Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters” as Want to Read:
Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  337 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The aim of this book is to provide the student of Japanese with a simple method for correlating the writing and the meaning of Japanese characters in such a way as to make them both easy to remember. It is intended not only for the beginner, but also for the more advanced student looking for some relief from the constant frustration of how to write the kanji and some way t ...more
Paperback, 460 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by University of Hawaii Press (first published April 1st 1990)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 927)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kenrick Chien
Don't let the method presented in this book turn you away. The first time I read about this book, I thought "WTF? When am I going to learn the readings of each character?! This is STUPID!"

About 3-4 years later, I realized that the method from my Japanese classes wasn't cutting it. What method am I referring to? The method where you learn the strokes for a particular character, 2 or 3 readings of it, and then repeatedly writing it ten times or more, hoping that it would stick in my memory past t
...more
Sophie
I DID IT. Right on.

Phew! I started working with this book at the end of July/the beginning of August. Heisig himself says in the preface that it should be possible to finish it all in six weeks if you're dedicated and have the time - I laughed at that and thought to myself that it would take me years.

It took me four months. Four months of sitting down every evening to learn about 15-20 new kanji each day. (And I would've been done even sooner if some dickwads hadn't broken into my apartment and
...more
Niklas
Okay, just thought I'd summarize the pros and cons of this book quickly in case anyone wonders whether it does the trick or not.

First of all, this book is only going to be effective for readers who wish to learn all the commonly used kanji. This is because the order the characters are listed in is not based on how commonly they are used but rather the simplicity of the components. To illustrate the "problem" I can add that I know how to write "gall bladder" in kanji, but I do not know how to wri
...more
Yuba
This book was recommended to me years ago by a French lecturer at my university in Japan. I mainly checked it out because I found the concept fascinating and wanted to give it a try, but in the end the way of learning that this book teaches you is not compatible with my own mental way of categorizing what I learn; in a sense, I would have had to un-learn everything I already knew to begin with, and since this book only teaches you to recognise meaning and not to "read" - that is, not to be able ...more
R
Don't be fooled into thinking there is any one way to get thru the kanji-- your ass is on a mission through imaginationland as you read his and create your own stories to go along with all 2000 or so common kanji. Working through this book took me about 8 months, and it's benefit is only felt when you finish them all. They are in what Heisig calls "imaginative memory" order; that is, you can't expect the first 300 to be the kanji with the fewest radicals. However, they're laid out nicely so the ...more
Cassandra
Apr 25, 2011 Cassandra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone studying Japanese
Shelves: reference, nonfiction
Love, love, love this book. Between RTK, Anki, and kanji.koohii.com, I learned the (English) meanings and writing of over 2,000 kanji in 89 days. I averaged 22.9 kanji per day and studied for 136.8 hours. Of course, now that I've entered all of the kanji into Anki, I have to keep reviewing. But I love this method of learning kanji.

When I see an unfamiliar kanji, I can now break it down into radicals and figure out how to write it. Before RTK, kanji was just a bunch of scribbles. More than anythi
...more
Abdullah Al-uthman
two months have passed since I started this book. In these two months, I have learned 2200 Kanji, formed 2200 different stories, drew 2200 characters, and most importantly, learned 2200 words from the Japanese vocabulary. Heisig book offered me a significantly great push towards learning the Japanese language.

The main advantage of Heisig method it teaches you one of the best methods to differentiate between similar Kanji. There are a lot of Japanese Kanji which differ by a single stroke which c
...more
Karmologyclinic
My last attempt at learning Japanese stuck when I had to start memorizing the Kanji. I found it impossible to memorize writing, meaning and 2-3 readings for each kanji all at the same time. I ended up confusing everything and not being able to memorize more than a couple of kanji each day.
Mr. Heisig suggests you do each of these tasks separately. At first I thought it was an obnoxious idea and that it wouldn't fit my way of learning. But the reasoning behind the method seemed legit, and I gave i
...more
Olena Rosul
I think this book is a great help in studying Japanese characters. A lot of them look alike, sometimes with a difference only in one small stroke, so it is very difficult to tell them apart. Having a story that makes EACH character unique, no matter how similar to others it looks, is a fantastic idea.

Of course, the method is not without flaws.

For example, the order in which the characters are learned differs from "the most frequent and important first", which is a standard in many courses. It me
...more
bhen adrecra
I was going to begin this review by repurposing the old dictionary joke about how the zebra did it. In the case of Remembering the Kanji book I it was the sign of the snake that did it (2042. 巳). You are right, it is a terrible joke and does not work at all here. I am glad I did not use it

I found James Heisig's Remembering the Kanji books I and II in a used-bookshop in old Tokyo town. They were a rather cheap 500 each—much cheaper than the 30 or 2000 I had seen them at before—so, despite having
...more
Chrispwill
An excellent book by an excellent author - RTK invokes mnemonic techniques that are useful not only in learning the kanji, but learning almost anything else one puts one's head to. On a good day, I often learned almost 100 kanji, with high levels of retention. If I were to read/complete the course again, I would probably take it easy, learning at a rate of about 25 per day. Slow and steady wins the race.
Lindu Pindu
The best method if you want to start learning Japanese without feeling like you're under siege.
Patrick Wallace
For anyone wanting to remember how to read and write kanji, this book is a must have.

The author, James Heisig, makes a few assumptions about learning the kanji that may seem odd at first, but in the end make perfect sense.

His first assumption is that it is a waste of time trying to learn only a handful of kanji. If our goal is language acquisition, then we should try to remember all of the kanji that the Japanese government has declared open for daily use in Japanese. By making this assumption
...more
Haengbok92
Aug 14, 2007 Haengbok92 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any Kanji learner
If you are looking for a way to memorize the Japanese Kanji without beating your head against a wall, this is the book for you. I spent a year trying to learn Kanji the traditional way, but my rote memory wasn't up to the task. I would write and write but within days of practicing one Kanji, it would slip out of my brain and onto a squishy mass on the floor. Heisig changed that for me. Using his method, I learned to write and associate one English meaning to 1,600 Kanji in three months. Unfortun ...more
Lara
I actually haven't read the entire thing, and I don't think I'm even going to go through this book in detail anytime soon, but only because I realized that the kanji learning system I have been using (WaniKani) is partially based on this method, and is actually a little more complete, as it takes you though pronunciations and vocabulary as well, which this book ignores altogether. Also, the words used to describe various kanji are slightly different in this book than what I've seen in WaniKani, ...more
Thomas Dimattia
A book haphazardly put together quickly by someone with a high IQ and always seemingly on overdrive. When he stayed with us at the Maryknoll house in the early 90's one night, I wasn't impressed with him then, decided to pick up his book, and was even less impressed with him after spending 10 hours with the book. Only two or three mnemonics with two or three kanji were all that brilliant, not enough for even one star rating. This is what happens when you had the greatest teacher in kanji in the ...more
Randyansyah Rachmanalan
This book may be not for everyone, but this book works best for me. I realized that Kanji is a beautiful art that's composed by components called radicals and primitives, and that makes me more appreciating Kanji. Good job, Mr. Heisig.
Ryan
this book took me a lot longer to finish than it should have, but that was my fault, not the book's. I still have a long road ahead of me to "master" Japanese, but this was a crucial step and I for one would never reach any real proficiency without this book. I don't know if I'll use the other books, but I feel great for having finished this one. I highly recommend it, but be sure to read the introduction first. I already knew 300-500 kanji before starting this, but I still used his entire metho ...more
Melissa
Apr 02, 2013 Melissa marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _to-read-someday
Feb 2010 -- I'm thinking I don't like RTK so much anymore. Sticking *English* keywords on kanji is really getting to me. Also, learning them totally out of frequency order just isn't making sense for me now either. I'm going to learn the more common kanji first, and then maybe go back and do the rest in primitive-relatedness order. Maybe just focus on DeFrancis for now, too. (Note: Prior to starting RTK, I was already semi-fluent in conversational Mandarin (grew up speaking it, never learned to ...more
Melissa
Feb 2010 -- I'm thinking I don't like RTK so much anymore. Sticking *English* keywords on kanji is really getting to me. Also, learning them totally out of frequency order just isn't making sense for me now either. I'm going to learn the more common kanji first, and then maybe go back and do the rest in primitive-relatedness order. Maybe just focus on DeFrancis for now, too. (Note: Prior to starting RTK, I was already semi-fluent in conversational Mandarin (grew up speaking it, never learned to ...more
Chloe Tisdale
A very nice, incremental approach to Kanji that makes it easy to pick up the common forms, not only teaching you the Kanji in the book, but making it much easier to pick up new Kanji elsewhere. On the downside, it doesn't include any information about readings, so while it helps you learn the shapes and meaning of the Kanji, it won't actually help you read Japanese. Still, it's definitely worth a look for anyone just starting out, or who is having trouble retaining Kanji.
sheena
This book is a gem. Really useful visual images that help you remember the kanji.

You need self-discipline though, and about a third in Heisig decides to stop babying you. At that point you have to start coming up with your own stories for the kanji, but he's trained you so well it shouldn't be an issue, just takes persistence.

I'm lazy and I quit, but I recommend this to anyone serious about learning to read, write and recognize Japanese.
Bethany
Heisig gave me a great start with my characters. I didn't finish the book using his mnemonics, since once I had a firm foundation in stroke order and radicals and an idea of how to create my own memorable stories, I have been able to review and learn new characters based on actual sentences and dialogues I'm learning.

I highly recommend this book if you want a doable start to learning the kanji. Heisig manages to make it fun!
Jennifer
If you are serious about learning Japanese, you need this book, period. Armed with this book, the Anki SRS program, and the crowd-sourced stories and advice over at http://kanji.koohii.com/, it is possible to knock out the most difficult and intimidating part of the language in a few months.
snowman
Takes the task of learning kanji and breaks it down into manageable parts. In this first volume you learn an english keyword for each kanji or radical and snowball the combined meanings on top of each other as you progress throughout the book. It's a good preface to learning vocab.
Patricia
The only kanji book (after many) that helped in my ongoing study of the elusive (at least to me) Japanese language. Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, legitimate and otherwise, my notes tell me I started studying this book in May 2004! Holy crap.
Matthew
Could it be better? Maybe. But this book gave me the ability to memorize the writings of over 2000 Kanji, something I have struggled with during my 6+ years of Japanese study. If you're stuck, or just starting, this is your next step.
Laura
I love this book, it reminds me why I love kanji and learning japanese in general. In spite of the fact that I have never actually finished using it, its the only book that keeps me coming back again and again, to try again.
Cecilia Marie
Dec 02, 2013 Cecilia Marie marked it as to-read
I just began using this in tandem with the web-based SRS in Reviewing The Kanji (RevTK), which I think helps a lot in story-making.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 31 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Genki I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I
  • All about Particles: A Handbook of Japanese Function Words
  • A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar 日本語基本文法辞典 (Japanese Grammar Dictionary Series #1)
  • Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don't Tell You
  • The Kodansha Kanji Learners Dictionary
  • Japanese Grammar
  • Kanji Pict-o-Graphix: Over 1,000 Japanese Kanji and Kana Mnemonics
  • Breaking Into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text
  • Basic Kanji Book, Vol. 1
  • Let's Learn Hiragana: First Book of Basic Japanese Writing
  • How To Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own
  • Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories by Contemporary Writers 1 free CD included
  • Read Japanese today
  • Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure
  • Japanese for Busy People I: Romanized
  • Random House Japanese-English English-Japanese Dictionary
  • Read Real Japanese Essays: Contemporary Writings by Popular Authors
  • Making Out in Japanese: (Japanese Phrasebook)
Remembering the Kana Remembering Traditional Hanzi: How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Chinese Characters Bk. 1 Remembering Simplified Hanzi, Book 1: How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Chinese Characters Remembering the Kanji II: A Systematic Guide to Reading Japanese Characters Remembering the Kanji 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters, 6th edition

Share This Book