As I have continued to learn Japanese scripts, I have noticed that I have difficulty with reading Kanji that is a more quick freehand format. I usually figure it out through context, but I was wondering if anyone may have some suggestions that could help with this?

The biggest impact is the speed at which I can read material. My current method I have attempted to improve on this has been reading manga. Although I enjoy this method because I enjoy a large number of popular manga, But this method has not had the results of increased reading speed I was hoping for.

I was wondering if there where any tips, or common ways certain kanji get written that looks different in text format vs handwritten? In English there are so many shorthand variations used, I thought perhaps this happens with Kanji as well?

It’s a broad area to cover but any tips, suggestions, or ideas are appreciated. I have been considering looking at a pen pal type of arrangement to improve feedback on my writing and to improve my reading skills, is this something that could have a better outcome? If it would be a good approach, is there anywhere to start working with someone in this manner? I’m 35 and haven’t heard of pen pals since windows 95 was released, so if this practice is still around I am really not sure where to look.

Thanks for any help or just reading this, & perhaps I’m a lost cause.


There is a book A Reader of Handwritten Japanese for non-natives learning to read handwriting, it contains various real letters and text with the explanations. Other than that calligraphy manuals (see gyousho 行書) might help.

  • 1
    That’s awesome! Thank you, I don’t know why I didn’t think of calligraphy as something to look into, but I’m getting the book today. I didn’t think a book would exist, I just expected it was something typically refined out of immersion or for a reason. I have always liked languages and I have worked on and off with Japanese, but it’s just something I am interested in. Not having a situation where learning is a necessity but interest based wasn’t something I expected. Very grateful thank you. – Reaper 21c Apr 19 '20 at 13:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.