How to Study Japanese Kanji Easy

How to Study Japanese Kanji Easy

Studying Japanese and then kanji can seem like a daunting task without knowing what to do. After building a solid foundation, studying, learning, and remembering kanji will be a breeze.

Part 1 of 4:
Preparing

Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 1
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Get equipped with study materials. Before you start studying, make sure you have the right tools to study kanji efficiently and effectively. The physical tools you might need are simple but essential, and will include at least: Writing utensil Notebook Index cards
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 2
2
Download useful mobile apps. There are many useful apps available apps for both iOS and Android which make studying kanji a lot more convenient, especially a dictionary app. Recommended and helpful Japanese apps include: Free imiwa? - Dictionary app - iOS tangorin - Dictionary app - Android Kanji Recognizer - Simple kanji recognizer app - Android Google Translate - Translator app - iOS/Android Anki - Flashcard app with online database of existing flashcards sets - iOS/Android Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese - No-frills Japanese language textbook and resource - iOS/Android Paid Midori - Dictionary app with handwriting kanji feature - iOS Skritter - Kanji learning and practice app - iOS/Android
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Part 2 of 4:
Understanding Kanji

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Understand how kanji works. Japanese kanji were first adopted over a thousand years ago from Chinese characters for use with the Japanese language. [1] X Research source Since then, two simplified writing systems, hiragana and katana, have descended from Chinese characters. However, kanji is used with them in conjunction. Nouns and stems of adjectives and verbs are written with kanji, and there is often more than one reading of the same character.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 4
2
Learn Kanji by the radical. Each character can be broken up into a set of radicals which are basically simpler, smaller characters. [2] X Research source The radicals are simplified from standalone characters, so sometimes you may have already learned some of the radicals. Each radical has its own meaning. These make complicated looking kanji easier to digest in simpler chunks.
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Part 3 of 4:
Studying Kanji

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1
Tell a story with the radicals. An effective strategy in studying is "telling a story" with the radicals, or coming up with a logical story between the radicals that creates the meaning of the whole kanji. For example, the character above 男 (male), is made up of 田 (rice paddy) and 力 (power). An example story: a powerful male worker works in the rice paddy. Mnemonics with kanji readings are also helpful.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 6
2
Practice writing kanji in a notebook. Repeating the character over and over again feels repetitive, but will build muscle memory and comfort writing kanji in general. Many kanji share radicals, so practicing one kanji can help you write other kanji.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 7
3
Make flashcards and use them often. The cheapest, quickest way to review kanji is with flashcards. A common way is to have the kanji on one side, and meaning and reading on the back. Study often instead of longer. Your brain benefits more from reviewing a little each day instead of marathon sessions. Study kanji you aren't familiar with more often, but also studying familiar ones every once and awhile -- this is part of the proven spaced repetition system.[3] X Research source
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4
Consider making a study group. Find others also learning kanji to offer you tips and tricks for remembering them. Also, you can hold each other accountable while you study.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 9
5
Memorize it for good! Make sure to keep up your studies to put the kanji in your long term memory.
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Part 4 of 4:
Supplementing and Retaining

Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 10
1
Consider getting a textbook or other learning resource. These can offer guided kanji practice and learning that go along with relevant vocabulary and grammar. Putting kanji into practice is an excellent way to remember them, so working through a textbook can be very helpful. Popular textbooks include: Genki I&II - Beginner An Integrate Approach to Intermediate Japanese - Intermediate The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Course: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering 2300 Characters - Kanji focused textbook, but contains useful help and essential vocabulary lists WaniKani - online Kanji course/game that takes uses a spaced repetition system to teach 2000+ kanji from a base knowledge of zero (paid subscription)
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 11
2
Read Japanese text for real-world practice. This makes studying seem less like studying and is a more natural absorption of kanji. Start with Japanese children's books (that usually have furigana), and eventually work your way up to something more challenging like a newspaper or website. Anything that gets you using kanji will help!
Advertisement

Part 1 of 4:
Preparing

Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 1
1
Get equipped with study materials. Before you start studying, make sure you have the right tools to study kanji efficiently and effectively. The physical tools you might need are simple but essential, and will include at least: Writing utensil Notebook Index cards
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 2
2
Download useful mobile apps. There are many useful apps available apps for both iOS and Android which make studying kanji a lot more convenient, especially a dictionary app. Recommended and helpful Japanese apps include: Free imiwa? - Dictionary app - iOS tangorin - Dictionary app - Android Kanji Recognizer - Simple kanji recognizer app - Android Google Translate - Translator app - iOS/Android Anki - Flashcard app with online database of existing flashcards sets - iOS/Android Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese - No-frills Japanese language textbook and resource - iOS/Android Paid Midori - Dictionary app with handwriting kanji feature - iOS Skritter - Kanji learning and practice app - iOS/Android
Advertisement

Part 2 of 4:
Understanding Kanji

Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 3
1
Understand how kanji works. Japanese kanji were first adopted over a thousand years ago from Chinese characters for use with the Japanese language. [1] X Research source Since then, two simplified writing systems, hiragana and katana, have descended from Chinese characters. However, kanji is used with them in conjunction. Nouns and stems of adjectives and verbs are written with kanji, and there is often more than one reading of the same character.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 4
2
Learn Kanji by the radical. Each character can be broken up into a set of radicals which are basically simpler, smaller characters. [2] X Research source The radicals are simplified from standalone characters, so sometimes you may have already learned some of the radicals. Each radical has its own meaning. These make complicated looking kanji easier to digest in simpler chunks.
Advertisement

Part 3 of 4:
Studying Kanji

Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 5
1
Tell a story with the radicals. An effective strategy in studying is "telling a story" with the radicals, or coming up with a logical story between the radicals that creates the meaning of the whole kanji. For example, the character above 男 (male), is made up of 田 (rice paddy) and 力 (power). An example story: a powerful male worker works in the rice paddy. Mnemonics with kanji readings are also helpful.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 6
2
Practice writing kanji in a notebook. Repeating the character over and over again feels repetitive, but will build muscle memory and comfort writing kanji in general. Many kanji share radicals, so practicing one kanji can help you write other kanji.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 7
3
Make flashcards and use them often. The cheapest, quickest way to review kanji is with flashcards. A common way is to have the kanji on one side, and meaning and reading on the back. Study often instead of longer. Your brain benefits more from reviewing a little each day instead of marathon sessions. Study kanji you aren't familiar with more often, but also studying familiar ones every once and awhile -- this is part of the proven spaced repetition system.[3] X Research source
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 8
4
Consider making a study group. Find others also learning kanji to offer you tips and tricks for remembering them. Also, you can hold each other accountable while you study.
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 9
5
Memorize it for good! Make sure to keep up your studies to put the kanji in your long term memory.
Advertisement

Part 4 of 4:
Supplementing and Retaining

Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 10
1
Consider getting a textbook or other learning resource. These can offer guided kanji practice and learning that go along with relevant vocabulary and grammar. Putting kanji into practice is an excellent way to remember them, so working through a textbook can be very helpful. Popular textbooks include: Genki I&II - Beginner An Integrate Approach to Intermediate Japanese - Intermediate The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Course: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering 2300 Characters - Kanji focused textbook, but contains useful help and essential vocabulary lists WaniKani - online Kanji course/game that takes uses a spaced repetition system to teach 2000+ kanji from a base knowledge of zero (paid subscription)
Image titled Study Japanese Kanji Easy Step 11
2
Read Japanese text for real-world practice. This makes studying seem less like studying and is a more natural absorption of kanji. Start with Japanese children's books (that usually have furigana), and eventually work your way up to something more challenging like a newspaper or website. Anything that gets you using kanji will help!
Advertisement