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Stroke order rule 7 – vertical skewer last

A vertical stroke that pierces a whole shape is written last.

Unlike rule 6, the stroke doesn’t have to protrude from both sides. We have three possible configurations illustrated in the diagram below:

  1. the stroke protrudes from the top and the bottom;
  2. the stroke protrudes only from the bottom;
  3. the stroke protrudes only from the top.

The first two configurations are illustrated in the diagram below.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 車 kuruma 'wheel', 半 nakaba 'middle', 事 koto 'thing', 制 SEI 'system', 筆 fude 'brush' (to write), 平 taira 'flat', 羊 hitsuji 'sheep', 単 TAN 'simple', 手 te 'hand', 拝 ogamu 'to pray'. It illustrates stroke order rule 7: a piercing vertical stroke is written last.
kuruma ‘wheel’, nakaba ‘middle’, koto ‘thing’, SEI ‘system’, fude ‘brush’ (to write), taira ‘flat’, hitsuji ‘sheep’, TAN ‘simple’, te ‘hand’, ogamu ‘to pray’.

This rule applies only to the intersecting part of the shape.

If a vertical skewer is surrounded by other strokes without intersecting them, the rule is not applied to the non-intersected part. This is not an exception, but a confirmation of the rule.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 様 sama 'condition', 第 DAI 'sequence', 逮 TAI 'apprehend', 兼 kaneru 'serve both as'. The rule doesn't apply to surrounding, non-intersecting strokes.
sama ‘condition’, DAI ‘sequence’, TAI ‘apprehend’ and kaneru ‘serve both as’.

In the characters sama, DAI, TAI and kaneru, the vertical strokes (in red) are written after all the strokes they intersects, but before the strokes they don’t intersect (in green).

The vertical skewer last rule also applies where a vertical skewer protrudes from the top but not the bottom (the third configuration listed above).

We can consider the shapes contained in the kanji moppara, TOU and kaku.

Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 専 moppara 'solely', 唐 TOU 'Tang' (dynasty), 書 kaku 'to write'. It shows piercing vertical strokes that protrude from the top but not the bottom.
moppara ‘solely’, TOU ‘Tang’ (dynasty) and kaku ‘to write’.

In kaku, the vertical skewer (in green) is written after all the strokes it’s crossing (strokes 1-4) and touching (stroke 5).

Non-protruding skewers

If the piercing vertical stroke is entirely contained between the top and the bottom stroke, then the shape is written in this order:

  1. upper part (red);
  2. vertical piercing stroke (brown);
  3. lower part (green).
Kanji stroke diagram showing the kanji 里 sato 'village', 動 ugoku 'to move', 勤 tsutomeru 'to serve'. It illustrates piercing strokes that don't protrude from either end. The skewer-stroke is written written after the top part of the shape, and before the bottom part.
sato ‘village’, ugoku ‘to move’ and tsutomeru ‘to serve’.

The stroke orders of the kanji sato, ugoku and tsutomeru follow this principle.

We had in fact already seen this under a different light: the furutori ‘old bird’ exception of stroke order rule 4.

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