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Read Japanese Kanji Today: The Easy Way to Learn the 400 Basic Kanji [JLPT Levels N5 + N4 and AP Japanese Language & Culture Exam] Paperback – June 19, 2017
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"A simple first step, learning to read the first 300 Kanji characters; the same way Japanese elementary school students do. It gives topical examples of signage and localities from around Tokyo, so it would be particularly helpful for the first timer language neophyte in Japan. Considering that acquiring just a few thousand Kanji takes most of a High School education, you can't really ask for more in an easy to read book." —Goodreads
About the Author
Len Walsh has studied and taught Japanese in both the United States and Japan.
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Top Customer Reviews
I like the way Mr. Welsh delivers, but I think it was a bad idea to leave out the kana. For example the kanji for old. He put the kanji is pronounced "Furui" and in reality it is "Furu" and the "i" is in kana. I understand that he's trying to make it easier to memorize, but I think in the end it will just leave the readers confused when they encounter the kanji in the real world. They'll end up reading it as "furui-i"
To minimize my confusion, I use my Japanese keyboard on my iphone to type in the kanji so I can find out which syllables are actually part of the kanji, and which are the kana. There are probably other ways to figure it out, but this is just how I do it.
I would recommend this book if you're serious about learning kanji and need an easy way to learn. Just make sure to find out which parts are the kanji itself, and which part are in kana. I do want to say that it does take some dedication. (Perhaps flash cards or multiple reads of each section).
Enough about me, on to the review! This book starts out by delving into the origins of kanji and the changes made through the centuries, leading to modern-day kanji formation. As each new kanji in the book is explained, the author builds on the information before it by connecting the ideas behind the meanings of the strokes, both current and originally. This makes the learning process very fluid and easy to remember. Walsh also indicates which pronunciations to use when, and any exceptions there may be for a specific kanji. Not only that, but there is an index at the back of the book of all the 400 kanji explained in the book, along with their meanings and pronunciations.
If you are self-teaching yourself the Japanese language I highly recommend this book. Even if you are learning through a class I think this book will still help to reinforce your lessons and really help make the material stick. Happy learning!
Those pictures will make learning spoken vocabulary far easier than trying to learn spoken Japanese without the writing.
Once you have it, take a whole day and read it through like a novel - twice if you have time. After that, you will be shocked at how much you retain. The title is not an exaggeration; after one day, you can be reading Japanese (though you'll need to learn the kana; this book has a simple section on that too).