In this article, we are going to introduce some rules about how each Japanese letter (Ideographic Japanese symbol) should be written. These rules will serve as a guide for writing Japanese words in the next lessons.
Writing a Japanese letter, or kanji, takes a lot of practice. Children in Japan spend a good part of their school life learning and practicing the correct writing of kanji. Taking a similar path, we will learn to write each kanji used in the next lessons.
For starters, know that each single part of a Japanese letter is called a line. And the order in which the lines are written is called 書き順. Below we have some basic rules for writing Japanese letters.
Basic rules for writing Japanese letters
1. The horizontal strokes of a Japanese letter are written from left to right.
2. The vertical strokes of a Japanese letter are written from top to bottom.
3. In cases where a vertical stroke crosses or touches a horizontal stroke, we usually write the horizontal stroke and then write the vertical stroke.
4. In the case of diagonal lines, we first write the lines on the left side and then write the lines on the right.
5. In square-shaped Japanese letters, we write the top stroke and the stroke on the right side of the square at once; as if it were a single trace.
6. When the Japanese letter has a square shape and has inner lines, we write the inner lines before writing the stroke located under the kanji.
7. These rules can be combined with each other depending on the kanji we are writing.
There are certainly exceptions to these rules, but knowing them, it will be easier to identify the order of the lines to write the Japanese letters that will be presented during the lessons.
If you want to train, below are the kanji calligraphy exercises, the Japanese letters, with the symbols presented in this article.
Kanji calligraphy exercise
Below are the ideographic Japanese symbols used in this article. Selecting the desired kanji and clicking the button To generate, a new window will open where you can view the printable file and practice Japanese calligraphy by covering the gray symbols and then trying to write on your own.
Just print and practice typing the desired kanji in the practice worksheet. Some examples below: