Practicing writing kanji for the first time

This is my first time practicing writing kanji. It’s not that important to me, so I’ll only spend a few minutes each day doing it. It’s just something to do at the end of the day when I’m bored of WK, Anki, Genki, Bunpro, watching YouTube videos, and listening to podcasts. It’s pretty obvious that I struggle with curvy lines! Those 8s had me feeling like:




Writing comes with practice for sure. Though I would say its absolutely worth grabbing a Genkouyoushi notebook. If you’re in Japan you can find them in bulk at the 百円屋/Daiso. If you’re outside of Japan you’ll be able to find them on Amazon for a little more or find blanks on Google to print out.

The paper helps a lot with Kanji because most kanji are split in half so have the four sections really helps your writing become more consistent:

2022-07-04 21_30_50-genkouyoushi paper - Google Search



The thing about writing Kanji (as well as Hiragana, Katakana, other Chinese characters, and probably Hangul), is that they should writing in a square (block style).

For that paper you have already tried, how about constraining to 4 squares? Don’t worry about making them too big (they won’t).

There is also another thing about character components’ division, like how much space for anterior components – I’ll leave that to your researching, if you are interested.


Might I recommend to you this website :slight_smile:

Loads of free printables to help with writing kanji.


Couple of suggestions:

1: make sure the sample you’re trying to match in your writing is a ‘how to hand write this character with a pen’ example, not a printed font character or a ‘how to write with a brush’ example. Often little flicks at the end of strokes are either for when writing with a brush or else print fonts retaining some of the aesthetic markers of brush characters. I’m not sure anybody really writes 八 that way…

2: use a good pen or pencil. That looks like maybe you’re using a biro, which is absolutely terrible for writing Japanese with (and indeed in general as a writing instrument). I recommend a gel-ink pen or similar which writes freely and smoothly and has a fine nib. (I like the Uniball Eye Micro pens, personally.) A mechanical pencil also works.

3: don’t forget that you’re aiming to write, not draw the characters :slight_smile:

4: every source will say this, but stroke order does matter, so learn it as you go along. (There are a bunch of general rules about how it works, it’s fairly straightforward.)


Most times I think, this is surely the order you follow with this kanji, and then it’s not.

上 (I know, it should be pretty simple, but my mind goes to the right part first, doing two horizontal strokes like that feels weird), this also might be because of 正 priming me to want a vertical stroke after the right part, or how 年 leaves the vertical until the end, but 生 doesn’t, and apparently I’m also writing 出 wrong. :angry:


Mmm, simple common kanji are the ones most likely to be exceptions to the stroke order rules of thumb.



My mind was blown when I found out for the longest time I’ve been writing 右 incorrectly.

I always wrote the “narwhal” part of 右 the same as 左 (horizontal line first), which apparently is wrong.

The sloped line goes first. This applies to 布 and 有 as well.

左 友 存 在 all have horizontal line first.


Printable kanji sheets grouped by WK level: | Download Kanji worksheets for all Wanikani levels


右 is indeed one of those Kanji learnt early on, to write separate ways from 石, so I remember clearly.

右・布・有 all write the opposite (and intuitive) way in Chinese. (And TIL that I would write 右 wrong if for Chinese. Normally, I would stick to Japanese way.)


Yep; the mnemonic I came up with is that the first stroke of the ‘narwhal’ bit is the same direction as the first stroke of the thing it encloses. (Though I also get the impression this is one of those ‘minor’ stroke-order errors that doesn’t make much difference to handwriting recognizers and the like, which allow for some common alternate orders.)


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