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A Guide to Writing Japanese Kanji & Kana Book 1: A Self-Study Workbook for Learning Japanese Characters (Tuttle Language Library) 2nd Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
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ISBN-10: 0804833923
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Overall, this book can actually teach you a good deal of Japanese in three months … it could come in handy if you're the type of student who simply wants to learn Japanese grammar in a short period of time." — Language Trainers --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.

About the Author

Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn are the authors of numerous language learning and reference books, including A Guide to Writing Kanji & Kana (Book II), Kanji & Kana: A Handbook of the Japanese Writing System, The Learners Kanji Dictionary and The Kanji Dictionary, all of which are available from the Tuttle Language Library.
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Product Details

  • Series: Tuttle Language Library
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; 2 edition (April 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804833923
  • ASIN: B007MXGBYM
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,138,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. Knoll on September 3, 2006
Format: Perfect Paperback
After hitting a plateau in my Japanese studies, I realized that a solid grounding in kanji was really holding back my progress. I knew that I needed a systematic approach to the 1,945 jyouyou characters and recalled that this series had been used as the kanji textbook at my alma mater, Princeton University, in the Japanese language study curriculum. I worked this two textbook series for about 4.5 years and it has really paid off (e.g., JLPT kanji tests are a snap, even level 1). The ordering, while different from most other kanji instruction orderings, flows nicely and doesn't overwhelm the student with too many similar kanji in a row (e.g., it doesn't group by radical and present every character containing that radical). Granted, some fairly common characters aren't introduced until much later in the series, but this is a small sacrifice for an ordering that flows and supports systematic recall.

If you can speak basic Japanese and can read some characters -- but are coming to terms with the fact that you are going to have to learn the jyouyou sooner or later -- don't hesitate: by this series and get going. If you have zero experience with Japanese and are looking for survival skills in kanji and are living in Japan, I'd suggest using the Helsig approach, which has you learning basic kanji meanings before readings and written style. After all, what good does knowing the readings for "danger: slow down" characters on a sign if you don't know what they mean?

BTW, I often hear students asking why bother investing in learning how to write the characters by hand given that most writing is done on computers anyway. Don't fall into this trap: there is no better way to cement a characters morphology and meaning in your memory than learning to write. It has worked for students of the graphology for millenia -- it will work for you, too.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
I am 20, and I have been trying to learn Japanese off and on since I was 16. Recently I have tried to get back into learning it and this book has been the most useful so far, for one main reason, it has spaces for you to write the kanji, the hiragana, and the katakana. For years I have been trying to learn the Kanji by just looking at them, that did not work so well, but this system in the book of drawing them out has finally help me to remember them. Maybe I should of just got a kanji dictionary and some loose leaf paper. Then again, most other kanji dictionaries don't have stroke order and also the box shapes did help me to keep my kanji from being to sloppy.

The book also has samples of words the kanji are used in, which also helped me. Since most Japanese words are hard to remember, knowing the kanji that make them up helps make me learn the words.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
I tried many books, and this is the best I could find. It starts with hiragana. With each character you learn, it teaches you words using combinations of characters you previously learned. The next section is katakana, and it's the same thing: combinations of previously learned characters. The last 75% of this book is kanji, and once again, the combinations are only with kanji characters you have previously learned. The order of the characters differs from the way many text books teach you, but it is well structured.

Some kanji books I've used tried to teach by relating the character to a picture. This might work for young children, but it doens't work for me. I learn by structured lessons.

The majority of the space on each page is made up of empty squares for you to practice writing. This is useful because you should be attempting to mimic the example character. With every square, you will write more like the example. This book will cause your kanji to be complimented by Japanese people because of how neat it is. Also, the more times you write a character, the more times it will be cemented into your head.

Using the index in the back of the book, you can find any character in the book. When I'm writing my homework assignment and I come across a kanji character I don't know (or don't know very well), I look it up in the index and practice writing it about 5 times. Then I move on with my assignment. Look up a character 3 or 4 times and it is yours to keep.

This book will not teach you Japanese. It is designed to accompany a text book, and it's best used side by side with your homework assignments. I recommend this for beginners, and also for those aspiring a 3 or 2 on the JLPT. Do not attempt to learn Japanese without this book. The price is justified.
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Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book! I have been studying Japanese language for 2 years now. Not only is it great review for the kanji I have already been introduced to, but it also makes mastering new kanji a snap.

Each kanji is shown with stroke order, examples, and readings. I am finding it quite helpful in my continued study of the language.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
I've been using this all summer to learn 12 kanji a day and it's been amazing. It gives you lots of space to practice, plus plenty of kanji combinations to show how each character can work with other characters. It gives all the readings, some of which I didn't learn when I took Japanese in high school. I'm the sort of person that learns best with repetition, so this book has been extremely helpful. The only qualm I have with it is that the index is a little hard to use, or just not comprehensive... often I try to look up a kanji by its reading and can't find it, although perhaps it simply isn't there... in any case, this is a great book and a great resource for learning kanji!

If I had gotten another book, though, I feel it would have been helpful to get one that explains the stories/reasons behind the shapes of the kanji, but this is definitely a good start and I recommend it to anyone trying to learn Japanese.
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