Stroke Order

This is the print-friendly version of the following page:
http://kanji-silk.net/system/strokeorder.html
[Return to original version]

Stroke Order is one of the kanji learning strategies in the SILK strategy list. Knowing the correct stroke order is like having instructions for how to write a character. Knowing how to count strokes is also a useful skill because kanji are arranged in kanji dictionaries according to number of strokes. There are some general rules for stroke order which can be learned and applied to all kanji. Knowing these rules will make the task easier.

1. Two general principles of stroke order
  Example kanji Meaning
i. top to bottom three
ii. left to right river
*Exception: when there’s a character with a central stroke and strokes on either side, the middle stroke is written first, followed by left stroke, then right stroke
small
water
2. Four basic rules of stroke order
  Example kanji Meaning
i. horizontal before vertical

ten
seven
big
ii. left sweep before right

person
enter
father
iii. in an enclosed shape: left side first (top to bottom), top and right in one stroke second, any other strokes inside the enclosure next and enclosure is closed off (left to right) last


day
eye
to be in trouble
country
iv. vertical or horizontal strokes cutting through the entire kanji come last

inside
mother
thing