screenshot of the kakimashou landing page

    In need of a free, online writing practice site with a built-in dictionary, kanji component breakdowns, tone markers, example words, and more? Then say hello to Kakimashou.com. The site's primary goal is to help users practice writing Japanese characters – kanji, hiragana, and katakana – but it offers a lot more features than just writing practice. To start, users may want to try the tutorial on the homescreen by pressing the "Begin Tutorial" button. Its ten steps take users through the absolute basics of writing Japanese characters. From there, the site recommends users try various lists of characters (called "curricula" on the site) according to their level. There are lists for many popular textbooks, assessments, and programs, including Genki, Heisig's kanji method, JLPT, and even WaniKani. Clicking the JLPT curriculum, for example, opens up five sub-categories to choose from: N5, N4, N3, N2, and N1. Looking at the N2 category, you will notice a long list (22 separate pages) of kanji and words that, according to this site, might be found on the JLPT N2 exam.

    There's also an option to "Quiz Yourself" and create a spaced-repetition-like customizable quiz – the type of quiz and which characters to write are both editable parameters. You answer by drawing each character with the correct stroke order in a writing box. Hints are also available and may come in handy if you're stuck. Once the entire word is written out, you have the option to grade yourself: either "try again later," or "got it."

    The site's dictionary seems to utilize the same ones under the hood at Jisho.org and Tangorin.com (EDRGD). What is really neat about Kakimashou's entries is the direct inclusion of pitch accent information into each word's kana representation. Word-specific entries will contain definitions, variations, and even a breakdown of the kanji utilized in the word itself. This is useful for people who prefer the Heisig method of learning kanji. As for kanji-specific entries, you can find information on which other words use a specific character, what other kanji contain that character, percentages of common readings for that character, a character breakdown, and references to other places that use the character in question. Of course, for any entry, there is a writing box at the top-right for you to practice writing out the characters themselves.

    All in all, this website has a lot to offer students at any level. Whether you're looking up character breakdowns or simply practicing correct stroke order, you can get writing with Kakimashou!