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Best ways to learn kanji?

What are some good ways to remember:

1. Stroke order of kanji 

2. Kunyomi and onyomi reading of kanji

3. Meaning of kanji 

I, like many others I'm sure, have problems with remembering how to write kanji. With all the devices available these days I've never really had enough practice. I also get a bit confused with the different readings, sometimes I remember the wrong reading or just forget that the kanji had more than one reading. And the meaning people say to make up stories for what the kanji looks like. Maybe I'm not that creative or maybe that style of learning just doesn't work for me. Are there any faster, more efficient ways of learning kanji?

Dec 18, 2014 5:36 AM
Comments · 9

The stories don't have to be...elaborate. I like ones that make more sense anyway. For example 仙 means hermit. The left side means person, and the right is a mountain. So someone who lives in a mountain - a hermit. Or 証, the left means speak, and right means correct, so I think something like "spoken truth", and the meaning is proof, or evidence. 


You don't have to use real meanings, you can make up your own but they don't have to be super creative. For example, 敏 the left technically means every, but looks similar to mother so I think of it as women, and the right has no meaning that I'm aware of but I think of it as many. So when I see this I think "many women are...clever", the meaning of the kanji is clever. 


Of course, some kanji are just strange and don't lend themselves well to that kind of reasoning. You'll probably just have to memorize them.


I personally am not a big fan of studying readings separately, I think it's more productive to learn words with their kanji and start to get a feel for what kanji have what readings. Since you'd pretty much always be guessing about what reading is being used anyway. Some people don't even learn meaning outside of words. They just learn new words, and don't study kanji separately at all (I honestly think this is the most common method) Also, stroke order isn't too huge a deal either. With all the devices like you said, these days writing kanji is just not necessary. Most Japanese people forget how to write kanji these days too. If it's something you want to learn (or need to if you're taking a class) go for it, but being able to actually write them isn't the most important thing.


Other than that, flashcards. Lots and lots of flashcards. 

December 18, 2014

Thanks for the reply Aristide san. I do know the kana for the kanji that I need to learn (笑) I thought that was quite obvious that you need to know the word before learning the kanji. Yes the radicals I've been studying as well but maybe I should look into some more. Thank you for the advice! かんしゃしています

January 5, 2015

Few radical examples: 誕、語、話。

January 5, 2015

And the more you write/study kanji the easier it'll become. Almost all kanji will have a radical similar like or are like the ones in another kanji such like 可 and 椅. As you can see, the kanji 可 as in 可愛い(kawaii) "cute" is also seen in 椅 (isu)"chair". This will make it easier to remember parts of a/an kanji so next time you encounter a different kanji, you'll most likely be able to recognize it and maybe, will be able to write it just by seeing it (But you must learn it properly first). 

January 5, 2015

Sorry for the long reply

January 5, 2015
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Japanese, Korean, Thai
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Korean