Are there any flash cards, apps, or anything else that show at least two versions of each character side by side? (For example, a brush-stroke-like font and a common computer font.)

I'm in the process of learning hiragana and beginning level kanji. Several times I have thought I had learned what a hiragana letter or a kanji character looked like only to discover that I couldn't recognize it at all in a different font. (For example, the kanji 人 for person looks very different to me when I see it done in brush strokes and when I see a common computer font version. The hiragana that's romanized as ki gave me the same problem.)

How did you handle this issue as you learned?

  • Questions about learning resources are not allowed on Japanese.SE, but many of the English resources I have seen contain the characters both in printed form as well as in calligraphic and/or handwritten form. I would suggest, if possible, that you browse the relevant section at a bookstore or search online. – Kess Vargavind Feb 14 '17 at 6:24
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    @Kess Vargavind, Sorry. Thank you for explaining that rule. Should I delete my question? I have searched online, looked at online bookstores, and have tried a number of downloadable apps. Maybe I have just been oddly unlucky, but every resource I have tried so far has focused on one particular writing style. – cloveapple Feb 14 '17 at 6:52
  • On this site, you can browse fonts with samples with arbitrary text you input (in Japanese, but interface is simple). font.designers-garage.jp – naruto Feb 15 '17 at 3:57
  • You could make your own, with a brush and with type+print. – Amitai Nachmany Mar 24 '17 at 7:38
  • DIY, make your own? – Amitai Nachmany Apr 25 '17 at 17:47

There are a number of websites that show stroke order of a (psuedo-)handwritten kanji with brush strokes. See this one and this one. I recommend watching the animation - it's fun!

The android app oBenkyo lets you practise handwriting kanji and gives you a handwritten model to copy while showing a printed version as well.

A google search of kanji photos will give you unsorted list of handwritten forms. They can be enjoyable to browse sometimes.

If you have a Japanese IME installed, you can download handwritten fonts, which will allow you to experiment with reading different handwritten styles.

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to expose yourself to every type of handwritten form without spending an inordinate amount of time - I certainly don't recommend it! To tell the truth, though I have little trouble reading printed kanji or kana, sometimes people's handwritten kanji can be a nightmare to read - though, to be fair, I have a similar problem in English - try reading my mother's (English) handwriting!

As you become more familiar with kanji, in written or printed form, you will recognise the shapes more quickly and naturally, and as a result, handwritten kanji be will much, much easier to read. You won't have to spend so much energy trying to remember the kanji filed somewhere in your memory, which will free you up and make recognition of variations sharper. Whatever way you do it, it takes practice. I have been through the same situation, so I know exactly what you're going through.

So, the simple answer is, stick with your practice, and by all means, expose yourself to the stroke order diagrams for comparison. Of course, if you can have fun or make it meaningful, that will be good for your motivation and for laying down a solid memory.

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