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Practice writing Japanese on your screen. Let's write!

Learning to write in Japanese takes a lot of practice, but this website will take care of a lot of the legwork for you. You can stop wasting paper and looking up stroke-order diagrams and just focus on learning.

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It already has every kanji worksheet for writing, and soon it will have plenty to practice reading.

Learn the JLPT N5–N1 Kanji

It’s easy to use. Click kanji and choose which Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level you’d like to study.

Then, click study and type each word’s rōmaji equivalent (e.g.  ‘genki’).

  • Draw it in the drawing area
  • Type the name in the text area
  • Look for it in the list
  • Notice that 漢 is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫
  • Draw any of these components (one at a time) in the drawing area, and select it when you see it
  • Alternatively, look for a component in the list. 氵 艹 口 each have three strokes; 夫 has four strokes
  • If you know the meanings of the components, type any of them in the text area: water (氵), grass (艹), mouth (口) or husband (夫)
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.
  • Draw a component in the center of the area, as large as you can
  • Try to draw the component as it appears in the kanji you're looking up
  • Don't worry about stroke order or number of strokes
  • Don't draw more than one component at a time


The Kanshudo complete guide to writing Japanese

writing practice kanji

Kanshudo's guide to writing Japanese

writing practice kanji

  • First let's see what components 鬱 contains. It is pretty complicated! It has several: 缶, 林 (or 木 on either side), 冖, a complex piece 鬯 which in itself could be made up of other elements, and finally 彡.
  • So, let's start with rule 5 to help us figure out the order of components to draw: symmetry first (缶), then the 木 on either side, then another symmetrical component 冖, then the left side 鬯 and 彡. None of these are 'containing' components, so we can just draw each one by one. This is already looking more straightforward!
  • Let's take 缶. This is mostly straightforward: we start with rule 2 which shows us we start at the top left with our little diagonal stroke. Rule 1 then tells us to do the two horizontals, followed by the vertical. Now things get tricky: in fact the bottom of this component is only two strokes, a 'shelf' and another vertical.
  • Next we draw our two trees. Rule 1 tells that we do our horizontal first, followed by the vertical. Rule two tells us to do the left diagonal followed by the right diagonal.
  • Next we have 冖: there are actually two challenges here - we draw the left side vertical first, and then the horizontal and the right vertical as a combined element.
  • Next we go to 鬯. This is actually a radical (standard component) in Chinese, which uses a longer radical list than Japanese. However, in Japanese it is extremely uncommon. Stroke order is fairly standard, though, if you remember to apply rule 3 several times, as that shows you how to decide what orde to do the strokes in the brush.
  • And 彡 is a nice easy one to finish: rule 1 tells us we draw our strokes top to bottom, and each stroke starts at the top.

writing practice kanji

  • There are many analyses of Chinese character strokes. One sensible reference point is the Unicode specification, which defines a 'block' of characters representing strokes. Currently 36 strokes are included, but if you examine the list you will see several which are extremely similar - for example, Unicode defines a separate character for a short diagonal stroke depending on whether it goes from left to right or right to left. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke_(CJKV_character) .
  • For more on Japanese calligraphy, start with Wikipedia's article on the different scripts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursive_script_(East_Asia) .
  • See here for an example of fonts that produce cursive Japanese.
  • One great tool is Mojizo , a system for recognizing cursive kanji from images. Kanshudo's own component builder ( how to guide ) is a way to find kanji quickly based on any components you recognize, and it includes our own AI tool for recognizing hand-drawn components.

writing practice kanji

Kanji Writing Practice

Printable Writing Practice Sheets with grid lines (PDF)

Handwriting Practice Sheet

How to download/print.

Click the link. PDF document will be displayed.

To download the file, choose [ Save As... ] from [File] menu.

To print on papers, choose [ Print... ] from [File] menu.

To view the PDF file, you need Adobe Reader, a free application distributed by Adobe Systems.

How to Practice

We recommend to do the following practice.

  • First Row : Carefully imitate the shape of sample letters.
  • Second Row (left) : Write letters by occasionally looking the sample.
  • Second Row (right) : Write a letter without looking, then compare with the sample. Repeat the same.

Refer grid lines to check the position of each stroke.

This one-time practice would be enough to get familiar with the shape of letters.

Repeat the practice to become a master of beautiful handwriting!

Handwriting Instructions

Handwriting instructions for each letter are available at the following pages.

Related Topics

  • Hiragana Writing Practice
  • Katakana Writing Practice
  • Kanji Master Drill

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Top 5 apps for Kanji Writing

writing practice kanji

Do you struggle with writing Japanese Kanji?  Can’t seem to grasp how to remember the order of the strokes and positions? Many Japanese learners out there are also feeling the same pain.

With smartphones, desktops and tablets, you can study and practice Japanese kanji wherever you go! You don’t necessarily need to have a quiet environment and a desk to pull out your pen and notebook, just a simple smartphone will do.

In this blog, we have compiled some of the popular Japanese study apps that you can download to kickstart your Kanji learning

Just started learning Japanese? Head to our main article about the Japanese writing system for a more comprehensive guide on hiragana, katakana and kanji!

1. Kaizen Languages: Japanese

Kaizen Languages Japanese app has a Kanji writing section in the app that contains broad study material from JLPT N5 to N1 level. Each JLPT level has more than 10 sets of Kanjis, where you can study the kanjis, take the reading quiz and a writing quiz. When taking the kanji writing quiz, the app provides the English word: the on and kun reading of the kanji. This allows you to guess what kanji to write. If you are ever stuck on the question, you can ask for a hint that displays the dotted line of the kanji, or the individual stroke of the kanji.

writing practice kanji

The unique characteristic of this Kaizen Japanese app is that you can learn a new language through conversing with their AI robots. Through this method, you can learn Japanese in the most natural way possible, though common Japanese phrases rather than the unnatural textbook phrases not commonly used till this day.

Android – coming soon

2. Learn Japanese! – Kanji

We all know there is no shortcut to learning a language, and in order to do so vocabulary build up is as important as grammar lessons. The great thing about this app is that they make you remember how to write, read, and understanding the vocabulary through repetition. This apps offers a wide array of kanjis from JLPT N5-N1 to practice.

writing practice kanji

The order of study method with this app is, they first give you two vocabularies they want you to remember. In this case, it is the two kanjis 一(ichi) and 二(ni). Both flashcards contain the kanji, the hiragana reading and the English translation. Each flashcards also have an audio playback function. When you proceed, the app asks you to write and trace the given kanji.

writing practice kanji

After practicing, the app will test you to match the kanji with the hiragana reading. It also quizes you on the English meaning with the hiragana reading. This app uses a number of combinations to test your knowledge and memorization of the vocabulary. Within the two kanjis, the repetition of quizzing you on kanji will help you to remember the reading, as well as practice writing numerous times.

3. Kanji Teacher – Learn Japanese

Kanji Teacher learning app separates itself from the others in the way that it absolutely does not let you pass onto the next kanji, if you did not write the kanji in the correct order of strokes. If your phone is on a buzzer, it will vibrate, letting you know you missed the right kanji order. After correcting yourself and writing the correct stroke, they will highlight the area where you have made a mistake and you can compare to the current kanji you wrote, opposed to the kanji you wrote wrongly.

Proper steps to write this kanji on the right vs How I wrongly wrote it

writing practice kanji

Iphone only

4. Kanji GO – Learn Japanese

This app serves as a vocabulary dictionary. Users can look at N5 kanji, understand the meaning in English, as well as memorize the multiple “kun” and “on” readings of the kanji. When studying for the kanji, there is play function, where users are able to see the stroke order of the kanji. The users then can select the pen function where there is the kanji guided line for users to practice writing it themselves. Another benefits of this study app, is that while tracing the guided kanji lines, there is a green and red circle at each end, signaling where to start and end. This is very helpful in helping Japanese learners write the kanji not only for the correct stroke order, but stroke direction as well.

writing practice kanji

The only downsides of the app is that JLPT N4-N1 are additional paid features, and that the quizzes do not test users on kanji writing, rather the kanji definition, “kun” and “on” readings.

Imiwa? app is a superb study app that serves as a dictionary and a kanji learning application as well. You can search words that you do not know, which translates in English for you, and vice versa if you search in English. It also is an educational app for those that are aiming to ace the JLPT exams, where there is a section that seperates all the kanji within the 5 categories. When coming across the unfamiliar kanji, details of “on” and “kun” reading is shown. There is an animated demonstration of writing the kanji. The kanji is also translated in English, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish and Portugeuse making the app very globally friendly.

writing practice kanji

Kanjis categorized in JLPT levels             App used as a dictionary

writing practice kanji

Bonus: Kanji Practice N1, N2, N4, N5

This is a fun app for users to simple practice writing kanji. You can choose to practice kanji from the 1st to 6th grade elementary kanji. This app is fairly simple, you just select whatever kanji you’d like to go over. The app gives you a variety of pen colors , and you can use that to trace the guided kanji strokes.

writing practice kanji

The only downsides of this study app is that they do not provide any definitions of explanations of the kanji.

These are just a few samples of many – looking for more suggestions?  We have some other ways to learn and practice Kanji for you 

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Japanese Writing Practice: Ultimate List of Resources for Every Level

Japanese writing can be one of the scariest aspects of learning Japanese! And there’s no shortcut to success – you simply have to get your Japanese writing practice in . Luckily there are no shortage of tools to help you with this!

Whether you are a beginner looking to practise your Japanese handwriting, or an advanced student in need of Japanese essay writing practice, there are lots of free and cheap resources out there at every level.

Here’s my roundup of the best websites, apps, printables and other tools for Japanese writing practice.

Japanese writing practice apps

Free websites for japanese writing practice online, easy japanese writing practice for beginners, japanese hiragana and katakana writing practice.

If you are new to learning Japanese, you’ll want to get your hiragana and katakana down pat before you move on to anything else.

Spending time on your hiragana and katakana writing practice not only helps you memorise the characters, it will also improve your handwriting and help you become accustomed to correct stroke order, which will be a massive benefit when you move on to learning kanji !

There are loads of free Japanese katakana and hiragana writing practice sheets online for you to download and print at home. Here’s a selection:

Free Japanese hiragana and katakana writing practice sheets pdf workbook

Screenshot showing example printable kana worksheets from JapanesePod101

This free workbook from JapanesePod101 introduces all the hiragana and katakana characters and has spaces for you to trace, and then copy them out. The workbook also contains flashcards to practise your recognition. Note: you need to create a free account to access the workbook.

Japanese hiragana writing practice sheets

An alternative source to print out hiragana practice sheets, with grid lines to help your handwriting.

Japanese katakana writing practice sheets

An alternative source to print out katakana practice sheets, with grid lines to help your handwriting.

Free BLANK Japanese writing practice sheets

Image showing 3 different kinds of blank Japanese graph paper to practise writing kana and kanji. The pages are shown as a flatlay on a pink background.

If you just want blank Japanese graph paper to practise writing out your characters, I have created my own in various sizes/formats for you to download and print!

Kakikata print maker

Screenshot from the website Kakikata Print Maker, showing some of the many types of Japanese writing worksheets you can generate and print for free.

An awesome website (designed for Japanese parents/teachers to use with their children) where you can design and print your own worksheets with kana or kanji characters of your choice, in various formats. You can even choose to add stroke order! Useful if you want to practise a particular word or set of characters.

Japanese Tools: create your own kana practice sheets

Here is another useful site where you can create your own Japanese practice writing sheets with the characters of your choice, printed with a gradual fade to trace/copy.

Japanese kanji writing practice

If you are studying kanji from a textbook or course and you just need blank kanji graph paper to practise writing on, you can print that out here .

If you are looking for pre-printed kanji worksheets with kanji to copy out, the best resource I have found is this one:

Screenshot showing example N5 level kanji worksheet from kanji.sh

This amazing website lets you download and print kanji writing practice worksheets for kanji sets according to JLPT level, Japanese school grade level, Wanikani level, Kanji Garden app level, or frequency. It’s totally free and so useful!

Easy Japanese sentence writing practice

Once you know your kana and a few kanji, you might start to think about writing out some Japanese sentences.

JapanesePod101 writing practice worksheets 

Screenshot showing some free Japanese writing worksheets from JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101 has a selection of free Japanese writing practice sheets, available as pdfs that you can download and print yourself. They currently have 16+ free writing practice workbooks on beginner-friendly topics such as daily routine or ordering food. This is a good way to get used to writing out simple Japanese sentences at the beginner level. 

However, I wouldn’t recommend them for complete beginners because they use kanji – so you should be familiar with some kanji and the basic rules of stroke order before you use them.

As soon as you are able to form Japanese sentences on your own, I recommend you start a Japanese journal and/or sharing your sentences with others using the resources in the intermediate/advanced section below!

When you are learning to write in Japanese, I recommend writing them out by hand as much as possible because it helps you learn by muscle memory and helps you develop neat handwriting! However, it’s also useful to have a great writing practice app or two on your phone so you can study on the go.

There are lots of great apps out there to practise writing Japanese characters. Here are some recommendations:

Screenshot from the Skritter app to learn Japanese hiragana and katakana

Skritter is an app for learning Japanese (and Chinese) writing and vocabulary. You can use Skritter to learn kana and kanji from scratch, or simply to review what you’ve learned. It uses handwriting recognition and a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help you learn effectively.

Under the ‘test’ settings section you can choose to focus on writing only, or add in flashcards for reading and definition too.

It works well alongside other courses and textbooks to practise your characters. They have pre-made flashcard decks from various textbooks which is great when you get on to drilling vocabulary.

Screenshot of Ringotan app to practise writing Japanese characters

As with Skritter, you can either use this app to learn kana and kanji as a complete beginner, or just to practise writing the characters you already know. In fact, it’s probably the best app I’ve found if you just want a simple flashcard-style writing practice app with handwriting recognition. It’s a little clunkier to use but once you’ve got it set up, it’s easy. If you already know the kana and you just want to practise, choose ‘Yes, but I need more practice’ during the set-up stage.

Screenshot of Scripts app showing a demonstration of how to write the hiragana character あ (a)

The Scripts app from the makers of Drops teaches you kana and kanji (and also has the option to learn other languages’ scripts, such as hangul or hanzi, if you’re doing the polyglot thing). You learn by tracing the characters with your finger on the screen.

It’s a good option if you are learning to write the Japanese characters from scratch. However, I could not see an option to skip the ‘learning’ stage and just review, so if you’ve already mastered your kana it won’t be for you.

Learn Japanese! 

This is a very simple and easy to use app to learn how to write hiragana and katakana. However, you only learn 5 characters at a time and I couldn’t see a way to skip to review only, so again, great for complete beginners but not if you just want to practise.

Intermediate and advanced Japanese writing practice

At the intermediate and advanced levels, you are well beyond copying out characters/sentences on worksheets, and you will be creating your own compositions in Japanese. In fact, I highly recommend doing this as soon as you are able to! 

One popular method to get your Japanese writing practice is to keep a daily diary or journal in Japanese . You can try to incorporate new grammar and vocabulary you’ve learned, or simply write whatever comes into your head just to get used to writing in Japanese.

Even jotting down a few private sentences in your own notebook will be beneficial. But if you want to step it up a notch, use one of the websites/apps below to share your writing with other learners and native speakers and receive feedback.

If you’ve been studying languages for a while you might be mourning the loss of Lang8, a site where you could post journal entries in your target language online and get feedback from native speakers. Here are a couple of Lang 8 alternatives I’ve found:


Screenshoot of LangCorrect homepage, a website where language learners can keep a journal online

LangCorrect is a site where you can practise your Japanese writing online by writing daily journal entries and getting corrections from native speakers. It’s fairly active with the Japanese learning community, and you can usually expect to get a few comments/corrections within a few hours (don’t forget to take the time difference into account!). They also have journal prompts in case you’re feeling the writer’s block. It’s free to use.

Journaly is a similar site I’ve heard, about although I haven’t used it and I have the impression its user base is smaller than LangCorrect. It’s free to use and there is also a paid version which has a few extra benefits, such as bumping up your posts to get more attention.

This is a free website offered by Dickinson College. Its main purpose is for connecting language exchange partners, but they also have a feature where you can post writing samples to receive corrections from native speakers.


This subreddit is a forum to practise writing in Japanese. It’s for anyone at any level who wants to practise their Japanese writing. The idea is that you write something every day to build up a ‘streak’ and build the habit of writing in Japanese regularly.

You can write whatever you feel like; many people write diary-like entries about their day, or share random thoughts, or write about something new they’ve learned etc. There are native Japanese speaking mods who drop by to correct mistakes.

There are a lot more learners than native speakers on the forum, though, so unfortunately you’re not guaranteed feedback. But it’s still a great place to practise writing (and reading!) Japanese.

Screenshot of the homepage of language exchange app HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a language exchange app where you can connect with Japanese native speakers, chat via text, voice or video call and receive feedback on your Japanese. In addition to connecting with people directly, you can also create ‘moments’ (write posts such as sharing journal entries, or pictures of your day) and ask general questions, and receive comments/feedback from other users.

Be warned, recently I hear a lot of users complaining that people use the messaging function like a dating app – but you may have better success using the ‘moments’ function or messaging people yourself first.

Another language exchange app where you can exchange text messages with a Japanese-speaking partner and receive corrections.


On HiNative you can ask questions about language usage and get feedback from native speakers. You can write your questions either in Japanese or English. This question/answer service is free. Premium paid members can also post diary entries to get feedback.

More resources for Japanese writing practice

Here’s a mixture of other useful tools and resources I’ve found for Japanese writing practice that don’t fit neatly into the above categories! This section contains a mixture of free and paid resources.

Japanese water calligraphy practice kits (paid)

Why not go old-school and practise your Japanese characters with a real calligraphy brush! In Japan, students often practise their calligraphy with these nifty ‘magic’ kits, where you paint with water on the special water-activated paper, which fades away after a few minutes so you can reuse it time and time again. This is a fun way to refine your Japanese handwriting while reviewing the characters!

Kuretake DAW100-7 Calligraphy Set, Water Writing, Hard Brush, Use Water, Can Be Written Many Times, Beautiful Characters, Practice Set

Printable Japanese journals with writing prompts (paid) 

Promotional image titled '215 Japanese writing prompts' and showing 2 example Japanese writing worksheets.

I found this printable Japanese journaling/writing practice kit on Etsy. It contains dozens of writing prompts at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, so you’ve got no excuse not to jot down a few sentences in Japanese every day! Check out the other great resources by the same author.

Japanese planner templates (free)

If you want to take daily notes or plan your day/week in Japanese, this site has loads of free Japanese planner templates to print out.

Japanese writing practice notebooks (paid)

The paper used in Japan for school compositions/essay writing practice is called genkouyoushi . There are lots of genkouyoushi notebooks with cute cover designs available on Amazon.

Genkouyoushi Practice Book: Japanese Kanji Practice Paper - Notebook for Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana - Large 8.5" x 11" - 121 Pages

Free printable genkouyoushi (Japanese composition paper)

Alternatively, you can print out your own genkouyoushi-style blank writing sheets here for free.

Japanese sentence/usage databases

These databases are useful tools that I often use when writing in Japanese to check how words are used. You can search for a Japanese word and see it in context of many authentic, native Japanese sentences, to get an idea of correct and natural usage. You can also use them for sentence mining , if that’s your thing.

  • Reverso – my favourite. Need to create a free account to see all sentences.
  • Natsume – see how often a word is used, and which particles and other words usually follow it
  • Sentence search with audio

How to Write Japanese Essays book (paid)

If you are studying Japanese to a very high level, for example to enter a Japanese university or company, you will need Japanese essay writing practice. The book How to Write Japanese Essays comes highly recommended and will train you to write in the formal academic style that is taught in Japan.

Japanese writing practice roundup

Which tools and resources do you use for Japanese writing practice? If you know any I’ve missed out, please share in the comments!

See these related posts for more useful resources to learn Japanese:

  • Japanese Writing Paper: FREE Printable Blank Japanese Writing Sheets
  • FREE Websites for Japanese Reading Practice (At Every Level)
  • 10+ Effective Ways to Get Japanese Speaking Practice (Even if You Study By Yourself!)
  • Where to get Your Japanese Listening Practice: The Epic List of Resources!
  • The Ultimate List of Japanese Podcasts for Listening Practice (Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced)
  • Best YouTube Channels to Learn Japanese {20+ Japanese YouTubers!}

writing practice kanji

Rebecca Shiraishi-Miles

Rebecca is the founder of Team Japanese. She spent two years teaching English in Ehime, Japan. Now back in the UK, she spends her time blogging, self-studying Japanese and wrangling a very genki toddler.

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writing practice kanji

Learn a language with real-world videos!

Kanji characters were a serious struggle for me.

But now, several years later, I can read Japanese well.

It sounds like a long time, but remember that it takes Japanese students from kindergarten to the last year of high school to attain this basic fluency.

After my own kanji journey, I have some tips that I think could’ve saved me time, and I’d like to share them with you.

What Is Kanji?

How to learn kanji efficiently, 1. learn hiragana and katakana first, 2. get to know kanji radicals, 3. start with the most common kanji, 4. let guided kanji systems do (most of) the legwork for you, 5. study kanji based on their jlpt difficulty level, 6. start from the characters with the least to the most strokes, 7. don’t neglect stroke order (and writing in general), 8. associate images with kanji, 9. do regular flashcard drills, 10. learn the kanji of new vocab, 11. read japanese media that interests you, 12. watch shows with japanese subtitles, 13. make a kanji phrasebook, 14. practice writing kanji with native speakers, 15. start a japanese blog, 16. set up a competition with fellow learners, 17. set realistic goals, 18. track your progress, why you should learn kanji, reading kanji is essential for complete literacy in japanese, kanji helps you pick up new vocabulary, knowing kanji will help you get around japan, and one more thing....

Kanji are Chinese characters that are part of the Japanese writing system, which also includes hiragana and katakana , the two sets of Japanese phonetic alphabets.

I think most Japanese learners will agree that kanji are the trickiest part of learning how to read Japanese . Not only are there so many of them, but some kanji have as many as seven possible readings !

To become literate in Japanese, you need to know the roughly 2,000 “Standard Use Kanji” ( 常用漢字 / じょうようかんじ). These are the ones that often pop up in newspapers ,  magazines ,  novels , advertisements and so on.

That number might sound intimidating, but I’ll show you the study techniques I used to master them below.  

I’ve mentioned hiragana and katakana earlier, and I strongly believe that before you even think about learning kanji, you should master these two writing systems (collectively called “kana”) first.

Not only will they help you read kanji in authentic contexts (e.g., text with furigana ), but they’ll also help you nail your Japanese pronunciation from the get-go.

For example, kanji in Japanese would be 漢字 (かんじ). If you read that with a native English accent, you’ll probably sound something like “kahn-jeeh.” In Japanese, however, you don’t roll your vowels the way you do in English. All of the Japanese vowel sounds have only one pronunciation . 

In case you need a refresher on what hiragana and katakana are:

  • Hiragana are used for Japanese words that lack kanji or have overly difficult kanji that are falling out of use. They also serve as particles and as parts of verb conjugations , making them essential to Japanese grammar . If you’re wondering what the words in parentheses next to some of the kanji in this post are, they’re hiragana!
  • Katakana are mainly used for loanwords and 和製英語 (わせいえいご), or words that are ostensibly English but are actually unique to the Japanese language like サラリーマン (さらりーまん / salaryman).

Luckily, hiragana and katakana both have only 46 characters each. They’re also basically different ways to write the same set of sounds, so you can easily memorize them in less than a week with regular repetition.

Plus, you can get some much-needed hiragana practice here and katakana drills here .

Once you’ve mastered the kanas, you can move on to radicals. Radicals are smaller parts that make up most kanji.

For example, the kanji for “autumn” is 秋 . Notice how it contains two parts: 禾, which is the radical for “two-branch tree” or “grain,” and 火, the radical for “fire.”

Learning the approximately 200 radicals in Japanese is important for a couple of reasons:

  • Radicals can give you clues to a surprising amount of kanji. For example, both the characters for “sea” (海) and “to wash” (洗う) have the radical for “water” (氵), making it easier to decipher what they mean.
  • Radicals can help you guess the pronunciation, too. Often, characters with similar radicals will also have similar pronunciations. For example, 泡 (bubble) and 砲 (gun or cannon) can both be read as ほう . (Also, notice how 泡 has the radical for “water,” while 砲 has the radical for “stone” or 石. Neat!)

While radicals aren’t magic bullets that can smash all of the obstacles to your kanji mastery, they can still make learning kanji much more of a cakewalk compared to, say, rote memorization.

If you want to check out all 200+ radicals, read this thorough guide or watch this playlist of video tutorials on YouTube.

After you’ve got the kanas and radicals down, your next question would probably be along the lines of “Which kanji should I learn first?” or “In what order should I learn kanji?”

If I’m being honest, there’s no “right or wrong” order to learning kanji—not for non-native Japanese speakers anyway. (Japanese students typically learn kanji from the least to the most complex in terms of meaning or definition.)

In the next few sections, I’m going to walk you through some possible systems you can use to learn kanji. Again, these methods aren’t prescriptive. Just go with whatever works for you, even if it’s not mentioned here!

With that out of the way, one method is to start with the 75 most common kanji below:


But if you want to learn much more than these 75 characters (and trust me, 75 won’t even get you anywhere near basic literacy), you can also use frequency lists like this one from Wiktionary .

If you’re already using or planning to use a guided system like Andrew Scott Conning’s “The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering 2300 Characters” or apps like WaniKani , you can just go with the order and method presented.

After all, learning Japanese is already tough enough as it is. Why make it even more difficult by trying to devise your own study system from scratch?   

Besides, you can always use forums like /r/LearnJapanese on Reddit to see what other learners have to say about these systems—positive or otherwise.

Another way to figure out in what order you should learn kanji is to check out Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) textbooks . Chances are you’ll find kanji grouped from the easiest or lowest level (N5) to the highest or most difficult (N1). It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than starting from nothing at all.

If you’re still undecided on what order to learn kanji in, you can also go by the number of strokes (lines that make up the characters) per kanji. Start with the kanji with the fewest parts and work your way up from there. This method has the advantage of not overburdening you with really complex kanji early on. 

Most kanji textbooks and print Japanese dictionaries have an index of kanji according to stroke order, such as “The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course” I mentioned earlier. They also order kanji according to other criteria like the radicals used, so have fun with it!

Speaking of strokes, you might think that stroke order doesn’t really matter when you’re learning kanji. After all, what’s important is that the characters are readable once you’ve written them down, right?

Not quite. There are a number of reasons stroke order is crucial to mastering kanji, as tedious as it is to study:

  • Stroke order allows you to decipher illegible Japanese characters written by hand. Proper stroke order is practically drilled into Japanese students’ heads from the moment they learn how to write. That means everyone who can write kanji writes them in the same way. So even if someone’s handwriting looks like chicken scratch or classical calligraphy , you can still read it if you know the stroke order of the characters used.
  • Stroke order makes it easier to type kanji characters using your keyboard. Going off of the last point, you might be thinking “But we’re in the internet age! Hardly anyone writes by hand anymore.” Thing is, many digital Japanese keyboards give you the option to manually write out kanji—and the better you know the stroke order, the faster you’ll find the character you’re looking for. Granted, you can also just type the hiragana and choose from the suggestions, but this method is pretty inefficient when you consider how many kanji characters there are. 
  • Writing things down by hand makes it easier to memorize characters. Studies show that when you write something down by hand, you’re more likely to remember what you wrote. In fact, I’ve used stroke order to memorize several characters that just wouldn’t stick in my mind because they look similar .

So, don’t neglect writing just because we live in a digital world. It’ll give you the leg up you need to learn kanji more concretely. Try out Japanese Kanji Study for Android or Learn Japanese Kanji for iOS to practice typing new kanji on your phone . 

In other words, learn kanji using mnemonics .

Mnemonics is the use of stories and associations to learn a new skill or create a new memory. A mnemonic can be anything (a word, picture, song or acronym), as long as you can easily link it to the kanji you’re trying to learn.

For example, the character for “person” (人) looks like a human without arms. Likewise, the character for “tree” (木) has horizontal and diagonal strokes that look like branches and one vertical stroke that looks like a tree trunk.

I tend to make up funny (and often absurd) mnemonics, because these help me recall kanji much faster than more serious associations. This is personal to me, though, so just go along with what seems to pop up most easily in your brain.

If you’re not too confident in your ability to form mnemonics, don’t fret! You can also pick up books like “Remembering the Kanji” by James Heisig (possibly the most famous book on learning kanji aimed at non-Japanese speakers) and “Kanji Pict-O-Graphix” by Michael Rowley, and use the mnemonics they recommend instead.

I’ll grant that drills aren’t the most entertaining way to study, but it gets the job done. I learned a lot of kanji mainly by using flashcards , as follows:

  • Spend at least half an hour a day doing flashcard drills. During those crucial 30 minutes, I’d learn seven new kanji characters and drill ones I’d learned previously.
  • Drill both meanings and readings. It’s much easier to remember the meanings than the readings. As I’ve mentioned earlier, some characters can have as many as seven of these. Luckily, most only have two to three readings. (That’s still one too many, but much easier than seven!)
  • Use a flashcard app like Anki. Anki is arguably the most popular flashcard app for any language. What’s great about it is that it goes beyond showing you flashcards: it actually optimizes your reviews based on spaced repetition . That means regular review will help you remember most of the kanji characters long-term until you won’t need to review them anymore. You can follow this step-by-step guide to learning kanji with Anki and/or download ready-made kanji flashcard decks (for free!) to make the most of this app.

Whenever I learn a new vocabulary word, I always try to learn the kanji for that new word. I also look at other vocabulary words with that kanji to see it in context and better understand the nuances of the character.

Luckily, most kanji learning materials offer common vocabulary items for each entry, such as:

  • Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC. This is one of the go-to online resources for Japanese learners. The best part is you can access it for free!
  • imiwa. Type in a kanji character into this iOS dictionary app , and it’ll spit out several different words with that character.
  • Kanji Damage. This practical and context-oriented online book contains around 1,700 kanji. It also has an irreverent style and focuses on examples that could suit your specific learning style and needs.

Let’s be real: Japanese textbooks aimed at language learners can get a little stale over time.

To switch things up, you can always read things like:

  • Manga. For example, “Yotsuba&” is a great manga for beginners that will help you early on in your Japanese reading practice .
  • Japanese literature.   If you have the English version of a book that was originally in Japanese (like many of Haruki Murakami’s works), you can search for its Japanese title on Amazon JP and buy it from there. Just make sure the book can be shipped to your location!
  • Blogs. The internet is a huge place. If you’re interested in a certain hobby or topic, chances are a Japanese blog about it exists. 
  • News websites. Fortunately, NHK has a News Web Easy section, which is exactly what it sounds like: simplified Japanese news articles for learners complete with furigana, audio and definitions of new vocab that appear when you hover your cursor over the underlined words.

All reading and no watching make studies duller than they need to be.

Why not maximize your Netflix subscription and switch on the Japanese subtitles for that J-Drama you’re watching? Alternatively, check out other websites where you can legally watch shows with Japanese subtitles .

You can also try a language learning program like FluentU .

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Here’s how a kanji phrasebook works (the way I use it anyway):

  • Get a blank notebook, and write down all of the new kanji you discover or want to learn. I usually include the furigana and meanings as well so I can get used to reading and using them in context. Also, I can reference the phrasebook every time I forget a character later.
  • Look out for Japanese advertisements and take note of the kanji they use. Japanese magazines, catalogues and variety shows are all plastered with advertising, which is generally written in catchy, colloquial language . Translate and memorize the catchphrase on these, then write down some of the kanji in your phrasebook. This way, when you see the kanji elsewhere, you’ll be reminded of the advertisement which will, in turn, trigger the memory of the kanji’s meaning in your mind.

There are many subtleties to writing kanji, and you learn these best when you have a native speaker point out your mistakes to you—and encourage you when you’re doing something right!

For example, you can try exchanging emails with a penpal . You can usually find these on places like Conversation Exchange or ChatPad , the latter of which is a site that randomly pairs you up with a Japanese partner to chat with.

A good way to keep yourself on track with your kanji studies is to go public about the fact. Post about your progress on social media or start a blog chronicling your journey to Japanese literacy.

Better yet, try to write these posts entirely in Japanese. This way, you’ll have solid proof of how far you’ve come and how much you still need to learn.

A competition with other people learning kanji may also boost your motivation to study. You guys could:

  • Agree on a date in several months’ time. When that date comes, you can test yourselves to see who has learned the most by then.
  • Set a specific number of kanji you all have to learn, and race to be the first to be able to read and/or write them all. You could also keep up-to-date by testing each other every week leading up to the deadline.
  • Figure out a good rewards system for yourself or your study group. For example, you could all go out for sushi once you’re able to read all the kanji on the menu !

Naturally, your overarching goal is to become fluent in Japanese . But what does that look like to you? How do you make your goal SMART — s pecific, m easurable, a chievable, r ealistic and t imely?

Let’s say you want to master all of the 2200-ish kanji to be “newspaper fluent” in one year. That means you need to study about six to seven new kanji every day.

This goal is specific (“newspaper fluent”), measurable (“2,200-ish”), achievable (“about six to seven new kanji every day”) and timely (“in one year”).

But is it realistic? Can you learn six to seven new kanji completely every day including the meaning and the readings?  

If you can, great! If you can’t, you may have to tweak your timeframe a bit (like extending it to two years, for example).

Don’t try to set a goal that’s too high early on. Otherwise, you’ll get demotivated if you don’t meet that goal. It’s okay to make learning a part of your life, but not to the point that it’ll consume you and make you end up hating it.

There’s nothing more motivating than finding out just how far you’ve come in your studies. Test your kanji ability at the start to get an idea of what level you’re at, then test yourself periodically as you learn (e.g., every few weeks or months).

There are various online tools to test your proficiency, such as:

  • MLC Kanji Level Check. This quick test gives you an estimate of how much kanji you know. 
  • Japanese Level Up. This blog includes several posts on how to gauge your proficiency level.

There’s a less formal but immensely rewarding way to track your progress: be aware of your increasing literacy. Pick up a Japanese novel/manga/magazine/newspaper and take note of how much more you can read than you could last time.

Being able to read something—even if it’s just one sentence—that was totally incomprehensible before is really quite amazing!

Of course, you don’t need to learn kanji to speak Japanese fluently . But it’s still important to learn for several reasons.

This may sound obvious, but you don’t really know a language unless you’re literate in it. It’s easy to take this for granted in languages like Spanish or German, which use the same alphabet as English.

Languages that don’t use the Roman or Latin alphabet (e.g., Chinese, Korean and Japanese), on the other hand, require learners to really put in the time to read them. Japanese learners, in particular, need to get used to getting their head twisted around by kanji.

When you learn new Japanese words, you can figure out their meanings if you know the kanji.

Even if you’ve never seen or heard of a certain kanji before, you can break it down by its radicals and make an educated guess as to what it means. And most of the time, your guess would be correct!

If you ever plan to live in Japan, you’ll need to learn kanji to find your way around . Very few signs are in English, especially those outside of major cities.

Also, kanji helps you read the entries on restaurant menus (which won’t always have pictures) as well as the descriptions on products you buy .

Even if you’re just traveling to Japan for a visit, being able to read basic signs and instructions in the language will make you feel a lot more confident.

Learning kanji will take time, but as you learn more and more, you’ll be able to ride an ever-growing high of accomplishment throughout your journey.

Keep at it and eventually, you’ll be identifying all of the kanji that looked so mysterious before!

If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU .

FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You'll learn real Japanese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:


FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.


All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.


And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


The best part? FluentU keeps track of your vocabulary, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You'll have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)


I am enjoying FluentU. I have been using this site for a couple weeks and I have definitely noticed a huge improvement in my vocabulary. I love that it uses a lot of relevant clips like Norman fait des videos to practice REAL French, and it is presented in such a fun way that it makes it easy to practice. Using this site has become part of my daily routine.

- Rachel Hollars

Review 1

I really like learning with the videos. I have studied using other methods and it was very hard to put what you were learning into context. With the videos, not only are you learning new vocabulary, you are seeing how it is used. For example the tone which is used, the body language of the person using the phrase and the reaction to the phrase being said.

- Frederick Calestini

Review 1

I love how I get to see videos, listen to music and learn about real and relevant aspects of the Chinese culture. I enjoy seeing faces in those videos of actors and people that I can recognize from other programs outside of Fluent U - which again tells me that the materials I get are relevant in the real Chinese/Taiwanese culture!

- Aileen Raquel Araúz

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Free JLPT Kanji Test Online - Kanji123

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Why You Should Learn Kanji?

In Japanese, there are about 2000 common Kanji. Kanji is arguably the most prominent part of the Japanese writing system. The elegant characters, originally adapted from Chinese, make up most of the Japanese. You can see it written in books, magazines, on signs, and everywhere. Understanding kanji is elementary to fully comprehend the Japanese language and culture. So if you choose to learn Japanese, you definitely should gain a very good knowledge of Kanji.

Kanji by JLPT Level

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test ( 日本語能力試験), usually abbreviated to JLPT, is the main standardized test of Japanese ability for non-native speakers. The test is conducted worldwide annually with an average of about 600,000 participants per year. The JLPT is composed of 5 different levels, from 1-5 with 5 being the most basic, and 1 being the most advanced.

  • JLPT Kanji N5 : At the N5 level, the JLPT expects you to know 80 ~ 100 kanji to pass.
  • JLPT Kanji N4 : N4 is the second level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). To pass N4, you will need to know about 300 Kanji and about 1,500 vocabulary words.
  • JLPT Kanji N3 : To pass N3, you will need to know about 650 Kanji and about 3,700 vocabulary words.
  • JLPT Kanji N2 : In total, you need to know roughly 1000 Kanji for N2.
  • JLPT Kanji N1 : N1 is the most difficult level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). To pass JLPT N1, you will need to know about 2,000 Kanji.


writing practice kanji

Best way to practice writing kanji

Mastering hiragana, katakana, and kanji is essential when studying Japanese. The Hiragana character represents sounds, while the Katakana character represents borrowed words or abbreviations. With kanji, meaning is conveyed with just one letter instead of a single syllable due to the context in which they are used.

To learn how to write kanji , it is paramount to practice stroke order, phonetics, meanings, and vocabulary. As long as these 4 key elements are included in your kanji practice, you will likely remember kanji characters whenever they are needed.

There are various ways to practice writing kanji , but many of them are not effective. However, the 3-pile approach is a tested and trusted way for practising writing kanji . This method combines all the 4 key elements listed above; hence, it boosts your chances of mastering how to write kanji .

Basically, the 3-pile approach requires you to create some flashcards. Write your learning objectives such as meanings, stroke order, etc. on them. Also, make 3 piles and start practising writing kanji . Put the ones you got wrong in a pile and the correct ones in another stack. Practice with the two piles again and repeat the piling. Create another pile for the ones you just got right, but keep the wrong ones in the same pile. Repeat the process until you got everything right.

With this approach, you will be encouraged to continue practising until you have got the correct answers to everything. Notably, you can use this method as many times as possible.

Do I need to learn kanji radicals?

Yes, you need to learn kanji radicals if you want to have a good knowledge of this Japanese writing script. Before explaining why you must learn kanji radicals, let’s explain what radicals are. Simply put, radicals are the symbols and patterns that make up each kanji character. These radicals can be referred to as the building blocks for writing each kanji. Generally, you can find about 1 to 4 radicals in every kanji.

Historically, we have about 214 kanji radicals. Nevertheless, a few kanji radicals are more commonly used than the others. So, you have to first master the commonly used radicals.

More than 2,000 kanji characters are often used by Japanese speakers, but you can concentrate on the day-to-day characters at the beginning of your study. Nevertheless, it can seem cumbersome to start learning these many characters. But if you can master these kanji radicals and what they mean, it will be easier for you to learn kanji characters.

You should note that identifying the kanji radicals in a kanji character doesn’t necessarily mean that you will know its exact meaning. However, it will give you some ideas of its meaning and assist you to categorize it. Therefore, you need to learn kanji radicals.

Why does kanji stroke order matter?

When it comes to writing kanji characters, the stroke order matters a lot. For writing kanji , there are some stroke order rules, but the most important ones are:

  • Writing from the top to the bottom
  • Writing from the left to the right

Of course, some reasons make kanji stroke order important. Foremost, the stroke order will make it easier for you to ensure that the kanji appears correctly. Over time, you will build the right muscle memory that guarantees that you don’t need to struggle to make kanji characters look legible.

In addition, when you have learned Japanese and started using it in a day-to-day manner like others, your handwriting may be sloppier. This usually happens to everyone. But if you have been writing kanji with the right stroke order, being sloppier will make you write kanji characters in the same way that others do. Hence, people will not have any issues with reading what you have written.

However, if you have not learned the right stroke order, people will struggle with reading your kanji once your writing has become sloppier. Besides, you may not be able to read the kanji of other people with sloppy handwriting. So, as you start learning kanji , you need to master the right stroke order.

Does hiragana and Katakana stroke order matter?

Yes, hiragana stroke order matters in writing Japanese . Generally, the stroke order involves different formats such as writing from top to bottom, writing from left to right, etc. Practically, following the stroke order makes it easier for you to write. This also applies to the English language where you naturally write “f” from the top, not the bottom. Writing the letter “f” from the bottom will make it difficult for you.

Another reason why hiragana stroke order matters is that it ensures that your writing is easier to read for others. Once you have mastered the wrong principles for writing hiragana, your hiragana characters look horrible and difficult to read. 

Additionally, if you don’t follow the right hiragana stroke order, you will struggle to read other people’s writing. This is because the shape of the hiragana characters of others will be different from yours. Hence, you may not be able to decipher what others have written. This also extends to digital handwriting as you need to know the proper stroke order to read it easily and quickly.

So, if you want to avoid these problems, you should understand that hiragana stroke order is important. Make sure you master the appropriate stroke order as you learn hiragana.

Should you learn hiragana or katakana or kanji first?

In order to learn the Japanese language, you will need to understand the different writing systems and aspects of the language. Due to these factors, it can be difficult to determine how and where to begin learning a new language.

Hiragana should be mastered first before moving on to Katakana and finally Kanji . To read kanji , one must be able to read it in both hiragana and katakana (also known as kunyomi and onyomi respectively).

You have come to the right place if you’ve been looking for answers to these questions, since this article will shed more light on the order in which you should  learn Japanese  as well as why you should study it in that particular order. Let’s get started.

How many Japanese alphabets are there?

1. Hiragana

Japanese has its own written language based on this phonetic system. Each Japanese sound is represented by this phonetic system. Thus, theoretically, hiragana can be used for any form of writing. Since Japanese texts usually do not include spaces, hiragana is not used for everything. Therefore, a Japanese text must include both kanji and hiragana characters.

In total, there are 46 hiragana characters in hiragana. These characters have distinct sounds, but their meanings do not differ.

What are the main roles of hiragana?

Taking a look at hiragana in Japanese , we can see the most important functions they play.

Hiragana is for creating grammatical structure

hiragana plays an important role in adding grammatical structure to any Japanese sentence. It can sometimes completely change the meaning of a word when it is added to it. It will be difficult to make sense of some words if you don’t have hiragana symbols.

Hiragana is used for writing

Japanese words are commonly written in hiragana characters. As previously mentioned, many Japanese words are written entirely in hiragana. In case you aren’t sure which kanji character to use in a particular case, you can use a hiragana symbol instead.

hiragana is utilized for showing pronunciation of a word

When a Japanese text includes kanji symbols that are unusual, it may be difficult to determine a word’s pronunciation. In addition, if the kanji symbol was accompanied by a hiragana character, it would be easier to understand. Yomigana and furigana are the names given to such hiragana symbols when used in this manner. Another use for hiragana is when no equivalent kanji exists for a given Japanese word.

2. Katakana

Besides hiragana, there is also katakana. Similarly to hiragana, each character corresponds to a specific syllable or sound.  As with hiragana, beginners should learn katakana as soon as they can in order to develop a good understanding of the Japanese language.

What are katakana symbols used for?

There are a variety of things that can be expressed using Katakana symbols. There are also many non- Japanese words that are significant. Katakana is often used to represent something borrowed or foreign. There are several words in Japanese borrowed from English and other languages. Katakana is used for such borrowed words. 

Over 80% of the time, Japanese katakana symbols represent foreign words.

Katakana makes it easier for English speakers to  speak Japanese . Understanding katakana will make it easier for you to identify many words that have been borrowed from the English language.

Aside from foreign or borrowed words, you can also find katakana symbols for:

Names of some animals

Scientific words that don’t have any specific Japanese equivalent

Company names – the companies can be either foreign or local ones

Robot-speech – this refers to when Japanese texts are written as if robots are talking

Names of foods – this is particularly true for plant and animal foods as well as foreign foods

Onomatopoeia – these are words that are written in the same way as what they represent

Adding stylistic purposes to texts

Putting emphasis on some texts

Katakana characters are also useful in several other cases, but they are not as significant as the ones described above.

The third alphabet of the Japanese language is kanji . In general, kanji symbols are known as logograms i.e. pictures that are used for ideas, concepts, or words. Kanji is a writing script adopted from the Chinese language and used for giving more clarity and meaning to Japanese.

Overall, there are more than 50,000 kanji symbols in Japanese. But you don’t have to worry about these characters as an average native Japanese speaker doesn’t even know more than 10 percent of these characters. As a learner, your focus should be on the first 2,000 kanji characters. From there, you can start learning more kanji symbols.

What are kanji characters used for?

Typically, kanji symbols are important when you want to describe certain content-heavy words. These words may include verbs, adverbs, nouns, as well as adjectives. As a result of this, you don’t need kanji if you only want to learn how to speak and listen to the Japanese language. 

However, when it comes to writing and reading, you cannot do without knowing some important kanji characters. Kanji will probably account for over 40% of the printable symbols in an average Japanese newspaper. Therefore, if you want to read newspapers, books, food menus, and other things correctly, you need to familiarize yourself with kanji characters.

It is noteworthy that some people consider Japanese to have a fourth writing system which is called romaji. However, you should understand that romaji is not a real writing script on its own, but it is just a way of Romanizing Japanese . Romaji is only used for making it easy for foreigners to have a quick understanding of the Japanese language.

My Recommendations for your Japanese learning

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Krisada Hemsoe

I'm Krisada, the creator of JLPT TUTOR. I created this site to share the path of my Japanese learning That I achieved my JLPT N1. You may struggle with Kanji , Grammar , Listening, reading and fail again and again. I know how you feel when you see "Not Pass" I want to share what I learnt in this past through this website. Hope you enjoy

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How do you all practice writing Kanji?

Hello! I have used WaniKani for a few months now and I have noticed a persistent problem. I cannot remember Kanji outside of Wanikani ,as well as how to write said Kanji, usually when learning new Kanji I write the kanji 10 times and I regularly do my reviews, but I still cant remember! If anyone has any tips on how I could improve I would be very grateful! Thank you!

I don’t. ^^

I carve kanji onto the Oscar statuette that I won for Leaving Las Vegas in 1996

w-were we supposed to do that

Hiragana was hard enough, and it still looks like some ancient script I wrote, i think kanji will wait, though I’d like to maybe one day

Someone else might have a better/more effective method, but from my personal experience, repetition is most likely your best friend here. Maybe don’t just write the kanji in isolation, but also try writing out the words it’s used in. The more often the better. You can make an educated guess at the stroke order of a good chunk of kanji just from knowing how to write radicals/early level stuff, too.

Some books that teach kanji also like making mnemonics for stroke order. Just off the top of my head, 右 and 左 can trip new learners up, but you can just think that “the kanji that means ‘right’ begins from the first/topmost stroke that starts from the right (ノ), while the kanji that means ‘left’ begins from the first/topmost stroke that starts from the left (一)”.

I like using this kanji deck for anki! The good ol’ srs.

Edit: how to guess stroke order

What worked for me was making a deck in Anki with both Kanji->Meaning and Meaning->Kanji cards, reviewing it everyday, and writing down everything (even the recognition cards). If I write any stroke wrong in the recall cards, I mark it as wrong until I learn how to recall it 100% correctly. I also make an effort to write down a few sentences everyday so I can learn to use the kanji in context.

You could make your own deck and add the WaniKani kanji as you learn them, write down the wanikani sentece examples for practice, and then write your own sentences after a few anki reviews.

I got two notebooks. In one I made an answer key with kanji vocabulary written in the left column and the hiragana reading in the right column. The second was for me to test myself. I would cover the hiragana with the second notebook and then try to reproduce it. Then, I’d close the answer key and, looking at what I’d just written, I’d challenge myself to reproduce the kanji. I’d test myself a few times each week. On days off, I’d practice any kanji I was having trouble with. I did this for roughly six months before discovering WK, and learned to write rather effectively using this method.

Thank you! I will keep that in mind.

It doesn’t have to be the one for Leaving Las Vegas . It could be one of your other Oscars, or even one of your Emmys, if you run out of room.


I want to say all good tips have been taken by yasashii senpai but I think that sentence alone is not useful so

I’d say exposure often helps. A lot.

I use a lot of resources that are specifically meant for the Kanji Kentei. I track my Kanken progress in the thread below. We talk about resources fairly often.

I bought a relatively inexpensive book called Easy and Fun Kanji - https://www.amazon.com/EASY-FUN-KANJI-Basic-Leaning/dp/4794605013 (edit: the price on Amazon is higher than the ~1,200 yen I paid)

This has helped me get the stroke order, review the vocab I’ve learned from WK, and just generally get another ‘touch’ to the content. I actually started using the book slowly before jumping onto WK, and the readings in book mystified me. but now each entry is fairly easy to use. I recommend it!

Writing kanji (and occasionally reviewing) is also why I’m still occasionally using RTK (1x or 2x a week). I started on that before doing WK, and I’ve slowed down considerably, but it’s still a nice way to practice the strokes and write/recognize each radical/element.

I tend to just write things down habitually anyways because of my Asperger’s, so I get a lot of writing practice. (Even then, my Japanese handwriting isn’t precisely great , per se…)

I use James Heisig’s Remembering The Kanji to study the meaning and writings of kanji. I use Anki to review them, and write them down in my notebook (usually a couple times to get a good feeling for the writing). I’m about 1500 kanji in right now, and I’m feeling pretty great given it only took me a couple months to get here.


Not everyone writes but some people find it easier to remember if you hand write kanji. Here’s a few things that I do!

Master stroke order. Often kanji will look like a big mess of things, and it’s even harder to visualize or write them down if you can’t first break a character down into its smaller pieces. Learn the rules of stroke order , and practice them on the new radicals you learn!

Like some already mentioned, practice writing them in every day vocabulary. This will take them from being abstract concepts from your mind and turn them into something more every day, so you’re more likely to remember them. I think keeping a daily journal of 3-5 sentences in Japanese using vocabulary words you’ve learned is a good place to start. (it can be something as simple as 今日、この言葉を勉強しました!)

Expose yourself to new sentences using the kanji you are learning. Whether you go read picture books or look for examples from a dictionary, it always helps to see words you want to write being put into use.

I use the app HelloTalk to have native speakers correct my grammar on what I’ve written for the day before immortalizing it in ink, too, to reinforce good grammar if I were to ever look back and read old entries. I also get to see things written by Japanese people on there, or else hop into Japanese Twitter to see other people saying things in everyday ways.

Some people want to master writing every kanji, and memorize them perfectly, but remember that not even native Japanese speakers can perfectly write every kanji beyond a certain point. Unless you plan on taking the kanken or need to prove your kanji worth in a 闇のゲーム, try not to push yourself too hard and burning yourself out!

I study to pass the kanken kanji test there you are forced to write. It is a good motivation and you get a nice certificate. Its also a good challenge and will give you feedback of your kanji knowledge. Furthermore you learn a ton of new vocab since its aimed for Japanese.

If you have an iPhone I’d recommend the app KanjiBox . I can’t remember if it’s free, as I’ve had it on my phone for… a long time - but it’s got an optional add on called KanjiDraw which is about 99p. This tests you on your stroke order as you draw the kanji right on the screen and will grade you with a green/orange/red system for accuracy for each stroke.

It’s also got some other drills like multiple choice kanji meaning/readings, a missing kanji task which gives you vocabulary and you have to fill in the blank with the correct kanji which helps reinforce the meanings through context. There’s also some grammar drill tasks which aren’t as effective as things like bunpro and reading practice but are a nice inclusion.

I pretty much used this app to learn all the N5 and N4 kanji and then decided I wanted something a bit more involved for later levels (hence moving here), but it’s still my go to for handwriting and on-the-go testing when I don’t have any reviews. It’s not a pretty app but it’s certainly useful! There is a web based version of it but I’ve only used the app so cannot comment on any other versions.

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JapaneseQuizzes in | August 12, 2016

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