How to learn Kanji


I began a new lesson in japanese, but i’ve a problem: I cannot read kanji. I would like to learn kanji, but i’m a little bit lost. Where i can begin?

If you have an Android or iphone, I would suggest downloading some apps. There are some great apps that teach kanji at the beginner level. On Android I suggest Samurai Fude. There are so many more I could suggest If you are truly interested.

The reason I suggest apps to start learning kanji is because you can learn to read/write and say them all at once. Your phone or tablet is portable so you can study several times a day. Lastly using apps can be fun especially the game i suggested.

1 Like

Learn more about mnemonics. It’s the best way to learn kanzi. I learn Chinese using mnemonics. I split a character into parts that has some sense (they’re called radicals). And then remember them within a small story. For example, I split this Chinese character 徳 (find Japanese close one) into these parts:

  • go slowly or 2 people together (in this case it’ll be two people)
  • 10 things
  • a net
  • a heart

Character means morality or kindness. So I imagine this:

TWO PEOPLE who love each other and very KIND to each other are walking. They are holding TEN bags in their hands. One bag contains a NET inside. Inside the net is HEART of a bull. You thought they’re kind but they aren’t because they’ve killed an animal.

Such story is very striking so it’s easy to remember it then. Chinese pronunciation of this character is DE. So I convert it into DEvil.
Then add this: I look inside their eyes and see a fire and a DEvil near it.

Stories might be different. It depends on your own imagination. The advantage of this method is that you will remember new character once and for almost two days. If you’ll repeat it after two day then you’ll remember it for one week and so on. As for me, this method is very effective to easily remember any characters of any complexity.

Read the book of Tony Buzan - “Use your memory” and Heisig J.W. - “Remembering the Kanji” for the further information.

Good luck)


Hi, Andrey! =))

There’s quite an issue of ‘compatibility’ speaking in terms of IT terminology! =))) The Chinese use a simplified version of the characters whereas Japanese use their traditional version, just the same they use in Taiwan, not in Mainland China! =)))

Besides, in Japanese there are two readings of kanji, the Japanese and the older Chinese, but there are no tones, however! :wink:

Moreover, some of the Chinese characters are just not used in Japanese at all, e.g. the ‘de2’ shown in your example! :wink:


I would also like to add that personally, That was not effective for me. As I begin to learn them I started to recognize similar radicals in certain groups of kanji and built connections that way, But actually putting a meaning to each radical and searching for them in other kanji can be overwhelming.

Another suggestion that I thought of, Is don’t learn kanji by stroke order. As in don’t learn only kanji with 1 stroke and then kanji with 2 stroke and so on. That is not going to hep you in the long run. Learn kanji as you learn beginner material. Some kanji have a small number of strokes but an advance level meaning. So even though you may have memorized it, it won’t become useful for a long time. What you don’t use , you loose, making learning it a waste of time.


I agree with ManduhPooh. I learned to recognize between 3-4000 characters . I wrote but certainly used far fewer characters when writing, although we had to write fairly difficult texts, translate newspaper editorials from English to Chinese etc. I found mnemonics, the radicals, learning by stroke order all to be of relatively little help. Writing characters out over and over, at first, and then lots of reading and writing were key. The radicals and elements of characters that represent different sounds, all become evident with enough exposure and use.


thank you, I will make to practice your advices :3 I hope that’s work :slight_smile: Thank youuuu