Tips for left handers?

I didn’t know which topic this question would be relevant under, hopefully this one should do it.
As the question suggests, I’m left-handed. I know Tofugu isn’t very keen on writing Japanese as a whole, but I need to learn writing for personal reasons.
However, Japanese, like most other languages, seems to be catered mainly towards right-handed people. I seem to be having problem with certain stroke orders, particularly the horizontal lines. Sometimes even the curves.
Are there any other left-handers here who face this problem? How did you overcome it, if at all? Tips and suggestions would be welcome :pray:


You may find this thread useful:


I’m also left handed and I’ve started practicing japanese calligraphy (Shodo), so indeed I can say it’s not exactly practical to be left handed in relation to writing.
That been said and according to what I’ve experienced in calligraphy classrooms in Japan. If you are aiming at writing with a pencil or a ballpoint pen, then it’s all good. They will let you use the left hand, since you can do pretty much all things that you would with the right hand. Even if you try to put some details in the character (like the ones you see in the tip of the line: harai, tome, hane) you can do it changing the pressure you use. Bonus for the leftys here, you won’t get the side of your palms dirty with ink when writing from right to left :star_struck::star_struck: .

Now for brush calligraphy… you’re pretty much screwed :sweat_smile: .
It’s really difficult to get the correct shape of the characters if aiming from the totally oposite direction. Some younger teachers say you can try. But actually most Shodo classrooms will only teach you to write with the right hand only. That been said when working with the big brush, the most common one, the movement happens much more in the arm, elbow, wrist, without the fine detail that you are used to have when writing with a pen, so It’s not terribly difficult to learn to do it with the right hand.

If you’re are aiming to work with a small brush or a fude pen… I wish you luck :joy::joy::joy: (it’s basically writing fine detail with your non-dominant hand… which it’s actually quite challenging ).


I’m only kidding, but you could try learning to write with your right hand! :wink: (My grandmother made my naturally left-handed uncle learn to write with his right hand due to superstition, and he became ambidextrous.)

My lecturer at uni was forced to write with her right hand as a child, but on the plus side, she’s now the only person in the Japanese department who can mark papers while eating lunch, because she can write with her right hand while holding her chopsticks in her left.


I practice writing, and use my left hand. I have not found it to be a handicap at all.

I do have trouble with “proper” calligraphy. But in the gyosho style I can work reasonably, because it doesn’t have the flourishes that the kaisho style has at the ends of strokes that really depend on rotating the arm.

I know that “work right handed” was mentioned as a joke, but it is really not out of the question if your want to learn proper calligraphy. Everyone’s secondary hand is capable of just as much dexterity as their dominant hand. Just look at stringed instrument players and jugglers who use both hands with absolute mastery.


That is very interesting.
I was born left handed but I was forced to write right handed.
I do some things left handed like drive and shoot a basketball.
But I do most things right handed.

I have been learning shodo with fude and kofude since the start. My teacher says it’s fine, but maybe that is only because we’re not in Japan? Progress has been steady, but maybe I could try it with my right. Will be difficult at first, I guess.

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And the students could tell by stains on their papers…


Yeah, I think it’s totally doable, probably with the right set of instructions it should be ok, thing was that wherever I asked while in Japan, the anwser I got was the same, a solid NO.

Now I’ve found out that parents will even send their kids to a Shodo classroom to “fix” their leftyness :sweat_smile: .

Overseas I think they can’t be as picky and probably would loose some of the insterested people if they had the same approach.
In any case kofude has been the worst for me, I’m now starting a class in my home country, I wonder what will the take on leftys will be with the current teacher :sweat_smile: .

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Doesn’t anybody take lunch breaks any more? Breaks are there for you to take a breather from work, not do more work.

Yeah, except at our university, they’re trying their utmost to compress the teaching period into such a small amount of time that it will eventually become dense enough to trigger the singularity.


… Actually, as a guitar and ukelele player who is right-handed, I initially wanted a left-handed guitar when I was first learning so I could do chords with my right hand. (I didn’t get one.) I can do it, but I’m quite clumsy at changing chords and have difficulty even making certain chords (partly due to lack of grip strength). However, I can finger pick very well so I’m better at playing lead!

… I wish I was ambidextrous.

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