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Stroke direction rule 1 – left to right

The rule states:

Horizontal strokes are written from the left to the right.

Let’s see the character for ‘one’ (as in “number one”), hitotsu.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 一 hitotsu 'one'. Illustrates stroke direction rule 1: a horizontal stroke is written left to right.
hitotsu ‘one’.

The diagram above shows the three stages of writing a simple horizontal stroke.

  1. Touch the paper with the pen;
  2. move the pen toward the right;
  3. lift the pen from the paper.

Now observe the diagram below, showing the characters mittsu, too, moto.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 三 mittsu 'three', 十 too 'ten', 本 moto 'origin'. Illustrates stroke direction rule 1: horizontal strokes are written left to right.
mittsu ‘three’, too ‘ten’, moto ‘origin’.

In the introduction to this guide you learned that the small numbers are placed where the strokes begin. You can see how all the horizontal strokes above are written left to right.

The character mittsu is made up of three horizontal strokes .The small numbers ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ are placed on the leftward extremity of each stroke to indicate that that’s where the strokes begin. Each stroke is written left to right.

In the character too (pron. /toh/) only one stroke is horizontal, and in 本 moto two strokes are horizontal. Again, they are all written left to right. You get the idea.

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