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Japanese Kanji Flashcards, Series 1 Volume 3 (Japanese and English Edition) (Japanese) Cards – May 1, 2008
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I am a bit old school, so I prefer flashcards to the App alternatives that are out there. I also like some quiet time away from the electronics, which this can supply.
This is the old series, so I recommend you purchase series two.
1. The quality of the cards is outstanding. The heavy card stock has a smooth coating that repels dirt and fluids, With this coating, they can be more easily shuffled and handled. They also strongly resist tearing, cracking, and bending. Their corners are rounded so you don't cut yourself on them.
2. This set has the 903 kanji that you need to know for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level 1 (the hardest level). (The previous two volumes cover the kanji you need to know for levels 2 through 4.)
3. On the front of each card, there is the kanji, six words or phrases using that kanji, and one or two similar-looking kanji. I especially appreciate the fact that the words and phrases (which are often compounds of several kanji) use the given kanji in different locations--i.e., instead of just being words that *begin* with the given kanji, they include words that use the given kanji in the second or later position in the word. VERY useful.
4. The front of the cards also include a nice, large, readable illustration of the stroke order. Overall, because of a good use of contrast and a larger typeface, the cards are more accessible to those with vision impairment.
5. On the back of each card are the "on" and "kun" readings. The back of each card also defines the six vocabulary words (that are on the front) using hiragana, katakana, and English. This shows how to pronounce the kanji in various contexts--not always easy, since the pronunciations can change.
Note that there is NO romaji (Romanization) on these cards. You MUST be able to read hiragana and katakana in order to most effectively use these cards.
6. The cards in all three sets are consecutively numbered from 1 through 1926. (In other words, the card numbering doesn't start over again with each set, but instead continues from the previous set.) The cards are also color-coded according to the level of the JLPT they are for, which means you can also tell at a glance, by the color, what level of the JLPT they apply to. With the numbering and color-coding, you can mix and match the cards without worrying about whether you can put them back in the same box they came from.
7. This set has a guide to the cards that includes two different kinds of indexes of all the kanji in all three volumes (one is a stroke-order index; the other is, I think, by on reading, so is a bit less useful). This is invaluable when putting together a study set. (Similarly, volume 2 has a guide that covers the kanji in volumes 1 and 2.)
USING THESE CARDS: My Japanese has gotten far enough for me to try reading materials that use kanji, and I find it is a very time-consuming process to look up each and every kanji. So I've started the following practice: When I am assigned new vocabulary words in my Japanese class, I pull out the kanji for those words so I can learn both the word itself and its kanji at the same time. I am glad I have all three volumes because I find that our vocabulary words have kanji that come from all three volumes. When studying this way, even when I don't learn all of the kanji for that week's vocabulary, at least I am being exposed to them and am making good progress in my kanji study. I wish I had started this practice from as soon as I learned the kana. I would be a lot further along when reading Japanese.
All in all, these three volumes of kanji are very satisfying and of superbly high quality. I recommend them without hesitation.