The podcast about learning Japanese.

Episode 5 – Getting Started with Kanji

Posted February 28th, 2009 by Enrico in Podcast Episodes

In this episode, we discuss how to start learning and mastering the most complicated part of the Japanese writing system, the kanji.  The kanji are the characters that were integrated into the Japanese language from Chinese.  Over time, these characters have diverged slightly from their Chinese counterparts and are now a separate entity unto themselves and are a crucial part of mastering Japanese reading and writing.

Cast:  Enrico Bianco, Jonathan Gardiner, Mike Oetlinger

Related links:  (Kantango, mentioned by Enrico)  (Wakan, mentioned by Mike)
(Yookoso! Kanji-a-Day, includes RSS feeds!)  (Anki, the free and open source spaced repetition system) 

Related books:
Kanji & Kana, Hadamitzky and Spahn, Tuttle Language Library
The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, Halpern, Kodansha International

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  1. 2 Responses to “Episode 5 – Getting Started with Kanji”

  2. By Daniel on Mar 1, 2009

    You touched on something that I’ve discovered myself as a beginner in Japanese. I started writing a journal every day (on one of those language-based journal sites) and found that I couldn’t read what I wrote the previous day without Rikaichan. I was too dependent on the computer — and was allowing it to enter the kanji for words that I knew only in kana.

    I’ve been using to help build my vocab. I’m not sure whether you’ve mentioned it here before. It’s a lot like Anki. And use “Japanese” on the iPhone as my dictionary.

  3. By Enrico on Mar 2, 2009

    I haven’t mentioned iKnow on the show but I recently created an account there. I haven’t had time to fully explore around yet but when I do, I’ll probably find a space to mention it on the show.

    I’ve been thinking of doing an episode entirely focused on all of the ways that your computer can become your ultimate Japanese study tool, and websites like iKnow would definitely be part of that.

    Personally, I like having all (or at least most) of my material to review available offline. That way, if I find myself in transit for a long period of time without Internet access, I can still do some review to pass the time. That’s the main reason why I’ve stopped storing and synchronizing my review material on online sites like Kantango.

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