Home > Japanese Culture > How to learn kanji; don’t think of it, write it

How to learn kanji; don’t think of it, write it

It might be the most difficult part in learning Japanese for foreigners: reading/using kanji, chinese characters. Let me share you with a method to recite kanji most Japanese did in their youger age.

‘Your hand will acquire kanji, not your brain.’ That is what a teacher told me about learning kanji when I was an elementary school student. Writing is an essential way to know of Kanji that you are trying to obtain. Just keep writing kanji. One more thing, you should read the kanji aloud as you write it. Kanji has several ways to pronounce; some of them are called on-yomi and kun-yomi. Don’t try memorizing all the readings of one kanji at a time. For example, the kanji below, which is the one I am going to show you as an illustration, has a few ways to pronounce: tsu u, to o (ru/su), kayo (u). You should try to learn about each reading by writing each of them.
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Let me show you the way I did.

At first, a notebook. We used to write many kanji on a notebook like this. You can write the kanji itself on larger cells(the square one with dotted line crisscrossed) and hurigana(the way to let someone read easily by hiraganatize the kanji lol) on vertically long rectangle cells. You can, You have to write the same kanji again and again in order to acquire it, reading it aloud.

I just wrote two kanji to show you as examples. One is tsu u kin(commute), and the other is to o ru(get by, get through, pass by, go, etc.). And after that, I wrote tsu u kin su ru(to commute) and hito ga to o ru(Someone passes by) like collocations or phrases. Don’t laugh at my damn penmanship, okay? lol
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Maybe it would be troublesome and annoying for you to write kanji by hand. But you can learn a lot. Don’t give up working on it. ganbatte kudasai.

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