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Essential Kanji: 2,000 Basic Japanese Characters Systematically Arranged for Learning and Reference
by P.G. O'Neill
Essential Kanji is an integrated course for learning to read and write the 2,000 basic Japanese characters. It introduces the kanji that are now in everyday use, a mastery of which makes it possible to read most modern Japanese. Devised for either home or classroom use, the book has been tested and refined by years of use in university classes taught by the author.
Paperback, 325 pages
Published November 1st 1987 by Weatherhill
(first published November 1973)
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Learning Kanji is not necessary to using Japanese, but learning them adds a whole new dimension of appreciation for the poetics of the language. Essential Kanji is a useful reference book to learn new kanji and review old ones. It is arranged differently than other books on the subject and can cause slight confusion at times because of it. Most books on the subject are arranged by grade or year. It can be useful to see them in a different order because it can spark new memories.
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Mar 19, 2007 Christopher rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: japanese language students
The 2000 most often used kanji presented in the traditional learning order with stroke-order and often used compounds. Doesn't address radicals or the thousands of other kanji and compound words you will need to be able to read, but its a great start. Highly recommended to beginner through intermediate.
I love this book so so much~<3 It's so awesome and helpful. I've used it to look up kanji many times and I've used it to learn the simpler kanji (I'm lazy, otherwise I'd have learned more). It's so thorough, I really couldn't ask for anything more from it. It's a beautiful little book and it smells like candy! (for some reason, but don't look a gift horse in the mouth) :D
Outstanding book on learning to read and write Kanji. It covers the 2,000 basic Kanji that are the foundation of studying Japanese. When I first started to study Japanese, my ability to read and write it was greatly enhanced by the usage of this book.
After 16 years in Japan and all the advances in online dictionaries and translators, this book still gets regular use. I would even say that the more familiar you are with kanji, the more useful this guide becomes, since looking up unfamiliar ones becomes even faster.