When I write this kanji radical, how do I know when I should write the horizontal lines inside the outer part first or write them after? This radical is in many kanji, and I am trying to find a pattern so I can remember the correct order. For example, the stroke order in all these kanji are different:

用 (horizontal lines first)

角 (vertical line first)

通 (horizontal lines first)

What is the general pattern if it was put into words? Is it that if the vertical line is longer, then the horizontal line's are first, and vice versa otherwise? Also, how do I know when to make the vertical line go past the horizontal ones? Is this kanji: 角 the only kanji without a long vertical line out of all the kanji that have this radical?

  • According to a dictionary, they are two radicals on their own. and .
    – sundowner
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 2:11

2 Answers 2



eg 用、申、甲、羊、中、十

eg 田・由・角・曲(縦横横)


  • ちなみに、中国語では、田・由は横縦横、王・玉は横横縦横、と習いました。いずれにせよ最後は横ですが。
    – chocolate
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 15:20

Short answer, while you can find patterns that apply most of the times when it comes to stroke order, for these nuances and little perks you just have to know them by rote.

There is hardly any reason why a storied order is so and so. The reason strike order exists is for good penmanship, to allow you write a character beautifully or, when you write fast and cursive, it remains intelligible. That said, stroke order is nothing more than a convention established because most people at a place at a certain time period write this way. Which means, there is no absolute correct stroke order and it can vary with time and place.

Example: 田 when writing the inner cross, in China you write the horizontal line first, but in Japan you write the vertical first.

必 is a bit more complicated, but basically in Japan the last stroke is the right dot, in China the last stroke is the leftward slash, but in ancient China, since this character is composed of 八 and 弋, you’d write it in the order you write these two characters. Taiwan, as I’ve heard, writes this character different from all three ways mentioned above.

Which stroke order is right? Which is wrong? Neither. So why the horizontal for 用 first and vertical for 角 first? Because such is the convention of modern Japan. Could be different in China, could be different in Taiwan, could be different 100 years later/ago.

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