Reproducing the Kanji

When I started, and through level 5 or so, I was able not only to recognize a kanji and give the keyword and reading that WK wanted, but I was also able, given a keyword, to reproduce the kanji by hand.

Now that I’m past that and radicals have gone one step beyond the trivial, I find I’m less able to write the radicals/kanji from memory. I can still recognize the subset of kanji I’ve seen when I see them with 95%+ accuracy so no real problems there.

While I realize writing kanji is not the goal of Wanikani, I worry if I might be going a bit too fast. After all I only have seen 300 or so Kanji and some of them may be blurring together a bit for me. Anyone else feel this way?


the “i can recognize them when I see them but otherwise they’re like blurry in my mind” feeling?

Yes, totally.

You can continue up to the end like that or try to challenge yourself adding that study to your routine.
I’m using the approach in this post and it has done wonders for me

Also remember that kanji will start resembling each other, so you’ll need a way to tell em apart


I don’t think being unable to handwrite kanji has much to do with going too fast. Recognizing kanji and being able to reproduce them are two different skills, so you’re not supposed to know how to write unless you write. Of course this logic might not apply to the simpler kanji like 人, 内, 土 and so on, these are way easier to “see in your head” even without practice. But I don’t think a lot of people would be able to write 鬱 without some practice.

If you’re recognizing kanji just fine, and if you don’t mind not being able to handwrite them, you don’t have to learn. But if you do want to learn and practice writing as well, take care to follow proper stroke order to avoid forming bad habits. Don’t just copy the way they’re printed on the screen.

You can look up the stroke order on Jisho or here. The latter seems to be more accurate for a few of the kanji.


I find that I’m able to write them because I’ve been writing down the kanji as I’ve been learning them, because writing helps solidify things in your mind. Personally, I didn’t really start getting hiragana down until I made a set of flash cards with all the sounds written in English, and then using those to write out the corresponding characters. So the kanji I’ve learned so far are “stuck” in my mind because I’ve been writing them out (also since they scattered the “one thing/two things/three things” and “one person/two people/three people” kanji through different lessons and not sequentially, writing them on cards grouped together, writing the kanji, the reading, the romaji and then English. That way all the readings and meanings get grouped together in my mind. YMMV, of course; what works for me might not work for others.

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As for retention and recalling the kanji, it is very beneficial to be able to write them. It’s also very cool.
But that takes considerable more amount of time than just simply learning how to recognize them. I’ve spent months filling notebooks, only to give up because it was just too much work to keep up with it (as Japanese is just a hobby for me). Only when I decided to give up writing that I managed to make real progress. But if you have the time, definitely consider learning the writing as you go.

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I would find it too slow to learn how to write every kanji I learn in WaniKani as I go along. But, I do like learning how to write them so I practice a batch now and then. I find learning to write kanji especially helps me to remember kanji that look very similar. Also, it’s fun (for me, at least). I do find that writing helps with retention.

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