Remembering Kanji Without Looking At It


So, as I continue studying more and more kanji and vocabulary, I start facing this problem.

When I am doing a WaniKani review, I look at the kanji, and my brain goes, “yup, that kanji is read x and means y”. Awesome!

But then if I’m like, okay, I want to write this word, I can perfectly remember what it means and how to say it, but the kanji that make it up just… don’t appear in my brain. Like, if I look at 赤, which isn’t even a particularly complicated kanji, I’m like “yup, that’s red, and it’s read aka”. But if I want to actually mentally create that kanji… I can’t really do it. I couldn’t remember how to write water the other day.

I know that most of the things I’ll be doing in Japanese will be either reading, listening, speaking or writing on a keyboard of some sort, but I just wanted to ask if anyone knows of any resource to help me actually remembering the kanji without having to look at it.

Thank you very much! :smile:


A pencil is probably the best tool for that problem.

There’s also apps like Skritter.


You’ll have to write individual Kanji after some time. I personally prefer to write it after having remembered both Kun, On readings and associated vocab for some time, i.e catch-up Handwriting.

Some of the techniques…

I find that shadowing using Iversen method is a very powerful technique.


Yeaaaaah I kind of expected that one XDDD I’ll get some kanji pratice sheets and get on it I guess :smiley:

(my handwriting sucks though and it makes me feel bad inside :cry:)


I’ve actually thought a lot about this, and I think really emphasizing radicals during the writing process would help immensely. i.e. learn to draw the common visual components, then remember which components each kanji is made of.


Some introduction to callgraphy


I actually write some Chinese before Japanese anyway, so it doesn’t really matter to me. (Still, my Chinese is much worse than Japanese.)


I’ve looking at the Inversen method, which does seem pretty cool, but I also really really like SRS… a whole lot XD So I might install that pretty Anki deck (and then just write it on paper anyways prolly, but still, SRS :smile:)

Thank you a lot for all these resources :blush:


I think handwriting is also a good way to distinguish visually similar kanji—like I mix up 湯 and 陽 and have to tell them apart by radical, but it’s easier to write it and force myself to remember that one is tsunami and the other is butcher.


Yeah, I really should start doing this. I screw up memorize 覚, prize 賞, normal 賞, and hall 堂pretty badly.


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