The Kanshudo Blog

Our comprehensive new guide to writing Japanese

Posted: 2017-04-19 | Tags: hiragana katakana strokes stroke_order
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We are delighted to introduce our new 'how to' guide to writing Japanese, which introduces you to the standard strokes used to draw all kanji, provides simple rules to help you determine kanji stroke order, and introduces the differences between different styles of writing. It's also available as a PDF! Check out our new guide here: The Kanshudo complete guide to writing Japanese.
Additionally, we have added a great new feature: you can now practice drawing any kanji (as well as hiragana and katakana). Access the new drawing practice tool with one click from any kanji. Our new drawing practice tool lets you overlay your drawing on a reference model, check your stroke counts, and lets you step back and delete strokes you need to fix.
We've also added drawing practice to our popular hiragana and katakana guides, to complement the free flashcards. Now you can practice both writing and recognizing hiragana and katakana.
You can access the drawing practice tool easily in two ways:
  • From the 'cascading kanji' view - whenever you see a kanji in cascading kanji format (the form that shows a kanji summary, with its components in rows below it), just click on the kanji. This will display some additional details without taking you to a new page, and you will see a Draw link.
  • From the kanji details view - you will see a new 'Draw' link in the top right, just next to the Favorites star.
Here are some direct links to kanji drawing pages to get you started:

Change component list
By default the component builder shows the most common components (themselves joyo kanji, or used in at least 3 other joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.

Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Help with the component builder
For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of.
For any components you recognize, if you know the English meaning or name, start typing it in the text area. Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Alternatively, count the strokes of the component, and scan the list to find it visually.
To find the kanji :
  • Notice that it is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫.
  • 氵 艹 口 all have three strokes, so you could look in the list in the 3 stroke section. 夫 has four strokes.
  • Alternatively, you could start typing 'water' (氵), 'grass' (艹), 'mouth' (口) or 'husband' (夫) in the search area, and the components will be highlighted in yellow.
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.