What’s the stroke order of 【龜】? Who cares?

This is yet another post that’s been picking up cruft in my draft folder for over three years.

Stroke order is one of those things that might seem difficult at first but actually comes quite naturally with a bit of practice. You just have to make sure you learn the the correct order of the most important radicals such as 口 and 田. You should also pay careful attention to radicals like 厂 that have more stroke orders than you would think. (Hint: it’s more than 1.)

Once you learn the stroke order for the most common radicals, you can figure out the rest for most kanji by yourself with general principles like the following.

  1. Stroke orders generally go from top to bottom and left to right (from the top-left corner to bottom-right corner).
  2. Vertical lines that go straight through are written last as opposed to those that connect (十 vs 土).
  3. Stuff that encloses something else gets drawn first but closed last (回 and 団).

When in doubt or for weird kanji like 必, you can always check the stroke order on the WWWJDIC by looking up the kanji and clicking on the SOD link. You’ll get a nice animated gif like this one.

However, the problem with these animations is that it only gives you the order and not the direction of each stroke. If you’re confused about stroke direction, another site you might want to try is gahoh, which has animated .mov files with the direction and order. Here’s one for .

Their collection isn’t as complete as the WWWJDIC but it is useful for odd or crazy and complicated kanji like . The request page in particular has some of the odder and trickier kanji like 凸、凹、飛、 and 卵 so you might want to check it out and double-check your stroke order.

So how useful is it to learn the proper stroke order of 龜? Not very but hey it’s fun times for everybody, right? Right? Hello? ………anybody?

20 thoughts on “What’s the stroke order of 【龜】? Who cares?

  1. While we’re on the subject, what would you say is the atitude in Japan towards knowing the exact order of writing such odd characters? Or about odd kanji in general or other such peculiarities? In every language there are things which can confuse even the natives, so are the odder kanji on the Japanese list?

  2. It depends on the character. Almost everybody will know the correct order for 必, 飛, and 卵 so you should too. 凸 and 凹 is kind of in the middle. And you definitely don’t have to worry about 龜 since it’s now just 亀.

  3. Just a minor point – Sometimes, kanji recognition software gets confused if you don’t write the kanji in the correct stroke order. So, if you’re trying to look up the character in a touch-screen based dictionary, you might have some trouble.

    Also, if you ever plan on taking the kanji kentei or entering a shodo competition, of course you’ll need to know stroke order, but that’s just me nitpicking.

    For the record, I have no idea how to write 凸 or 凹 in the correct stroke order. I didn’t think they were actually real kanji when I first saw them. I mean, come on! 凸? 凸o.O凸? How am I supposed to take that character seriously?

  4. Everybody should learn proper stroke order. Just some characters… ummm not so important.

    Ah but 凸凹(でこぼこ) is a pretty common word although 凹凸(おうとつ) is not as common. But honestly, I don’t even remember which is which.

    And then you have something like 〆. I don’t even think that’s a real Kanji.

  5. I’m currently writing a dictionary software that can generate and display kanji stroke animations. It has data for about 6000 kanjis and their variants. The software is still in development but I’ve put a video demonstrating the feature here: http://www.vimeo.com/1526550

    It will be free software and run Windows, Mac and Linux (plus probably a couple of PDAs/smart phones later). No release yet, but I expect to make the first one in a couple of days/weeks. Development takes place at https://launchpad.net/tagaini-jisho – in case there are people interested in keeping in touch or making suggestions.

  6. WWJDIC often has SODA animated GIFs which do show direction of stroke. The beginning of each stroke (where you place the pen to start it) is red. Here’s the SODA for kanji you linked to http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?15492c

    Here’s a webpage that uses the same technique of using red to show the starting point to explain the rules http://infohost.nmt.edu/~armiller/japanese/strokeorder.htm

    As someone learning Kanji I find the stroke order integral to my memory. I can feel it when I’m making a mistake if I’ve learned the stroke order.

  7. @Gnurou
    That’s cool, have you considered making it online as well?

    Thanks, I saw the SODA link but didn’t notice the red part showing the beginning of the stroke.

  8. I haven’t checked my stroke order correctness for quite some time. I believe I get it wrong now for stuffs which has exceptions (I remember 左 and 右’s top part is different, but hmmm I forget now which is the correct one) and probably I developed a bad habit of making up “my very own stroke order” for certain shapes…

    Ah, but like everything you learn, I can always refine it later.

  9. Yeah, 左 and 右 is totally messed up. I just do the same as 友. That’s one stroke order I refuse to learn “properly”. I don’t think it matters but I don’t do 書道 so who knows. Maybe it matters for some.

  10. @taekk: There are many online solutions currently, but indeed few give “comfortable” animations, i.e. better than animated gifs. Also the different parts of the kanjis are not highlighted, etc.

    Right now I’d like to put Tagaini into a good shape, but maybe after that I will consider other alternatives. Actually from this data it would be easy to generate things like interactive flash animations.

    Tagaini will have many other features like spaced repetition training or generation of written material. When I make a real release I will maybe ask you if you can write a word about it, in case you think it can be useful.

  11. A lot of Japanese people I meet don’t know the exact stroke order. When I ask them to write the kanji for words they sometimes need to check their electronic dictionary first!
    I was playing a Nintendo DS game with a Japanese friend and he couldn’t get it to recognise this kanji: 間
    He wasn’t really bothered when I said ‘I think you need to write 門 first then 日’

    I attempted level 8 of the kanji kentei recently and there were only about 3 questions on the paper about stroke order. I guessed them correctly by using the same general principles listed above!

    Is it only me being British that can see the irony in the stroke order link being titled SOD? as in ‘sod that’ ^^

  12. Ah hah. I knew I had the stroke order of 鬱 right. Too bad the people I argued with on that point dropped out of Japanese before I went on and graduated.

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