Stroke Order Importance

I’ve decided to start learning to write the kanji I have at guru level. I’m looking up stroke order on Jisho.

Are there any experts out there who can help with the importance of stroke order? Like, I’m getting most of it right because intuition tends to work after you’ve done 100 of them.

But I just realized that the “narwhal” radical of 右 and 左 are done in different orders…:sob:

That alone makes me think I’ll never get it perfectly right. Basically, I’m asking if native speakers/writers will be able to tell somehow or if a handful of reversed stroke order, like the above, won’t matter if I mess it up.


I wondered that too and found this.

This made sense for me. I hope it is correct. I am waiting for answers also…

The fact that the stroke order taught in China for 右 and 左 is not the same as what gets taught in Japan shows that it’s not important in a fundamental sense.

If you watch game shows on TV where there are kanji writing elements, you’ll see all kinds of wacky stroke orders. Of course, they’re writing under the pressure of a game show, but they hardly ever get called out on it, and what gets counted is the final product.

If you write the way most beginners do, painstakingly making each stroke look like the printed version in a font you saw somewhere, then stroke order really doesn’t mean anything.

If you write in swift strokes that lead to combining forms together or skipping some strokes entirely, then breaking with the official stroke order could result in some weird shapes that could make the character harder to recognize. There are common traits of briskly written characters that a lot of Japanese people share, like writing 口 as a circle when it appears in other kanji (like 語).

If you want to write at that kind of pace, where shortcuts are necessary, then learning properly is probably a good idea, so you have a proper base to build on.

And it kind of goes without saying that if you do something like calligraphy, your teacher will demand proper stroke order.

But outside of that, it basically doesn’t matter. If all you’re ever going to do is write your address on a form at a government office while no one watches, no one will care.


Even though it’s not doing real calligraphy, but the small bit of time I’ve been practicing writing with a brush pen I’ve noticed that following the proper stroke order makes the writing feel more natural and the characters come out looking much more legible even to my non-native eye. Whereas with a ballpoint pen or pencil, it doesn’t seem to have as much importance to the final product as you mention.

Though I have had one of my Japanese teachers spot on occasion some iffy stroke order even with pencil scratching. Guess it’s all those years of having that being beaten into your head in school.

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Stroke order is very important…


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