Should aspiring Sinophones relearn stroke order?

So I’m learning Mandarin, but (simplified) Chinese stroke order sometimes diverges from the Japanese. For example, in Chinese, 田 is written like 冂 and then 土. The third stroke is horizontal, not vertical. Also, 左 and 右 have the same horizontal first stroke in Chinese. In Japanese, the first stroke of 右 is ノ.

I know these don’t sound like the biggest deal, but I do a lot of handwriting practice. These tiny differences have been messing with my muscle memory. Would this be a clarity issue with a native speaker? Is it worth the trouble to practice these subtle differences?

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Many people argue that it’s not even worth learning to write kanji/hanzi at all, so clearly many will say that no, it doesn’t matter. In practice it’s really up to you and how much you expect to write Japanese and Chinese respectively.

I mean unless you opt for a cursive style, the stroke order shouldn’t massively change the resulting shape of the character, so clearly no. Nobody can tell if you drew 田 in the wrong order unless you start linking the strokes together. So if that’s your concern I’d just be careful to write the “conflicting” characters clearly and by-the-book and I’m sure it won’t be much of an issue.

I think you’re much more likely to face the opposite issue: having to decipher hastily written hanzi produced by a native and being confused by the stroke order! If that’s something you have to do often, then familiarizing yourself with Mandarin stroke order might be worth it.

In the end it’s really up to you and your priorities.


I’m not sure if you need to relearn them, unless you haven’t studied stroke order before.

What might be helpful is writing them side by side.

More useful things are learning differences like 読 vs 读 (and maybe also 讀 to do the link)

I don’t think the cases you listed here are likely to effect the look of the character. So far it just seems to be order of vertical and horizontal strokes within a part of kanji. The parts as a whole are still written in the same order.

I doubt the Chinese natives relearn stroke order when writing Japanese.

I would stick with the one you learned first or learn the order for the language you plan to use the most. Are you planning to take a handwriting kanji test anytime soon?