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Remembering the Kana: A Guide to Reading and Writing the Japanese Syllabaries in 3 Hours Each (part 1) (Japanese Edition) (Japanese) 3 Blg Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0824831646
ISBN-10: 0824831640
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  • Remembering the Kana: A Guide to Reading and Writing the Japanese Syllabaries in 3 Hours Each (part 1) (Japanese Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James W. Heisig, is emeritus professor and research fellow of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, located on the campus of Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan. His books, translations, and edited collections,which have appeared in 12 languages,currently number 78 volumes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Hawaii Pr; 3 Blg edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 0824831640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824831646
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James W. Heisig, is emeritus professor and research fellow of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, located on the campus of Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan. His books, translations, and edited collections,which have appeared in 12 languages,currently number 78 volumes.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I recently purchased Remembering the Kana as an introduction to the written Japanese language, and it has helped me a lot. I am almost done with the book now, and reading hiragana is becoming easier and easier every day. The hiragana lessons are very well done and are easily completed without having to go back and check much. Without much reviewing I believe I can say I remember all the hiragana.

However, the katakana lessons are not very good. It seems like Heisig was writing the book, and as he finished hiragana realised he needed to do the katakana part in half the time. Every new symbol you are introduced to comes with examples using previously learned katakana you have learned so far, but I've experienced on several occasions that the examples include katakana which I've never seen before but then are introduced later in the same lesson. There are also pages without practice lessons, and I'm really confused as it seems one symbol can be used for several things but I already learned this symbol and he never taught me this. Still it pops up in examples.

To be honest the katakana part seems like an afterthought, and not a well done one either.

I would very much recommend the book to anyone just starting out with Japanese, since the hiragana part I would assume as saved me a lot of time with learning these symbols. If you're only looking for an introduction to katakana though, I would honestly keep looking.

Frankly it's quite discouraging now going through the last katakana lessons because the stories are very very far-fetched and uses keywords I've never heard of in English so I have to make up my own, and the missing explanations of things and symbols popping up before I've learnt them makes for a struggling learning experience.
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Format: Paperback
Although this is the only tool I've ever used for learning the kana, it definitely worked as advertised. I generally have a pretty weak memory, but the tricks used in this book allowed me to memorize and learn how to write the kana very quickly. Furthermore, because the book does not rely on simple brute-force memorization, I retained the information much better and was able to revisit it again after almost a year of not seeing it in just a few minutes. Finally, the memory techniques themselves have proved to be a valuable asset when memorizing other things.

Although 15$ may seem like a bit of a steep price for such a small volume, it is well worth the cost.
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Format: Paperback
Okay, so I've been self teaching myself Japanese over the last few years in small doses, mainly because it's difficult to focus on it over an extended period time. Most learning sources I have come across ignore this and just encourage further reading. Here, though, they don't, and it helps you understand the wonderful value of breaks.

I came across this when my friend told me about it after they had been looking for another book I've been using (Genki. Good luck finding it on English websites brand new. eBay tends to have them in sets) and they found this one. So I picked it up and immersed myself in lesson 1 and I haven't turned back.

There are two 3-hour courses, one for hirigana and one for katakana, and each of those courses is split into 30 minute lessons. While you can, obviously, ignore the warnings, it will tell you to take a minimum of a 30 minute break, though in the introduction it suggests doing just two lessons a day and finishing each course in 3 days.

What also makes this book interesting is it's linear yet unlinear design. In the book, the kana is listed in, as the book describes it, dictionary order. However, you do not follow straight through. Instead, it starts you with the last one in the book, N, then takes you back a fair amount to Ku, and so on.

This book not only helped me develop a fine knowledge and understanding of kana, but also simple study skills as a whole. For any struggling student of the language, pick this one up!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author claims you can remember in 3 hours for each. I tried it knowing zero Japanese
and the answer is yes and no. The key is that the character are grouped so that ones with common
characteristics are learned together. i.e. you are learning the characters out of order.
You use some stories about each character to help you remember.
Most of the stories didn't work for me, so I made up my own.

Yes you can learn it in less than 3 hours (non-continuous). But it's at the level of recognizing the letters
of C-A-T and taking 30 seconds to figure out that is it cat. I'll need a lot more time practicing to recognize
group of letters as whole words. One thing I do agree with the author is once you can recognize the kana
characters do not go back using romaji. You'll only get better if you practice reading kana.
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Format: Paperback
I am about 5 lessons in, tomorrow I finish my last one. In the first lesson I used the image the author would put to a hiragana to help you remember it, if it was an easy image to remember, so out of the nine I only put an image to four. Those four I remembered easily and the other five I had to write and read over and over to get; it was exhausting and hard to say the least. So in Lesson 2 I tried something new; instead of not using the imagery provided I made up my own, the author uses the boomerang, and the word 'maypole', these were hard for me to pick up because I couldn't see a boomerang or a 'maypole', also some of the images she gives you are really complicated and long, so I started to make up my own images to go with the hiragana, and in the last three lessons I have memorized the hiragana really fast. So yes this book is good, but if your having a hard time with the images the author tries to put to a hiragana, make your own (example: I thought the boomerang looked more like a fish, so I made up an image that involved a fish).
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Remembering the Kana: A Guide to Reading and Writing the Japanese Syllabaries in 3 Hours Each (part 1) (Japanese Edition)
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