Kanji Writing & Memorization

Recently I’ve found that I have trouble remembering what a kanji looks like. I can recognize a kanji when I see it (thanks to WaniKani), but I can never remember how to write the kanji without seeing it and remembering the radicals/mnemonics. In other words, I feel like my kanji knowledge only works one way. I also can’t seem to remember the kanji that make up the words I’ve learned on WaniKani and can’t remember the full words that certain kanji make up. Does anyone have any tips for remembering kanji on the spot for when I need to write them?


WK is based on the idea that in modern times you don’t really have to write kanji by hand anymore, and if you need to, you can look up how. Also, writing with an ime can generally fall under the recognition and not recall part of this whole thing.

If you would rather be able to write them, the best you can do probably is pulling up a piece of paper and doing exactly that. Just write them a couple of times.


I mean it’s kinda the same in English too. Even if you struggle with spelling a word off the top of your head, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t recognize it when you see it and it doesn’t mean you don’t know the word. With more exposure, you’ll have a clearer picture of it in your head and will be able to produce it with less trouble, and if you practice writing it, you’ll get to that point faster.

If WK’s the only thing you’re doing to learn Japanese, I’d recommend starting to find other things to slowly introduce into your routine. If not, then I wouldn’t worry about it too much; as you progress and get more exposure, you’ll find you’ll be able to produce them more easily. If you’re really worried about being able to write them, you can get a notebook and find a resource that gives you the stroke order for kanji and go through and write each one however many times.


The best way to better remember how to better remember kanji for when you need to produce them would be to practice writing them. If you want to practice writing I recommend getting an app for it. I personally use Ringotan because I like that it’s an SRS and you can set it up to follow wanikani order.

That said, you should also ask yourself is this is something you need or want to spend the time on. There aren’t a whole lot of situations in which you’ll need to write kanji by hand without the ability to look them up. It’s also a skill you’ll lose somewhat if you don’t use it, like how many adults in Japan will forget how to write a some of the kanji they learned in school. If you have the time and/or enjoy the process of learning to write kanji though it does have some benefits, so it’s up to you.


I wrote and forgot them for years. Then I started Wanikani and made a bit of improvements. Now I am so desperate that I try to achieve morphic resonance, don’t know yet if it helps. :grin:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.