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Remembering the Kana

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  175 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
This book will help you teach yourself the writing and reading of all 46 characters each of Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabary from memory. By making use of a method of "imaginative memory," introduced in this book, you will be saved from the order of repetition. Following the method, you will be able to write and read all Japanese Kana in three hours and retain them ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published by Japan Publications Trading Co., Ltd. (first published May 2001)
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Jun 24, 2010 Gavin rated it it was amazing
It does let you learn them pretty shockingly fast. If you aren't used to using your visual memory to memorise things (explained further in Tricks of the Mind by Derren Brown) by yourself, Heisig's own scheme will cut that prior reading/training for you. In fact, Heisig's visuals are by rights more consistent and easier than any you can come up with in the same period of time it takes to read this text.

Highly recommended.
Mistress   ~ ♠ Mistral's Kiss ♠ ~ (Mist)
I was only using this book to learn Katakana, and found the mnemonics unusable. They were the old school unnecessarily complicated sort. I returned this book and used instead.
Oct 28, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
I was really surprised how good this book was. I tied learning the kana a number of times, by brute force memorization, and it never really worked out that well. I started this book on a Monday, and finished both volumes by that Friday where, on a quiz, I'm getting 90% or higher on remembering these. The images he tries to form in your mind are very helpful, and I like how stuff builds off each other (for example, Fu フ Nu ヌ Wa ワ Su ス U ウ Wo ヲ are presented together because they look similar. Fu ...more
Jun 08, 2009 Anca rated it it was ok
The first part, learning the hiragana, was pretty useful. I managed to learn that syllabary in 4 days (without intense training, just the half hour per lesson).
The second part though was a different story. For the first 3 lessons there aren't any useful mnemonics and that's about half of the syllabary. I quit trying to learn the katakana with the Heisig method and learned the rest using other resources and setting up my own mnemonic devices.
Ahmad Hajja
Mar 05, 2017 Ahmad Hajja rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Even though some of the imagery, supposedly easy to imagine, make sense some of the time, I found myself more often than not creating other ways to remember. I did learn the Kana, but I wouldn't say the method in this book made a lot of sense to me. I do hope that Remembering the Kanji makes more sense. The Katakana definitely gave me a harder time, so I'll end my short review with a phrase I coined that helped me remember the difference between Shi, Tsu, N, So, and No. Simply Shitsunsono (シツンソノ ...more
I personally recommend learning both hiragana and katakana at the very start of your Japanese studies. This book makes it easier to initially remember the different kana through the use of mnemonics. Then, as you work through your other Japanese study material, your knowledge will be greatly reinforced and solidified. If you're really focused for a few hours, you can get through both hiragana and katakana in a day even (don't do it all at once though... work on it in little chunks throughout the ...more
Apr 07, 2014 Doug rated it it was ok
In terms of usefulness, this book had very little for me. I found myself unable to relate to the imagery used for learning the syllabary with a majority of the hiragana. The only reason I didn't vote it as low as possible is because it did help me learn a few of the characters.

Honestly, I would look up this book on Amazon and read a few pages of the excerpts and see how much they help you. If the imagery works for you then go out and buy it. If not, You're probably better off just using your ow
Sep 19, 2014 oxana added it
Shelves: linguistic, not-owned
As it happens, I had just taught (or, re-taught, as it was) myself hiragana and katakana before obtaining this book, so I didn't use it for studying the two. Thusly I cannot comment whether Heisig's method is effective of not (and if the mnemonics work, or if you'd be better off making your own when needed, and learning the rest by good ol' repetition).

The book is pleasant to look at and gives clear instructions on how to proceed - even when it's a lot of jumping back and forth. Perhaps too much
Feb 22, 2015 Nicholas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Great method of associating the Japanese kana to things that an adult can remember, rather than forcing it through brute force. However, it is (and admits to being), just a first step that can and must be improved on by the repeated application, which will eventually tend itself towards brute force to achieve the speed to both read and write in a normal capacity.

Excited to read the Kanji companion from Heisig, which made this book recommended.
Nov 30, 2015 Jaclyn rated it did not like it
Shelves: yuck, 勉学
The mnemonics here are too contrived to recall quickly. I used this alongside other study aids (free and courtesy of Tofugu and Learn The Kana's websites) and found myself using those mnemonics when going through my flashcards. Heisig's heart is in the right place, the stories are just far too intricate to develop rapid reading skills.
Jayson Virissimo
Sep 28, 2012 Jayson Virissimo rated it really liked it
It does exactly what it says it will. You will learn the kana as long as you follow the instructions, although you will have to keep using them to keep them in memory (or else use spaced-repetition software, or better yet, do both). Now, back to the kanji. つよくなりたい!
Uno de los mejores libros que han pasado por mis manos en mi época de japonés autodidacta. Usa el método mnemotécnico de la memoria imaginativa, siguiendo un orden específico para aprender el silabario.

A mi me resultó realmente útil y ameno.
Apr 05, 2014 Janary rated it it was amazing
This is the third book I finished this year, and it has really helped me a lot with my Hiragana and Katakana. I am surprised how fast it took me to go through all of it with your help, good job Mr. Heisig, I look forward to devouring your Remembering the Kanji books.
Nov 12, 2010 Тsvetan rated it it was amazing
really well written short stories, which help you remember how the symbol looks. The author uses the so called "primitives", simple images, which he puts in order to form the easy to remember story. That goes for the Hiragana, the Katakana and the Kanji book Heisig wrote. All of them brilliant.
Jun 07, 2016 Scott rated it really liked it
Great, now I can sound out my Sailor Moon manga and use context clues to figure out the complex story full of mature themes like shopping, losing weight, and falling on your goddamn face every time something surprises you.
Feb 09, 2011 Chrispwill rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese
Great book and great methods. I wouldn't trust the pronunciation guide if you don't live in the States, though, as it is designed for US English. In combination with online pronunciation guides, you can learn both the hiragana and katakana in 4 or 5 days.
Timon Karnezos
Sep 18, 2009 Timon Karnezos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a reason why this is the standard. I'd say more than 3 hours each, but no more than 7.
Sep 30, 2013 Rashdan rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of the easiest ways to learn the Japanese alphabet.
Feb 06, 2008 obakasan rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
kinda works for me...
Jan 02, 2011 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: language
Excellent tool for learning the Kana.
Aug 30, 2008 Ajnadenver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: othertastic
It works! If you follow the directions and really visualize each little story around each character, it'll stick. If you're learning Japanese, I'd highly recommend -
Tonk82 rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2010
Maxime Noel
Maxime Noel rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2015
Denisha Jones
Denisha Jones rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2016
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Apr 12, 2011
Geoff Sturm
Geoff Sturm rated it it was amazing
Jun 02, 2016
Michael Mc Donnell
Michael Mc Donnell rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2011
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Andrea Rojas rated it really liked it
Jul 20, 2016
Ilma rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2015
Daniel rated it really liked it
Sep 04, 2014
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