Note that the second character,
ー, represents a mora but has no
sound of its own; instead, it functions as an elongation of the preceding
It is also important to remember that these characters were created when
brushes were used for writing. Therefore, there is a fixed stroke order for
each character. Basically, the order is from left to right, and from top to
In handwriting Japanese, you may write either horizontally (from left to right,
just like English and other European languages) or vertically (from top to
bottom, with the lines progressing from right to left).
This is written from top to bottom. When written with a brush, the top notch
occurs as the brush is placed in position; no corresponding lower notch appears
as the brush is gradually lifted off the paper.
To get this character on your PC, type n and then o, and choose
When handwriting this character, start with the top horizontal bar. Go from
left to right, then turn down with a slight curve. To finish, start from the
midpoint of the slated bar to make the last short bar towards bottom right.
Notice that the consonant [s] on its own is generally expressed together with
the vowel u in Japanese, hence su; recall that no consonant can
stand on its own in Japanese. To spell
スノー on a computer, enter s, u,
n, o and then the hyphen key.
Notice that whether you type tsu (Hepburn-style) or tu (Nihon-style),
the computer will give you
ツ. When you handwrite
ツ, start with the left top dot followed by the middle
dot. Then write the last long bar moving from top right down towards left
Whether you type shi (Hepburn-style) or si (Nihon-style), the
computer will give you the same
When you handwrite this character, start with the top small dot, followed by
the left middle dot. Then write the long bar from left bottom to top
ノ is handwritten from top right to bottom left, the
longer bar of
is written from bottom left to upper right. Remember these characters were
created at a time when brushes were used for writing. If you try out a brush,
you will begin to understand more clearly the logic behind stroke order.
When you hand-write ケ, you make three strokes. First, write the left most bar
from top towards left bottom. Then, make the horizontal bar from the mid-point
of the first bar-writing left to right. Lastly, write the lower slanted bar
starting from the mid-point of the horizontal bar down to left bottom.
When handwriting オ, you will make three
strokes. First, write the horizontal bar from left to right, and then the long
vertical bar from top to bottom. The slanted shorter bar on the lower left
should begin from the cross point towards left bottom.
When handwriting カ, start from the upper
left to draw the horizontal bar towards right, turning downward at the end
slightly to the left. Write the middle long bar from top middle across the
horizontal bar all the way down to left bottom.
When handwriting ラ, first write the top
short horizontal bar from left to right. Then, starting slightly below that,
draw a longer horizontal bar from left to right. After passing beyond the tip
of the topmost bar change the direction towards left bottom to finish.
In these examples ラ accommodates the English [la] sound as well as the
English [ra] sound, as the Japanese language has neither [l] nor [r].
Now, on your PC, write the two words above.
Your PC should support Japanese characters. If you want to practice handwriting
these ten characters, print out the attached work sheet grid and fill in each
box by writing each character. Follow the stroke order as explained above or in