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Review Kanji The Fun Way! – With Japanese Music

Posted June 3rd, 2011 by Kimberly in Learning Japanese

Kanji; considered to be one of the most difficult aspects of learning the Japanese language. But studying Kanji does not have to be boring.

For me, the more fun you make your studies, the more you will commit it to memory.

A great method to learn kanji based vocabulary is to read Japanese lyrics if you are a fan of Japanese music.

I would search on the net for lyrics to songs that I enjoy listening to or would sing in karaoke. I make sure to find versions of the lyrics without Romanji. I only get the versions with full Kana and Kanji.

I find that lyrics with Romanji or Furigana become too much of a “language crutch” as my eyes tends to look at them first rather than the Kanji I want to learn. Romanji especially, prevents me from memorizing the look and reading of the target Kanji because I keep wanting t look at it first. All I want to see is the Kanji and then relay on my own memory for the readings.

I would then “copy & paste” all the Kanji that I do not know into my Anki decks; making sure to add the reading of the Kanji as well as the meaning in English. Be careful when doing this without hearing the song before you add them to your Spaced Repetition System, your flash cards, your notes, etc; as some singers have Kanji in their lyrics that maybe sung in a different reading.

For example, I really like the ending theme to Magical Knight Rayearth Season 1 called 「明日への勇気」 The word 明日 (tomorrow) in this case is read as あす and not あした to sound more poetic.

You can sing along with the lyrics or you can try to read the lyrics without Furigana out loud. When you come to a character that you cannot read or remember, look it up and then start reading it over again from the beginning. See how many times it takes to read all the lyrics from beginning to end without starting over. In time, you will be able to read and recognize Kanji that is used in everyday Japanese.

I find that if you collect enough song lyrics and go through all the Kanji; you will see a lot of the same Kanji re-appear in different songs as a lot of songs have the same themes in common; like love, relationships, etc.

I really enjoy going to karaoke with my friends. I think it’s a great way to unwind and to exercise your brain, while reviewing Kanji without even knowing it.

Karaoke also helps reinforce Kanji that you have already learned.

Try it with your favourite Anime, J-Drama or J-pop songs. I’m sure you will have fun and learn something new!

See you all next Friday!

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