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Help with Japanese Kanji Hey guys!
Tell me, what is the best way to learn Kanji? How do Japanese kids start to learn them? I have no system and it is quit tough to learn them that way. I do know quit a few Kanjis already, but only by seeing them. I absolutely  can't write them out of my memory. Just 20 or so.
There must be a better system to learn Kanji!
How did you learn them? Or do you have a good App or textbook? An App would be awesome, since I always learn Japanese at work in my lunch break (笑)
Thank you for your help!
Apr 7, 2018 7:01 PM
Comments · 5

I do not think that all Japanese learners need to invest their time to be able to write kanji correctly.

We usually use smartphones and computers to write. All they should do is to be able to "chose" the correct kanji which FEP (front end processor) would propose you. Even Japanese living in Japan nowadays have fewer situations to have to write down kanjis in daily life except for their names for signing by paying with credit cards, and they forgot how to write many of kanjis correctly.

To write kanji correctly, positive knowledge is necessary. To read and recognize them, just passive one is enough. Maybe you already experienced some period while you were learning a foreign language, that you can understand by listening relatively well but you were still not yet good enough to speak?

Anyway, repetition is necessary. And for adult people, some knowledge in advance would be helpful, too, that kanjis consist of some parts which represent the meaning and the sound. Therefore to learn the basic kanji first which can be a part of other complex kanjis is very important and effective.

For example, basic kanji letter changes to be radicals to be used in other letters to give meaning further.

 water -> sanzui

 gold -> kane-hen

 wood (tree) -> ki-hen

 hand -> te-hen


Every kanji which has sanzui in itself means something connected to water, ones with kane-hen are all names of metals and so on. In the list of first 200 or 300 kanjis which you would usually find anywhere in materials, there should be these "basic" kanjis. I think there are lots of apps to repeat basic kanjis.

Repeating is the most efficient way for sure, but repeat writing costs lots of time, but much less for reading and recognizing. Then you can use the time you spared for learning history of Japan or deep in the culture.


April 8, 2018

Most non Japanese try to learn kanji using books like 2000 kanji. But that approch is totally different from the way I learned kanji when I was an elementary and junior high and high school student in Japan.

We Japanese first read a story written in several easy kanji and many hiragana in Japanese class. This story is often a part of famous books for children,an old tale or a simple poem.

Japanese teachers tell us to read the story aloud, then they introduce us new kanji with the meaning and strokes.

We usually learn only 10 to 20 漢字 and idiom per week. We practice writing those 漢字 at home.

So, memorizing only 漢字 is not effective.  We should learn 漢字 together with paragraphs.

If the paragraph attracts you that is the best way of learning 漢字.

April 8, 2018

Japanese Pod would be very helpful for you. 

Try this site!

April 8, 2018

when I was a kid, I wrote new Kanji down to the note for 10 or 20 times until you remember. Also, we started Kanji that 画数が少ない. Eash Kanji have a story. I think it help your learning Japanese. 

If you have any question about Japanses, feel free to ask:) 

April 7, 2018

The way children learn kanji isn't very effective for adults. Children learn, as far as I know, starting with kanji with the simplest meanings. The reason this is difficult for adults however, is that these "simple meaning" kanji can actually be some of the hardest to actually write and remember. Adults learn better starting with kanji with the fewest strokes and little complexity and then building on that, as many kanji use other kanji as a component.

There are a number of different approaches, and the one that works best for you can only be determined by you. But I'll throw out some of the things I've tried:

1) Heisig's Remembering the Kanji

2) Kodansha Kanji Learners Course

3) WaniKani (what I personally use, though it requires a monthly subscription)

Overall, the best approach is through the use of mnemonics and spaced repetition. Which all of the above use!

April 7, 2018
Language Skills
Bulgarian, English, German, Japanese, Russian
Learning Language
English, Japanese