What's your favorite way to study kanji handwriting?

I’m looking to start practicing kanji as written by hand. What is your favorite way of doing that? Are you a pen & paper die-hard? Do you use an app or a tablet? Do you only practice with a fine calligraphy brush? Do you forego handwriting altogether?

I’m particularly interested in your takes on the various Android apps, as I own a tablet, although it can also run Windows so web stuff works too.

I am by no means anywhere near experienced with the art of calligraphy, but I do enjoy toying around with my brush pens and my dot grid notebook! I will link my favorites:

Not too expensive to start, and a pretty nice pen to write with! I do hand lettering to fancy up my envelopes with this pen, too!

It’s pretty fine, so you can write kind of small compared to some other brush pens where you can only fit a few characters on a huge paper. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I use either 0.3mm gel ink pen on graph paper with an Anki deck or a stylus and Kanji Study on my phone

Pens and kanji notebooks. No easy way to learn calligraphy for the lefties.
0.38 mm Jetstream standard ball point pens are the sweetest things I’ve ever found! They write so smooooth. Other pens made by Mitsubishi are good as well.


i don’t have materials so i don’t get to do it often, but calligraphy is a fun way to do it! if you have a calligraphy brush, some water, and water practice sheets, you can practice calligraphy without any ink and without permanently marking a page.

I recently discovered a great app for Android called Kanji Study. The first few kanji packs are free to try it out, after that it costs about $12 as far as I recall, and it’s a one-time payment. You can pick different levels and test either by multiple choice, or by writing the kanji on the touchscreen; and the app will correct your stroke order. I find it the perfect combination with WK because if I write the kanji on paper, I don’t really know if I mess up.


Being left-handed makes everything difficult, but at least it’s not impossible.

Actual old-english calligraphy is suuupppeerrr hard to do as a left-hander. At least in my experience.

As far as studying kanji by hand, I too am in the school of writing the kanji as I do the lessons, along with the meaning and hirgana. It was proven somewhere that writing things down makes them stick better in your braaiinnn.

In any case, I also lurk on a bunch of people’s Instagrams. It helps…but mostly I just cry as I try to read it for 5 minutes.

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Truly. I managed somehow, though. I drew the letters from end to the beginning…:upside_down:
The Japanese way of using a brush instead of a flat nib (or whatever they’re called) turned out to be impossible for me :sweat_smile:

Love those pens! They truly are wonderful. And so pretty!

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AnkiDroid (Anki on Android), with Kanji strokes order font.

Putting a short phrase in Anki also works.

Don’t forget that font size must be BIG.

Outside Anki, I just use a tablet and a stylus.

For apps, I have heard of one more app, called Skritter. If I recommend something else, that would be any app preparing for 漢字検定.

There are two books in a series I just got.

They are reasonably priced and very helpful for regular and cursive handwriting. They have sections on writing on postcards, envelopes, letters, etc too. Doing ligatures and showing balance and spacing of the characters. Lots of practice exercises in kanji, hiragana and katakana. There is a third book I didn’t get which covers writing with a brush-pen.

Books are all in Japanese but was no problem for me to figure out what they are saying.


Thanks. I want to read a textbook on cursive styles too.

The actual reason I can write, is because I have some basic in Mandarin Chinese. But, now I dig so far into studying a character. I want to learn more.

have you done much with the semi-cursive book yet? I’m wondering if practicing it yourself would help with trying to read other people’s handwriting.

OT: one of my professors in college told me my handwriting looked like a (japanese) middle school girl’s; I wasn’t quite sure what she was meaning by that…

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I didn’t do any of the exercises yet, but even just reading it helped improve my handwriting a little. And I think it has helped in reading others’ handwriting. Once you see the logic of it (stroke simplification and connecting strokes) you can instantly read much better.

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YES! This app is amazing! I use it primarily for looking up kanji, but it is by far my favorite Japanese app.

I’m just starting (as evidenced by my level), but I’ve had fun writing out bible verses from the NJB. :smiley:

Why pay for the Kanji Study app, when you can get the exact same thing using the Kanji Teacher one, that is absolutely free? :smiley:

Admittedly, this one is for us Apple slaves out there. I can’t properly scour the market for Android, so I leave that to Android users. But for real, this app is golden in helping to memorize stroke order.

I don’t mind paying for quality and continued development


I’m a lefty as well! I want to buy and try out the pen!

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I don’t really mind paying for it if I like the product and 12 bucks is a fair price. I happily shelled out the money for WK too because I figured I’d get my money’s worth, and I am. :slight_smile:

Don’t have an apple device, but if anyone knows an app like this for windows phone, please share! I’ve looked but haven’t found any so far.

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