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Basic Kanji Book, Vol. 1 4th Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-4893580917
ISBN-10: 4893580914
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Bonjinsha; 4th edition (1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4893580914
  • ISBN-13: 978-4893580917
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Denslow on July 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have been studying Japanese concurrent with Korean for the past few years. I picked up this book while I was in Japan because I wanted to learn all the Kanji that native Japanese speakers use in their writing. The book is perfect. There are exercises throughout each chapter that force you to use each character in context. Halfway through the book you find yourself reading a simple letter with quite a bit of Kanji in it. Do yourself a favor and at least learn Hiragana before you attempt to learn Kanji. It's also informative to know that the 1st volume teaches about 72 of the 80 characters that are testable when taking level 4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent Kanji book! After trying several other Kanji learning books, this one stands out as the best by far! The book is organized exteremely well into sections and lessons. For every lesson there are about 10 different Kanji that you learn and each lesson has some kind of a theme to it. For example, one lesson may cover only numbers, another lesson will cover only animals, etc. There are also exercises at the end of each lesson so you can practice what you just learned. If I had to name one downside to this book, it would be that the answers to the exercises are not listed in the back of the book as they are in many practice books. But overall, I can't say enough good things about this book. It has helped me with my Kanji tremendously!
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Format: Paperback
You would be hard pressed to find a better beginning kanji book than "Basic Kanji Book Vol. 1." The combination of logical progression, constant reinforcement through exercises and activity, as well as a stern instance on using only hiragana and learned kanji makes for a powerful study tool.

The first in a series, it takes you through 500 kanji giving you a solid basis in the written Japanese language. Instead of selecting the kanji based on Japanese school levels, or other arbitrary standards, they are selected by pure usefulness in written and spoken Japanese. The kanji are grouped by sections such as "kanji made from pictures" or "kanji for time," with 12 kanji in each grouping. Each section is laid out with writing practice, followed by review and reading comprehension practice.

There are no gimmicks or fancy short cuts in "Basic Kanji Book Vol. 1." Just straight-forward, old-fashioned learning by use. The constant reinforcement in each chapter is really the strong point, as each exercise compounds on previous chapters, allowing for true learning rather than just quick memorization.

Before you tackle this book, you need to have a good grasp of hiragana and some katakana. Like all good Japanese study texts, "Basic Kanji Book Vol. 1" makes no use of romaji so you learn the language directly from the language. It can be a bit hard at first, but if you persevere you will be well beyond the level of learners who stuck to their training wheels.
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Format: Paperback
This is the kanji textbook series we use in my university courses. The first semester we didn't study Kanji at all, then the next year-and-a-half we studied out of this book.

This book is also good for anybody who wants to learn independently. If you at least know how to read Hiragana and Katakana, you won't have any trouble at all learning the Kanji. Just be sure to pay special attention to the instructions on stroke technique in Lesson 1 if you want to REALLY learn the right way to write Kanji.

Additional tools in the book are:
* An insert listing of all the taught Kanji by lesson
* An index listing Vol. 1's Kanji by readings (Vol. 2's index includings readings from both books)

For each lesson, I usually spend about an hour practicing writing the Kanji and their examples, then it takes me a little over an hour to do the exercises. (Most students choose to photocopy the work pages or else just rip them out of the book and turn those in, but I write out the questions & answers--which I can fit on a single sheet of paper--because I like the extra practice.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could see how this book could be used in a course if the teacher can review and correct your answers. It contains a variety of exercises which, while they don't really amount to much, could give teachers the impression that their students are doing something useful and making progress.
But since there’s no answer key, it’s not really appropriate for independent study.

The book makes a half-hearted attempt to systematize kanji study. While it's better than studying kanji at random, it is far from an adequate system. They picked out 500 kanji that fit certain objectives they had, which they describe on pages IX and X. But from a user perspective, you don't learn the kanji in a logical order. Of course you don't realize this until you've already gotten well into the book. I would say the book does not succeed at making an efficient way to study kanji. The book is good for an overview about kanji, but there are many resources for that, starting with Wikipedia.

Much of the book is blank squares for writing the kanji, like any cheap block pad you can get in a stationery store. I would prefer to have a smaller, cheaper book and then practice writing on cheap note paper that I can throw away. If they hadn’t used so much space for the blank squares, they could have included more kanji. As it is the book covers less than a quarter of the joyo kanji.
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