The Kanshudo Blog

Welcome to the Kanshudo blog! The most recent entries are displayed here; click on any headline to read the full post. Older posts are linked from the bottom of the page.
Search the blog using Site search. Enter 'blog' as one of your keywords to restrict your search to blog posts. For example: blog kanji

Your Japanese Mastery Level vs Your Kanji Mastery Score

Posted: 2019-11-19 | Tags: mastery kanjimastery howto deepdive kanjiwheel
In this post we're going to dive a little deeper into the relationship between your kanji mastery score and your Japanese mastery level. Long-time users of Kanshudo will be very familiar with the kanji wheel and kanji mastery score - how exactly do they tie up with our new comprehensive Japanese mastery level?
Your kanji wheel and kanji mastery score
' target='_blank'>https://d3mn0rm7t2z33v.cloudfront.net/images/kanjiwheel3.png' style='width:100px' width='100' /> ⇗
The kanji wheel is a visual summary of your progress with all kanji. We divide kanji (and kana) into sets, and visually represent those as rings in a wheel - the hub of the wheel represents kana, and the most frequently occurring and useful kanji are nearer the center.
We shade the rings in the wheel based on our assessment of your knowledge of each kanji individually. We rate your mastery of a specific kanji from 0 (no knowledge) to 4 (fully mastered). Each ring of the wheel shows you how many kanji you have with each score.
Your kanji mastery score then sums up your knowledge of all these kanji by assigning weights to each ring - rings nearer the center are given more weight, because the kanji are more important. A score of 95 means you have fully mastered all 2136 Joyo kanji. (To get to 100, you also need to know kanji outside the Joyo, such as the Jinmeiyo.)
Your Japanese mastery level
' target='_blank'>https://d3mn0rm7t2z33v.cloudfront.net/images/mastery-wedges.png' style='width:100px' width='100' /> ⇗
Your Japanese mastery level is a number from 1 to 70 which represents your overall Japanese progress - not just kanji, but also vocabulary, grammar, and general experience.
In your dashboard, the graphic at the top represents your progress through your current mastery level. The number in the center is your level - here, 24. Each 'wedge' is shaded to show your progress through that element.
So in this example, the wedge on the left (kanji) is fully shaded - it shows you have completed the kanji requirement for mastery level 24. The top wedge (vocabulary), is about 80% shaded; the right wedge (grammar) is about half shaded; the lower wedge (experience) is about 20% shaded.
So how do my kanji / word / grammar mastery scores relate to my Japanese mastery level?
' target='_blank'>https://d3mn0rm7t2z33v.cloudfront.net/images/mastery-star.png' style='width:100px' width='100' /> ⇗
Each set of ten mastery levels corresponds to one ring in each wheel. So for example, mastery levels 10 to 19 (each of which starts with a '1') corresponds to ring 1 - the first actual ring in each wheel. (In the kanji wheel, the central circle is for kana.)
Mastery levels 20-29 correspond to kanji / words / grammar with usefulness level 2. If your mastery level is 24, you are working on the second ring in each wheel.
The rings show you how many items you need to study, and what your mastery score is for each item. From those numbers we calculate an average - your 'average mastery' for the ring. We require you to reach average mastery of 3 (out of 4) to progress from one ring to the next. In other words, to complete one set of ten mastery levels, we require you to get your average mastery for the kanji / words / grammar in that set to 3.
So to progress from one mastery level to the next, you need to accomplish 10% of that - you need to increase your mastery of kanji / words / grammar by 0.3.
We require you to make progress in all dimensions in parallel. Even if you increase your kanji mastery by more than 0.3, you won't progress to the next mastery level until you also increase your grammar and vocab mastery by 0.3, and accumulate a certain number of study points.

Introducing Japanese Mastery

Posted: 2019-11-06 | Tags: mastery
We are delighted to formally take the wraps off our comprehensive new approach to learning Japanese, the most exciting update and significant update in Kanshudo's history.
Our new approach brings five significant improvements:
Your Japanese Mastery Level
Your Japanese Mastery Level is a single number from 1 to 70 which represents your progress with Japanese. Kanshudo now tracks your knowledge of kanji and kana, grammar, and vocabulary separately, and presents you with an overall progress assessment as well as your progress in each area individually. Read more about Japanese Mastery Levels.
Your Dashboard is a new central location accessible from anywhere on Kanshudo with a single click, showing your Japanese Mastery Level, your current study session, and other key status information. Visit your Dashboard.
AI Study Recommendations and Study Sessions
Our new AI examines your study history and Japanese Mastery Level, and develops custom study sessions just for you. Study sessions can be as long or short as you like, and you can take them as often as you wish. Each session consists of one or more study tasks which are customized to focus on the knowledge most useful for you to acquire next, as well as on making your study time as effective and fun as possible. View study recommendations on your Dashboard.
Your Japanese Mastery Map
Your Mastery Map is a visual indicator of your progress through the 70 mastery levels, represented as a physical journey through Japan's islands, culture and history. The Mastery Map helps bring your Japanese to life, as well as giving you practical and useful knowledge of life in Japan. Visit your Mastery Map.
New Navigation
We've completely redesigned our navigation system, putting key study tasks in the top menu, and a comprehensive list of key system functions in a new bottom menu. You can access your Dashboard and Study Session from the top of any page, and you can take advantage of a sophisticated new search switcher which will help you find anything on Kanshudo quickly.

Kanji usefulness

Posted: 2019-10-28 | Tags: kanji usefulness ring
As part of our transition to the new Japanese Mastery system, which tracks your progress with grammar and vocabulary as well as kanji in your Dashboard, we're introducing a 'usefulness' rating consistent with the usefulness rating already used for vocabulary and grammar points. This replaces the old 'ring' designation of kanji.
Kanji usefulness levels start with 'K' for kana, and then go from 1 - 8. Usefulness levels 1 - 5 represent the Jōyō kanji, and map directly to the former rings 2 - 6. In other words:
  • kana used to be 'ring 1', but are now 'usefulness K'
  • the most common kanji used to be 'ring 2', but are now 'usefulness 1'
  • etc.
What used to be ring 7 contained 'everything outside the Jōyō'. With the new system this is now more clearly broken out into separate usefulness levels:
This new system makes it much easier to see the study requirements for your Japanese Mastery Level. For example, if you are studying mastery levels 10-19, you can see at a glance from the first digit (the 1) that you should be focusing on kanji with usefulness 1, grammar points with usefulness 1, and vocabulary with usefulness 1.
You can find kanji by usefulness level with the special ufn: search keyword. So for example, to find all kana, you would run a kanji search for ufn:K. To find all kanji with usefulness level 3 (formerly ring 4), you would run a kanji search for ufn:3.
You can combine the ufn: keyword with the mymastery: keyword to find kanji with a specific usefulness that you have mastered to a specific level. For example, ufn:1 mymastery:4 will show you all kanji with usefulness 1 that you have fully mastered.
Your kanji mastery wheel looks just the same, and still has the name number of actual rings - all that's changed is how we describe them!

Updates coming soon!

Posted: 2019-09-06 | Tags: features mastery updates
It's been a few months since we've posted an update, because we've been hard at work on some very exciting improvements to Kanshudo. We're delighted to announce that beta testing is coming to a close, and over the next few weeks, we're going to start rolling out the new features and updates. Here's a quick preview! You can try any of these features today by joining the beta program - details below.
  • Our biggest update is what we're calling Japanese Mastery Level. This new measure tracks your Japanese knowledge across several dimensions in parallel - kanji, vocabulary, grammar, and overall experience. This is a big step forward from the kanji mastery score, and comes with some great new visualizations such as the Mastery Map (a visualization of your progress as a literal journey around Japan), as well as word and grammar mastery wheels (building on the kanji wheel you know and love!).
  • New navigation: we've redesigned the navigation to provide quick access to key functions (at the top) and more comprehensive access (at the bottom) on every page.
  • The Dashboard: your new 'home page' on Kanshudo. Once you move to the new navigation system, the Dashboard will be accessible from any page on Kanshudo, and will summarize your mastery progress, your lesson status and other key data.
  • Our new AI study recommendations! We are delighted to announce big improvements to our AI - the system that tracks your Japanese progress and provides recommendations for what you do next. The new AI tracks more dimensions of your progress, and offers broader recommendations based on what's available on Kanshudo. It now takes into account how long learning tasks might take you. Plus, study recommendations are now presented in the form of study sessions, which include a set of tasks with a defined time limit, so you can easily manage your study time.
  • We're very pleased to introduce Boost, an entirely new study mode on Kanshudo, which is very effective for learning, but has all the fun of our games - because it builds on them! Rather like our Kanji Challenges, Boost presents you with a series of games and exercises for the material you're working on. However, Boost works with any material - words, grammar points, kanji, collections etc.
  • Grammar Match is our first grammar-focused game. For those of you studying for the JLPT, this will be extremely helpful, as it will let you really drill into how grammar is used in real sentences. Unlike other Japanese grammar sites out there, Grammar Match comes with a *huge* array of material - we've built a rules engine to let grammar points draw on our full database of 160,000 example sentences.
  • Our Travel Collection is a set of useful words and phrases designed for your first trip to Japan. The Travel Collection comes complete with a range of study methods, including flashcards, our new Boost, and more.
  • Quick Test is a great new study mode which lets you quickly work through any collection of material and identify what you know and don't know for focused study.
If you would like to help beta test any of these features, please drop us a line via our support page.

Textbook Companion for the Basic Kanji Book series

Kanshudo's Textbook Companion enables you to use all the features of Kanshudo with your favorite textbook. Similar to our own lessons, you can review the words and kanji introduced in each lesson of your textbook, practice drawing the kanji, play kanji and word games, and automatically generate flashcards. Kanshudo tracks your progress, updates your Kanji Wheel, and gives you study points!
Today we've introduced a new companion for the Basic Kanji Book series by Bonjinsha. The Basic Kanji Book series focuses on kanji, covering around 250 per volume.
In addition, the Kanshudo Textbook Companion supports the latest editions of several other popular textbook series: Genki, Minna no Nihongo, Japanese for Busy People and Adventures in Japanese.
Get started with the Kanshudo Textbook Companion today!

Change component list
By default the component builder shows the most common components (themselves joyo kanji, or used in at least 3 other joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.

Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Help with the component builder
For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of.
For any components you recognize, if you know the English meaning or name, start typing it in the text area. Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Alternatively, count the strokes of the component, and scan the list to find it visually.
To find the kanji :
  • Notice that it is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫.
  • 氵 艹 口 all have three strokes, so you could look in the list in the 3 stroke section. 夫 has four strokes.
  • Alternatively, you could start typing 'water' (氵), 'grass' (艹), 'mouth' (口) or 'husband' (夫) in the search area, and the components will be highlighted in yellow.
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.