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Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 2: A Systematic Guide to Reading Japanese Characters (Japanese Edition) (Japanese) 1 New Blg Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0824831660
ISBN-10: 0824831667
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From the Publisher

Following the first volume of Remembering the Kanji, the present work takes up the pronunciation of characters and provides students with helpful tools for memorizing them. Behind the notorious inconsistencies in the way the Japanese language has come to pronounce the characters it received from China lie several coherent patterns. Identifying these patterns and arranging them in logical order can reduce dramatically the amount of time spent in the brute memorization of sounds unrelated to written forms.

Many of the "primitive elements," or building blocks, used in the drawing of the characters also serve to indicate the "Chinese reading" that particular kanji use, chiefly in compound terms. By learning one of the kanji that uses such a "signal primitive," one can learn the entire group at the same time. In this way, Remembering the Kanji 2 lays out the varieties of phonetic patterns and offers helpful hints for learning readings, which might otherwise appear completely random, in an efficient and rational way. A parallel system of pronouncing the kanji, their "Japanese readings," uses native Japanese words assigned to particular Chinese characters. Although these are more easily learned because of the association of the meaning to a single word, Heisig creates a kind of phonetic alphabet of single-syllable words, each connected to a simple Japanese word, and shows how they can be combined to help memorize particularly troublesome vocabulary.

Unlike Volume 1, which proceeds step-by-step in a series of lessons, Volume 2 is organized in such as way that one can study individual chapters or use it as a reference for pronunciation problems as they arise. Individual frames cross-reference the kanji to alternate readings and to the frame in Volume 1 in which the meaning and writing of the kanji was first introduced.

About the Author

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

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; 1 New Blg edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 0824831667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824831660
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,350,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Poshushu on July 11, 2012
Format: Perfect Paperback
This book follows the form of the first in its systematic approach and presentation. If you haven't completed the first book, you may still be able to get some good out of this one, but it won't be the maximum benefit.

This is not a dictionary, and it is not meant to be skipped around in. You learn readings by associating aspects of similar kanji and radicals, just as in the first book you learned meanings similarly. It does not teach grammar or syntax or anything like that. So, if you want to know well how to use the readings, you're going to have to work in tandem with other texts and systems.

If you're a beginner at the language, I recommend this book after completing the first (and doing that one after you have a decent foundation in the language in general). As an intermediate who may have struggled with traditional learning methods, you will find this a breath of fresh air and fun, but it does require a LOT of dedication. If you are a more advanced learner, you can also get a good bit out of this, if you don't mind wading through parts that you already know (though granted, the revision isn't a bad thing).

If you're a teacher, you may want to avoid this system (even he mentions that). This is a self-learning system, but if you have a student who is particularly good at the language and could use some on-their-own studies, this could work great (though it could undermine your teaching techniques).

All-in-all, I say it's a great book if you don't mind putting in the dedication and don't try to use it as your only text.
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13 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Rorick on August 8, 2009
Format: Perfect Paperback
Although I learned the kanji using the more straightforward methods of flash cards, writing them repeatedly, and memorizing the meanings and sounds of the semasio-phonetic components, every person I know who has tried the Heisig method has gotten amazing results. Based on that, it seems to me to be quite effective, and you might want to give it a try if the standard rote memorization learning methods are not effective for you.

Ivan Rorick
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10 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Travis on March 19, 2011
Format: Perfect Paperback
I have yet to hear of any learner that truly enjoyed this volume and found it useful.

Volume 2 of Remembering the Kanji is simply a reference tool. There are no mnemonic devices that aid to your learning what-so-ever.

I am almost certain you will be disappointed in your purchase if you get this book.
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4 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan A. Apodaca on March 8, 2009
Format: Perfect Paperback
it was overall good tough some defintions of the kanji in romaji
or hiragana could of made it the best book to learn kanji
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2 of 29 people found the following review helpful By cindycat6k on January 26, 2012
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
My son wants to learn Japanese and requested Remembering the Kanji I,II, III for Christmas. I was able to secure the 3 books, from 3 different sources, through Amazon. I saved nearly $55.00 over bookstore cost, buying new and nearly new, another $40.00 was taken from the price by opening an Amazon credit acct. The books arrived timely and in good condition.
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