Reading and Writing Kanji

I was just thinking if there are lots of cases where you reached Lvl60 on WaniKani like you can read almost everything but you cannot write kanji by hand.?

By the way WaniKani is such a great app I use it everyday. Keep it up Team WaniKani and to all learners ot there 頑張りましょう:grin:


That will be basically everyone that doesn’t study handwriting separately. You won’t learn production by practicing recognition.


I’ve known how to write a very few kanji from memory for some years, and for the rest, I’d copy them out as needed. But I only recently started to teach myself to write more kanji from memory, and I really believe that it’s a useful tool in really burning these kanji into your brain. Because if you can write it, chances are much higher that you’ll recognize it when you see it.

You can just practice by writing on a piece of paper, but for me what’s made the difference was finding a WK-like tool which turned out to be a phone app designed for Japanese kids grades 1-6. (I should maybe explain that when I say WK-like, I mean it has small groups of lessons starting from simple and building up from there. It doesn’t share the timing aspect of WK, so you’ll have to time when you apprentice/guru/master/etc. yourself.) I already posted the link in another thread, but I’ll post it again because I like this app so much. [first link is to iOS version, second is to the Android version]


hmm I better start grinding those kanji hand writings. thanks

Thanks, I will definitely check the app.

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That app sounds handy. Too bad I can’t download it here in the Netherlands

That app seems interesting!

Reminds me of the edutainment game DoraMoji Nobita no Kanji Daisakusen (ドラもじ のび太の漢字大作戦) for the Japanese Nintendo 3DS, which is a Doraemon game for testing your kanji writing. Even though the 3DS doesn’t have the most precise touch screen for writing (even with a stylus) and you do need to know your basic kanji writing rules, including stroke order, I find it quite useful. There’s both a story mode (where you write kanji to fight enemies) and a practice mode (which can complement the early WK levels, as this is aimed at elementary school kids).


I have a personal rule, every time I’m writing in japanese by hand (answering my textbook, writting grammar points down, etc) if I know the Kanji on WaniKani already, I look up the kanji stroke order in Jisho, and copy it stroke by stroke, however slow. I just write hiragana if I don’t know the kanji yet.

It was hard at fist, but as months went by, it even became easier to remember certain kanji, and I can write a lot from memory now.
Tofugu has a great article on Kanji-writting patterns, too. So if you’re interested I recommend you check that one out.

@Daru’s way of doing it is a great option, and it’s what I’ve been doing as well.

A few other useful ways to go about it:

You could try using Kaniwani with a sheet of paper handy. Kaniwani trains you in the opposite manner from Wanikani - It gives you the definition and you produce the kanji. Instead of just typing them all in, only let yourself count it as correct if you can write it out on paper first.

If digital options are more your style, you can still learn to write out the kanji using this Anki deck. It follows WaniKani and provides you with a space to draw out the kanji. Then, it overlays the proper kanji.

Just be cautious. These options for learning to write kanji all take time. And with wanikani taking 1-3 hours a day at later levels, you may find it difficult to keep up. I’d definitely recommend prioritizing learning Grammar over writing kanji. And, unless your only interest is in purely written communication, I’d also prioritize speaking and listening comprehension practice, whether it be through a class, conversation partner, or audio lessons, over kanji writing.


Weird! I never understand regional restrictions on apps. Why would a kanji app meant especially for Japanese kids be available in Canada but not the Netherlands? Possibly because the app has been localized for English (but only slightly - like “back” “next”).

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I started practising handwriting and made it to about 300 kanji until I dropped it to focus on learning more kanji faster to be able to read as early as possible.
Now that I’ve reached lvl 60 I might be able to write a few still but my situation is basically the one you stated.
However, I decided to start practising it again and it’s so much easier this time around. It’s nice to have vocabulary knowledge for every kanji instead of vaguely understanding the context of the kanji you’re trying to learn how to write. I guess some people preach that “you should really learn to write the first time around” but I’m honestly enjoying this process a lot.
I use SRS and add 10 kanji a day, takes max 30 minutes of my morning to review them.


i just switched a few days ago to sharpevil’s lo-tech system - do kaniwani with a sheet of kanji practice paper. It’s not that slow once you actually know the kanji. Much faster than doing KW with handwriting recognition as the input. While that’s cool, it’s hard (can’t see what you’re writing), slow when you have to choose the suggested kanji, and SUPER slow when your blind scribble is so bad none of the suggestions are it. It doesn’t seem to matter how perfectly I draw 学, it’s going to make me do it a few times.

I’m finding already after a few days not only am I getting faster (年 is damn near automatic now because I have a lot of those in my current kw stack) but without really trying, they’re getting closer to the ‘model’ shapes as I get used to the sizes and positioning.

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My recommendation is just practice writing the radicals and get very good at this. Once you can write the radicals well it’s no big deal to write full kanji. I think the approach here is must faster than trying to write everything out as you learn it. I got all A’s in Japanese for three years but still can’t read! The difficulty of writing Kanji is exaggerated. Just learn to write the radicals and practice making them of different size and shapes. Sometimes wider somethings thinner and you will do fine! Kanji is just combined radicals so you just need to note how the size and spacing changes the way you write the radicals.

I’m just starting out here myself but I studied Japanese for three years. I would say that the more you read the easier to write it out later. but to keep up all you need to do is just practice writing the radicals and then combining themI I got all A’s for three years studying Japanese but never could read and can’t now. That’s why I am here. I could write well but whats the point without knowing enough kanji or the meaning. You dont need to write every Kanji down but I would recommend practicing writing the radicals. Write them bigger and smaller size. Thin and wider. Note how they look different depending on location in the Kanji. At this stage that’s all you need. Also note NLTP test is about reading much more than writing Kanji.

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