Writing Kanji - Line Height

I’ve been practicing handwriting Kanji a little bit as of late and one challenge I’m facing relates to line height. The notebooks I’m using are Leuchtturm1917 a5 lined notebooks from my local bookshop, and they have a 5.5mm line height. This is presenting some difficulty with more detailed kanji, for example, the left side of 家 where there’s effectively 6 stacked horizontal lines, 3 of which are even curved. The pen I use has a 0.7mm tip, so this ends up a very tight squeeze and what usually happens is the bottom 2 curved lines on the left side end up blending indistinguishably together into one bolded line. I’m pretty close to just using double line height for Kanji to be honest.

I’m just wondering if the notebooks are too small (e.g. I also have a reporter pad with 9mm lines where 家 is much easier), or if there’s any techniques people use to deal with writing kanji in small places, or if I just need a ton more practice to handle the small forms?


I would actually recommend investing in some genkouyoushi paper. It’s designed for writing kanji and is perfect for practice. You can find it on Amazon fairly cheap.

Or if you’re feeling frugal, I’m sure you can find a template for that paper online and simply print it out if you have access to a printer.

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I think 5.5mm line separation is pretty tight for anything but especially for kanji. The random pad of lined paper I have here is 8mm line separation and I wouldn’t want to try to write Japanese in anything with narrower lines than that. I also use a 0.5mm pen, but really I think your issue here is the paper.


Have you tried using a finer tip? I like to use 0.5mm pencil, but in Japan you can buy 0.4mm and even 0.38mm felt-tip pens. I tried the 0.38mm but found the tip too scratchy on the paper, but 0.4mm is really fine.


I also second trying a different pen. I usually use 0.3mm pens for kanji writing and I think they’re great for that (or for tiny writing in general).


Forgive me, but I honestly thought this was another April Fools day post at first … either that, or possibly the most Germanic post I’ve ever come across!

I hope this isn’t offensive, and I’ve no idea if you’re actually German, but they have a reputation for precision and preparedness:


I’m impressed with anyone that actually makes the effort to learn to handwrite kanji.

One of these years I’ll at least learn to handwrite kana. [1]

  1. I struggle to read my own English handwriting, though! ↩︎

I am not German, but the notebook I’m using is

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