Kanji Writing


How important is stroke order in kanji and kana?
This probably came to everyone’s mind at some point, but how much does it really matter?


It only really matters if you’re going to be handwriting stuff. Still good to know, but not as important as vocab, grammar, etc.


Legibility will always be the primary concern, of course.

Over time, I realized I actually found it easier to write kana and kanji by their correct stroke order, for some reason. The balance comes out a bit better. Still shamefully awful and hideous, but slightly less hideous than when I try to recreate it in a random order.

Also, when you know the stroke order of most radicals, you can guess the correct stroke order even for kanji that are completely unknown to you.


I found that the proper stroke order helps you in writing kanji/kana better (and faster) because it has a kind of flow that makes writing more natural.

A bonus is that if you know the proper stroke order, that will give you a hint to read those hard handwritten kanji. Some dictionaries with input for handwritting kanji will also require proper stroke order. To the point that even if you make a weird ass scribble (but with proper stroke order) it will recognize the kanji. (Try it with jisho.org or the android handwrite input!).

But I guess this is only important if you wanna handwrite a lot, or read a lot of handwritten stuff.

I personally think its cool :sunglasses:


I’m not that far into WK yet, but I find that learning at least stroke order principles (like in @Omun’s link) also helps for reading – especially other people’s handwriting, or fancy fonts.

(Not all fonts make it easy to see small differences – like between 人 and 入)


Before WK, I used to write kanji from Anki and eventually learned the pattern on strokes. Now I’m not writing kanji anymore since my goal is only be able to read, but knowing stroke patterns help when you encounter unfamiliar kanji and you have to handwrite it in some app for recognition.


If I go by what all my former Japanese teachers used to tell me : stroke order is very important. I have always had a hard time remembering those and I used to get disapproving looks because of that a lot, especially when I would go over (re-trace) a part of the kanji I had already made… XD

I believe the reason for it is that when you are Japanese, the way you write, the quality and precision of the strokes, the order in which you trace them are indicators of your personality and level of education. At least that’s what I was led to believe. If your handwriting is messy, you’re probably very energetic, but have a hard time focusing and if you trace a kanji or a kana with the wrong stroke order, you either lack education or lack discipline… Because there are rules for stroke order and if you do it wrong it’s either because you don’t know the rule or didn’t work/practice hard enough…

Now this remains my perception as a non-Japanese, so please take it with a grain of salt. What I’ll say is : as long as you don’t do calligraphy you’ll probably manage to get an okay result with or without the correct stroke order. With a brush though? If you don’t know the right stroke order, you won’t be able to do it right and obtained the beautiful result you were expecting.

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Stroke order is also great way to help remember how to write kanji without looking them up each time. A kind of mnemonic to help build muscle memory. More so even for tactile learners.


Being able to figure out the stroke order makes it easier to figure out the radicals --dictionary radicals, not WK radicals – which makes it easier to look up the kanji if you need to. So at least knowing the principles is useful. Memorizing the order along with the kanji? Meh. Only if you want to learn to write or if it otherwise helps you remember them.

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I think that if you are going to learn to write then you should definitely learn the stroke order. There are patterns, so it’s not that difficult


Another advantage to learning the correct stroke order is that if you use an app that lets you draw kanji on the screen for input, it usually works much better.


I agree with everyone saying that stroke order is important for kanji, but I’d like to add that it also helps me with katakana, especially when discerning between ツ and シ and ソ and ン


Seconding that apps/IME pads that let you draw kanji to identify them or pick them out really depend on correct stroke order to give accurate guesses as to what kanji you’re trying to find. There is a logic to it.


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