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Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters Paperback – April 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0824835927 ISBN-10: 0824835921 Edition: 6th

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

  • Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Hawaii Pr; 6 edition (April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824835921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824835927
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,523 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

Just as the title says, this book is all about remembering the damn kanji.
Mr. Mackerel
Remembering the Kanji breaks down 2000 or so of the most common kanji and teaches you how to remember them and write them.
Me
It teaches you kanji in a simple and fast way, but it does require some hard work to actually remember them a week later.
Jennifer Rönnblad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Me on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Remembering the Kanji is not a grammar book, it will not teach you how to actually read the kanji, nor will it teach you more than one meaning (called a "keyword" in the book). Despite that, what this book does teach you is incredibly invaluable. Remembering the Kanji breaks down 2000 or so of the most common kanji and teaches you how to remember them and write them. You won't need to write kanji over and over again in order to learn them. Not only that, but even after finishing the book the method used in it remains useful whenever you encounter new kanji.

I consider reading this book one of the best choices I've made in learning Japanese, and I think it is the best way to start learning kanji, or reinforce them if you already know some. Also, I highly recommend that if you buy this book you take a look at a website called "reviewing the kanji" an unofficial, though recognized by the author, companion website that provides invaluable help and support when going through the book.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Adversity on May 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have purchased this book a few months ago at the insistance of my brother to learn Japanese with him. The japanese culture has always fascinated me and I have always wanted to learn the language. However, a huge mass of people I know in person and through the internet have labeled japanese as a hard language to grasp, especially the kanji. If you are having trouble learning the language or you want to know where to start, then start with this book.

It had only taken me 11 chapters to notice that this was the best way to learn kanji and start the japanese language. This book when used in junction with the website and the flash card system, makes learning kanji not only easy... but fun. Its a simple idea where you use your imagination and combine kanji to make new kanji. There are about 2200 kanji in the book, but if you dedicate your time to it, it won't even take 3 months to learn the kanji and 6 months to have them fully memorized to recall.

When I say its easy, understand that it will take a little effort. You will have to study a bit and dedicate a lot of time to it. You are learning the meanings of the kanji and how to write them. You do not have to worry about gramnar or pronunciation yet. If you are wondering 'Why Buy This?', the answer is simple. It gets you over the huge and widely believed hugest hurdle of the japanese language. Start here and whevever you go from there is up to your own judgement. It is not an extremely easy process. It is however, not stressful or tedious at all. This is a 5 star product that everyone wishing to learn japanese should own. Whether for beginners or just for refrence, it is s must have in my opionion.

-Adversity
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Sitting in Seattle TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
[I'm reposting this review from the previous version, as it keeps being republished for good reason. The review still applies.]

I've been using Heisig's book for about 7 weeks, and have "learned" 310 kanji during that time. I wanted to share some of my experiences and thoughts to add to the other thoughtful reviews.

First, by way of background, I experienced the "traditional" method of learning kanji when I studied Chinese a number of years ago. As Heisig notes in his introduction, that method involves learning characters in order according to how fundamental they are in language, and one learns the written character, pronunciation, grammatical details, and so forth simultaneously. The characters are learned purely by rote, and the pictorial aspects are not tied to anything systematic. My experience agreed with Heisig's notes: with nothing to anchor one's memory, it is nearly impossible to remember how to write the characters. I spent many hours a day practicing the characters to little avail and much frustration, and ultimately abandoned learning Chinese because I could not find the time to persist in that method.

When I decided to learn Japanese, the fear of chinese characters returned. How could I learn kanji when Chinese characters were an insurmountable obstacle in the past? Luckily, Heisig's book has been part of the answer. The key is that, instead of merely learning random markings, he lays out a system in which one uses imaginative associations. And, yes, it really works (at least for me). It is not difficult to "learn" 20-30 kanji per day, given an available hour or two of time.

Now, a few things have to be said. First, in his system, to "learn" a kanji means simply to learn two things: (1) how to write it; (2) a single key meaning.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Smith on September 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is THE way to learn kanji. Forget trying to learn like the Japanese learn. They learn by brute force over a period of roughly a decade and a half. With this method, you will learn to write the kanji and understand their basic meaning - and learn it within a month or two. After that, learning the readings gets significantly easier.

Not only that, but Japanese starts to make sense once you can leverage Kanji. That "word" that seems to mean 20 different things suddenly becomes 20 different words. After even just halfway through this book, I started correcting Japanese friends when they used the wrong Kanji, or used kana because the kanji had slipped their mind.

Start here... then move on to a textbook that (1) has NO romaji (2) uses kanji with furigana.

Best of luck to you!
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