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Hiragana, the Basics of Japanese [Kindle Edition]

Clay Boutwell , Yumi Boutwell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $4.99
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Book Description

Many teachers recommend learning hiragana as a first step toward Japanese proficiency.

This book was designed by the people at to help beginners quickly master hiragana. Helpful mnemonics and illustrations make learning the characters quick and painless. You can learn hiragana in less than two weeks using this book if you just set aside a few minutes a day to study.

★ Helpful Mnemonics
★ Fully Illustrated
★ Covers all forty-six main characters plus all the variations
★ History and helpful hints throughout
★ Contact the authors with any questions as you study (direct email addresses found in the book)

★★ PLUS! ★★
Download nearly TWO HUNDRED sound files free of charge to hear not only the correct pronunciation of each character, but also of each example word and sentence found in the book. The link to download is found on the last page of the ebook.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2532 KB
  • Print Length: 98 pages
  • Publisher: Kotoba, Inc; 1.2 edition (August 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,350 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent primer for a beginner August 11, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
As someone who has purchased intermediate and advanced merchandise from the Japan Shop years ago, I didn't mind downloading this product for a couple of friends who are struggling with Japanese. The Hiragana e-book is well thought out and prepared. The text is laid out in a format that makes it uncluttered and simple to read. Whenever we remember anything, what remains with us are memories that have been linked to an event. This is called mnemonics, associating a mental image or related memory aid to what we desire to store in our brain banks. This correlation is performed every day. A certain aroma reminds us of a previous event in our lives. Seeing a landscape brings us back to a memory. Same kind of recall happens here. Each hiragana character is linked to an image or thought. The Heisig method of learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji works on the same principal. What works best are images or relations to the characters that mean something to you. Each individual is different in their one to one equality of memory aids to characters.

Each character in the e-book is accompanied with a stroke direction in writing, and a pronunciation aid. They also contain pictures to associate with the particular hiragana character. Words formed in hiragana are added in the text to reinforce your reading and comprehension capabilities, as you have the opportunity to structure vocabulary as you move through the e-book. Other question and answer quizzes support your absorption and retention of the hiragana. Near the end of the e-book are challenges, such as shiritori and kaibun, two popular games that reinforce your vocabulary and powers of thinking and retention. Finally, the e-book has a hiragana chart for you to use as a reference guide and study aid.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource August 11, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
This little e-book is great for beginners. It is clear, concise, and spare. Only one quibble--I would prefer the kana chart to be horizontal, right to left instead of vertical and left to right. It would just make the transition to other textbooks a bit easier.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really well explained July 17, 2013
By jocelin
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed it very much, it teaches you how to write hiragana correctly and also some vocabulary, fulfill its purposes
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! April 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent book. I bought it Tuesday and was able to read and write hiragana fully by Friday afternoon. I was able to read japanese children's books by Thursday! Now translating...that's a whole different matter ;)

If you do exactly as the book says (practice writing the symbols, do only a little each day, and use the mnemonic hints) it'll stick and you'll be done in no time.

I must stress practicing writing the symbols though. I filled about 15 lined pages practicing the symbols and answering the questions in the book.
I would do an entire line of one symbol as I said the mnemonic over and over to myself. I have at least one full sheet per chapter.

I would also test myself multiple times a day writing all of the "alphabet" I had learned up to that point.

But hey whatever works for you. Just get this book and you'll be reading hiragana in no time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nifty little book March 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This compact book is an excellent resource for beginning Japanese students to learn Hiragana. Each character is described and accompanied by useful mnemonic devices to help memorization. Quizzes and crossword "challenges" are liberally used to further enhance the learning process. Maybe most importantly, prospective learners may want to opt for the print version versus the Kindle as the book provides ample space for writing out the characters, which has been proven to greatly enhance the memorization process. There is also a link at the end for readers to download the sounds of the characters. Yet another high quality product from The Japan Shop!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Symbols not showing (Update) March 14, 2013
By kimmie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this long with 2 other digital books. In this one, a lot of the symbols show up as squares. The only thing I can see are the images that show the stroke order. But all the Japanese words are squares.. so I can't even learn them -__- I want my money back. Only one of the books I bought worked on my tablet.

Update: After leaving my review I was contacted by the seller. They were really friendly and tried to help me. Unfortunately, I have an older tablet that doesn't support the files. However, They sent me a PDF file of the book I bought. I am happy now because I can read this book as a PDF file on my tablet. Not only that, they offered me extra tools they sell at their store for free.

I give it 5 stars not only because this book is a very helpful tool for learning Japanese, but for their excellent customer service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, Clear, Effective. October 16, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful starting point for anyone thinking of learning the Japanese language. It takes you through each character, showing you how to pronounce it, write it, and remember it. The hardest part about learning hiragana for me was remembering what each character looked like. The author provides useful, simple, and sometimes silly ways to strengthen the connections in your brain. Five stars!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to start in Japanese August 19, 2010
By Brandon
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a great way to start learning Japanese. If you have a Kindle and are interested in learning Japanese, then this is the book for you. It gives you essential information on learning Hiragana and is a great start for any student. I would recommend this to anyone that wants to learn this langauge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly good
I found the book to be helpful. The appendices should have been chapters. Far too much info in a few boxes. The end felt lazy and rushed. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jeremy Lopez
5.0 out of 5 stars Love It
I've bought the paperback (book) at the end of March this year, 2013. For the half year I've spent with it I've learned 20 different Hirgana characters and dozens of words. Read more
Published 14 months ago by The Legendary BF
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful
It gives you a very clear understanding of how to say the symbols and what they're used for.
It also helps you remember them fast!
Published 15 months ago by BluNight
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for practice.
My son has become very interested in learning Japanese and this helped him increase his interest- without making it feel too much like "work". Read more
Published 20 months ago by Julie Patrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped
The book looks good on Kindle for iPad, no worries there.
It helped me learn Hiragana; memory aids are good, includes stroke order and exercises. Read more
Published on August 13, 2012 by Cireasa
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book Maybe not right for the Kindle 20120807
Three or Five stars? Maybe the material is not right for the Kindle? It is useable; however, it is not really comfortable in the delivered format for me. Read more
Published on August 7, 2012 by ErSing
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for a complete beginner!
When I bought this book I had just started learning the Japanese language. This is actually the first resource I bought, and boy does it help! Read more
Published on February 18, 2012 by Josh F
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More About the Author

Clay Boutwell and his wife Yumi are the authors of several top ten books on learning Japanese, including: Hiragana, the Basics of Japanese, and Hikoichi, the first in their Japanese Reader Collection series. They currently have seventeen titles and are slowly adding more readers and study guides as ebooks and paperbacks.

Their company also produces software for mobile devices (iPhone, Windows 8, and Android) as well as downloadable readers and lessons for PCs and Macs.

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