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A Guide to Reading and Writing Japanese (English and Japanese Edition) Hardcover – December 15, 1989


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Hardcover, December 15, 1989
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Publishing; Revised edition (December 15, 1989)
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 0804802262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804802260
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,274,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 17, 2003
For what it is, this is a good kanji book. The compact size makes it easy to carry around, and a whole lot of kanji are packed inside. The strokes are easily defined, and the unusual use of pen rather than calligraphy is appreciated.
However, the book has some serious faults. First it is definitely not a "kanji learner." There is no workbook-style layout to trace the kanji stroke by stroke before writing alone. The strokes are outlined, but there is no room for practice. Second, aside from kanji, the book is almost entirely written in romaji, which is no help to learning Japanese and makes for more difficult searching of individual kanji. Third, there is no insight into kanji, no presentation of radicals, or anything to help a learner understand kanji. It presents each kanji as an individual character to be memorized.
I would never recommend this as a sole kanji book, but it serves its purpose for reference and is a good tool overall.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 1999
As a North American professional who lives and works in Japan, my progressing Japanese studies have recently included kanji. While learning these Chinese characters seemed daunting and complex at first, I found this guide incredibly helpful.
The book contains the 881 "essential" kanji designated by the Japanese Ministry of Education, along with the 1,850 characters designated as "standard" for everyday use in the publishing world (this includes the 881 essential kanji). Phonetic writings, definitions and everyday vocabulary are also supplied.
One of the book's most valuable features is that kanji are clearly presented as handwritten, stroke-by-stroke models. This fosters a grasp of kanji construction, while making it easier to identify characters found in books, magazines, newspapers and on printed signs. An added benefit of the handwritten models is that reading personal letters or other correspondence becomes easier.
My only small complaint is with the "romanized" (romaji) readings provided for each kanji. Since I began my studies by learning the two Japanese syllabaries (hiragana and katakana), I always find that reading romaji is distracting and like taking a big step backwards, since it merely serves as a guide to pronunciation.
Overall, I'd enthusiastically recommend this book as an essential reference guide for students of Japanese at any level. Also, if available, consider the paperback version--it's lighter, more compact and easier to flip through quickly.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Esprit on February 12, 2003
I've studied Japanese for about 10 years, with 5 years spent in Japan. This book motivated me to focus on kanji from the beginning so that now I can read Japanese books and newspapers.
This was the first book I ever used for Kanji. Thinking back now to those days in the library poring over it evokes much nostalgia.
Every kanji is written with an ordinary pen, not a brush. Brushstrokes are useless for most of us who write with pens. This one excels in that you can copy the strokes precisely with a pen and with practice have your kanji looking as good as those in the book.
My Japanese professor used to marvel at how beautifully I wrote for every assignment I handed in. I had used this book as a model for every kanji! By copying the beautiful characters in this book over and over, you will form good writing habits.
It is essential that you follow a text such as this one from the beginning so that you know how important stroke order is for memorizing the more complex kanji you'll encounter later on. Once you learn the basic stroke order rules you will find the difficult kanji easy to remember too, as they are usually just an amalgamation of common radicals that you learn writing the easy kanji.
This book is great for beginners who need to learn stroke order and for those who want to write more beautifully. It only contains the Joyo kanji (those taught in Japanese schools). If your remember them all you'll be able to read the kanji in the newspaper.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "silverluz" on November 21, 2001
(My review is about the 1961 revised edition; I don't know if the problems I mentioned have been fixed.) I have used this book, and found it helpful, but it is NOT a guide to reading and writing Japanese. It is best described as a beginner's dictionary to the Toyo kanji (1850 for standard use). That said, it is a reference book, not a primary text, and probably shouldn't be used as such. The first 881 (elementary) characters are given with stroke order, meanings, and 3 example compounds; on and kun readings in Hepburn romanization (which I personally don't like). The remainder of the kanji have neither stroke order or examples. Includes a kana syllabaries, on/kun reading index, and stroke order index, but no meaning index or radical index. Originally written post-war era, and showing its age and lacking some more modern uses. Some kanji missing important readings or meanings (example: kanji for oku-san does not give this reading or meaning of wife, only way I've seen it used). Not a bad book, quite compact, but probably not the best choice; those looking to read actual Japanese texts will quickly become frustrated. It is, however, extensively referenced in other texts from the same era.
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