I've been learning my hiragana from here:


For the characters fu, mu, mo, na, ra, yu, and ya, I see a discrepancy between what's in the little box and what shows up when you click the character to see it being drawn. For these characters, the little boxes show several strokes seemingly connected in smooth lines, while the drawings will show strongly separated marks.

Which "style" -- if that's the appropriate word -- is preferable?

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    I'm guessing that in a formal situation (I.E a formal or business document) that the "separate strokes" style is more accepted, but I don't think that the other style is frowned upon so much - those who fill in Japanese forms on a daily basis will be able to clarify. But I will say this: my Japanese tutor always used to hand write そ like this Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 15:50
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    Based on that site, the "style" of kana you originally see is what you find in printed material. However, when you write something yourself, I recommend following the strokes you see when you click on the image. There are some important ones like さ、ち、ふ、そ that look different when printed by a machine.
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 15:54
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    +1: Good question! I write in one stroke, myself.
    – istrasci
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 17:26
  • I would also include さ(sa), き (ki), and り (ri) in this question. Those are letters that can look like they're written broken, with a larger number of strokes, or connected with fewer, depending on the font. In particular I found broken ri very hard to recognize after learning the connected version.
    – ziggurism
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 23:49

3 Answers 3


I'm not Japanese, but based on what I know it is up to you to choose which style you would like to write in. However, as I commented previously, I recommend that you stick with the "handwritten" style rather than the "printed" one if you are using a pen or pencil. However, if you are using a brush then perhaps the other is more appropriate.

There is a great article about the differences of Japanese scripts linked here. The article notes which styles of writing you might find more frequently in Japan and the context. At the bottom, there is a large entry about handwriting which compares many different "styles".

All are correct, but the criterion is whether Japanese can recognize that your "ふ" looks like a "ふ". I might note that stroke order and stroke count are really important. For example, if you choose to draw "ふ" in 2 strokes instead of "4", you might just want to make sure that Japanese people can recognize it.

Probably the two or three characters that end up being stylized are そ、ふ、and ゆ.

Here is another short article that talks about the differences in writing style.

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    FANTASTIC link. Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 19:30
  • @Aerovistae: Yeah! I was amazed too!
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 19:30
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    @Chocolate: I can read a total of "3" of them in that section..those would be the hiragana only ><
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 1:02
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    Hehe... To me the left box looks like 尊壺で壺いた日本語 and the right one 学出で出いた日本話...(>▽<)ギャー
    – user1016
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 1:07
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    @Chocolate: Exactly the same for me...(>▽<)ギャー Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 11:04

Either is fine, but in case of writing with pencils, these are mostly separated (also separated for sa and ki). Those connections respect the traditional writing style by fude (brushes), such like shodo, and you don't need to care about it (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_calligraphy)


Both are used and equally accepted. I suggest you learn to write both so that you can understand what someone is writing and recognize that it is that character and not some other character you didn't learn. (ie. ゐゑ, is that just the full stroke of め?!?)

If you do decide to use the disjointed form (maybe the most common) you still want to know the full stroke style because your stroke will peter out properly if you allow your stroke to flow as if you are writing the full stroke as you lift the pen off the paper. Do not abruptly stop then left the pen to the start of the next stroke, keep your pen flowing.

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