Late start to handwriting

So I’m cleaning up lingering reviews on WK, but after all this time I’ve only ever been typing. I know I should start writing, but it feels like such a daunting task now that I have a backlog of 2000 kanji to go through. Does anyone have any advice on how to approach learning/improving writing?


Probably best to start from here… you say it like it’s something everyone needs to do. You only need to write if you personally want to be able to write. Many people never make an effort to write the kanji they know.

Just checking that you really want to rather than feeling like you have to before continuing to advice.


I think it will help with recalling kanji I don’t see or use as often, and the practice that goes along with it will only help with production in the long run.


Writing has its own rules, and once you learn those, you will be able to write most of the kanjis so what you’ll need mostly is just practice. There’s a good article at Tofugu that summarise them pretty well but you can also look for other interpretations outside of it if you want to.

As for the practice, you may just write kanji you need separately or you can buy workbooks that are created specifically for this (“Basic Kanji Book” has writing practice exercises, for example).

For the times when you aren’t able to write on a paper but you want to practice stroke order, there’s an app that I like the most for this type of activity: Kanji Study. You can check how kanji is written either on a kanji’s page, or you can do practice lessons. Though if you use iOS you’ll need to look for a substitute, because this app is on Android (there is an iOS version, but it wasn’t updated for a really long time).


This website lets print handwriting practice worksheets organised by WK levels.


I have been practicing since day 1. But ever since my Japanese classes ended and I stopped doing any written homework, I started forgetting the stroke order and sometimes I cannot write at all. Just a few honestly. Haven’t learned much anyways.

I practiced writing maybe around 10 times per kanji per session and I did maybe 2-3 sessions (other than the pages of homework I had to submit). Maybe its not enough, or maybe its just me. But I feel you should write down more essays or sentences instead of just practicing the stroke order a hundred times.

But as @Leebo mentioned, you need proper motivation. Since I don’t have to submit 宿題の答え anymore, I kinda lost interest a little :neutral_face: (Just the writing part. Still read a lot)

Happy writing. 頑張ってくださいね :grin:

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Like Leebo said, writing is not something everyone needs to be able to do. As someone who does write, I will say writing can be a lot of fun and very rewarding!

Rather than practicing stroke order only, I find what’s most helped me improve my writing, and internalize it, is writing a short journal entry every day (or, you know, as frequently as possible). I don’t always know how to write the kanji I want, but it doesn’t take long for the most common ones to become second nature, and to get used to stroke order in terms of radicals.


I just started writing with kanji study like _ishi mentioned because like you said I feel like i am not remembering the kanji well enough. I am at very simple kanji right now and only spend a few lines on each and just an hour every Wednesday. I will try to write kanji in all my written textbook answers from now on and hope it will help


I’ve been writing out two pages of kanji a day on graph paper for a while now. That’s 40 kanji, 14 times each, so 560 a day. The stroke order becomes really easy to remember after a while. I just watch TV on my computer while I’m writing, so I’m not bored.

This site has been golden for me, it’s sooo handy!!

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My main recommendation is to find clear instructions about strokes and paper that is easy to write on… maybe in a notebook… or first in a book of kanji (some books have better layouts than others…)

Get some grid/boxed paper with a clear top-bottom / left-right.
You may feel like a 1st grader during the initial process, but that feeling should go away after you get through the first thirty or forty kanji. That feeling is the necessary feeling that there is a way to do something that will pay off.

You should be able to write the full list without too much struggle or time now that you know how to recognize them well, and going through writing them is likely to be a good form of review… :slight_smile:

Also, how’s your kana handwriting?

Nice idea.

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Some people are adamant about the utter lack of any need whatsoever to learn to write kanji, and in essence… it’s true. If you won’t ever need to write, then you don’t have to learn to do so. I hate to admit it, because I think writing is a basic skill in any language, but it’s true that it’ll take extra time which you may not be willing to spend.

I think the ‘recall’ bit is especially true. The ‘production’ bit might not be, because it depends on what you write and how you practise.

Just write words, sentences or phrases that seem meaningful to you, I suppose? I had a bilingual textbook, so I would copy my lessons out once during the first phase, and then translate them from French in the second phase while writing the translation. That meant that any mistakes I made would be on paper, making it harder for me to write them off. (Oops, accidental pun. :stuck_out_tongue:) Pick characters that you find pretty to copy. That might help. You could even look into calligraphy if it interests you. Proverbs might also be fun, like 千里の道も一歩から (‘even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’).

Caveat: I’m a Chinese speaker who studied calligraphy briefly in primary school, and then bought a calligraphy workbook from China to improve my handwriting about 3 years ago, so I may not be able to empathise with how you feel about writing as an adult learner. I don’t really remember what it was like to learn to write, though I will say that copying printed characters over and over again for school was irritating because I hadn’t been taught calligraphy principles and so I didn’t know how to make my writing beautiful. Therefore, I won’t recommend mindless copying. Now, however, I know more about calligraphy (I wrote my profile picture myself), so practice is much easier, and copying things out is more productive and fulfilling.

One simple general rule though: kanji are generally written from top to bottom within each component, and from left to right overall. That should help with learning most stroke orders, really. Also, stroke order tends to stay the same for kanji even when they’re components of other kanji. For other rules, especially with regard to kanji aesthetics and calligraphy (if it interests you), here’s a post I wrote a while back: Kana/kanji writing practice book recommendation please?

I love this site! I use it whenever I complete a level. I was looking to see if anyone recommended it yet LOL. There’s also a youtuber Learning Kanji, and he teaches you first and second grade, so I recommend him for the start of kanji. Have fun!

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As the first person to raise that point in the thread, I figured I’d just say… I personally love studying writing kanji. But plenty of people go quite far in their overall Japanese studies without ever getting proficient at writing, so it’s just something I have to acknowledge.


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