# 万: stroke order

#### Alan Evangelista

##### Senior Member
Hi, guys!

Why is the right hook drawn before the vertical stroke in 万 ? 九 is drawn in the opposite order.

• #### SoLaTiDoberman

##### Senior Member
"Each kanji's stroke order has been traditionally decided separately.
The purpose of the order is to hand-write it most beautifully and quickly.
It can be different from each other.
Do not think why. It's a waste of time.
You should learn one by one."

This is an instruction for Japanese kids who are learning kanjis.

Hope this helps!

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#### YangMuye

##### Senior Member
Because kanjis are traditionally written vertically from left to right, it is generally desired to follow a Zig Zag curve, so the tip of stroke always points to the top left corner of the next character.

For 万, I would write in: 一 , 丿 (first Z curve, sometimes connected like a 7) ㇆(second Z curve) some people write in inverse order 一 ㇆丿 which is more correct according to my standard. In fact traditionally the / part comes from the 厶 part of 萬 which is written last
九: I write in 乙 (I tend to draw this stoke slanted like Z)丿. I just noticed the standard order seems to be 丿㇈, from left to right. When written vertically, the ㇈ can become㇋。

力, I think most people write in ㇆丿. It may otherwise be mixed with 為 (ゐ) if written in reversed order.
方, some people writes as 丶 一 丿㇆while some people just omit the dot and cross the 丿with 一. Again the standard order should be 丶 一 ㇆丿.

I guess there are two reasons to write ㇆ before 丿.
First, the hook points up, making it easier to position your tip of your pen to draw next stroke.
Second, it is more consistent with its seal script origin. (万 is a rather recent glyph but 方 had existed for thousands of years.)

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#### Alan Evangelista

##### Senior Member

The purpose of the order is to hand-write it most beautifully and quickly.
It can be different from each other.
Do not think why. It's a waste of time.
Regarding drawing quality, I draw 万 identically if I draw the vertical slant as second or third stroke. Regarding speed, IMHO my hand traverses a shorter distance in the paper by drawing the vertical slant as second stroke instead of third, so I'd draw the kanji slightly faster using that "wrong" order. As the recommended drawing order regarding any of the two kanji drawing parameters (prettiness and speed) does not seem better than the "wrong" drawing order, it seems arbitrary to me.

Thanks for sharing, but I don't think that "do not think why" is a good way to teach/learn subjects which are not (or at least theoretically should not be) random.

Because kanjis are traditionally written vertically from left to right, it is generally desired to follow a Zig Zag curve, so the tip of stroke always points to the top left corner of the next character.
Sorry, but I don't see how drawing the horizontal hook of 万 as second stroke and the vertical slant as third stroke helps with that. In this specific kanji, no drawing order can achieve that. In fact, I think that choosing the recommended drawing order makes your hand traverse a larger distance in the paper, between each stroke.

I guess there are two reasons to write ㇆ before 丿.
First, the hook points up, making it easier to position your tip of your pen to draw next stroke.
Second, it is more consistent with its seal script origin.
I suppose you meant "the hook points left". Honestly I cannot see why that makes it easier to position the tip of the pen to draw the next stroke. If you measure the distance that the pen "flies over" the paper between each stroke in both drawing orders, I'm sure it is larger in the correct drawing order (and thus it takes longer). The second reason is more credible to me.

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#### YangMuye

##### Senior Member
I suppose you meant "the hook points left".
I did not understand your question until I read the message on my smartphone. No I mean "points up", literally.
Sans serif fonts for Chinese are a rather recent invention and are most optimized for rendering on a screen which has a low DPI than printed media.

Handwriting scripts tend to avoid any absolute horizontal lines because they do not flow well in rapid writing. You can see the animation of the stroke order of 方 in Wiki (Again, I try to avoid discussing 万 because it is a rather recent glyph that did not exist in the past).

After all, the tick ending pointing up might just be a consequence of trying to run the pen continuously in fluent writing while following the canonical stroke order, rather than the cause of such stroke order.

#### Alan Evangelista

##### Senior Member
Sans serif fonts for Chinese are a rather recent invention and are most optimized for rendering on a screen which has a low DPI than printed media.

Handwriting scripts tend to avoid any absolute horizontal lines because they do not flow well in rapid writing. You can see the animation of the stroke order of 方 in Wiki
Ah, now I see it. Thanks for making it clear!

#### Flaminius

##### coclea mod
it is more consistent with its seal script origin.
YangMuye, the origin of 九 is not in the seal script but in bone oracles. Sorry for the nitpick. So it's much older and more pictorial. The etymology of 九 is said to be a hand attached to a bent elbow. There are a lot of kanjis with hand radicals among their components. Hands in bone oracles are written like three-fanged pitch folk. The stroke order was:
1. Write an arch )
2. Penetrate the ) shape with a line at the middle part of the arch. ー

The arch, or two of the three fingers that pictographically represent the hand, is ノ in 九. So etymologically, it's the first part to be written.

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