Studying Japanese Kanji
Created on 3/3/2010 by Disciplanner
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The first thing you need is a list of all the kanji, separated by grade level. Start with the lowest grade you need to study, work your way up.


Week one:

  • Day one: Choose fifteen to twenty Kanji. I use Tuttle's kanji cards. Separate the kanji into groups of three or so. Spend your first day studying these three kanji, readings, meanings, and work of writing them. Review all the other cards for week one.
  • Day two: Test yourself on the kanji you learned yesterday. If you get the reading and meanings right, set them aside. Study your new Kanji. Readings, meanings, writing. Practice writing all the kanji you've studied so far.
  • Day three: Test yourself on the Kanji you've already learned. If you pass the test, put them aside. If you need additional study, add them to your active stack.
  • Days four through seven: Finish your first kanji list/flashcard stack. By the time the week is over, you should have learned approximately twenty Kanji. If you learn faster or have more time to study, you can study more kanji per day/week.

On the last day of your week, spend time reviewing the kanji you've already learned. Then test yourself. Hopefully, you can remember the readings, meanings, and how to write all the kanji you've learned so far. If you can't, they got back on the list for further review.


Following weeks:

Each week make a new list of kanji and divide it up, the same as you did the first week. Spend a little extra time reviewing and practicing the kanji from previous weeks.

Once a month sit down and test yourself on all the kanji you've learned.


As you get more kanji under your belt, start looking for compounds made of the Kanji you already know. Practice writing these, and eventually, use them in full sentences.

If you don't have some kind of preprinted flashcards for the kanji, make your own by cutting an index card in half. Very carefully trace the Kanji on the front, add a few useful compounds for later use, and label with grade. On the back, list your readings and meanings and carefully trace out each step in the writing pattern at the bottom.
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