Hiragana Stroke Order

hiraganaHiragana stroke order is about the right way of writing hiragana, the basic Japanese phonetic script. In the Japanese language, it represents every sound. Thus, when using hiragana, you can theoretically write everything. The most common written form of Japanese is hiragana.

In most modern writing methods of Japan, it is used in conjunction with kanji. When writing hiragana by hand, remember that the stroke order does matter. You will eventually find out just how important this is when reading hastily written chicken scrawls. Basically, everyone needs to write in the same order so there is a fairly consistent ‘flow’ to the characters.

Paying close attention to the order of the strokes will help your hands get used to writing them the same way each time, which is a good habit to form. Here is a course you might be interested in entitled Japanese KanaBeats- Hiragana and Katakana that is a rhythmic, innovative approach to learning the phonetic systems of writing of both katakana and hiragana.

The key to learning Japanese basics is learning hiragana. Each character in hiragana represents a single consonant or vowel. When it comes to stroke order, the modern government of mainland Japan has officially standardized the order of the strokes that schools need to teach children.

There are official stroke orders even if none of the government standards completely match the traditional order of strokes. This is partly due to lack of calligraphy training on those who had gotten the stroke orders standardized. Here is an article entitled Learn Hiragana: The Foundation of Learning Japanese that shows you how to go about learning this new language.

Writing Hiragana

Writing hiragana is vital in learning Japanese. In English, folks are known to develop their own styles after learning how to write in kindergarten. In Japanese, however, there is a stroke order for everything and this needs to be strictly followed. Here is a course entitled Japanese in Context- Elementary Japanese Course that shows you how to write, read and speak practical and authentic Japanese to enrich your life and career.

  • Vertically Symmetrical Hiragana Characters

When drawing the strokes for hiragana characters which are vertically symmetrical, the component in the middle is written before the ones on the right or the left. After drawing the middle stroke, you can draw the components on the left first before drawing the components on the right.

  • Asymmetrical Diagonals

For diagonals that are not symmetrical, the right to left diagonal comes after the one that goes from left-to-right. Keep in mind that the rules for asymmetrical and symmetrical diagonals are different.

  • Symmetrical Diagonals

Symmetrical diagonals are not unlike our keyboard’s back slash/ forward slash, but in hiragana, the direction of the diagonal determines which you draw first. The diagonals that go in the direction of right-to-left are written before the diagonals that go in the direction of left-to-right. This rule stands when it comes to symmetrical diagonals.

  • When Hiragana Strokes Cross

When you have to cross two strokes together, which do you do first? Usually, the horizontal strokes come before the vertical stroke. One exception is if the vertical stroke doesn’t pass through the lowest horizontal stroke, vertical strokes can precede the horizontal intersecting strokes.

  • When a Character Has Two Components

When there are two components in a hiragana character, you first need to write the upper component and then go ahead and write the lower one. If there are two components side by side, write the left side first entirely before going on with the second component. This rule has some exceptions, which happens when the character on the right side has lower enclosures.

  • Horizontal Lines

When a character is composed of a lot of horizontal lines, you need to write each of these lines from left to right and not the other way around. Start with the topmost character and draw this from left to right before going on with the next set of horizontal lines. The exception to this rule is when the horizontal line spans the entire character and passes through many other strokes, then you need to write the horizontal line last.

  • Vertical Lines

In hiragana stroke order, the vertical strokes come after the horizontal stroke. However, this can be written first when it precedes many horizontal intersecting strokes, particularly if the lowest horizontal stroke is not passed through by the vertical stroke.

  • Character Enclosures

Before an enclosure, write left vertical strokes first. Before components inside a character, outside components that enclose are written first. If there happens to be a bottom stroke in an enclosure, this is written last. Keep in mind that some enclosures have no bottom stroke.

  • What Comes Last

In hiragana stroke order, minor strokes like dots are written last. Also, components that enclose the bottom of a character come last as well.

When to Use Hiragana

When there are no native Japanese words in kanji, that is when you can use hiragana including grammar particles such as ‘from’ or から and suffixes such as ‘Mr, Ms, Mrs, Miss or –san:’ さん. In the same way, when the kanji form of words is obscure, hiragana is used.

According to the individual preference of the author, there are word flexibilities between kanji and hiragana words that you can use, like the word ‘ate’ or‘tabemashita’ (食べました).

The part that is pronounced ‘bemashita’ (べました) is in hiragana while the first syllable is in kanji: 食. Here is a course entitled How to Read Japanese for Impatient People that gives you a taste of useful Japanese video and print with all the good stuff now, and the rest later.

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