Is there a trick to learn Kanji

(Dvoyagerncc746568372) #1

I have been on Japanese 3 for about an month now and struggling with the Kanji. They all look the same to me, and as a result struggling to remember them. So far only one has stuck, and that is Shin 心. I thought I had got Park sussed, and then I saw another Kanji that looked almost exactly the same.
So… Is there a trick, and easy way to learn/remember Kanji.

(Neoncube) #2

A couple of suggestions:

You could try memorizing some radicals and their meanings.

You could practice writing the kanji. Even if you aren’t really planning to learn how to write a lot of kanji, I think that learning how to write a few might really help you memorize kanji more easily.

(Mizuhana2) #3

Yes. Try search James W. Heisig books. “Remembering the kanji”. It is very useful. :smiley:


I strongly suggest first learning the kanji by their meanings, rather than the readings. 心, for example is usually read as こころ when used by itself, and しん when used in a compound with other kanji. This isn’t something that’s practical to try to memorize with every single kanji right at the start, so I think learning the readings with vocab later is the way to go. When you’ve studied the words 心 (こころ, heart) and 熱心 (ねっしん, enthusiasm), for example, it becomes a much more natural link in your head how the readings are used.

Many kanji have several different possible readings, and honestly, trying to learn all of them right at the start is far more trouble than it’s worth, in my opinion. Take a look at this one’s readings, for example.

This is the course that I started my kanji journey with, and I highly recommend it. It has tons of helpful mems that really helped me get used to the radicals and start remembering how to ‘build’ the kanji in my head.

As neoncube suggested, you may want to start with learning radicals first, so that you already have knowledge of them when going into the kanji. I did kanji first, personally, sort of learning the radicals as I went through the mems, and I did okay in the end, but it may help. I used this course to brush up on radicals later:

More than anything, just remember that it takes a while to get them to stick, and try not to get too frustrated with it! It often felt like I was just hitting a brick wall over and over again when I was learning them, but looking through the mems each time and trying to familiarize yourself with each radical used in the kanji, and trying to come up with a story to help you remember, really goes a long way over time.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

(Neoncube) #5

Good advice from TinyCaterpillar :slight_smile:

I also kind of learned the radicals as I went along. As it turns out, there are at least a few radicals that are also very often used as full-blown characters (such as 心 [heart] and 口 [mouth]), too.

Great advice about learning the meanings first, too, IMO. If you can find a course or pair of courses that tests on both meanings and readings for the same Kanji, that might be ideal.

(Overlord Hydroptère) #6

try this:
(has mnemonics)

or peruse Jim Breen’s resources to find something that suits you:

(Jim Breen has been around for decades, his pages/dictionaries etc are … good!)

(Dvoyagerncc746568372) #7

I shall not be buying books for a long time, so thank you for that suggestion. However it is some where to look, if or when the opportunity arises. Thank you.

(Dvoyagerncc746568372) #8

Ah, the repeat thing, it is how I originally learn Katakana.
It might get a little expensive though, all the ink, and all that paper. Lol.
Great idea. Nice one.

(Dvoyagerncc746568372) #9

This is freaking awesome. A wealth of information, right there, waiting for the taking.
The only word I have managed to remember, and now I find out on its own it mean Heart. Kokoro. When I first heard it in one of my favourite songs I looked it up, Aimer, Last Stardust, great song.

You have given me much to look at, and it is very much appreiciated.
Thank you.

(Minh Nguyn510) #10

Hey, try my course.
I just list Kanji word from Arigatou of Kokia.
Here it is: Learn Japanese Word through Arigatou song
You can read the lyric here: Arigatou - Kokia lyric and translation