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When writing horizontally, small kana go right next to the syllable they modify as in ちょっと.
Also, when using katakana, long vowels are indicated by an horizontal dash, as in メール.

When writing vertically I know the long vowels in katakana (such as in メール) are represented by the same dash, but drawn vertically instead of horizontally. But where do small kana go?

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When writing on a grid, they go in the upper right hand corner of the square below. Similarly, full-stops and commas also go in the upper right hand corner.

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In normal handwriting, the distances become closer than on the grid, of course.

(Also, 振り仮名 and Japanese "italicizing" (indicated by dots) go into the column on the right, see Do Japanese writers use underline for emphasis? and Why are points used where furigana would be normally?)

  • So basically it gets closer to the upper kana (the one it is modifying) and you give some space before writing the next one? – JNat Jan 25 '13 at 20:22
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    Yes, and it sits under the right half of the upper kana. The proper space that comes after it (half the height of the kanji) is often reduced in handwriting. – Earthliŋ Jan 25 '13 at 20:24
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    @downvoter Please leave a comment of why you think this answer is bad. Misleading? Incorrect? Incoherent? – Earthliŋ Jan 26 '13 at 8:13
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    meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/731/… – user1016 Jan 26 '13 at 22:44
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    (イジワルでDownvoteしてる人だったら、聞く耳持たないかもしれないけどね。。) – user1016 Jan 26 '13 at 22:44
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They still go to the lower right of the big kana they modify, although maybe more vertically down than horizontal writing.

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    It is better to remove the “example” because the placement of small letters in it is incorrect both horizontally and vertically. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 25 '13 at 20:24

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