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Remembering the Kanji I: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters Vol. 1 4th Edition (Japanese Edition) (Japanese) Paperback – August 1, 2001


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Remembering the Kanji I: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters Vol. 1 4th Edition (Japanese Edition) + Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Japan Publications Trading Company; 4 edition (August 2001)
  • Language: Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 4889960759
  • ISBN-13: 978-4889960754
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,132 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

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 178 people found the following review helpful By James D. on January 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm 18 years old, and I've graduated slightly earlier due to homeschooling. This evening I finished this book, the first in a series of three books designed to make me literate in the 2,000+ symbols used everyday in Japanese society. After seeing the results of the first book, I truly feel that I am on my way to Japanese literacy.

If you've read one of the many reviews, you probably understand that this book doesn't teach you a single pronunciation of a Japanese character, but rather you tag an English keyword on to all of the Japanese symbols treated in this book, leaving the pronunciation for later.

Why do this? If you aren't noticing quick results in your Japanese abilities, what's the point in learning it? It's true that every single word I've learned will be of no immediate benefit to me if I try to pick up a Japanese newspaper, article, etc. and try to read it. Many have the misconception that in order to "master" the Japanese written language, one must study and "master" the characters individually, and over a period of time, accumulate lots of characters in one's lexicon, therefore allowing the student to read lots of stuff (Makes sense, right?). But our minds don't think like that. (Assuming everybody reading this review is a native to a Roman character based alphabet, or something pretty close to this) We are not used to recognizing little squiggly lines, let alone understanding a concept and multiple pronunciations simply by looking at them. Yet each and every Japanese textbook you'll find on the market supports the idea of mastering each character individually, a method that might seem to be the ONLY method to bring immediate benefits, but requires lots of work and constant drilling of a character.
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92 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Leo Smith on September 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
PROS

· The method Heisig uses, creating and memorizing a cute little story involving the parts of a Kanji, is probably the most efficient out there. Pictographs and rote learning are the other two methods I'm aware of. These will work, but will take much longer. I know of no other book on the market that uses Heisig's method.

· This book, plus vol. 2, is organized for learning all 2000+ basic Kanji as quickly as possible. Other books have you "master" characters in smaller numbers. There are many short cuts that can be made when all 2000+ are handled at once, so if it's your goal to learn all of them, Heisig is more efficient.

For the above reasons, I highly recommend using this book for learning the Kanji, and give Heisig five stars. But the book is far from perfect. I hope the following information will not dissuade you from buying Heisig, but help you use the book.

CONS

· Typos and mistakes are a part of all language books, for some reason. I'm sure I've missed some, but here are a few. Some descriptions contain wrong keywords for primitives (981,1321,1418,1714,1836,1840). Sometimes Heisig creates a new keyword for a kanji when it is used as a primitive, but doesn't tell us (1271,1573,1720). Kanji 1480 has the right description, but is drawn wrong. Kanji 1733 uses primitive "rice" instead of the expected "grains of rice". Kanji 1999 contains a new primitive, but it is called out as if it has already been established. There are two kanji with the keyword "storehouse" (589,850). In the description of kanji 58 he states that "olden times" is not used as a primitive in any other kanji, but it is in 910.

· Heisig may have finished learning the material in this book in 4 to 6 weeks.
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284 of 323 people found the following review helpful By Lani 'Lorenzo' Wiig on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am a European-American who holds an M.A. from a Japanese national university (Hiroshima University) and a Professional Diploma in Foreign Language Education (Japanese) from the University of Hawaii - Manoa. I have lived for some 11 years in Japan as an adult and have taught Japanese at the secondary level in Hawaii and Oregon. Between 2001 and 2003, I assisted Mary Sisk Noguchi, author of the "Kanji Clinic" column in THE JAPAN TIMES, edit, rewrite and check facts in her columns. (The columns may be viewed at [...]) I mention these credentials in order to give potential consumers of Jim Heisig's REMEMBERING THE KANJI, Volume I (aka 'RTK1'), a more informed basis for their impending purchase.
Amazon's customer reviews for RTK1 cover a broad spectrum ranging from near-total rejection to devoted acceptance. This is NOT a book that seems to attract many 3-star reviews. As you, the potential consumer of RTK1, debate whether to buy the book or not, I hope my little review will help push you over the edge into the "buy" mentality.
I have given this remarkable book a 5-star rating. RTK1 helps level the "kanji playing field." (Incidentally, you can easily discover if this is "THE KANJI BOOK FOR YOU" by going to google.com and inputting "heisig remembering kanji." Dr. Heisig has convenietly made available his well-reasoned, indeed, history-making introduction as well as downloadable stories for the first 250-or-so kanji that he teaches in his system. If you are 'turned on' by his introduction and his first 100 or so stories, then RTK1 is a good tool for you. You will need the book to build a strong memory foundation for the remaining 1750-or-so kanji used in standard written Japanese.)
Good luck. This book gives a solid foundation to serious students of written Japanese, and I dare say Chinese, too.
Oh, yes, almost forgot. The book is also available in French and Spanish.
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