Simply I find when I'm writing I can only make kanji so small before they become sloppy, but I can write kana nice and small. Is it allowed to write half-width Katakana/Hiragana alongside regular width Kanji?

If you can how would this work horizontally and vertically? If not, what's the point of half-width?

2 Answers 2


This probably varies from person to person, at least a little bit, but generally each character should be approximately the same size as any others (i.e. full-width). If you don't, especially with katakana (which are formed from pieces of kanji), you can end up with situations where you cannot tell whether something is kana or kanji. For example

  • メリ vs 刈
  • カロ vs 加
  • and probably many others that don't come to mind immediately.

I'm not entirely sure what the general use of half-width kana is; the only places I have ever seen it used is in places that are never mixed with kanji, such as the name input for a bank transfer at an ATM (my name is also recorded in half-width katakana in my bank book). Many websites also explicitly require you to input the reading of your name in full-width kana, as well.

I would say that the general rule of always use full-width unless explicitly told otherwise is probably safe.


In usual handwriting, kana often turn out smaller than full-fledged kanji, especially kanji with many strokes. (Though practising writing both kanji and kana the same size is probably an important step towards achieving a nice balance between kanji and kana size.)

Some fonts have comparatively small katakana, which I find very easy to read.

small katakana in the book 時をかける少女

This is from the book 時をかける少女, 角川文庫

I don't think half-width katakana have anything to do with handwriting. Half-width kana are squashed in the horizontal direction by a factor of two and used for saving space in typed documents (e.g. on 通帳, in ATMs, etc.), when choosing a small enough font size would be too small to read easily. I don't really recall seeing half-width kana mixed with kanji.

In any case, I think it's fine to write kana a little smaller than kanji, but I don't think you should aim for squashing your kana horizontally.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .