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Remembering the Kanji Vol. 1

I suppose I can give my opinion on this book as I have read a few chapters worth of a sample. I have read so many wonderful things about this book, and it was people's honest to goodness opinions. So I figured this must be the miracle technique to remember Kanji! Well, I went ahead and tried the sample of a few chapters. I was really disappointed...T^T I couldn't grasp the example stories to remember the Kanji by. I thought they really made little sense. I then realized that I already own a book that uses an identical technique which I personally found unhelpful. I guess it really comes down to how each person learns things. I never could memorize things this way. But I honestly wanted to because how else can you become able to read over 3,000 Kanji in a few months?! I have been going by the traditional method of memorizing Kanji for about 6 years and only know *maybe* over 300...wow....that's sad. I really would like to know if any of you have any advice for me as I have also heard positive reviewers telling the people who gave negative reviews that "It only didn't work for you because you must have not been doing it right". I really want to believe this. I really want to like this book because it seems to be the absolute answer for foreigners learning Kanji. Also, I have heard that if the given example stories don't help you then you should make up your own or look on the supplementary site for the book. But my question is, if none of the given examples help me, then why not just look at a list of Kanji online and apply this method with a story I find memorable and in turn save some money? I want to know your opinion. I am by no means saying this is a bad book, I'm just saying I personally had little success with it. Oh I don't know! :( By the way, here is the sample of the book, it really has quite a lot of the book in it! I think it's about 103 pages worth.

http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/publications/miscPublications/pdf/RK1/RK 1 (6th edition) sample.pdf
posted by pecan_

Comments 15

  • barusamikosu
    I don't want to use terms like "miracle technique", because that might give the wrong idea to newcomers (any method you use for Kanji is going to involve hard work!), but for me RTK 1 has made moving on with the rest of the language easier. Learning new words is as easy as learning how to read the Kanji involved.

    There are a couple of key items that I didn't see you mention. I think both of them are absolutely vital to making RTK successful; so if you didn't use them in your first attempt, then it's definitely worth giving another shot equipped with these two resources:

    The first one is Reviewing the Kanji at ( http://kanji.koohii.com/ ). It's a website focused around sharing user-created stories for Heisig's books. ReVTK will save you a lot of time and headache when you just can't get inspired to make that next Kanji stick. I don't think I would have finished the book without other people's stories to help me.

    You also need a way to review and retain the Kanji you've been working hard to learn. ReVTK has a built-in SRS flashcard utility, but Anki is far better suited for the job as it's a lot more customizable. If you don't have Anki, head over to ( http://ankisrs.net/ ) to find the download link. If you do grab Anki, make sure to read the help files, check out the youtube videos the creator posted, and check the Anki Google Group/ReVTK forums for any troubles you have. Anki is a great tool, but definitely takes a little getting used to.

    If you did use those, let me know. I'm also putting the above information up for newcomers who may be curious about the method. Don't give up on the Kanji!
  • pecan_
    Thanks for the info! I was sure I was missing something because so many people said this book was so much easier than the traditional method^^ I will give it a try :)
  • pecan_
    Just now downloaded Anki! Yay! It's really great to use, and it looks like it has a lot of languages you can study on it! :D
  • shairn
    Someone on another board mentioned that they learned the kanji similarly to Heisig's method, but instead of adapting the meaning of the primitives(Which honestly I find would be a better idea), they interpreted the primitives as anime characters and would build their stories around these characters. I don't know if it would work for you, I wouldn't personally use a technique like that, but I think it would be worth your time playing with the meanings that way.

    You have to be careful not to lose the meaning of the kanji though, and to stay consistent in how you interpret the primitives.
  • pecan_
    It's a good idea, but I've honestly found after trying different methods I remember Kanji best when I write them constantly in my Kanji practice book, and writing letters in Japanese, and reading Japanese magazines and etc. I'm sure that method would work perfectly for lots of people though! :) I guess no two people have the same method of learning.
  • shairn
    Of course, without practice it would be unrealistic to expect one to remember the kanji for any extended period of time. I do think Heisig's method facilitates the introduction to each kanji, which is reinforced with practice. But of course, if it doesn't work out for you, then there's not much to do.
  • Niki112
    RTK never worked for me, I LOVE reading so studying the kanji and then just read, read, read is what works best for me :-). To each their own.
  • pecan_
    Niki112, I have to agree with you. I guess there are two separate categories in which people learn Kanji. I just need to keep reading in Japanese! :)
  • SloanAkira
    I remember Kanjis better by knowing all the radicals. There aren't too many. And for some reason it helps me remember the rest of the kanji as you write, if you know one or two radicals you know exist for a certain word.
  • Kurizu208
    Yeah radicals are KEY IMO. With them you can at least guess the meaning.
  • pecan_
    Yeah, radicals are important, also^^ I tend to remember a Kanji much better if I know every radical in it.
  • Onna_Lee
    I find that I'm the same when it comes to remembering Kanji, or anything for that matter. Knowing the very basics is a great help for me. With that...does anyone know of a good site that could help with learning and practicing Radicals?
  • shairn
    If you don't mind harsh language and rather adult subject matter at times, you can give www.kanjidamage.com a shot.
  • dudegolem
    Thanks to everyone who posted in this thread. Learning radicals, in conjunction with Anki, has been very helpful!
  • xMakoReactantx
    I tried that book! I was able to learn a few, so I'm not complaining about the basic idea behind it (memorizing through emotional response,) but in my opinion it has a few drawbacks. Big ones you can slide a Mack truck through. You won't be able to read anything out loud unless you know the corresponding readings for each word, and it takes a lot more effort to pile at least 3,000 little stories that won't help you learn properly into your brain than it does to remember a list of radicals.