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Kanji Stroke Order

By アラン ミラー


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General rules for kanji stroke order are given below along with examples. Red dots show the beginning of each stroke. The stroke count, , is also given. Other web sites with stroke order can be found here: U. Mich, Nihongo Web, Dartmouth, Writing tutor, Kanjistep, Japanese Page, Wikipedia

  1. Left to right and top to bottom
    The most basic rule is that individual strokes are drawn from from left to right and from top to bottom.
  2. A set of horizontal lines is drawn from top to bottom
    Each stroke is drawn from left to right and placed from top to bottom. For example, the order for three,  (3 ) and say  (7 ) is

    Three   Say

  3. A set of vertical strokes is written from left to right
    Each stroke is drawn from top to bottom and placed from left to right. For example, the order for river  (3 ) and state  (6 ) is

    River   State

  4. Center verticals before outside strokes wings
    Draw the center stroke first when there are left, right strokes. Then draw the left strokes. For example, the order for water  (4 ) and thread  (6 ) is

    Water   Thread

  5. Horizontal before vertical
    When strokes cross, the horizontal strokes are usually written first. For example, the order for ten  (2 ) is

    Ten

    Except for bottom stroke
    If there is a horizontal bottom stroke, the vertical stroke is drawn eariler. For example, the order for King  (4 ) is.

    King

  6. Outside before inside
    Outside parts are drawn first,starting with the left vertical. However a bottom stroke is drawn last. For example, the order for sun  (4 ), rice field  (5 ), and country  (8 ) is

    Sun   Rice field   Country

    Except open box on right
    If the box is open on the right side, then the left and bottom stroke is drawn last. For example, the order for ward  (4 ) is

    Ward  

  7. Right-to-left before left-to-right diagonals
    A right-to-left diagonal stroke comes before a left-to-right diagonal stroke. For example, the order for person  (2 ) and Sentence  (4 ) is

    Person   Sentence

  8. Horizontal crossing right-to-left diagonal is inconsistent
    The order of a horizontal stroke crossing a right-to-left diagonal stroke is inconsistent. The horizontal stroke sometimes comes first and sometimes second. In either case, the second stroke is longer than the first. For example, the order for right  (5 ) and left  (5 ) is

    Right   Left

  9. The horizontal stroke comes first for power  (2 ) but second for nine  (2 ) is

    Power   Nine

  10. Right-to-left diagonal
    Watch for gently sloping right-to-left diagonal that looks like horizontal stroke. For example, the order for thousand  (3 ) is

    Thousand

  11. Vertical cutting strokes are last
    A central vertical stroke comes last. For example, the order for middle  (4 ) and for half  (5 ) is

    Middle   Half

  12. Horizontal cutting strokes are last
    A central horizontal stroke comes last. For example, the order for woman  (3 ), mama  (5 ), and boat  (6 ) is

    Woman   Mama   Boat  

    But horizontal stroke comes first for large  (3 )

    Large

  13. Road radical is last
    The road radical, the lower part of near , (7 ) comes last. Here are the strokes

    Near  

  14. Gate radical starts at left
    The left vertical stroke of the gate radical is drawn before the parts to the right , (8 ) Here are the strokes

    Near  

  15. Food radical moves left
    The left vertical stroke of the food radical is drawn after the parts to the right , (9 ) Here are the strokes

Near  

Click here for some kanji with animated stroke order.


 

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Last revised: September 1, 2013 -- Copyright © 2003-2013 ARMiller