Yesterday I wanted to tell a Japanese friend that his hand writing was really pretty (he was writing Kanji to show me in a very neat way).

So I said "書き方がとても美しい{うつくしい}!" (instead of the simpler "書き方がとてもきれい"). Since he didn't correct me I didn't think anything special on the moment, but now I'm still thinking it might be a weird way to put it. Is it?

I read this page on the difference between きれい and 美しい: https://exploringjapanese.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/きれい-vs-うつくしい/ And I get the feeling that 美しい might have been too majestic and formal for this, am I correct?

Then I thought maybe actually a better way to put this would not be with "beautiful" adjectives at all! Any thought?

1 Answer 1


If we want to say that someone's writing is pretty(good), we usually say 字がきれい、字が上手{じょうず}、字がうまい.

I feel 美しい is a bit majestic as you said. And I feel 書き方 means things like this http://ejje.weblio.jp/content/%E6%9B%B8%E3%81%8D%E6%96%B9 rather than letters itself.

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