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Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters [Paperback]

by James W. Heisig
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2011 0824835921 978-0824835927 6
Book annotation not available for this title.
Title: Remembering the Kanji
Author: Heisig, James W.
Publisher: Univ of Hawaii Pr
Publication Date: 2011/04/01
Number of Pages: 484
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress: 2010049981

Frequently Bought Together

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)
Price for all three: $75.27

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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 (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,221 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
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent place to start November 11, 2011
By Me
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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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Where You Start. 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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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is ABSOLUTELY the best way to LEARN kanji 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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great system, but depends on what you want to learn 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful reference
The Heisig approach works very well because, even though he just attaches made up meanings to the different elements that compose each Kanji, all of those imaginative stories... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Jace
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a great book
The book is not perfect, nothing is. But within 2 days of using this I've learned over 200 kanji (meanings only, the pronunciations are in the second book) and after 6 weeks I've... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Monte Dunson
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...
I am surprised, astounded. This book came highly recommended by a friend of mine. I am most definitely NOT disappointed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jennifer K. Ensley
4.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable resource
This book has been extremely helpful to me in learning kanji, but I advise that you also repetitively write the kanji character when you're first learning it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Works as promised
I was planning to wait until I comleted the course, but I'm a month in and making good progress. My goal was to complete the book in three months, but realistically, it will be... Read more
Published 3 months ago by ccerose
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource
This is a great, fairly inexpensive resource for someone who wants to learn kanji. The author's method of associating a story/image with the kanji may not work for everyone, but... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jen
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Organization!
My teacher recommended this as a supplement to the textbook we use in class and it is wonderful. The organization is easy to follow, it addresses the radicals and it provides easy... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars USELESS without the kunyomi and onyomi
uhhhh.... I only did the "look inside" of this book, what is the point of a kanji book that doesnt give you the Japanese kunyomi and onyomi?! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kristy Mercurio
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent delivery
great delivery speed, product was in excellent condition. the book is just as helpful as the reviews suggested. i couldnt have been happier with the purchase.
Published 5 months ago by Derek Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Overly Complicated at times.
I thought some of the ways to memorize the kanji more complicated then actually memorizing it stroke by stroke. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Anna
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