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

by James W. Heisig, Helmut Morsbach, Kazue Kurebayashi
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2007 0824831640 978-0824831646 3 Blg
Following on the phenomenal success of "Remembering the Kanji", the author has prepared a companion volume for learning the Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries of modern Japanese. In six short lessons of about twenty minutes, each of the two systems of "kana" writing are introduced in such a way that the absolute beginner can acquire fluency in writing in a fraction of the time normally devoted to the task. Using the same basic self-taught method devised for learning the kanji, and in collaboration with Helmut Morsbach and Kazue Kurebayashi, the author breaks the shapes of the two syllabaries into their component parts and draws on what he calls "imaginative memory" to aid the student in reassembling them into images that fix the sound of each particular kana to its writing. Now in its third edition, "Remembering the Kana" has helped tens of thousands of students of Japanese master the Hiragana and Katakana in a short amount of time...and have fun in the process.

Frequently Bought Together

Remembering the Kana: A Guide to Reading and Writing the Japanese Syllabaries in 3 Hours Each (part 1) (Japanese Edition) + Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters + Remembering the Kanji 2: A Systematic Guide to Reading Japanese Characters
Price for all three: $75.27

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James W. Heisig is professor and permanent research fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Hawaii Pr; 3 Blg edition (May 2007)
  • Language: Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 0824831640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824831646
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James W. Heisig is professor and permanent research fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Answer For Struggling Learners June 11, 2009
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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hiragana - excellent, Katakana - not so much July 22, 2009
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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works... and works well! October 3, 2007
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worked for me, for the most part October 30, 2011
By jae
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book! March 16, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is exceptional! I thought it was going to be an extremely daunting task, learning all of the kana. But this book breaks it down into easy-to-comprehend lessons and before you know it, you know them like a pro! It only took me a couple of hours to learn all of them, literally.

My advice: if you're learning Japanese and on the fence about this book, don't be. Buy it. It's worth every penny, I promise you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it claims
I was skeptical going in, but the book did what it claims. In less than a week I had the entirety of the hiragana down cold. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Tom Dooley
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book to lay out a system of studying the Kana
Remembering the Kana was great for me because I have no back ground in Japanese. Therefor it gave me a systematic way of studying the Kana. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jophy hey
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn the Kana in a day: A promise this Book fulfills
I love the rest of the Remembering the Kanji series, and the kana installment was no exception. I`ve previously 'memorized' the kana, but I often forgot a few of them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by kathleen
5.0 out of 5 stars Taught me the kana
This is what I used to learn the hiragana and katakana a year ago, and I still remember them all. I definitely recommend Heisig's method of learning. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Roflman12345
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance language native speakers beware
I was already familiar with James Heisig's study strategy in Remembering Traditional Hanzi.

As expected. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Eduardo S. Junior
4.0 out of 5 stars Non-American English Speakers beware
Overall, I like the book and the mnemonics based approach. I was able to learn the Hiragana very fast, in a few hours of total work as suggested by the book's title (but one does... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful
I was able to master kana in just a few weeks. Mr. Heisig underlines a very thorough methodology for learning not only kana, but vocab as well. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Naomi
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say? It works.
Not only will this book help you learn the Japanese syllabaries in a surprisingly short amount of time, but in the process it will also (and perhaps more importantly) give you a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by D. Leon
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful but not essential
The author claims you can remember in 3 hours for each. I tried it knowing zero Japanese
and the answer is yes and no. Read more
Published 11 months ago by W. Lo
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but not really required reading
In this book, James Heisig applies his excellent mnemonic method to the two kana syllabaries. It's a rather quick read, providing a fun way to memorize hiragana and katakana, but... Read more
Published 13 months ago by dsm1980
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