close

Stroke order rule 2 – top to bottom

Here’s another easy rule that we can memorise immediately. Stroke order rule 2 says:

Write the uppermost stroke first, then write the next uppermost stroke, and keep going.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 二 futatsu 'two', 三 mittsu 'three', 丁 TEI 'T shape', 工 KOU 'craft', 弓 yumi 'bow'. It illustrates the stroke order rule 2, according to which kanji strokes are written from the top to the bottom.
futatsu ‘two’, mittsu ‘three’, TEI ‘T shape’, KOU ‘craft’, yumi ‘bow’.

Study the stroke order for the characters futatsu, mittsu, TEI, KOU and yumi, and notice how strokes are written top to bottom, irrespective of each stroke’s direction. Let’s focus on yumi.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 弓 yumi 'bow'. It illustrates the stroke order rule 2, according to which kanji strokes are written from the top to the bottom.

I hope you won’t be offended by the extremely simplified drawing but as they say: repetita iuvant. 🙂 Let’s break down the process of writing the kanji yumi.

  • Identify the 1st stroke, starting from the top (s.o. rule 2).
  • Start stroke 1 from the left (s.d. rule 1), make a 90-degree turn toward South, and stop.
  • Identify the 2nd stroke counting from the top (s.o. rule 2).
  • Write stroke 2 from the left (s.d. rule 1), stopping where stroke 1 ended, thus joining the two strokes together.
  • Identify the 3rd and last stroke, again counting from the top (s.o. rule 2).
  • Write stroke 3 from the top (s.d. rule 2), making two 90-degree turns and finishing with a small hook.

How to write the shape kuchi

Now that you know stroke direction/order 1 and 2, you can learn how to write the shape/kanji kuchi ‘mouth’, sometimes called the “box shape” or “square”. Let’s study the characters below.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 口 kuchi 'mouth', 歌 uta 'song', 品 shina 'merchandise', 器 utsuwa 'vessel'. It illustrates how to apply the stroke order rules 1 and 2, and stroke direction rules 1 and 2, to this ambiguous shape.
kuchi ‘mouth’, uta ‘song’, shina ‘merchandise’, utsuwa ‘vessel’.

The shape kuchi is ambiguous with regard to stroke order because it is not clear whether we should first write the left vertical stroke or the bent top-right stroke. The diagram above has already resolved this ambiguity, and the stroke order of this shape should be committed to memory immediately.

  1. First we write the left vertical stroke top to bottom. (Now we have only two strokes left, so we know exactly what to do, i.e. apply the stroke order rules we just learned).
  2. Second we write the bent top stroke. Remember, we are going top to bottom.
  3. Third we write the low stroke, completing the shape.

You can notice how no rule has been broken. Practice writing the characters above until you are familiar with the box shape.

« PreviousNext »

– Back to Index –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*