Looking at Resources for learning Japanese, I don't see much in terms of calligraphy.

Things I'm looking for are:

  • Calligraphy datasets: stroke shapes and order, samples of handwritten characters, etc. The only two resources I know of are kanjiVG and GlyphWiki. The latter is more about typefaces, though, so practically there is only one dataset. Maybe there is something similar to the MNIST database of handwritten digits for kanji.
  • National standards. For example, 常用漢字表 has a section dedicated to stroke shapes, sizes, variants, etc. However, I can't find anything similar to ГОСТ 2.304-81 which defines shapes of symbols which is required for blueprints and other engineering drawings. Specifically:
    • Is there a calligraphy standard taught in Japanese schools? (Publicly available - would be extremely useful for beginners.)
    • Is there any standard (by any definition) font?
    • Is there any standard font for writing with a ball pen? (In contrast to traditional brushes.)
  • Explanatory/tutoring materials, which, rather that just listing samples of characters, demonstrate important features (e.g. explain why relative stroke length is important, like in 未 vs 末), list common mistakes. Since calligraphy is taught in Japanese schools, I think that teachers must have some kind of materials like this, rather than just keeping all the information inside their "mind palaces".
  • Resources dedicated to various calligraphy styles: regular, cursive, seal scripts. So far the best I've seen is moji.tekkai.com (suggested by @virmaior)

If it's possible to gather some of those resources, it would be a great addition to Resources for learning Japanese.

  • WWWJDIC has stroke order animations by Jack Halpern, available with the brush stroke icon in kanji lookup mode. Example.
    – oals
    Jun 19, 2016 at 18:41
  • 3
    @oals Thanks for information. However, I've seen much better projects similar to this, e.g. sommerhoff.info/anikanjivgx (Based on KanjiVG.) And still, none of those really explain what's right and wrong about particular strokes. For example, questions like "Which horizontal stroke in 無 should be the longest?", "Should the 2nd and 3rd strokes in 女 intersect?", "How many dots should ⻌/辶 have?", etc. Watching someone lifting a huge dumbbell doesn't make me stronger, you know...
    – scriptin
    Jun 19, 2016 at 19:00
  • 2
    Depending on how far you're trying to go, I like kakijun.jp for stroke order and then in the links various ways of writing characters.
    – virmaior
    Jun 21, 2016 at 3:57
  • @virmaior This one is interesting, thank you. Links refer to moji.tekkai.com which has a lot of different calligraphy styles.
    – scriptin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


Stroke Order Reference

As a reference for Japanese stroke order and examples in various styles:


Calligraphy Standards

The most "standard" calligraphic style is 楷書体{かいしょたい} and the most "standard" example of that is the style used in Japanese school textbooks, 教科書体{きょうかしょたい}.

The Japanese governmental authority on these things, the Agency of Cultural Affairs(文化庁) released a report in February 2016 (which can also be purchased in print) containing official guidelines on the type and style of the Joyo Kanji to be used in education and print.

  • News Page:


  • Report PDF (50MB)

    The chart of recommended ways of writing and printing each Kanji begins from p.115. The style of character used in Japanese school textbooks is shown in the fourth sub-column of the "Print Characters" column.


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There is also a press release document containing a little more explanitory information in the beginning. (50MB)


  • Thank you very much. These documents are detailed way beyond my expectations.
    – scriptin
    Jun 23, 2016 at 16:55

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