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Good Way to Learn Kanji
Posted 4/24/14
Hello people of Crunchyroll,

I know that this question may not apply to everybody here.

What are some good ways to learn kanji?

I'm a high schooler who grew up in Japan and basically forgot a lot of the language because of speaking too much English.
I generally know the grammar of Japanese and daily-use vocabulary. My problem is, in order to reach a high level of proficiency (which is what Im planning to do throughout high school and probably into college) I will definitely need to learn all of the Joyo-Kanji.

I've looked at Heisig's Remember the Kanji, and while I like the idea, the fact that it is nothing but remembering the meaning bothers me.

I believe I have good memorization skills.

Can anybody recommend to me ways to learn this challenge of about 2000 kanji? Whatever it may be, just give me some advice

Thank you!

Oh and by the way I'm a noob at forums. So correct me on anything I'm doing wrong.
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Posted 4/24/14 , edited 4/24/14
It takes practice.. Read and write them daily. Use reference material and find books to read. That's how I learned English.

Japanese was my first language, so I don't know if I can recommend a certain way of practicing.
When I learned English, I also had a private teacher as well as supplemental lessons.

And if I were you, I'd look into tōyō kanjihyō first..
EDIT: forgot to mention that it was easier for me this way and is by no means a requirement.

I'll be honest here.. Even I don't have it all down. I went to a really good high school, but it was my worst subject and I only know ~3k total at best. Don't pressure yourself into learning all of them.
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Posted 4/24/14 , edited 4/24/14
Good question, I'm learning Japanese, and I use apps (for IOS, I don't know if they are in ANDROID). Those apps teach me how to write and read the kanjis, and some examples. The name of that apps are: iKana, iKanji, are good tools for learning the basic and the kanjis. At the same time you can test yourself with the apps (They have the: Practice set, where you can test yourself like: meanings, readings, compounds, and the most important: stroke order).
But also I'm reading some manga (in Japanese) which is better if they have furigana (yeah, is for the beginners xD, like me)
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Posted 4/24/14 , edited 4/24/14
Just don't become reliant on furigana lol.
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Posted 4/24/14 , edited 4/24/14
I picked up a lot of Kanji from some anime and VNs, picking up on what situation it's used in plus having a nearby reference book helped lots. (For VN's I used a program that displayed furigana for all kanji and was almost entirely accurate except when names are involved) Other wise practice as much as you can, my methods were copying exactly everything in a kanji dictionary that had directions, stroke order, etc. and that worked pretty well.

I picked up a textbook by myself called Beginning Japanese by publisher group Tuttle, and the way they handle kanji in that textbook is brilliant, I learned 20+ kanji in a couple days by myself with it.

Although to be honest... while my reading skills of kanji are pretty darn good, my writing skills (like remembering what they look like when I want to use them) is downright terrible. Although I blame myself for focusing more on the reading part while ignoring the writing part.
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Posted 4/24/14
Kanji and Kana by Wolfgang Hadamitzky (or something like that) and Mark Spahn is a good book with the Jouyou, and so is Guide to writing the Kanji and Kana by the same authors. I went through it whenever I had a lot of time...like fifty or a hundred a day, then review the next. It was hard, though, and I didn't really remember them all well, though, but after I wrote them in the guide about five-ten times while reviewing, it was OK. Then, I read some light novels, looked up what I didn't know, and it comes naturally after that. A good game for looking up kanji combinations is Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten for the DS, and a good app is imiwa?
Posted 4/24/14
Do what tsun suggests! I have to practice and study it every day. I'm currently taking full year Japanese classes, but I still SUCK at Kanji. I'm still quite the amateur. Especially since English is my first language. For me, I have to learn a certain set of Kanji each unit we do from the curriculum, but what I would suggest is make a list of some you want to learn, or some taught in a book, and study those. Draw them in the air with your fingers, memorize the meaning etc. I find this helps, but I guess everyone's different.
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Posted 4/24/14
Truthfully, it just takes a lot of practice and memorization. There is like 35803538453593458389538530589 different characters
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Posted 4/24/14
Lots of practice and dedication.

The second option is you just learn traditional mandarin chinese, which is kanji. Opt for the first one
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Posted 4/24/14

tsun wrote:

Just don't become reliant on furigana lol.


Do you mean hiragana, if you don't could you explain what furigana is?
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Posted 4/24/14 , edited 4/24/14

TheChowster wrote:


tsun wrote:

Just don't become reliant on furigana lol.


Do you mean hiragana, if you don't could you explain what furigana is?

Using furigana is like using training wheels.
Easiest example would be: kanji= 漢字。

However, just looking at the kanji.. (漢字)、 it's hard to discern how to actually pronounce it if you're a beginner, right?

So, with 漢、 you'll also see (in hiragana) かん (denoting kan) next to it so you'll know how to pronounce it.
Same with 字、 you'll also see (in hiragana) じ。 (denoting ji)

EDIT: Googling "furigana" also helps lol. Guess what the first link gives you?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furigana
With the same exact example + more!

Reason why I say don't rely on furigana is because you're not going to see it in real life (´・ω・`).
I seldom used it in junior high, and practically never did in kōkō.
I went to Horikawa junior high and then the arts school for high school.
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Posted 4/24/14 , edited 4/24/14
Here are a couple of good websites for studying from when your away from the computer.

Do not underestimate Wikipedia. The mobile version looks good and Kanji are ordered by Grade and then Radical.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ky%C5%8Diku_kanji
Use this website to test yourself. It shows a character and you have to choose its meaning.
http://unckel.de/kanjirepeater/

漢字の勉強し頑張って
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Posted 4/24/14 , edited 4/24/14
I had an unfair advantage since my dad is Japanese and taught me some kanji. I still mess up when I read Kanji sometimes though cause some characters look so alike. I major in Japanese and I study by reading manga's which is really helpful and reviewing over with a textbook. With the textbook in class we usually finish a chapter in 2 weeks so I remember the kanji in that chapter by practicing the stroke order and somehow that really helps me memorize what it means. What also helps me during tests is writing the kanji on flashcards to refresh my memory and testing myself. All it is basically is practice makes perfect and a lot of perseverance you can learn Kanji in no time.
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Posted 4/24/14

TheChowster wrote:


tsun wrote:

Just don't become reliant on furigana lol.


Do you mean hiragana, if you don't could you explain what furigana is?


You see how in manga, there's hiragana next to the kanji? That's furigana.

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Posted 4/24/14
Had a sudden desire to learn Japanese for a few months some time ago...but while I only managed to pick up 250ish kanji, what helped me to remember and expand vocabulary besides dutiful writing practice was my love of listening to japanese music. Try passive learning if you ever feel like you're in a slump! And a japanese kanji dictionary (I like Tuttle's dictionary/book on Learning Japanese Kanji, but probably more tailored to beginners) is always a useful resource whenever you come across kanji you want to know the meaning of:)
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