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A guide to remembering Japanese characters [Unknown Binding]

Kenneth G Henshall
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Out of Print--Limited Availability.

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Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Unknown Binding: 675 pages
  • Publisher: C.E. Tuttle (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00072YIQ8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Anyone attempting to learn the Japanese language quickly realizes that Kanji is the most difficult of the three
Japanese alphabets to learn. Each kanji can have anywhere from 1 to 42(or so) strokes involved in writing it, and
plain memorization is a Herculean task. Kenneth Henshall, however, has provided the divertable rivers with this
book. Each of the 2000 standard Kanji that the Japanese have learned by the time they've finished school is
indexed by the year it's learned, and each listing has the KUN and 'on' readings listed--just as in a Kanji
Dictionary.. ..the difference is, Kenneth has researched each Kanji's origin as a picture or diagrammed idea, and
explained the reason for the changes from that form under each Kanji. He has also included Mnemonic devices
after each explanation of the origin of the Kanji, to help you remember what the Kanji is drawn like, why, and what
each means.. I have found this book immensely helpful. As a straightforward Kanji Dictionary, it's only so-so,
because it's not organized by stroke order or some similar method.. --but, knowing the reason for each line in a
Kanji helps me to draw them correctly when I need to, interpret them correctly when I see them, and not
accidentally add an extra piece to a Kanji that doesn't belong there. The Mnemonic devices weren't as helpful, to
me--but they may help some.. --all in all, I found this book necessary in order to have any chance at all at
remembering Kanji, and despite it's less than optimum potential as a Kanji Dictionary, it works well enough that I
don't have to buying one until I can afford it. Kanji are facinating, and I've caught myself reading this book when
I should be studying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After looking at other Kanji Dictionaries..... July 24, 1996
By A Customer
After looking at other Kanji Dictionaries, I take it back. There's nothing wrong with this book's index system. It lacks an index of english meanings to Kanji, but the rest do too. You won't need a seperate Kanji Dictionary if you own this
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for use. October 11, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted to put all the kanji on my wall for studying. I tried transcribing/scanning the book but it was going to use too much ink. I thought about writing them out by hand but that would have been a drag. So what I did was get an extra copy of this book/dictionary and rip the pages out (one copy for odd pages and one for even). So instead of using 3 ink cartridges and lots of paper, I got a couple books at $7 each.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fun way to study kanji June 11, 2007
This book has been an amazing resource for me throughout my study of the Japanese language. More than any other this book has inspired me to develop my kanji proficiency.

(See the image of the back cover of the first edition for a reproduction of what the pages look like.)

I love the whole idea of the book. It is because books like this can be written that I became so infatuated with the Japanese language. Obviously it is a book that could only be written for an ideograph-based language, and that's what makes it so interesting. You can simply flip through the book and you are reviewing kanji, just as if you were using flash cards. There are also three example vocabulary words given for each character. So you can use the book to learn the characters and also to add to your vocabulary.

I wrote my own mnemonics in the book as I found many of his to be unhelpful, but I think that is always the way it works with mnemonics--the ones you develop yourself are always more effective.

One of the problems with the way the mnemonics work is that the examples given often "go in the wrong direction". For me, my problem with kanji almost always stems from trying to decipher a character I am trying to read. So I want to get from the pattern of the character to the meaning. I seldom write kanji, so it is less helpful to go from the meaning to the pattern of the character, but the mnemonics are mixed up so they often go both ways.

In general, the book is not great for studying vocabulary words. More helpful for vocabulary for me has been simply studying the definitions given in a somewhat basic middle schoolers' Japanese-Japanese dictionary.

So bottom line: This book offers the best way to study kanji.
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