# Differences between い and り

I am learning kana and have some problems with similar construction. I found an excellent source (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TohUrbpdYJY) where Yuko sensei described a left-start and top-start concept that works for シ vs ツ and ン vs ソ. I suppose it's similar to the way > = and < are the same elements with a different orientation. I'm not able to find any similar distinction between い and り.

I can see that both have a similar J on the left with another stroke oriented to the right and left respectively. Is there something more I should be considering? How are these taught in Japan?

--------------Update------------------ I was able to find some help with this video showing someone hand-writing the hiragana. For now I focusing on the start, direction, and end of the characters in the 4-square graph. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSQi34uKMmY

I also found this set of instructions which does show progressively worse examples of 0i until you end up at ri. http://japanese-lesson.com/characters/hiragana/hiragana_drill/hiragana01_writing.html

• I don't think the intent of that diagram is to show a progression toward り. It's just different bad examples of い, and also り for comparison. Dec 5, 2021 at 11:06

Both consist of a left レ-like stroke and a right J-like stroke.

The main differences are:

• As for い, the left stroke is longer (a > b) and the whole shape fits in a horizontally long rectangle (E ≧ a);
• As for り, the right stoker is longer (d > c) and the whole shape fits in a vertically long rectangle (d ≧ F)

Comparing these two,

• usually d > a > c ≧ b;
• as implied by the above, E > F.

Additionally, you may wonder if い need to be slanted like in the picture. Practically, the answer is no (it can be a left vertical stroke + a right stroke which is shorter), but it tends to be so than (strokes in) り.

If you have other questions, let me know.

Probably a standard instruction is something like this

• WOW! that is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. The video is a great explanation (I wish I could understand the audio) on how the end of strokes should be terminated. The a, b, c, d, e, and f sizes, however, is really useful. Is there a general term for this so I might look up the same size/structure description for other kana?
– BSD
Dec 5, 2021 at 19:57
• @BSD If you mean the overall rectangular shapes that include the characters or the length of strokes, I don't think there are special terms for them (for the lengths, we simply say 長さ). This video seems to contain some advice with English subtitles. Japanese-only, but this looks useful as well. What is important is how much space is between strokes and where the strokes should be written in the whole square. Dec 6, 2021 at 2:37
• Thanks again. Those are great sites. I’m going to pull more of those resources into our class work.
– BSD
Dec 6, 2021 at 19:05