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Japanese: What should my handwriting mimic?

Sorry if there's a post like this already out there, I'm having trouble navigating the forums. I'm learning Hiragana, and I printed off some writing practice sheets to familiarize myself with which order the strokes go in and what the characters look like, since I copy all my lessons/vocabulary into a notebook. However, I've noticed that the two fonts I've seen (the one used by Duolingo and the one used in the writing practice) look slightly different. Duolingo's font tends to make the writing look more curvy and connected, like cursive (I'm assuming this is a result of calligraphy?) and the one in the writing practice is more straight. Before I practice my handwriting too much, I wanted to know if anyone else knew which writing style would be better to imitate. Since I'm using a pencil, should I just go with the straight style in the practice? Or would it look more natural to try and emulate some of the curves? If anyone has any ideas or resources to offer, I'd appreciate it. (Additional note: What I mean by 'more natural' is that, for example, in き stroke 3 (the long line) doesn't actually curve and meet stroke 4 (the line at the bottom) on the practice sheet. However, it would be more natural to do strokes 1 and 2, then stroke 3 and 4 connected, since that would make it more like one stroke - meaning you wouldn't have to life your pencil off the paper. But then the character looks much different than the one on the practice sheet.)

October 31, 2017



The example you give is a result of writing with a brush, where the third and fourth stroke might be connected with a thin line from not fully lifting the brush off the paper. Which one you mimic is your choice, but from what I know, most native speakers don't connect them. In general, as long as it's legible, it doesn't really matter, just with any other handwriting. You could try to google Japanese handwriting to get some examples of what it often looks like.


A lot of Japanese have illegible handwriting so I'm sure yours won't be too bad. Just do it like you did with your native language while growing up. First use the printed font and then slowly add your own flair over time.

I suck at improvisation so what I do is to google a Japanese font and then just practice my kana to look like it.


"Illegible handwriting": this is certainly true for the teachers in my current course. Unbelievable - almost makes me long for Romaji.


I personally dislike the way it's typed out on computers, き being one example. Another example would be さ. As somebody already pointed out, it's from calligraphy, but almost nobody writes like that. You might occasionally see it in advertisements, but that's pretty rare too.

I know you're just learning hiragana right now, so this might be irrelevant, but another reason I really dislike computer fonts is because they tend to simplify quite a few kanji. I can't remember any examples off the top of my head, and I'm too lazy to try and find them (I'll edit this post if I think of one), but they exist. Now, it's not necessarily a bad thing to simplify them, but I do think that you should learn to write the normal way, so as to not get confused if you see it that way (it's generally easier to figure out the reading/meaning of a simplified kanji if you already know the non-simplified one, than it is to figure out the meaning/reading of a non-simplified kanji if you only know the simplified one).

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