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I just produced “one” kanji character from memory. :laughing:
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. (Everyone knows I’m a joker.)

I enjoyed your write-up. Good info. :blush:

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That seems like a not very good example. It is tree inside the box and big inside the box - tree and big are kanji which are learned in the very start, there is hardly any need for anyone to write it in order to remember.

Ironic mistake bolded :slight_smile:

Tell that to someone who encounters it in real life without the priming of WaniKani.

“Oh didn’t I just see that? Yeah, it was tree, right? Hmm… was it? Yeah, pretty sure.”

But go ahead, come up with a better example, not that it really matters for the point, since in the real world very small things can trip you up, so it can be easier ones that those two and still get screwed up.

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It isn’t only WK, other resources have them at the start, too.

Not sure what is ironic about three. A misspell is ironic?

You’re missing the point. The point is that when someone learns one of those but not the other, sure, it’s easy to keep it straight in the context of WaniKani. But a few weeks go by and then they see the other in the real world, they didn’t even know it existed, and it’s been a while since the one they studied came up. It can trip you up.

And yes, there’s irony in saying that these are very easy to recognize and them being wrong :slight_smile:

Another example is all the ぎ kanji.

義、議、儀、犠… sure, those are all only different by one radical, and they are easy-to-learn radicals you learn early on. But if you encounter a ぎ you have never seen before in the real world… will you for sure remember it’s new, or go “yeah, I must have seen 儀 with the leader radical before”