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Pondering about Kanji study methods

June 23, 2011

Quite glad I managed to pass this year’s final exams of Japanese class, after summer will embark in the sixth year of the breakthrough/waystage Japanese language course have been following.

Alas, these last finals confirmed my primary weaknesses concerning Japanese, reading and Kanji (漢字) knowledge, alas remain. Before the next semester kicks off in a few months, want to work on my Japanese reading and Kanji skills.


Art by Matsuryu (松竜, Pixiv).

Plan to improve reading skills by purchasing more original Japanese language manga as well as try a few Japanese games, hope to combine fun entertainment with learning. However, am not too sure which methods would be best to improve my knowledge of and master more Kanji.

Some have suggested using flashcards from White Rabbit Press, using online flashcards like Speedanki or making my own flashcards. Wonder if flashcards are really a suitable method for me as I tend to remember Kanji better once can fluently write them.

Others have suggested the more plain yet classic method of simple repetition, write, revise and use the studied kanji often, if not daily.


Art by Kurashima Tomoyasu (aka Mappirakku, まっぴーらっく).

Considering have most experience by studying them through writing, looked into study aids for the Nintendo DSi like “Kanji Test for 2.5 millions” (250万人の漢検), “Kanji Dictionary” (漢字そのままDS楽引辞典) which seem recommend.

Could also splurge on getting an interactive game like “Love Plus” which sounds like it features a lot of daily conversations. Unfortunately would have to invest in acquiring a Nintendo DSi as I currently do not own one which makes this option a more costly one.

Would love to hear what methods any of you have used or are using to study kanji, or any other tips you may have.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2011 10:21 pm

    I recently started using Anki to study them on the computer. ( ) It’s a free flash card program with a significant user base. There’s already shared decks with Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana. And if you don’t like those decks you could just make your own.

  2. solwyvern permalink
    June 24, 2011 10:27 am

    I use Anki as well… almost 6 months now after moving from which is now a paid service known as iKnow. Anki is really good replacement, since the old decks are readily available for download.

    I took jlpt 4級 last December and now I’m planning to take jlpt 2級this year.(skipping 3級).
    I write down Kanji as well, but make sure to stop once you’re sure that you can write it from memory and keep learning as it’s easy to fall in to limbo.

    I’ve also been getting in to playing some visual novels, quite shocked to see how intriguing some of them are in terms of story and characters. Would love to try Love Plus if I owned a DS.

  3. June 24, 2011 3:21 pm

    @solwyvern Visual Novels are the main reason I’m even trying to teach myself to read Japanese. The stories are so much better then most of the games that come out stateside but finding translation for some of the ones I want is impossible.

  4. June 24, 2011 8:09 pm

    @JL Coburn & @solwyvern
    If you both recommend Anki then I’ll definitely check it out.
    Tried to play a visual novel a long time ago (Inakoi I think) but my Japanese was still far too limited to understand enough to enjoy it.
    Want to learn Kanji but also combine it with something fun to keep motivation going yet not overly invest into something that’ll be lying around after a while which could risk happen with a DSi.

  5. June 25, 2011 8:44 pm

    Try subscribing your rss reader to some Japanese learning forums(like koohii or Tae Kim’s). I’ve learned a lot this way from reading other peoples questions regarding the language.

    Also, rather than flashcards from WhiteRabbit, I recommend their Kanji poster. I have one stuck to a wall in my room where I see it everyday before sleeping and waking up. I’m looking at it now, and really surprised at the progress I made in the past year.

    You could probably read Inakoi now if you use a tool like Chiitrans. (It’s practically rikaichan for visual novels.)

    @JL Coburn
    I’ve read a few english visual novels before, but alot of things get lost in translation and you don’t get to enjoy it as much. Some novels are so good they get your heart racing, while others so bad that you’d like to throw it out the window. haha

  6. June 30, 2011 8:49 am

    Good job passing your Japanese exam. ^ ^ I can’t offer much advice on how to study kanji, but good luck with your studying!

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