Is writing necessary?

Is hand writing Kanji necessary? Obviously hand writing kanji will help you remember the kanji and there are many other benefits but should I take the extra time to hand write like let’s say 10 kanji a day? I feel like nowadays no one really writes anymore so I feel like there is no point in hand writing kanji as long as I can recognize them.

Personally, I like being able to write kanji. Being able to recall the ‘radicals’ helps in conversations about kanji with Japanese people.

Recall is generally enough to get by in an online environment, since you can just type kana and select the right kanji from your IME suggestions.


Only if you plan on writing anything by hand.

I learned how to write cursive in school, and I haven’t used it in the past 10 years. So I can’t imagine you’d need to know how to write Kanji either.

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It’s not strictly necessary because of how digital the world is today, but it’s a great skill to have and can reinforce your kanji knowledge. I think postponing handwriting skills until after you have a better grasp on other more immediately important aspects of the language is a valid approach. I would love to learn how to handwrite kanji someday but right now I’m focusing more on reading and listening since that’s what’s important to me.

Edit: I suppose you could think of it like… how important is it to you to be able to handwrite in your native language on a daily basis? It may depend but, it’s probably less important than other skills. Despite that, it’d probably feel weird to be unable to write, and so for the same reason I’m sure it would be very rewarding to learn how to write in Japanese as well.


I wouldn’t say it’s necessary, but I definitely think it’s a nice skill to have. There are some userscripts for WK that show the stroke order when doing reviews, so I usually just write each kanji a few times as they show up.

It’s not like you have to memorize the stroke order for every kanji either. Once you get used to writing them, it becomes quite intuitive and I can usually tell the stroke order for a kanji even if I don’t know it. (This is also quite useful for looking up kanji you don’t know.) I also feel like knowing how to write kanji makes it easier for me to recall them from memory.

TLDR; You could probably get by never knowing how to write, but I still think it would be useful to learn, even if you only took 10 minutes a day.

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As others have already stated, it really depends on your goals. You’ll probably never need to write kanji, so it’s a skill you only need if you want it.

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Where does this notion come from? I’m always baffled when people say this. Tons of people still write things by hand. Yes, even in Japan.

This, of course, doesn’t mean you have to learn handwriting.


Dunno why you say “even in Japan”, because I feel like Japan, the land of the fax machine, is more likely to make people write by hand at all times. :stuck_out_tongue:

In all seriousness though, writing on the computer is unquestionably becoming much more prevalent - it’s one of the reasons for the update of the Joyo Kanji back in 2010, which added a bunch of kanji like 熊, for which the words are in common usage but the kanji are really annoying to write by hand. So yeah, we’re not quite at the point where noone’s handwriting any more, but all the same, it’s increasingly becoming limited to school students, formal letters, and filling out forms.


Only because I assumed that part of that statement was implying that no one was handwriting kanji in Japan. I’ve heard similar type claims before from others. I admit my assumption about the OP may have been wrong, though.

Sure, you can say that about a lot of countries. Yet pens, pencils and paper are still sold in huge amounts outside of just schools. I work in software yet people handwrite notes all the time. Even when going paperless I still often see people handwriting notes on their tablets. The popularity of things like the Galaxy Note, Apple Pencils, and various other stylists just go to show that handwriting is far from dead.

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i do want to learn how to write kanji (still can’t write kana).
But i figured it is not worth the time now since i don’t even have to write in native language.

I’ve been in Japan for 8 months and the only Kanji I’ve “had” to write was my address at the ward office and when creating a bank account. It’s really not necessary to learn how to write every kanji for 99% of learners.

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It’s definitely a good way to reinforce kanji. It does, however, take forever to practice and get down. I did it in the beginning but started realizing that with the huge amount of kanji I wasn’t willing to devote enough time to actually be able to produce complex kanji on the fly on the paper, even though they may be easy to recognize. Just two different parts of the brain that need to be trained separately for most people.
It depends on you, how much time you are willing to invest, and how quickly you want to be able to read manga/basic japanese/news.
If Japanese is merely a hobby, for fun, then it’s probably not a waste of time to practice writing, Japanese calligraphy is fun to get into, as well (Shodo/しょどう/書道).
TLDR: you gotta decide how much additional time you want to put in. Practicing writing will definitely help you Japanese in the long run, but it isn’t necessary to reach a good level of Japanese. I can read a lot of manga without much difficulty now and I stopped writing out kanji drills once I passed level 5 or so. Just decided I would rather devote that time to other things.

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