The 5 Biggest Genkouyoushi Mistakes You can Easily Avoid

Have you ever tried to write Japanese on Genkouyoushi?

Genkouyoushi げんこうようし is Japanese squared writing paper. Japanese kids use it in school for composition.

Some Japanese exams provide Genkouyoushi for writing tests. It raises interest among Japanese learners in Genkouyoushi.

Genkō yōshi
Genkō yōshi (原稿用紙, “manuscript paper”) is a type of Japanese paper used for writing. It is printed with squares, typically 200 or 400 per sheet, each square

But unfortunately, not many people know how to use Genkouyoushi, this Japanese-style squared paper, properly.

It is because most Japanese textbooks are written horizontally, and they don’t show you how to write on Genkouyoushi. You don’t have many opportunities to see examples of Genkuyoushi writing.

As a Japanese teacher, I found several common mistakes people made. Once you read this article, you can easily avoid them!

Let’s start!

Mistake 1 Starting Point

Start writing from the top left, not the top right.

Genkouyoushi mistake No.1 Starting point

The Japanese language has two versions of writings, horizontal and vertical, which not many languages have.

It’s confusing.

Many people know that, if you write horizontally, you write from left to right. If you write vertically, you write from top to bottom.

But some people don’t know when you write vertically, you start from the right top corner and write to the bottom. When you write the following line, it should be on the left of the previous line.

It looks like this.

How to write Japanese on Genkouyoushi correctly

Mistake 2 Paragraph

Miss one blank line to start a new paragraph.

Genkouyoushi mistake No. 2 Paragraph

This is also a common mistake.

When you start a new paragraph, the top cell of a new like should be blank. Your writing starts with a second cell.

How to start paragraph on Genkouyoushi correctly

Mistake 3 Comma and Period (Full-stop)

Write a comma or a period in the same cell as a letter.

Genkouyoushi mistake No. 3 comma and period

This is a tricky part. In most cases, you need to give one cell to write a comma, called 読点(とうてん)or a period, called 句点(くてん).

how to write comma or period on Genkouyoushi

However, you cannot put a comma or a period into a top cell of a new line; you need to put it into the last cell of a previous line.

See the example below.

how to write comma or period on Genkouyoushi

Mistake 4 Small letters

Write a small letter, such as ぎゅ, in one cell.

Genkouyoushi mistake No. 4 small letters

Small letters, such as ゃ、ゅ、ょ、っ should be in one cell.

Look at the example.

How to write small letters on Genkouyoushi

If these letters come to a top cell, it’s OK. But if you’d like, you can place them in the last cell in a previous line.

Mistake 5 Quotation mark

Write a quotation mark and a letter in the same cell

Genkouyoushi mistake No. 5 Quotation mark

Please give one cell for each quotation mark.

How to use quatation mark on genkouyoushi correctly

A period and a quotation mark are in the same cell at the end of a quote.

How to use quatation mark on genkouyoushi correctly

If it’s happened in the last cell, please write a letter, a period and a quotation mark in the same cell. Quite crowded!

How to use quatation mark on genkouyoushi correctly

Write Japanese composition on Genkouyoushi with confidence!

Now you know how to avoid these sinful mistakes and write Japanese on Genkouyoushi better than before.

If you’d like to step forward and write Japanese confidently, I recommend my Nihongo Notebook series.

This notebook series is NOT just another genkouyoushi notebook.

It includes useful information such as the rules of vertical writing (did you know the difference between horizontal writings and vertical writings?), the Genkouyoushi exercises to write accurately, the checklists to revise your composition, and more!

Choose your favorite cover, and click the button to order on Amazon.

It will help your Japanese composition to the next level!

Have you ever tried written Japanese on Genkouyoushi? What is your biggest problem?

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Asuka

    Great question!
    We don’t use any “gap” between words in Japanese writing.
    We just cut a word or a phrase if there isn’t enough space to finish it and continue it in the following line.
    We don’t use a hyphen.

    For example, if I want to write a sentence,

    田中さんは朝六時に起きました。(Ms. Tanaka wakes up at 6:00 in the morning.)

    If I write this sentence at the end of a line, it may look like this.

    —————(previous sentences)———————田中さんは朝六

    I hope it helps!

  2. Vincent

    こんにちは!I am an English speaker learning Japanese. I would like to know more about words in げんこうようし、or原稿用紙 in Kanji. Hm, but I’m not sure if that was very clear ^^” so I’ll elaborate.
    For example, do you cut off words when writing in this, or do you start them in a new line if there aren’t enough spaces to finish the word? I have run into this situation, and I am not sure what to do – – -”
    Other than this one question, I found this incredibly helpful as someone who has never written in 原稿用紙 before, (so I was not sure about punctuation or small letters, though I did know about how it is read/written from top to bottom, right to left). I had looked through the 漫画, (まんが) that I owned, but it was hard for me to tell, and this made it a lot clearer, so ありがとうございます!!!

  3. Charles O'Flynn

    Hi, Asuka san,
    I’m very well thank you and I hope you are too. If the majority of your audience is from the US, I will swallow hard and deep and learn to read American ?.
    Take care,

  4. Asuka

    Hi, Charles san,
    Glad to hear from you! How are you?

    About Spelling, it’s tricky isn’t it?

    I use American spellings as currently, more than two-thirds of my audience is from the US, and also, British people and those who from other countries get used to reading American spellings.
    I added the British spellings in the brackets.
    Hope it helps!

  5. Charles O'Flynn

    Hi Asuka sensei,
    Might I make a suggestion, please? If you have a mainly UK audience in these emails, (and only you know that), you may wish to consider using the expression ‘full stop’ instead of ‘period’ when describing the character delineating the end of a sentence. I was joking with your husband about your American English education in Japan when I met him a couple of years ago and we were laughing about it.
    Either way, it’s really great to hear from you again ?.