Kanji Writing Help

So I just finished Genki I and one thing I noticed was that although I could remember the pronunciation for a variety of vocabulary words, when it came to writing them out in kanji for practice exercises I couldn’t remember how to write them (i.e. 意地悪 for ijiwaru). Any particular methods or resources you recommend to make writing kanji stick more in my memory?


Write a lot. :slight_smile:


And then when you think you’ve written enough, write more. :sweat_smile:


I use an app on my iphone called 漢字忍者 and it’s a free and easy way to practice writing.

It’s organized from 1st-6th grade so it doesn’t follow wanikani order but if you’re looking for a good way to kill time on the train it’s great.


I’m using a kanji writing textbook alongside my grammar books - as others have written, you have to write to remember how to write.

Remembering The Kanji (RTK) is good for learning to write kanji but only for writing. You can find a free pdf online and use anki to review them. Or you could use the mnemonics from WaniKani and learn to write kanji. RTK is the same, just different names for radicals.

The easiest way to learn to write kanji is to learn the radicals and then remember which radicals make up which kanji.

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There’s a video on youtube (something like “can japanese people read kanji”) where a guy is asking random people in the city to write words on a whiteboard and a lot of people have trouble using the right kanji.

The problem is actually really simple. You have a writing system with 2000 characters + a bit more + ones used for names only that are all extremely complicated compared to what we are used to used for a language that technically doesn’t really fit the mechanics of said writing system in a highly developed nation, not just that but home to companies that can be named in the same sentence as BMW, Apple, Bose and so on, where people have been using technology the way we use it years earlier (think about the anime where they write emails like we (well, Europeans) write whatsapps and emojis have been on Japanese feature phones for like 20 years now).

The sad reality is that Japanese people write as little by hand these days as we do. This causes Japanese people to mostly use phonetic hiragana input and then selecting the right kanji. Due to the irregularity of practicing writing kanji, a lot of people have trouble with that and reading and writing are separate skills.

I’d suggest that you either practice a lot of writing (maybe start writing diary in Japanese. Depends on your hobbies how much natural writing you can get in your day without forcing it) or just don’t write much by hand. As you can see in the video mentioned above, writing kanji with a pen and paper is not a skill young Japanese people value much or are very good at. If you don’t have to write exams and can’t naturally get much Japanese writing in your daily life, then maybe also don’t focus too much on it.

I know it sounds weird but think about from what kind of mindset you’re coming from. If your native language uses the Latin alphabet, you know 26 letters all with 2 versions and if you don’t speak English or Dutch natively you might have around 3 more letters with 2 versions each to deal with. For German (my native language), it is a-z, A-Z, äÄ, öÖ, üÜ and ß. That’s 59 letters. You have twice as many with Katakana and Hiragana alone and I could write Japanese with Hiragana and Katakana easily.

So, of course for us it seems like reading and writing are normal skills you should know very well. But if you have 2000 characters on top of that that are way more complicated than our letters, it becomes rather natural that in a society where you get so much help from electronics, reading and writing become 2 separate skills of different importance instead of 2 sides of the same coin.

But by all means. If you value your handwriting skills, go for it. Practice is the way to go here.

Here’s the video

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I just use Anki (Android version which has a whiteboard).


This video is slightly different from what you are saying. The video is asking people to write specific words, not specific kanji. Even for people who can write kanji, it is sometimes confusing which kanji to use for a word if you have not seen/written it in awhile.

I use this anki deck: [Version 1.05 | 2016-01-31] Anki deck for kanji writing practice

Which I imagine must be the same as the one @twktg uses?

Also this article is a great primer on stroke order.

There is also an app for android called Kanji Study, it isn’t free, but you can make your own kanji lists and test yourself on how to write them.


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