This guide is for people who would like to study and expand their vocabulary skill for 60% – 70% coverage reading skills. If this is your first time to learn kanji, check our Introduction to Kanji instead
About Mastering Kanji
Most people says “I want to master kanji!!”. It is not wrong, but by “mastering Kanji”, we hope that your goal is “To be able to read & understand vocabularies I found in books or other media which are written in Kanji” instead of the list below.
What you shouldn’t focus on:
– Memorize all kunyomi (Japanese reading) & onyomi (chinese reading) reading of a kanji
– Learn to write all Kanji you learn
– Memorize all the meaning of a single Kanji (1 kanji can have 3 or more unrelated meaning)
If you don’t know what is Kunyomi/Onyomi is, we recommend you to check our Introduction to Kanji.
The 3 points above are very hard to be mastered and doesn’t have a high practical usage. To say it bluntly, they’re quite useless… They’re only good for getting a good grade at a Kanji test or something similar.
Note that a JLPT test are very practical, you only need to be able to read the Kanji used as a vocabulary in a sentence and understand the meaning of each Kanji compound words correctly.
What we meant by mastering KanjiNote that by mastering, we mean by the time you finish this book and learning method. You will end up to know 464 single kanjis, and able to read around 4500+ compound vocabularies within 3 – 4 months if you practice 50 – 70 new words everyday. Each day would take around 1 hour or more.
There are still more vocabularies to be learned if you want to read manga/light novel/other kind of literature smoothly, but this should be more than enough for a good foundation. And all of the kanji learned with this method will cover material from JLPT N5 to some of N3 and N2.
The only book you will need to master kanji would be Japanese Kanji Power book.
This book cover all basic Kanji stuffs such as:
• The story behind each Kanji
• All reading of each Kanji (kunyomi,onyomi)
• How to write each Kanji (stroke order, tips, etc)
But the most important part here is the sample sentence. In fact, you could ignore all the feature above! lol… Below you can find the preview.
You need to atleast learn the JLPT N5 material or better, the JLPT N4 grammar, before you start to use this book to learn kanji. So you won’t be having a hard time with the sentence sample structure and are able to focus on the vocabulary.
Yes, the book teach a simple kanji , but the compound words sample are a hard one. Here are some examples from the book:
入 (enter). Sample: 輸入 (Yunyuu: import)
口 (mouth). Sample: 口惜しい (Kuyashii: regret)
三 (three). Sample: 三味線 (Shamisen: a japanese small guitar)
You wouldn’t need that kind of vocabularies for JLPT N4 – N5 test.
450+ kanji, 4500+ compound vocabularies in 3 – 4 months
Now here’s the method.
1. Get digital flashcard for smartphone:Ankidroid
*Ankidroid is the best and free apps for flashcard builder. For iphone, you could try the FreeAnkiAppFlashcard, Free Brainscape or 25$ AnkiMobile
2. Create a flashcard for EVERY vocabularies/compound words which you encounter in the book that you’re not able to read
3. Don’t write only the vocabulary & it’s meaning. But put more information on the back of the flashcard. This is the key point. Describe the radical it have, what English or other Japanese word might have a similar spelling? What the kanji shape look like? In what other vocabulary did you also see this kanji? Read the details about this on our previous post
4. Learn minimum of 50 words everyday, while rehearsing the previous words. By using Ankidroid or other Spaced Repetition System, this would calculate how many card you will learn each day automatically. Just remember to change the new card amount to 50/day.
You will require around 1 hour/day to finish this challenge on time. Or if you’re not in a hurry, you could take your time or lower the rate of new words/day until you’re comfortable with it
5. Even if you think you can’t remember it, keep reviewing it. Add more description/details for each kanji whenever you see fit. You’ll be surprise that after a few times of repetition, your brain will suddenly able to recall it well even though you aren’t too sure about the vocabulary yourself!
Why this method works?
Actually, this method can be considered a hack, since you bypass all the amount of time/books you need to read to naturally learn each words, and simply repeat the new words until it’s stick to your brain. Note that to make the process effective, point 3 is very very important!
Basically, what you need to do is to create an effective flashcard (see this tips below) using kanji you encounter from Japanese Kanji Power Book. This book is very good for this purpose since it cover JLPT N5 & N4 plus some of N3 – N2 kanji. And that’s not all, the compound kanji and other vocabularies used on each samples are common kanji you could see in newspaper/everyday reading. This book tries to list as much as vocabularies as possible, that’s why you could use it to help you with 70% vocabularies coverage.
Anyway, here’s the link to get the book: Japanese Kanji Power book Please try it and let us know the results!! ☆*:.｡. o(≧▽≦)o .｡.:*☆
Happy learning (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧