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Writing Japanese With A Fp

japanese penmanship handwriting kanji

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#1 Lindoula

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 02:01

Hi folks,

 

I've searched for older threads but didn't find quite what I was looking for. Sorry if I'm repeating a topic that's been done before.

 

Does anyone have any tips on regular Japanese handwriting with a fountain pen? Not calligraphy or any fancy script, but just regular, everyday handwriting. Aside from the fact that I need a fairly fine point to achieve decent results, are there any guides out there?

 

Any suggestions much appreciated!



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#2 Randal6393

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 02:58

First practice should be with a pencil until you learn the strokes and stroke order. Pencils have a bit of feedback that makes Japanese a bit steadier. Yes, a Japanese fine or medium pen (or pen from other land) will work fine. Most native writers of Japanese that I have observed use a flick of their writst to create a stroke. Classically, the fude is held straight-up-and-down in the hand and worked with wrist motions. So the fountain pen is held at a bit higher angle than would be the case when writing a Latin alphabet.

 

Good writing, whatever the language, is a matter of practice and study. So have fun and don't worry too much about your work. Just enjoy and have fun with it.


Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#3 Lindoula

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 12:48

First practice should be with a pencil until you learn the strokes and stroke order. Pencils have a bit of feedback that makes Japanese a bit steadier. Yes, a Japanese fine or medium pen (or pen from other land) will work fine. Most native writers of Japanese that I have observed use a flick of their writst to create a stroke. Classically, the fude is held straight-up-and-down in the hand and worked with wrist motions. So the fountain pen is held at a bit higher angle than would be the case when writing a Latin alphabet.

 

Oh, I should've mentioned that I'm already nearly fluent in Japanese, so I'm not trying to pick up Japanese as I write. I know the stroke orders (unless it's a pretty rare kanji, and even then I can guess based on stroke order principles). I just want my writing to be better when I do write in Japanese. I've been writing Japanese for more than 20 years, but my handwriting with a fountain pen is somehow even worse than with other writing instruments.

 

My Waterman and Cross medium nibs don't really work for Japanese, because any kanji with more than 10 or so strokes becomes a blob. The stroke is too thick and if there are several quite close together, you end up with a blob instead of distinct lines. I have a fine point headed my way in the mail, though, so I hope that will help.

 

 

Good writing, whatever the language, is a matter of practice and study. So have fun and don't worry too much about your work. Just enjoy and have fun with it.

 

Thanks, I'll try to remember that. :)


Edited by Lindoula, 29 September 2014 - 12:49.


#4 ac12

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 20:03

For complex kanji, you want a Japanese F or even a XF nib, for exactly the reason you stated.  Otherwise you get a blob of ink from too many strokes too close together for the size of the nib.  The smaller the writing the finer the nib has to be.  Also the paper has a lot to do with this.  You want a hard paper that will not spread the ink line.

 

I used to use a Sheaffer school pen with a F nib, oh so many years ago when I took Japanese. 

I wrote the normal western way, as the FP just replaced a pencil as my writing tool.


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#5 Lindoula

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 23:43

For complex kanji, you want a Japanese F or even a XF nib, for exactly the reason you stated.  Otherwise you get a blob of ink from too many strokes too close together for the size of the nib.  The smaller the writing the finer the nib has to be.  Also the paper has a lot to do with this.  You want a hard paper that will not spread the ink line.

 

I used to use a Sheaffer school pen with a F nib, oh so many years ago when I took Japanese. 

I wrote the normal western way, as the FP just replaced a pencil as my writing tool.

 

Thanks for the tips. I just got some new paper types to try out, so I'll see which ones give the best results. I'm kicking myself for not paying attention to all the great stationery and pens when I lived in Japan!

 

My kanji handwriting has always been a lot worse than my kana, strangely enough. I guess I just need to practice a bunch with the fountain pen. Perhaps it just won't get much better after all these years.



#6 Randal6393

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 00:34

You are to be admired for keeping up with your studies in Japanese. You work a lot harder at it than I have. Still, it's always fun to pick up a pen and do a few kanji.

 

I write with an italic nib for the most part. Found that the italic nib helped me with my kanji and kana. You might want to try that.

 

Enjoy,


Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#7 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 00:39

Thanks for the tips. I just got some new paper types to try out, so I'll see which ones give the best results. I'm kicking myself for not paying attention to all the great stationery and pens when I lived in Japan!
 
My kanji handwriting has always been a lot worse than my kana, strangely enough. I guess I just need to practice a bunch with the fountain pen. Perhaps it just won't get much better after all these years.



Because kana have simpler forms?

#8 Lindoula

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 23:52

You are to be admired for keeping up with your studies in Japanese. You work a lot harder at it than I have. Still, it's always fun to pick up a pen and do a few kanji.

 

I write with an italic nib for the most part. Found that the italic nib helped me with my kanji and kana. You might want to try that.

 

Enjoy,

 Hm, interesting idea. I'll add an italic nib to the ever-expanding list of things I need to get. Thanks!



#9 Lindoula

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 23:53

Because kana have simpler forms?

 

Yes, probably. The lines don't crowd each other.



#10 rosmarin

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 00:39

Hi Lindoula

I am a Japanese living overseas:) and I am into both writing Japanese and English calligraphy.

Have you googled penji? That's a term used for not a calligraphy, but everyday Japanese writing, in pen or ballpoint pen.

Here are some websites with free advice

http://www.zebra.co....isyo/index.html
http://www004.upp.so-net.ne.jp/penji/

(but unfortunately, some sites uses computer fonts so that's something to be careful of)

There are different types of styles, but you will start looking for the most basic style kaisho (楷書) first.

I use different pens for writing Japanese and writing English.  I feel it hard to write with wet,smooth pens.  Maybe that's why I prefer Pilot/Namiki/Sailor pens (XF to Med) when I write Japanese but prefer smoother pens (nibs) when I write English.


There are lots of books but not sure whether you want to go that far.  Please do let me know if you need more help.

I will later see if I can find anything in my bookshelf or computer which may help you and others.  
 


 



#11 Lindoula

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 22:46

Hi Lindoula

I am a Japanese living overseas:) and I am into both writing Japanese and English calligraphy.

Have you googled penji? That's a term used for not a calligraphy, but everyday Japanese writing, in pen or ballpoint pen.

Here are some websites with free advice

http://www.zebra.co....isyo/index.html
http://www004.upp.so-net.ne.jp/penji/

(but unfortunately, some sites uses computer fonts so that's something to be careful of)

There are different types of styles, but you will start looking for the most basic style kaisho (楷書) first.

 

Hi Rosamarin-san,

 

Thank you very much! This is very helpful indeed. I wasn't familiar with the word 'penji', so thanks for introducing it to me. I tried searching for words like 筆跡 but mostly got calligraphy results.

 

 

I use different pens for writing Japanese and writing English.  I feel it hard to write with wet,smooth pens.  Maybe that's why I prefer Pilot/Namiki/Sailor pens (XF to Med) when I write Japanese but prefer smoother pens (nibs) when I write English.

 

Yes, I think I'm developing this same preference. I just got two fine nib Pilots to try using for Japanese, and already it's much easier.

 

 

There are lots of books but not sure whether you want to go that far.  Please do let me know if you need more help.

I will later see if I can find anything in my bookshelf or computer which may help you and others.

 

Thanks! I appreciate your help. I'll start with 楷書 first as you suggested. ご苦労様でした。



#12 Taiko

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 21:01

Thank you all for the timely posts; I've recently signed up for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test this coming December and will be practicing fast and furious at least until then :) 


"God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscious, and shouts to us in our pain."

#13 Lindoula

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 01:26

Thank you all for the timely posts; I've recently signed up for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test this coming December and will be practicing fast and furious at least until then :) 

 

Break a leg! Which level are you taking, if I may ask?



#14 DaveBj

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 13:53

Thank you all for the timely posts; I've recently signed up for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test this coming December and will be practicing fast and furious at least until then :) 

 

Break a nib :D  I was Level 3 in Russian and then later in Arabic (graphic only) before I retired.  When my Russian job went away, I had several languages to pick from for cross-training.  One of them was Japanese, and that would have been building on the four semesters I took when we were living in Japan.

 

Actually, one of the reasons why I bought the Sailor 21 Pocket Pen was to try to make my kanji neater.  It didn't really work, but that wasn't the pen's fault.


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#15 rosmarin

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 02:39

Hi all

 

Sorry for the delay.

 

One thing which is difficult with writing Japanese is that because it was originally written in brushes, some of the strokes are not as they seem.  i.e. when writing with pens, they are still written like as if it is written in brush. 

 

Another thing to be mindful of, is where you start writing the character (whether it is hiragana, katakana, kanji - chinese character) and the sequence of writing it. :)  Learning and understanding that will help you understand where the next stroke leads to. 

 

If you find a photo of penji written beautifully and want to write like that (do not use computer fonts), the best thing is to blow it up large and examine it.

 

The Chinese character 'ei' 永 is one character that we learn as a character which includes main strokes to write Japanese character.  

 

But above everything, it's the balance too. This is true esecially when you are writing something that is mixture of kanji and other characters.  When you write mixed kanji and hiragana, kanjis are larger than hiraganas, and some hiraganas are smaller than other hiraganas. ei.jpg

 

If anyone has any questions, please let me know :D I will be happy to answer as much as I can.

 

Rosmarin

 

PS I've used ball point pens because it will be easier to see the stokes, AND it's so difficult to write beautifully in FPs.

 

 

 

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#16 Lindoula

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 02:14

Thank you very much, Rosmarin. While I'm aware of brush stroke orders, it never occurred to me to enlarge writing to examine it closely. Great idea! I'll give it a try.

 

I had an idea last week which seemed very original to me at the time: writing out the Tensei Jingo column from Asahi Shinbun every day. Then I discovered that it's a common writing task for Japanese schoolchildren. And here I thought I was being so clever! ;) Anyway, I'm going to give it a try. It's a good length for a daily writing task.


Edited by Lindoula, 10 October 2014 - 02:15.


#17 Lindoula

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 20:18

So far, so good with the Tensei Jingo transcription, but I'm not sure it's really improved my handwriting yet. I guess I'll have to be patient.

 

But I wanted to mention that I just found an interesting book called Rokudo-Lines Method 美しい文字が書けるようになる練習用ノート. It has the usual method of tracing characters for practice, but it has a series of lines rotated 6 degrees (hence the 6度) to help you get a certain slant to your writing. Seems very promising! I'm going to add it to my practice routine.



#18 MimiToto

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Posted 19 October 2014 - 00:09

The strokes for writing Japanese has more round motions than for example Chinese calligraphy, atleast this was my experience when practicing. Especially with Hiragana, you should constantly be aware of the circular motions in both stroke motions and character set-up, as opposed to writing Kanji/chinese, which involves interchanging circular motion in the strokes with the square "sit" of the overall characters. Even the Kanji letters used in Japanese kaligraphy have more roundness to their character than in Chinese.

 

I find that you need as SF or SFM FP to do asian characters with styles, which only exist in Asian FP lines. (dip pen nib does not work with asian characters, the strokes are too hard to control) 

Surprisingly, Noodler's flex nibs (which are firmer than true flex nibs) work well with asian characters.

 

The Sailor Naginata is very suited to writing asian stuff in semi-cursive(行書) and cursive script(草書), but only if you are extremely familiar with asian calligraphy and spend a month working with the pen would it actually work well.



#19 Renzhe

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:04

In your searches did you search for Chinese? You say you need more help with Kanji; I posted this a while ago.


Edited by Renzhe, 17 November 2014 - 06:04.

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#20 Lindoula

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 23:48

In your searches did you search for Chinese? You say you need more help with Kanji; I posted this a while ago.

 

No, I didn't. Thanks for the heads-up! I'll definitely take a look.







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