This might be a fairly easy question. But I am new in learning Japanese and I didn't see this question anywhere (although there are some about writing vertically).

Is there any difference between writing kanji symbols in vertical or horizontal direction?

E.g.: According to Google Translate the world Family is written like this 家族. Would be wrong to write like this:

Would be ok to write full sentences in the vertical direction too?

2 Answers 2


There is no difference in meaning between vertical writings and horizontal writings. Only the style is different.

Traditionally, Japanese sentences are written vertically. So most of the Japanese newspapers and novels are written vertically. If you have a chance to look at a Japanese novel by Kindle, you will know that all the sentences are written vertically.

To the contrary, most web sites, SNSs adopt the horizontal writings. There are several advantages for the horizontal writings.

In horizontal writings, it is easy to type numbers or alphabets. For example, the height of Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters: 3,776メートル. However, it should be written as 三千七百七十六 メートル if we write it vertically.


The katakana long vowel mark (the one in ロープ) is horizontal in horizontal writing, but vertical in vertical writing. Here is an example. Also, as you can see on the picture, latin letters are often written sideways.

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