The following PDF file can be downloaded and printed onto regular US Letter (8.5"x11") paper, to make your own genkouyoushi (げんこうようし) or kanji practice writing paper. A standard page has room for 200 kana or kanji symbols. It is traditional to write top-to-bottom, from the right column to the left column. You can use it in horizontal fashion also.
If you're writing on genkouyoushi, you should follow the basic traditional rules. This is like knowing how to hyphenate words properly in English. Follow these constraints and your Japanese tegami will look very sharp!
- Skip one square at the upper right of the first page (upper left if writing horizontally).
- One kanji, hiragana character, katakana character, or punctuation mark per large cell.
- Don't leave empty spaces at the ends of columns, break words whenever you get to the end of a column (or row).
- Exception: a column (or row) can't start with a chiisai kana or small character, or punctuation. If faced with this situation, bring the last kanji or full-sized character to the new column or row, leaving those spaces blank. This is like having to hyphenate only at syllable breaks, so you must think ahead.
- Any chiisai kana go in the UPPER RIGHT quadrant (or LOWER LEFT if writing horizontally) of a kanji cell.
- Any furigana or explanatory pronunciation guides can be added to the right (or above) the kanji. This genkouyoushi pattern gives a nice faint space for furigana.
I have also made up a helpful pattern with ten common kanji on it, for simple penmanship practice. The kanji are in the "square" style, and each column has guides on stroke order and appearance. As you repeat the character down the column, the guides get fainter and fainter, so you have to maintain the consistency on your own. The art of Japanese calligraphy is shodou (しxよどう): the way to write.
I am just an early student in Japanese language, so please send me comments or corrections on my study aids!
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