Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on how Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824831653
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Language: Japanese
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 460
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    The most effective method to memorize Kanji I have encountered

    For the past 10 years or so, I have struggled to learn, and am still struggling to learn the Japanese language. I have pursued this interest both on my own and in an academic setting, including language classes at a Japanese University. Professor Heisig's method is by far the easiest and quickest approach to Kanji I have ever encountered (and my lack of facility with Kanji has ensured that I've encountered quite a few).

    The book's strategy seems almost whimsical when it is first encountered, certainly I found it so when I first began reading. Basically, Heisig has gone through all of the Joyo Kanji and broken them down into a list of repeated elements. These elements, which differ from actual Kanji radicals, are then assigned a meaning (which may or may not be related to the radical's, if it happens to be one, meaning). Finally, for each Kanji a story is constructed which relates the meaning of each element, the relative position of these elements in the Kanji, and a meaning to associate with the Kanji. This story is then used to formulate a mental image which aids in remembering the Kanji. It's much easier to do than it likely sounds here, taking roughly 1 - 5 minutes per Kanji.

    Like I said, whimsical. However, I can not argue with results. I have made greater strides in my study of Kanji with this book than I did in 4 years of college Japanese class.

    However, I think that the book speaks best for itself which is why I direct undecided buyers to the Nanzan University page dealing with this book. There is a sample pdf there containing the first few chapters which should help make up your mind. Additionally, the undecided may find it instructive to research a website by the name of Reviewing the Kanji, a free unofficial companion to book which incorporates its material into a tiered flashcard system.

    All of that said, the book and indeed the method are not perfect. Heisig's system concerns itself with memorizing only the writings for each Kanji. Pronunciation and meanings are left out, though I believe they are touched on in Volume 2 of Remembering the Kanji. That being the case, Heisig's system requires a large initial investment of time to memorize the writings of Kanji that will still be largely indecipherable at the journey's completion. In the end, you're only making another very challenging task less difficult, as you'll already have eliminated the writing.

    To summarize then, I will say that I deeply regret not having found this book sooner. I believe it would have been invaluable to possess it before embarking on any serious study of the Japanese language. Heisig's system may not be perfect, but it is genuinely useful in easing the onerous chore of memorizing Kanji.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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