# How To Learn Kanji? A Beginner’s Ultimate Guide

How To Learn Kanji? In a similar way, not learning kanji is like cooking a meal without all the seasonings that make it delicious. Your meal is still edible and provides you with the energy you need to continue your day. However, do you find it enjoyable in any way and would you recommend it to your friends? Unfortunately, no. While you do not need to learn kanji to get by, learning kanji will definitely help you gain a better understanding of the Japanese language and make your life in Japan easier.

In the beginning, many Japanese learners complain that learning Kanji is difficult. Kanji can be difficult to understand at first, but that does not diminish its importance. There is widespread use of kanji in Japan. There are examples of this on menus, signs, and even in names. It is therefore not sufficient to be able to speak Japanese or read hiragana if you plan to live in Japan for an extended period of time.

Furthermore, if you intend to work in Japan in the future, you must be familiar with kanji. Now that we have established the importance of kanji, let’s discuss the best method for learning it. This article will provide you with some great kanji study tips so you can stop stressing about them when you are next confronted with them.

The Kanji character is only one part of a much larger and more complex Japanese language. If you have not already done so, we recommend visiting our Guide to Japanese Adjectives and Guide to Japanese Conjugation.

## How To Learn Japanese Kanji In The Best And Fast Way

### Memorization Through Repetition

Repetition is the key to learning any language. Just about anything can be learned through rote memorization, like flashcards or reading notes over and over. Reading and writing down kanji (and their meaning) over and over again is a great way to study. For beginners, this is a great way to start learning kanji.

You could also practice stroke order with easy-to-write kanji. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to read kanji and how recognize radicals. You’ll also learn how kanji look and how they sound based on whether they’re associated with another kanji. You won’t get stressed out when you see the same kanji again!

### Using Mnemonics

Another way to learn kanji is with mnemonics. Many kanji textbooks use this method to help students memorize kanji. I was taught kanji with this method as a beginner and it helps me memorize certain kanji. Kanji are pictures of the words they represent.

It’s hard to figure out what each kanji represents just by looking at it, since kanji were created centuries ago. Using a picture to associate kanji with its meaning is one of the best ways to learn them. Here are a few examples of how to use a picture to explain kanji.

• $$田 (だ/da)$$ : Rice Field
• $$川 (かわ/kawa)$$: River
• $$山 (やま/yama)$$: Mountain
• Learn $$常用漢字$$ (Jouyou Kanji)

In Japanese society, jouyou kanji are commonly used kanji. In Japan, children are taught this type of kanji. You can learn kanji by studying jouyou kanji. Some of the kanji on the list are commonly used and easy to write. Furthermore, the strokes are not too difficult, making them easy to remember. A few of these kanji are $$肉(にく$$/niku/meat), $$国-くに$$/kuni/country), and $$子 -こ$$/ko/child).

Knowing this type of kanji will be helpful when you begin reading Japanese newspapers, signs, books, and other reading materials. However, you will at least be familiar with a few popular kanji that will make reading easier. You might even be able to guess the meaning of words you don’t understand. In Japanese textbooks such as the Genki textbook, jouyou kanji can be found. Online lists can also be found easily.

Are you aware that we offer highly engaging online Japanese textbooks for beginners? To prepare you for your next encounter with kanji, we will cover some of the most commonly used kanji.

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### Learn The Kanji For The Words You Use The Most

This kanji tip encourages you to study kanji you might use in everyday conversations but aren’t included in Jouyou kanji.

Electronics (printers, headphones, etc.), decorative items in the home (curtains, vases, lamps), and words specific to a career field. You might be able to communicate better with Japanese friends and family if you learn more kanji for words you use regularly.

By learning kanji like these, you’ll be able to expand your vocabulary and knowledge of kanji. Try using kanji to spice up your conversation with a Japanese pen pal.

Maybe you just wanna understand what your penfriend is saying without having to constantly ask them what the kanji means. Whatever you do, learning the kanji you’ll use regularly is a smart way to learn Japanese.

### How To Learn Kanji Radicals

There’s no doubt that you’ve noticed a pattern in the kanji you’ve learned. You’ve seen these trends related to the radical, which is the main component of kanji. Radicals can be found left, right, above, or below kanji.

Kanji can also be surrounded by them. You can guess the meaning of the kanji by understanding the radical. See for yourself. Observe how the radicals are used to interpret a kanji’s meaning.

$$読$$ (yo)

The radical is $$言$$. This is located on the left and means to say. As a result, the kanji refers to speaking. $$読$$ means to read.

$$悪$$ (aku)

The radical is $$心$$. It refers to the heart or mind. Hearts and minds are not literally referred to in this phrase. It is more metaphorical in nature. At the bottom is radical. Hence, the kanji represents the heart. $$悪$$ (aku) means bad.

Being able to recognize and understand kanji is a valuable skill when you begin reading more Japanese literary content. For beginners to the Japanese language, it is impossible to know the meanings and pronunciations of each of the kanjis that are used by the Japanese.

When they see unfamiliar kanji, even native Japanese speakers look them up. It is possible to improve your reading speed and comprehension of a text by understanding the meaning of radicals. Despite guessing the wrong meaning, your Japanese friends will enjoy it at the very least.

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### Take Your Vocabulary List To The Next Level With Kanji

You can broaden your kanji studies even more by learning the kanji on your vocabulary list. It’s probably not a surprise to you that Japanese textbooks like Genki have kanji lists for each chapter. Here’s the order of the strokes, their meanings, and their pronunciations.

A kanji that gets this much attention is usually considered important and is regularly used. Having said that, textbooks like Genki also provide plenty of vocabulary words without a detailed chart showing kanji writing and other words using the same kanji.

Like kids who don’t get invited to parties but have all the coolest party tricks. The party will always be fun, even if you don’t see them very often.

Study the kanji and your word list. Besides helping you learn more kanji, it will also help you memorize your vocabulary words. Your use of grammar principles will probably increase as you learn the grammar principles and complete the writing activities for each chapter.

The kanji for each word should also be studied if you have made your own vocabulary list. In order to read Japanese books, signs, newspapers, and other reading material better, you must learn more kanji.

It can be tedious to create your own vocabulary list. Our Ultimate Guide to Learning Japanese Vocabulary covers everything you need to know.

### Become Familiar With Japanese Reading Material

A language must be read in order to be learned. You probably heard this from your English teachers every day. No matter where you are from or what language you speak, you must be able to read and write. Reading and writing can only be improved by doing more of them.

You might be thinking, “I can’t!” “I don’t know enough kanji.” or “It’s too difficult.” “I have to translate everything.” You might be right in part, but not entirely. The goal is to motivate yourself to learn more about kanji and understand how they are used in writing, so you may not recognize every kanji you encounter.

It will take some time for you to become proficient at reading Japanese. It took you a long time, but you persevered and now you’re an expert in it.

Alternatively, you might have read beginner-level material that was easy to understand and had easy-to-pronounce words. The process of learning kanji is no different. You can improve your understanding of kanji by reading materials that match your proficiency level.

You can start reading children’s material if your proficiency level is N5. Two manga that is easy to read for beginners includes kanji reading: Yotsuba and Shirokuma Cafe. You should definitely check them out.

In addition, if you are reading online, use the Google Chrome browser extension rikaichan. When you hover over words with your mouse, it translates the kanji. Hovering over kanji will also provide you with information about them. All Japanese language learners should use this extension when reading Japanese.

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### A Dictionary Can Be Helpful

It is important to use a dictionary when learning any foreign language. If you do not know the meaning of a word, you should be able to search for its translation easily. Studying Japanese is particularly challenging. You might also want to look up words that use similar kanji if you do not know the word. If you learn kanji, you will gain a better understanding of its meaning.

If you don’t have access to a digital dictionary, it can be difficult to look things up. However, if you know how to spell the word in hiragana, it’s relatively easy. See if the surrounding words use the same romanized kanji as the romanized kanji. There should be a lot of words that use the same kanji and you should be able to comprehend the meaning of all the related kanji.

Therefore, we highly recommend that you buy or download a dictionary if you don’t already have one. If you don’t have one, you can’t study Japanese efficiently or effectively.

### Make Sure You Practice The Stroke Order

Is it difficult for you to remember the pronunciation and meaning of a kanji but not its appearance? Many Japanese language learners experience this problem. If you answered yes, you aren’t alone. It seems that many people are more likely to remember the meaning and pronunciation of a kanji if they are looking at it. When they do not see the kanji, however, it becomes significantly more challenging.

There is a connection between this phenomenon and how people study. Using flashcards to study the meaning and pronunciation of kanji is a common method of studying Japanese. Stroke order, however, is overlooked in this study method.

By learning the stroke order of a kanji, you’ll be able to remember how it looks. Additionally, you will gain more confidence when you encounter two kanji with similar pronunciations and will be able to determine which one to use. The fact that you’ve seen and read about how to operate a car doesn’t mean you know how to drive it. It is always easier to remember some things when you actually do them.

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### Get To Practice With Your Pen Pals

Although some may consider writing kanji to be the most boring and time-consuming method of learning kanji, it is probably the most effective method of memorizing kanji. Try making it more engaging, interactive, and fun if you fall into this category. Starting a pen pal relationship would be a good first step.

Writing to a pen pal is a great way to improve your grammar and spelling skills. You can also use it to remember vocabulary words and kanji. You will find yourself using some kanji over and over again.

By repeating kanji, you become more engaged when you talk to someone, resulting in better recall. If you are looking for a pen pal, check out HelloTalk. Our Ultimate Guide to Japanese Learning Apps will give you more useful tools for your learning journey if you’re searching for something more specific.

### By Studying Compound Kanji, You Can Learn Kanji

Despite our previous discussion, studying kanji alone can be a bit of a letdown. Trying to memorize a kanji while muttering the meaning and pronunciation of the word, you stare at it. Due to the lack of context, it is hard to remember just one character by itself.

If you walk into an argument, the first thing you hear is, “It wasn’t my fault!” It’s like trying to make sense of the conversation. “I barely touched the elephant!” It may take you a while to realize that the argument is about who spooked the elephants during a previous visit.

The process of learning kanji is similar to that of learning English. This is probably due to the fact that kanji are typically parts of words. In addition to their own meanings and pronunciations, they are often accompanied by hiragana or another kanji. Check out the kanji in the picture below.

Make sure you read the meanings of each kanji separately.

### Use Flashcards

Flashcards are a tried-and-true way to study. On the other hand, people who make their own Japanese flashcards write the word in Japanese on one side and the English equivalent on the other. I think this is a good idea. It works, but you’ll need to know a few more things when studying kanji. We’ve got you covered with White Rabbit flashcards.

There’s no comparison between White Rabbit flashcards and the old standard flashcards. These flashcards have English translations of everything on the card, as well as stroke order, kanji that seem similar, and other words using the same kanji. Despite having a lot of information on one card, it doesn’t look cluttered. There are three levels of difficulty for flashcards: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. There’s so much information in White Rabbit flashcards that they’re great for studying kanji.

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### Apps For Learning Kanji

Apps are always a great option when it comes to studying. There are apps for learning autonomy, math, and coding. There must be some kanji apps out there. Kanji Study is one of those apps. There are hundreds of kanji to study in this app – from Elementary 1 to Advanced. You can also learn about radicals with this program.

The Japanese Kanji Study lets you study kanji in depth by analyzing characters, explaining radicals, and using words in sentences. The stroke order of the kanji can also be shown along with the various terms that use it. The app is free on Android, but you’ll have to pay a one-time fee to access most of it.

You can also learn Japanese with JLPT: Japanese Study Kanji Vocabulary N5 N4 N3 N1. With this app, you can learn more than kanji. While studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), you can practice your vocabulary and grammar. An appealing interface makes the app easy to use. There’s also a free version of this software in the Google Play Store, but you have to buy a subscription to get access to the full app.

### Learn Kanji With These Books

You can also learn kanji through books if you don’t like apps. These books include kanji displaying stroke order and strategies for recalling kanji. Kanji can even be memorized using visuals. In order to study kanji, many students use Remembering the Kanji: A Full Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters.

Even though it doesn’t have visuals like Kanji Pict-O-Graphix, another kanji book, it does describe how the kanji appears, so you can imagine the kanji in your head. You can get the book on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

### Get Into Calligraphy

If you’re an artist or want to branch out from learning kanji, calligraphy might be for you. Calligraphy is known as $$書道$$ -$$しょどう$$ (shodo) in Japanese and you may already be familiar with it. There have probably been videos of people meticulously writing characters with a brush dipped in ink on thin white rice paper. There’s something graceful about it, and the result is always stunning. Having tried it a few times, I found it to be relaxing and peaceful.

If you do try out $$書道$$, you may quickly discover how messy it can be. Use several layers of newspaper or construction paper behind the rice paper to keep the ink from bleeding onto the hard surface below. Rice paper is super thin. You might even want to wear an old shirt and pants in case you spill ink. You can always buy calligraphy pens if you want a less messy alternative.

Write down the meaning of the kanji you studied in a corner of the paper first. This part can be done with a regular pen. After that, draw the kanji that matches the meaning with an inkbrush or calligraphy pen. Make sure you use the right stroke order. Make sure you got it right once you’re done.

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## FAQs

Is kanji difficult to learn?

Japanese kanji, the boogeyman of the language, is actually pretty simple. In addition to making it easier to learn kanji (through spaced repetition systems), technology has also made reading and writing kanji easier. You don’t have to remember the stroke order of each kanji anymore; just type it in!

How long does it take to learn kanji?

What’s the average time it takes to learn Kanji? We calculate that you should be able to read kanji within three months if you learn 25 kanji a day. The first time you saw kanji was probably when you decided to learn Japanese.

How many kanji should a beginner learn?

People say you have to learn around 2000 kanji to be fluent in Japanese. For example, Japanese people must know 2136 government-mandated joyo kanji. Similarly, you have to know 2000 kanji to pass the N1 level of the JLPT.

Is Japanese kanji easy?

Kanji looks complicated, and it takes time to learn – a high school graduate needs to know 10,000 different characters! It doesn’t require talent, though. There’s good news for those who are scared to learn Kanji: it’s logical.

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## Conclusion

Kanji can be hard to learn. Now it doesn’t have to be. You’ve learned two of the best ways to study kanji, along with how to get started. Besides apps and activities, you know a few ways to make studying interesting. That’s why you don’t need to worry. It’s fun dragging your brush over thin rice paper or joking around with a pen pal.

When it comes to mastering Japanese conversation, your vocabulary is just as important as your kanji. Learn how to survive any Japanese conversation with our guide Guide to Top 1000 Japanese Words You Need to Know!

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