Remembering the Kanji, Volume 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters

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University of Hawaii Press, 2007 - Foreign Language Study - 460 pages
The aim of this book is to provide the student of Japanese with a simple method for correlating the writing and the meaning of Japanese characters in such a way as to make them both easy to remember. It is intended not only for the beginner, but also for the more advanced student looking for some relief from the constant frustration of how to write the kanji and some way to systematize what he or she already knows. The author begins with writing because--contrary to first impressions--it is in fact the simpler of the two. He abandons the traditional method of ordering the kanji according to their frequency of use and organizes them according to their component parts or "primitive elements." Assigning each of these parts a distinct meaning with its own distinct image, the student is led to harness the powers of "imaginative memory" to learn the various combinations that result. In addition, each kanji is given its own key word to represent the meaning, or one of the principal meanings, of that character. These key words provide the setting for a particular kanji's "story," whose protagonists are the primitive elements. In this way, students are able to complete in a few short months a task that would otherwise take years. Armed with the same skills as Chinese or Korean students, who know the meaning and writing of the kanji but not their pronunciation in Japanese, they are now in a much better position to learn to read (which is treated in a separate volume). For further information and a sample of the contents, visit http: ///

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A great book for beginners

User Review  - Kendra - Borders

I highly recommend this book if you're just beginning to learn Kanji (or Japanese in general). I'm several lessons in and this book has helped me tremendously. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nillacat - LibraryThing

A compelling idea which, ultimately, was not as helpful as I'd hoped. Heisig's technique is to help you associate mental images with the components of a character. I found I couldn't achieve fluid ... Read full review

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Page 96 - This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that I have a friendly game with that gentleman.
Page 22 - ... light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the greater light was the sun, and the lesser light was the moon ; and the stars also were made even according to my word. And I, God, set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth...
Page 211 - The length whose measure this kanji depicts extends from the tip of one hand to the tip of the other with arms at full length.
Page 95 - ... turning over a new leaf." [12] ,^>V- "^1J— graveyard The element shown here should be taken to represent a modern graveyard. Gone are the cobwebs and gnarled trees, the tilted headstones and dark, moonless nights that used to scare the wits out of our childhood imaginations. Instead, we see brightly colored flowers placed before the tombstones, the sun shining gloriously overhead, and a cuddly St. Bernard sitting at the gate keeping watch. [10] 229 imitation Ah, but haven't modern graveyards...

About the author (2007)

James W. Heisig is professor and permanent research fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan.

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