Is it a problem to read and not write?

Honestly, WAniki is pretty dead. At least it’s open-source, though.

Even if you don’t find a need to write or even if writing isn’t a goal for you, it will still actually help you with this very issue.

I think of it like taking notes in our native language: of course we can refer back to the notes in the future, but the very act of writing things down can help seal it in our minds in a way. I suppose it might not work for everyone, but personally I’ve found that the more I repeatedly write stuff down, the better I remember it later and can reproduce it.

This is also helpful when learning to speak a new language. At first, you might just learn to read and practice saying simple sentences out loud from a textbook. If you add on the -slightly tedious but worthwhile- effort of writing out (copying) the same sentences and speaking both as you write as well as after you write, you build all 4 major language skills (1. Writing practice, 2. Speaking practice, 3. Listening practice by hearing your own voice, 4. Reading practice by reading your own writing).

Also, like some of us nerds, you might find practicing writing kanji to be fun :grin:


I used to be very diligent about repeatedly writing kanji and vocab but I’ve since dropped it as it wasn’t useful for what I use Japanese for as I’m primarily reading. The odd times I have needed to write I actually typed it on my phone/laptop instead which worked a treat!

That said I do like to spend some time now and then writing various kanji as I find it quite relaxing. Day-to-day though, unless you have a specific need to be able to write, you’ll probably be fine without it.

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This depends on the person but I really liked Human Japanese (HJ) I and II because it is a crash course on basic grammar. It gives you the bare minimum that you need to read. After HJ, I’m trying to follow the academic textbooks: Genki, Tobira, etc… People here like Tae Kim’s grammar but since he is not a professional and has no academic credentials I prefer to avoid it. One little companion book that I’m liking more and more is the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar.

I think it is a good idea to learn how to write hiragana so you aren’t stuck writing stuff down in Romaji… should you need to take note with paper and pencil. This way at least you can write down a Japanese word properly even if you can’t write it in kanji.


Wait, seriously? I thought writing kana was what was meant by learning them…

I wanted to improve my Kanji recall as well, so I’ve been practicing on the app KanjiStudy.


It is a problem in my opinion. But severity of this problem will vary based on your case.

Beside the ability to write japanese by hand learning kanji writing will help character recognition as well.

For myself I want to learn writing and try to write new kanji but I don’t have time for consistent writing practice. Prefer to read and do grammar for now.

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I get my writing practice in through my grammar studies. Both from textbook work, and from an Anki deck that I’m building as I go along. One type of card it has is an English sentence, reverse/answer side is that sentence in Japanese. I do Anki with a paper notebook next to me and write those sentences by hand as I do my reviews.

I certainly can’t write all the Kanji I’ve learned on wanikani, but I don’t think getting to the point where I can would be an effective use of my time. The ones you need to write often, you’ll learn all on their own just from doing it.

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How often do you write things down in English? If you don’t find yourself writing things by hand often, then your lifestyle indicates you won’t struggle much without writing, and it can be a lower priority.

However, I do find that if I drill writing kanji that I can never seem to remember, I never forget it afterwards. Use writing to hone the kanji into your mind if you keep missing it in reviews.

Yes, seriously. I can read hiragana at a natural pace, but couldn’t write them if someone held a gun to my head. I wish I learned to write them earlier - hence the comment. I really need to get onto this as well.

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As all have said it depends on your goals. If you are just visiting japan then no. You don’t need to show off. Most of the country will work with your Romanji-dead-ass. :wink:

But I’ve been going to a kanji class here in Japan for the last 6 months just in case my job needs to to write something that the Japanese only workers at my job can read. Luckily this hasn’t happened yet, but it’s still a possibility that I’ll need to write my name, or put things down for people who largely can’t communicate with me. But living here is a different story. Anyways, do it if you need to, but if you’re learning just for the sake of knowing how to speak or whatever, you don’t need to bother.

Try the KameSame app that searls is developing. While handwriting may not be necessary as pointed above, I was concerned with the fact that WK builds a “one-way” path in your memory (i.e., Japanese > English, or kanji “recognition”). KameSame allows you to do it the other way around and you can match it with WK by level. It actually works much, much better than what I expected. Kudos to searls (and consider supporting the server).


Ouch. I wasn’t trying to be rude, just surprised that that could happen with kana. Good luck learning them again!

It is such a weird feeling to realize that what you have been reading for months or years, you can’t remember it mentally enough to write it! I am currently trying to fix this problem with my 漢字


I didn’t take it as a rude comment - it’s a fair inquiry. Most people learn to read and write at the same time, so it looks like the same skill. It’s more mutually exclusive than you’d imagine! WK leverages off this in a big way - that is convincing you that you don’t need to learn the Japanese way by writing them endlessly out of context.

I like to say, if I look at a Corvette and a Lamborghini, I can tell the difference at a glance. I can’t draw either one and most people that haven’t fostered this skill can’t either.


If you want to be truly independent when living in Japan learning to write is pretty important I’d say. Various official documents, letters, visa documents,etc… will require at least some written Japanese. I personally don’t want to always rely on my wife or colleagues to do these things so it’s a goal of mine to eventually write proficiently. This looks like an awesome app for writing accuracy and memory recall. I plan to use it post wanikani.

Been here for four years, and writing is generally limited to my address and tax forms once a year. Of course, I’d love to be able to write beautiful heartfelt letters in Japanese, but it isn’t particularly necessary for day to day life, especially because we have cell phones and computers.

The only time I’d say I was embarassed at my writing skills was last week when my boss decided to torment me with a crossword puzzle that his 6th graders were doing. I could read all the hints and say all the answers (thanks WK!), but I couldn’t write like 60% them without checking my imiwa app every two minutes. But in terms of usefulness, I want to improve my speaking before I even give a thought to writing.

It’s still a priority, but definitely not the top one.


I have made it to N2 with almost no writing practice. At the moment I can write maybe… 100 kanji? Which as I have learned in every situation I have ever been in that has required writing is wildly insufficient. For me, being able to write or not doesn’t matter at all… until it does. Then I feel like an idiot. For that reason I have recently started writing practice I intend to repeat everyday for probably more or less many many years. So I don’t think I would call it a problem persay, but I want to be able to do it. I do wish I had started earlier now that I have decieded to learn though.

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I agree with this 100%! The way I “learn” my wanikani lessons is to write them all out. It helps that I have a fountain pen I really like writing with! :nerd_face:
This repetition helps me remember the concepts better and connect vocabulary that shares the same kanji. I’d like to be able to use the vocab I’m learning in speaking, too, and for me, the main way of recalling a new word is to be able to picture what the characters are…I’m not sure I’d be able to do that effectively if I hadn’t practiced writing them.
I’m a very visual learner, though, so reinforcement with that helps me loads. I know others learn differently.


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