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Kanji De Manga Volume 1: The Comic Book That Teaches You How To Read And Write Japanese! (Manga University Presents) Paperback – March 8, 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Kanji de Manga Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

These cute, little books use manga-style graphics to help English speakers learn the Japanese writing systems. Kana de Manga: A Fun, Easy Way To Learn the ABCs of Japanese! teaches the hiragana and katakana syllabaries, the closest that Japanese has to an alphabet. For each kana are provided the sound, a word using the sound with accompanying illustration and cultural note, the stroke order for drawing the kana, and empty grids for practice. Front and back matter provide kana contractions plus more information about the kana systems. Almost 40 pages are devoted to practice grids, unnecessary for library readers. The volume is inexpensive, cute, and useful, although other kana tutorials that use mnemonics that is, likening the kana to an image can be effective, too.

The four Kanji de Manga volumes teach 320 of the more complex Chinese-based kanji characters, of which some 2100 are used in standard Japanese. These books teach kanji only through the kana. This may be a good discipline, but most English-speaking readers would have greatly appreciated Romanizations, too, even if relegated to a back section in place of practice pages. There's no Romanized index or glossary, either. Not a priority purchase.

Japanese Sound FX! is likely to be the most useful of these books, with Romanizations, cultural explanations, and illustrations for many of those untranslated sound effects sprinkled tantalizingly throughout manga. This last is recommended for libraries where manga is popular. --Library Journal

About the Author

GLENN KARDY is founder of Japanime, an award-winning creative agency and publisher of Manga University's acclaimed lineup of educational materials. He lives in the Tokyo suburb of Kawaguchi City with his wife, their daughter and a collection of Oakland A's bobblehead dolls.

CHIHIRO HATTORI has been the featured artist in all nine volumes of the Kana de Manga/Kanji de Manga series, and she also illustrated Manga University's Manga Cookbook. Chihiro, her husband and their son live in Yokohama, where they enjoy fine food, fast cars and high fashion.

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Product Details

  • Series: Kanji de Manga (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Japanime Co. Ltd.; Volume 1 edition (March 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4921205027
  • ISBN-13: 978-4921205027
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ok to start off this book is simply awesome. It teaches you about 80 kanji (almost enough for JLPT 4 [see back of the book])

and gives you about 2 or 3 compunds per page. Now like many people i was turned off by the slightly kiddy way this book is laid out (this and kana de manga get you strange looks in 8th grade). But nonetheless it is a great book. It teaches you some interesting ways of using the language, it's less like the phrase book for a trip and more like something to help you read overpriced untranslated manga. It's odd look gives it a feel not quite unlike less serious anime (cough FLCL cough). As many people will tell you this book is for the purists (no romaji , just an english translation) This book uses entirely Kana, which is good if you want to improve your vocabualary and reading skills. Which brings us to one flaw i must simply adress: NO GLOSSARY! there is nothing to help people who don't have a dictionary (you should but then again this book should have a glossary or atleast an appendix of translated words). Also without a dictionary you won't get some of the compunds. For example on page 77 there is no indication that ki o tsukeru would mean be careful, Since ki is the Kanji (spirit/gas) most people would be confused since there is nothing about this in the compund section. Still those are only minor gripes wich can be soulved with the purchase of a fairly inexpensive dictionary.
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Format: Paperback
A good workbook for learning Kanji. It shows each character, what it means, and how to draw it. I wish it would have the meaning of each character written in Romagi as well, I found myself adding that myself, but that's not a big deal. My only serious complaint is regarding the last half of the book which is for practicing drawing the characters. There is no suggestion as to how this section should be used. A character or two to copy from on each page would have helped tremendously. As it is there isn't even a single line suggesting how to use the section effectively, just 50 pages of graph paper. You can flip back and fourth between the page in the front displaying the character you want to learn and the back where you try to draw it, but this is extremely awkward. Especially for someone who is left handed such as myself. I ended up practicing each character on the page describing it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this as a Kindle download for use with the Amazon Cloud reader and it's great. I have the book in one window and an online dictionary in the other ([...] Add a piece of scrap paper to practice writing and you're ready to learn some kanji, AND, if you're up for it, a lot of interesting little tidbits of vocabulary and colloquial speech from the manga panels if you're willing to parse them out on your own with the online dictionary.

I agree with others that it would be great if they used previously learned kanji in the context of subsequent chapters, but they don't and that's the way it is. This is not a deeply thought-out system of integrated learning by any means, but as one resource among many, it's a lot of fun and very helpful. 'Yes' to needing other books as well, 'yes' to using flashcards, online resources of all types, speaking with natives and other students, listening to Pimsleur on the way to work and so on and so on. This book should in no way be considered your one stop solution for learning Japanese!

Learning is pro-active, and something we have to persue for ourselves, as doggedly as we can. There is really no simple or effortless way to learn Japanese. Given that understanding, you can have a lot of fun with this book.

For the price of a fancy Starbuck's latte, I've got to say 'give it a try'!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Let me be clear, this manga, along with all other graphic novels is useless on the regular 6" kindle! Books in comic format cannot have text enlarged, to make matters worse, the way each page displays, it leaves an inch of blank border around each page to accomodate the page counter. This is a great book, but be sure to buy it in paperback format. I don't have a DX, but I would imagine that having one would make this book a lot easier to read.
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Format: Paperback
While I do like these books, and I have found them to be useful in my and my families learning of kanji, they are organized in a completely non-sensical way. At the back of each book, they proclaim that they are useful in studying for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficieny Test) exams. They are useful.. just not comprehensive.

For example, Volume 1, which has 80 kanji in it to learn, (despite what the paragraph at the back of the book says) is NOT the full list of kanji you would need to learn to pass the first level exam (JLPT4). The JLPT4 test requires 103 kanji at the current time, as well as like 700 vocab words, and basic grammar and listening skills. If you were to just study this book, and nothing else, you would surely fail.

At first I thought maybe the authors had just made an error and meant to say that the books were organized loosely based on the elementary school grade level. However, this is also not true. An example of this is 花 (はな "hana") which is a grade level 1 kanji taught to first graders, but is in fact in Volume 2.

The only other glaring problem I've found with these books is the lack of any sort of English definition lookup or table of contents. While you can look the kanji up if you know the spelling in kana, being able to look it up in English would've been really nice. However, the books are cheap and fun and pretty easy to use.
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