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Kanji Pict-O-Graphix: Over 1,000 Japanese Kanji and Kana Mnemonics Paperback – June 1, 1992
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"Kanji Pict-o-Graphix offers an engaging way to learn and memorize Kanji."—Rocky Mountain Region Japan Project
"A fun book for studying kanji. The illustration reveals more of its contents and method than any description ever could."—Japan Times
"It is a very nice book, simple and pretty effective. A useful addition to the library of all beginners who aspire to learn Japanese. Recommended."—Protoculture Addicts
Learn more about kanji from Stone Bridge Press: Kana Pict-o-Graphix, Designing with Kanji, Kanji Starter 1&2, and Crazy for Kanji
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Organized thematically in chapters such as "Power," "Places," "Tools," "The World," "Food," "People," and "The Body," Rowley's book lets you learn the root symbols before teaching the words that add to them for further meanings. For example, the character for water is a splatter of three dashes that Rowley pictures as three splashing water drops. Later, you see that steam, float, boil, dirt, and bathe all build on the water character. For steam, there's the water character plus a series of lines that Rowley exaggerates to resemble swirling, vapory tendrils, and the association helps. Building on units of memory and relationship, recall is aided considerably by the simple yet evocative drawings. Rowley even manages to help with the hiragana and katakana syllabaries, providing appealing pictures that look a bit like the letters in question and begin with the same sounds. So the na letter looks like a knot, nu resembles Rowley's drawing of noodles held by chopsticks, and it's easier to remember which symbol means te when you picture a telephone pole.
It's hard to do Rowley's book justice with words, since the visual element is what makes it tick. He does a wonderful job, blending insight, imagination, and drawing technique, in a book that far surpasses the old rote method, making kanji learning both appealing and accessible. --Stephanie Gold
Michael Rowley has created a visual vocabulary that is striking and, most importantly, memorable." -Wired Magazine -- Review
- Publisher : Stone Bridge Press (June 1, 1992)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 216 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0962813702
- ISBN-13 : 978-0962813702
- Item Weight : 1.06 pounds
- Dimensions : 8 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #353,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This book's premise is so brilliant that I'm surprised it hasn't been done before and I'm glad I found it.
1) The cover and titly imply that the book is all about learning kanji, but actually the first few pages are dedicated to visuals and mnemonics for memorizing hiragana and katakana. Only then does the book move on to the kanji.
2) The kanji are organized in chapters with wide themes (respectively: world, food, animals, people, body, spirit, power, learn, tools, places, journey). These chapters are in turn divided up into mini-themes dealing with each chapter (for example, different animals and ideas associated with them). This helped me a lot in mentally organizing kanji and their meanings.
3) Each kanji entry contains a reference number that corresponds to the numbers printed in the upper corner of each page (i.e. each page will show kanji #1-7). This is helpful for when you're flipping through. If you prefer, you can also look up the kanji by this number in the index, which is organized by reference number and pronunciation.
4) Each entry contains the English meaning, and each kanji character is printed in a clean typeset font for easier memorization. Also included are the Chinese and Japanese readings and a visual mnemonic as well as a textual mnemonic (a play on words to go with the drawing, which itself resembles the kanji).
1) This book is only for learning how to read, not write. No stroke order is given for hiragana, katakana, or kanji.
2) Since there are only 46 letters each for the hiragana and katakana, those are all covered in the opening pages. However, only 1225 kanji are listed here. This is a little more than the kanji mastered by Japanese children in elementary school and, I've been told, is sufficient to be able to understand most of a newspaper. However, the Japanese Ministry of Education has identified about 2000 basic kanji, so you'll probably need to continue studying beyond this book.
Frankly, these cons don't bother me. This book is doing for me what it set out to do: help me memorize kanji. I am hopeless with flash cards so this was a very welcome respite. If I were to judge this book as a book for learning kanji, it would get a much lower mark, as it doesn't teach you how to write. As a memorization tool, it is excellent and deserves five stars.
In sum, great book, but it should just be a supplement to your learning arsenal.
Other beginner learning materials that I have found helpful include:
Ultimate Japanese Beginner-Intermediate (Book) (LL(R) Ultimate Basic-Intermed) - Get the set that includes CDs with the book.
Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure - Fun and informative way to learn grammar in an informal context. In other words, you're learning Japanese as it's actually spoken and written, a nice change from the elevated formal speech I've found in every language textbook I've ever used. I kept borrowing this so much from my library that I ended up buying a copy. Only downside is it doesn't include lessons. If it had been more like a workbook, it would have been perfect.
The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary - This is the kanji resource you've been looking for. Wonderfully organized, very useful, small, AND it includes stroke order for each kanji. Buy it on Amazon; I've found it in local bookstores and they seriously mark the price up.
However, I have been using it in conjunction with RTK - Remembering the Kanji by Heisig - and it has been helpful with a few of the Kanji when I had trouble with Heisig's methods/creating my own mnemonic (as long as they are included in the 1000 Rowley used). This book also includes more meanings than RTK, and has little phrases that can help you remember the multiple meanings, which is useful. It also mentions the On and Kun readings of the kanji, which RTK doesn't do, and so if you're planning to learn some of the pronunciations of the kanji then it can help with that. Personally, I am planning to learn the pronunciations afterwards by studying vocabulary, but it is a useful tool nonetheless.
One thing I will say is that I really liked the aesthetics of the book. Rowley has very stylised artwork which I enjoy looking at and is what encouraged me to buy the book. Even despite my limited use of it, I am still happy with my purchase as it is a visually pleasing book to add to my Japanese collection, and when I feel like it I can still browse through and look at the charming little picture's Rowley has drawn.
Basically, if you're planning to buy this book thinking it will help you completely memorise all 1000 kanji and be able to read them, write them, and pronounce them, then I wouldn't reccommend it.
If you enjoy Rowley's style and like the thought of looking at the pretty pictures, and/or plan on using it as a supplement to other kanji learning methods, then I reccommend it!
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so in conjunction with 'lets learn kanji' this is a good buy.