What do the japanese think of cursive?

I was just wondering. When japanese people see that european languages can also be written in cursive, do they view it as a kind of second roman alphabet, like we view hiragana+katakana?

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Probably the same sense of dispair I get when confronted with handwritten Japanese.




Didn’t know @Koichi had been on BBC!! :OOO


Several Japanese people have told me that it’s hard for them because it’s not taught at school.


With the people I’ve met, the older generation–people currently in their 50s and 60s–did have to learn it in school, so for them it’s not mysterious. Current students don’t have to learn it, but whenever I used it to show off, they thought it was another cool foreign thing, although they’ve seen cursive here and there before. I know a few students every year like to practice it on their own too. But I don’t know if they view it in the same way that we see the different kana systems.


My wife has a fairly high TOEIC level and had basically zero ability to read cursive, to the point I had to teach her how to write her name in cursive for signatures back when we lived in the States. So if shes any indication, at least for people in their 30s from backwoods 青森県 (and i doubt that its been added to the English curriculum recently), cursive is a pretty foreign thing for them.


I remember when I did a home-stay years ago in high school there was one kid in the high school English class who wrote in cursive and I was very impressed… (mostly cause it was even better than mine. That’s not saying much but still impressive)

Japanese people probably think of English written in cursive the same way I do about Japanese written in cursive.


I was watching a video of a korean girl living in Brazil. She learned the roman print script so you can imagine her shock when in class the teacher started writing in arabic. Like wtf? That is what motivated the question.

I thought it was strange of you to compare english written in cursive to japanese written in cursive. So I did some googling and apparently cursive is dying in the west (especially english speaking countries). Some schools don’t even teach it anymore. Some kids these days cannot read it, much less write it. I find this very strange. I don’t think we were allowed to use print in school after kindergarden. In my mind, it’s not some curiosity. In my mind, if you don’t know cursive you are illiterate.


Personally, I learned cursive, but I never use it. It doesn’t really add anything besides a sense of “fanciness” and making me write slower.

I.e. neat if you’re doing calligraphy, annoying if i’m just doing day-to-day writing.


In my country it’s still the preferred writing style that gets taught in elementary school. I was extremely surprised that other countries don’t do the same.

tbh rather off-topic

Well, there’s also the question of what you mean by ‘cursive’. The US (to my knowledge) teaches looped cursive, very formally, to the extent that you get people who “can’t” write and/or read cursive.

In the UK we learn how to do ‘joined-up writing’, which is basically italic cursive. This should be perfectly readable to most people who can read the alphabet. So we do learn ‘cursive’, but it’s maybe not what you’d usually think of as cursive, and there’s no issue with people being ‘unable’ to read it.

Most people’s writing naturally evolves into some form of casual cursive, and nobody is particularly concerned with your writing after this so long as it’s legible. So there’s much less of a divide, I think, between those who do write in cursive, and those who don’t.

It seems be a much less contentious topic here. I never see any debates over whether or not we ‘ought’ to be teaching cursive, whereas it seems to be a controversial topic in the US.




maybe offtopic?

What I was referring to as “cursive” is this:

This is how elementary school children learn how to write in my country. I’m not sure what kind of cursive it is tbh, or how it compares to what the US or UK children learn.


They tried to teach me, but I refused to learn. I can not write in cursive, and reading is… Slow.


Of my (admittedly rusty) cursive, and my regular chicken-scratch print above, which do you have an easier time reading?

Seconding that question @args.


About equal



Apparently this is still being taught in many parts of Germany, although there is discussion to switch over to something like this

I personally think this is a good thing, because nothing about cursive makes it inherently better for communication, it’s only value is aesthetic and I don’t think that’s where school should put the priority.