Not being able to read Kanji, even though you know Kanji?

The more you read, the easier it gets.
The ones you picture above are not difficult to read if you are familiar with the stroke order. (Do you understand what I mean by that?) When you write kanji with the correct stroke order, it embeds another layer of information about it in your brain, I guess.
Cursive becomes really hard when it gets “artistic” and they are using a brush.

Really, in my experience, if you yourself learn to write the characters by hand, the sroke patterns will become ingrained in your brain, and all forms of flowing script become easier to read. If you want the ultimate experience with this, don’t always pull your pen/pencil all the way off the page, so it leaves connecting strokes behind, which helps when trying to read those fonts you posted earlier.

i’ve had this issue but… very rarely. if it’s something super important then it’s usually something i’m able to read. more calligraphy styled kanji tends to be on things that aren’t as important that i’d need to know within a few seconds, so i’d have time to look at it and usually after a bit of looking i can decipher what it is given i know the kanji in the first place.

also i honestly don’t think i’ve ever seen kanji written in the second way in the example you posted? maybe i’m wrong but those almost seem to completely forgo stroke order and i’ve seen some pretty hard to decipher kanji in the past but never ones that draw three strokes in one (like with the 言 there) :thinking:

I also second that you try the Jitai add-on, but be sure to add on some really sloppy fonts so that you get a chance to see really loose handwriting. Doing my reviews with different fonts really helped me get more used to the variety of styles out there. I can’t say that I’m now accustomed to reading handwriting, but some handwriting looks more readable than it did before.

I have this problem all the time! And not just with kanji! Kana can be pretty hard for me to decipher as well. I’ve been taking Japanese classes for the last year and a half, and so I get a lot of homework back with handwritten notes by teachers. And it’s always been a struggle to read what they’ve written, not because the language they use is terribly difficult or even that their handwriting is bad, but because not having grown up in Japan I have very little exposure to actual Japanese handwriting. My wife is Japanese, and of course if I show her any handwritten notes that I can’t figure out, she can read them instantly.

Handwritten Japanese varies quite a bit. Some people form their letters and characters very carefully, but in general there are many stylistic differences from printed text just as there are with roman letters. Conversely when I’ve been in Japan and written something down in English (such as my address) for people there, even though my handwriting is perfectly legible in North America, people sometimes asked me to rewrite with extremely careful printing.

Side note: there’s a big difference between North American handwriting and European handwriting as I discovered when trying to input my French Airbnb host’s 42+ character wifi passcode that was handwritten in a notebook. That was a challenge!

I would be very interested in taking a course or finding a site online where I could learn to read and write (but especially read) actual Japanese handwriting. If anyone has links to good “handwriting style” Japanese fonts, please share!

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