Kanji, Best way to Learn?

Does anyone have any study tips?

You can study kanji like the etymology of English words. Although there are thousands of them, a kanji character usually consists of several smaller parts (bushu, etc.) which have their own meaning and many of which are used in other kanji characters too.

So even when you encountered an unknow kanji character, you might be able to guess the meaning from its parts, usually more easily than an unknown English word. You can even look up a kanji by its signifying part in kanji dictionary.

For example, most of kanji charatcers that signify some kind of grass and things related to grass (flower, etc.) share a part called ``kusa kanmuri (grass crown).''

You're talking about radicals, right? I've kinda started learning them and it does help when adding the context. That was a good point!


Definitely starting with the radicals helps. Until you have them down, its like learning each one from scratch. Learning the 'hen' first is also helpful, especially because once you know them, you can talk to people about the different parts of the Kanji easily.

In www.about.com there is a great article called "All About Radicals". It will get you started with the 'hen' and give you the ones that are most useful and the 'hen' that they usually show up in.

This page is useful, and it gives the meaning of each radical in English, which is very helpful when you are creating mnemonics to remember each kanjis meaning. Stick to the ones on the "All About Kanji" page, though and don't try to remember all 214 cause you will rarely need most of them.

This site is great. The advise given is based on good research into what actually works to learn kanji most efficiently plus lots of practical experience.

This site is absolutely awesome. It has a massive library of readings that are all organized by difficulty. Start easy and don't advance to harder ones until you can have to look up less than 5% of the kanji that show up. (Research says 2%, but I get impatient.) You can click on any word that you don't know and a dictionary definition will pop up on the right. When you are finished reading, at the bottom of the page, it will give you a list of all the words that you had to look up. I then take those words and put them into a Kanji flashcard app on my palm pilot and drill them until they are mine.

This will keep you going for a year at least.


wow, thanks! that was one of the most informative posts I've ever read on a forum.

Thanks again!

Hope it helps.

Those are some great links! Thanks for some extremely valuable information!

By the way, I am in Osaka also (Moriguchi)


Thanks, Ira. Here are a few more things that I use that I left out. It adds furigana to any page. It puts the furigana in parenthesis after each kanji, like this Š¿Žš?i‚©‚ñ‚¶?j.

Here's the link:

Just put the URL of the page you want furiganaized.

You can use it to read the posts here too, but you have to right click the frame with the kanji you you want to read, then copy the URL in the properties (ƒvƒ?ƒpƒeƒB) and use that. If you just try to copy the main MMA.TV URL you'll get a login error.

If you haven't seen this next one, its going to blow your mind.


Rikai.com works the same way, except on the surface the page doesn't change at all. However, if you put your mouse over any kanji on the page that is created, a box will pop up that will give you all the readings of the kanji, plus an English translation of the word.

I wish I had this stuff when I was getting started.


Holy crap! Thanks!!

Its not just kanji, but here is one of my favorite Japanese language learning sites:
Especially "How to Wow" is really useful


now how cool is that! Thanks for the site, Bush Dog.