In my first post about learning kanji, I spoke about the main tool I am using to assist in my learning process. Quick update on my progress: It’s going great and as of today I am at 1020 kanji learned. For those of you who want to learn kanji, Remembering the Kanji, Volume 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters by James W. Heisig is definitely the fastest way to learn versus the traditional repetitive method of writing a character multiple times until it is engrained in your brain. In this post, I will go over additional tips that have really helped me accelerate my learning.
- Remembering the Kanji, Volume 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters
- A Tablet such a Google Nexus or iPad… I personally prefer a droid tablet (I’ll go over why in a bit)
- Anki Flashcards Software w/ Remembering the Kanji flashcard deck (free made my Anki users)
Part of the method taught to learn kanji in Heisig’s book is to use flashcards. A great tip I learned from these 2 websites which also write about Heisig’s book (here and here) is to use Anki Flashcards Software. Not going too much into the technical details, but opposed to using manual flash cards, Anki adjust to your progress. Long story short, the more you get a flashcard correct, the less often it will appear. If you get a card wrong, it will reset and appear more often. For Anki, you can either download their free software for your desktop, study on Anki Web, or (the most convenient method) download the Anki app for your tablet or iPad. Unfortunately the iPad app costs around $25 while the droid version is free!
Apps I downloaded for my tablet to assist in my learning
AnkiDroid is of course the flash card program I used every day and whenever I have down time I pull out my tablet and start cranking away at kanji. Kanji Recognizer is an app where you can draw a kanji onto the screen, and then the program will recognize what you wrote and provide you the definition and stroke order of the kanji you just wrote. This comes in handy later on in the Heisig’s book as he stops providing the stroke order. Aedict Japanese Dictionary is a great Japanese dictionary app that you can use offline and you can also bookmark any kanji you like to make a custom study list. All these apps are free, but unfortunately Kanji Recognizer and Aedict are not available for iOS.
Last Tip (via Nihongo Shark)
Sign up for a free account on the website Reviewing the Kanji. The site is a community of others who are using Heisig’s book to study kanji. As I mentioned in my first post, the Heisig method involves using your imaginative memory to memorize kanji. In the beginning of the book, he makes stories for you. As you progress, Heisig no longer provides you the stories so you have to create them on your own. Fortunately for those who get stumped on what type of story to create, there is an entire repository created by users in the community at Reviewing the Kanji where you can pick a story that you like and use that as your story to assist in your memorization of the character.
So with all the tools above, the only thing else that one will need to memorize 2200 kanji is the determination to study and review every day. If you need more inspiration and motivation to help, I recommend checking out the 2 posts I recommended earlier (here and here). These posts have a lot of good information and I constantly use the tips they mention in order to help me study. Good luck, use your “kokoro 心” and keep on studying!