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:

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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.

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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.)

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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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