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#1
Oct 15, 2008 8:28 AM

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This will simply be a review of the book, “Remembering the Kanji,” and why it is important to any foreigner learning Japanese.

The purpose of this particular book is to give students of all levels a complete guide to learning the Kanji. The Japanese use three writing systems, categorized into two groups. The Kana, a set of characters that carry a phonetic value, but lack meaning; and the Kanji, characters that carry meaning, but lack phonetic value. The Kanji (”漢字”), are characters that were adopted by Japanese as a way to give their already existent spoken language a way to be transcribed in a written language. The reasons for this being advantageous are obvious, and do not need explanation.

This, however poses a challenge for the ambitious student interested in learning Japanese. But, fear not, because learning these writing systems couldn’t be easier (as far as I know). In his book “Remembering the Kanji” (”RtK”), Dr. James W. Heisig demonstrates a systematic approach to learning the General Use Kanji (”Jouyou Kanji”). The first volume in the series covers the initial 2042 Kanji. Heisig states that a full-time student, following the method in his book(s), one could learn these characters in four to six weeks!

The method used in “Remembering the Kanji” is, by far, the most efficient way of learning the meaning and writing of the Kanji. If you’re skeptical of the book because it only covers the meaning and writing, please reconsider. I’ll explain. — Heisig mentions that it is necessary to take a “divide and conquer” route to learning the Kanji. This means, first being able to know what they mean in your native tongue and how to produce (write) them from memory given the keyword (meaning). You’ll be able to learn compounds, readings, etc. through context in real Japanese. You can, of course, learn one reading for each Kanji in the second volume of “Remembering the Kanji”; additionally, you can learn up to about 3000 Kanji using the third volume, which covers more Kanji meanings and writings, and then later dives into another round of readings. Heisig himself says that the student should learn readings in context. I, for one, agree with this. I’ve not actually experienced this in full, but have been able to make stronger connections with the readings of Kanji that I’ve already learned, myself.

If you’re still skeptical, you may try a free sample of the first volume here: Remembering the Kanji Free Sample

I’ve been working in this book for about three weeks, and learned about 700 Kanji. Don’t worry, you can learn them much quicker than me. I’m just really slow.

From what I’ve seen, knowing the Kanji’s meanings, greatly helps in inferring the meaning of words, sentences, etc. — i.e. I use a iGoogle home page, and its language is set to Japanese (”日本語”). I have the five-day forecast as part of it, and after learning Kanji that have to do with meteorological phenomenon, I was able to, almost completely, understand the forecasts being displayed every time I open my web browser (which is quite often).

I couldn’t explain, entirely, how exhilarating it is to be able to actually make sense of small things like this. I’m sure anyone can gain this same satisfaction. This is why I recommend this book to any student of Japanese that has not already discovered this phenomenal book.

Remembering the Kanji 1
 
#2
Dec 8, 2008 9:37 AM

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If you want to see/read stories other people made up you can look 'em up by the number
here

but I think you have to register/login to see it. Also you can contribute your story too if oyu want.

今はどんでん返しの時代ではない★너와 함께 했던 일상은
어느샌가 작은 영화속 풍경이되고 ☆
 
#3
Dec 8, 2008 4:33 PM

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midori- said:
If you want to see/read stories other people made up you can look 'em up by the number
here

but I think you have to register/login to see it. Also you can contribute your story too if oyu want.


I made thorough use of this site on my way through the book. It's good to read other people's ideas, but twist it in your own way. The more personal the mnemonic, the more likely you'll remember it.

Thanks for mentioning that midori-, I forgot about that.
 
#4
Dec 9, 2008 1:34 PM

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I also use that website a lot. But its usefulness all comes from IF and only IF you're stuck or haven't got a strong story of certain kanji only. The best is to base your story on what they say as sleepyday says, but sometimes their story is so vivid that you'll take the whole story as it is.
 
#5
May 4, 2009 2:48 PM

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http://nuthatch.com/java/kanjicards/

Here's a Java app for learning Kanji. Basically, they're Flash Cards for the first 500 to learn. If anyone's just starting Kanji, this is a good place to go.
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#6
May 4, 2009 9:50 PM

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Looks like someone doesn't bother reading the rest of the thread :/

Anyway, As I currently know, there are 4 persons that have passed RTK1 so far. Chaotic, Sleepyday, me and then Sleepyhead. We have no news of chaotic anymore, and Sleepyhead just finished it not long ago. Sleepyday and I have gone through many difficulties. But now we, or at least I, say that it was all worth it.

Let me elaborate on this long overdue answer. First, why only 1 kanji and 1 english meaning? Why not 2-4 english readings, and multiple japanese words to connect to it? Time, and the fact that it's only a scaffold is why.

If Heisig gave multiple english meanings, it would take like 3 times longer than necessary. We don't want that, as a butterfly don't want to stay as a cocoon forever. It's a necessary step, but we don't want to be forever in that stage. It is unfortunate that some people spent more than a year on RTK1. it's not even 6 kanji per day! But anyways, enough of that.
Same thing for japanese words. You don't want to learn 5 words for every kanji you explore. It would be a)crazy long and b) not efficient at learning them and c) not in the right context. However, I found that I sometimes needed a japanese word to help me remember some of the kanjis. The thing is, it may of been only a 100 (depending on you) of them out of 2042, and some of them are obviously obvious. Search for your own good, and don't force them to other people. Heisig did good on that one.

Second is the thing about scaffolding. You're not suppose to fix the english meaning forever. You don't keep the scaffold after the building is finished. It's only there to a)structure how you're going to build your knowledge in sentence phase and more importantly b) give you the ability to guess.

Thanks to Sleepday's videos he showed me, I finally understood the real impact of Heisig. You took like 3 months of your life to get from no knowledge of east-asia symbols (ok, let's keep it Japanese :P) to having a high ability to guess everything. You passed from having not seen most of the kanji to having seen almost all kanji (at least the common ones) AND the ability to know the vague meaning behind every single one of them.

You might not think guessing would be that important, or that it's not good as a learning tool. You can't be more wrong than that. Guessing is one of the major concept in language acquisition. RTK1 and RTK3 is made for that concept. You just guess everytime without the need of another language, and when guesses become more focus, it then becomes knowledge. I would like to show you the videos, but I have to ask sleepyday again for the link XD

I have to add, it works wonder on monodic and raw manga. I don't think I'll ever come close to how much I progressed if I haven't done Heisig in such a relatively short period of time.

Oh, and for those who says that those months may of have been wasted, it's not true. You can start reading raw manga or watch raw anime anytime you want. I have seen too many people waiting until they get to sentence phase to start their japanese exposure (including me). Do kanji. Get your exposure. Just don't add sentence yet ^^

I hope sleepyday will like this ^^ and agree with me here >.< or else it would just be failed.
Modified by firebound12, May 4, 2009 9:57 PM
 
#7
Aug 15, 2009 6:21 PM

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KyuuA4 said:
http://nuthatch.com/java/kanjicards/

Here's a Java app for learning Kanji. Basically, they're Flash Cards for the first 500 to learn. If anyone's just starting Kanji, this is a good place to go.


WTF IS THIS!?
i so did not understand that at all, no offense >.>
 
#8
Dec 16, 2009 12:28 PM

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KyuuA4 said:
http://nuthatch.com/java/kanjicards/

Here's a Java app for learning Kanji. Basically, they're Flash Cards for the first 500 to learn. If anyone's just starting Kanji, this is a good place to go.

its good,but that bothers me,that there isnt any english meaningT.T
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#9
Mar 3, 2013 5:37 PM
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That books on my wishlist now, but i have some other questions; has anyone ever tried the books i'll be listing below, and if any of you have, can you give me your opinion on it? Busting $20~50 (with two exceptions) on a useless textbook seems a waste of cash and space, so I'd like to ask first.

-Kodansha's Essential Kanji Dictionary
-Exambusters Japanese Study Cards
-Essential Kanji: 2000 Basic Japanese Characters Systemically Arranged for Learning and Reference, by P.G. O'Neill
-GENKI: Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese 1 (i'll get both the textbook and the workbook, assuming you've heard of it and it's good.)
- Random House Webster's pocket japanese dictionary
- Barron's Japanese Grammar 2nd Edition by Carol and Nobuo Akiyama

Also, does anyone have any OTHER recommendations for books to learn kanji [assuming RtK is as amazing as said, i'd prefer a book that helps me with the japanese pronunciation] and Japanese grammar? Oh, and some workbooks, if possible. I'm not too fond of creating worksheets for myself.
 
Mar 5, 2013 6:10 PM

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xFangero said:
That books on my wishlist now, but i have some other questions; has anyone ever tried the books i'll be listing below, and if any of you have, can you give me your opinion on it? Busting $20~50 (with two exceptions) on a useless textbook seems a waste of cash and space, so I'd like to ask first.

-Kodansha's Essential Kanji Dictionary
-Exambusters Japanese Study Cards
-Essential Kanji: 2000 Basic Japanese Characters Systemically Arranged for Learning and Reference, by P.G. O'Neill
-GENKI: Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese 1 (i'll get both the textbook and the workbook, assuming you've heard of it and it's good.)
- Random House Webster's pocket japanese dictionary
- Barron's Japanese Grammar 2nd Edition by Carol and Nobuo Akiyama

Also, does anyone have any OTHER recommendations for books to learn kanji [assuming RtK is as amazing as said, i'd prefer a book that helps me with the japanese pronunciation] and Japanese grammar? Oh, and some workbooks, if possible. I'm not too fond of creating worksheets for myself.


-Essential Kanji: 2000 Basic Japanese Characters Systemically Arranged for Learning and Reference, by P.G. O'Neill

I have this, I don't really recommend it, I didn't find it very helpful in learning the kanji.

I don't know about books that help with grammar, but Tae Kim's is really helping me grasp the grammar I already know and teaching me some new stuff.
 
Oct 24, 2013 8:33 AM

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xFangero said:
Also, does anyone have any OTHER recommendations for books to learn kanji [assuming RtK is as amazing as said, i'd prefer a book that helps me with the japanese pronunciation] and Japanese grammar? Oh, and some workbooks, if possible. I'm not too fond of creating worksheets for myself.

For grammar there are some pretty good Japanese books. If you are interested in full Japanese books (some with furigana), please let me know to look for the titles of them.
Otaku no naka no Otaku, Otaking ni narimasu -- Otaku no Video, Gainax, 1992.
 
Oct 25, 2013 3:59 AM

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I have that book :D (remembering the kanji). Never opened it :P Yet...
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Dec 25, 2013 6:17 PM
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hey everyone, finished RTK 1, skipped 2, doing a bit of RTK3 now

used anki for it, it's truly an an amazing app! used it for uni work too

how is everyone doing post RTK? how is your progress?

I'm trying to use the method on the AJATT website, and just immerse myself and collect sentences for anki!
had a few bugs with the plug ins but yea..
 
Feb 4, 2014 11:30 PM

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Akidnas said:

used anki for it, it's truly an an amazing app! used it for uni work too


The paid version of anki or the free one?? I've been using the free one for RTK, katakana, and some vocab, but my mum's been using Memrise to learn Italian and likes it much better.

If you're using the paid version, is it better (I'm gonna go with yes, but how?)? I heard there was some way to draw kanji on your tablet/phone/iThing and have it test you...
"You are a god damn idiot. I'd like to prove this mathematically if I may: Take your current age... Now subtract ten years from it. Were you smart back then? Of course you weren't! You were a god damn idiot! The fact of the matter is you're still as big an idiot today; its just going to take you ten more years to realize it." - Church
 
Jul 2, 2014 8:58 PM

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Even if you don't want to spend the money on the paid version, there's an online version that can be accessed with your mobile phone. The paid version is better in that it's a fully featured application, so you can add, edit, view and study your content, as well as view graphs of your stats, and so on. It's also kind of nice to have the dedicated app rather than rely on safari since there's less waiting for your content to load and more studying.

If you want a more formal review of the application, I could probably put something together with screen shots, etc. if you want.

As far as the drawing capabilities, I haven't tested them out. I don't recall the iPhone app having that feature.
 
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