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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.

Study the most important Japanese words first!

Posted: 2017-03-17 | Tags:
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Continuing our theme of making it easier to learn Japanese vocabulary, we've made several great improvements to Search and Flashcards. It's now even easier to use Kanshudo as your primary Japanese/English English/Japanese dictionary, your primary Japanese flashcard program, or both!
  • One of the hardest challenges for Japanese learners is knowing which form of a word to learn. Some Japanese words can be written in as many as ten different forms, and the same form can often be read in different ways. Ordinarily when you look them up in a dictionary, you are just shown them all in a list. Not Kanshudo!
Kanshudo now includes frequency data on every form of each word, and frequency data for each reading. We prioritize the order of the forms and readings we show you based on frequency, and give you information on relative importance of each form. Now you can focus on learning the most useful forms of words!
  • You can tag any form of a word as a Favorite, enabling you to learn that specific form. If a word is commonly encountered in kana only, you can tag the kana form as a favorite.
A major problem with most Japanese dictionaries is that they force you to learn kanji you're not ready for, or all forms of a word at once. Kanshudo makes it much easier for you to learn words by letting you study the form you actually encountered!
  • Word definitions are now displayed in a much more dictionary-like form, with part of speech information, and different senses clearly separated.
  • Now when you click on a word, you see additional information and example sentences without leaving the search screen.
  • Search with romaji!
  • Results in Quick Search are now much better prioritized.
Check out these great new features in Quick search - run the examples provided, or try your own search.
In Flashcards, we've added a new option (on by default) to enable you to study flashcards in order of 'usefulnesss'. In other words, if you have a set of kanji, vocab or grammar flashcards, or any mix, Kanshudo will automatically choose the most important cards for you to study first.
This is an incredibly valuable feature if you are picking up words to study from things you read. It's not uncommon as a Japanese learner to have to look up tens or hundreds of words in a newspaper or magazine article - even thousands of words for a novel. How do you decide which of those words to learn? If you learn the less common ones, you're much more likely to forget them. Kanshudo now handles this automatically for you - enabling you to study the right words for your level of Japanese.
Plus, creating flashcards from your Favorites has been improved greatly, with a new wizard which lets you choose what type of favorites to import, select a set to import to, and automatically clear your favorites once the import has finished.

New scientific study shows superiority of mnemonics for memorization

Posted: 2017-03-10 | Tags: mnemonics memory
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A new scientific study1 showed that using mnemonics, the main memory technique underlying Kanshudo's approach to teaching the kanji, a group of ordinary people became as skilled at remembering information as competitive "memory athletes". The study, published in Neuron by scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Germany, analyzed the brains of competitive memory athletes using fMRI brain imaging, and then compared the brains of a group of 'normal' individuals before and after training with mnemonic memory techniques. After six weeks of training, their test results were dramatically improved (in some cases almost doubled2), and their fMRI results showed distributed organizational changes in their brains matching the memory athletes. It's official: mnemonics not only improve memory; they can literally improve your brain!

Mnemonics - one of the oldest memory tools known

Mnemonic imagery as a learning aid was in use as far back as Ancient Greece3. Cicero wrote of a legend in which the poet and wise man Simonides was fortunate enough to step out of a banquet hall just before the roof collapsed, and was afterwards able to identify those who were not so lucky by consulting a mental map he had made of their faces. In Roman times, the technique evolved into the 'method of loci' 4, in which objects to be remembered are placed at loci (places) in a mental map of a physical location. In modern times this technique is often referred to as the 'memory palace' 5.
For most people, mnemonics are more familiar in the form of simple acronyms to help remember commonplace sequences, such as Every Good Boy Deserves Favor to illustrate the notes of the lines of the treble clef, E-G-B-D-F. More generally, a mnemonic is a means of encoding information to be remembered within something - an image, a phrase, an existing memory - that can be more easily remembered.

Using mnemonics to learn kanji

In Kanshudo, we apply this technique to learning the kanji. One of the hardest aspects of the kanji for learners who grew up with an alphabetical native language is the sheer number of symbols to be memorized - the Jōyō kanji ('daily use kanji') is a list of 2136; most Japanese adults know 3000 or more. This is a daunting task! But mnemonics make the task much simpler.
Most kanji are formed from a combination of simpler elements ('components'). Many of these components are very simple, very common, and very easy to learn - for example, 一 ('one'), 丨('stick'), or 口 ('mouth'). As you study, you will rapidly get to the point where you know many components, simply because they come up so frequently.
Kanshudo takes these simpler elements and combines them into a mnemonic - a simple, easy-to-remember phrase that ties together the meanings of the components with the meaning of the more complex kanji. So now when you learn a new kanji, you get a double benefit: you know the new kanji, and you have also refreshed your memory of the components that form it. This technique is extremely powerful, because the more you know, the easier it becomes to learn more.

Get started!

To read more about the use of mnemonics in Kanshudo, see our system overview, or read our detailed guide How to learn the kanji. When you are ready, take a Beginner Lesson, or if you already know some kanji, try the Quiz. You can also study kanji components directly using Kanshudo - see our collection of the 50 most common or our comprehensive collection of all components used in the Jōyō kanji.

Japan's annual doll festival - hinamatsuri(雛祭り)

Posted: 2017-03-01 | Tags: feature articles points of interest customs
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Read our new feature article on the forthcoming 雛祭り, one of Japan's great annual festivals.
As with all our feature articles, you can see vocabulary and kanji listed so you can quickly and easily tag any you need as favorites to study.

New vocab collections: iKnow! Core 6000

Posted: 2017-02-27 | Tags: vocabulary collections
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Next in our series of new vocabulary study features: the iKnow! Core 6000 vocab list. You can now use Kanshudo to study and track your progress with the iKnow! list of 6000 of the most useful words in Japanese. Use flashcards, quick study, tag favorites or download the data.
The iKnow! list of 6000 core Japanese words is a great framework for focusing your vocab studies. The series is designed to give you vocabulary from absolute beginner to relative expert level. In Kanshudo the list is divided into an ordered series of 60 collections so you easily prioritize. If you are studying the iKnow! list, you can now use all the power of the Kanshudo system to make your studies more effective and enjoyable.
Access the 60 iKnow! collections here: iKnow! Core 6000.

Build your Japanese vocabulary with Kanshudo

Posted: 2017-01-31 | Tags: vocabulary new features flashcards jlpt
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This year Kanshudo will be introducing a series of features to help you power up your Japanese vocabulary. Today we're announcing the first big improvement: the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) vocabulary collections, covering a total of 8,183 of the most useful words in Japanese.
As with all our collections, you can use quick study, tag favorites or create flashcards automatically, or just download the data.
The collections are ordered into five sets, corresponding to the five levels of the JLPT - N5 (easiest) through N1. Within each JLPT set, the words are further ordered by 'usefulness' - the most useful words coming higher. So if you study the words in the order presented, you know for sure you are learning vocabulary that will be most valuable to you first. (We'll be explaining more about usefulness soon ... stay tuned!)
We now tag all words in the collections with JLPT badges when they appear in search results, so you can quickly see which variant of a word is needed for the JLPT.
Access the vocab collections here: Kanshudo's JLPT vocabulary collections.

New Core Collections

Posted: 2017-01-03 | Tags: Kanji Collections Reference
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We're excited to announce a new set of kanji collections on Kanshudo: our 'core' collections. We've collected and organized full sets of:
  • Kyōiku (the 1006 kanji taught in Japanese school grades 1-6, organized by the grade in which they're taught)
  • Secondary (the additional 1130 kanji taught in middle & high school)
  • Jōyō (the full set of 2136 'daily use' kanji - the Kyōiku + Secondary)
  • Jinmeiyō (the additional 862 kanji allowed for use in Japanese names)
  • JLPT (the Jōyō kanji organized by the 5 levels of the JLPT)
  • Jōyō added in 2010 (helpful for anyone who began studying kanji before that!)
  • Kyōiku to be added in 2020 (get a head start!)
Kanji in most sets are organized by frequency, so you can study the most useful first. For the first time ever, the Jinmeiyō kanji have been ordered by actual frequency of use in Japanese names - so if you have mastered the Jōyō and are ready for the next challenge (such as the Kanji Kentei), you can prioritize your work effectively.
For each collection, we have introduced several standardized study features:
  • Quick Study - jump right in and study a set
  • Create Flashcards - create cards for organized ongoing study
  • View my Mastery - a new feature: view your mastery for all kanji in the collection in one easy place!
  • Download - download kanji data in tabular format for export to another flashcard program such as Anki
Study the Kanshudo Collections now!

The Kanshudo Holiday Sale!

Posted: 2016-12-16 | Tags: Offers
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Save 50% on a Kanshudo Pro subscription!
What could better Japanese bring you in 2017?
A new job in Japan?
A magical travel experience?
Deeper relationships with Japanese friends?
Kanshudo can help you realize your Japanese dream. Kanshudo is the fastest and most enjoyable way to learn written Japanese. Master kanji, hiragana and katakana, along with Japanese grammar and vocabulary. Kanshudo is effective, fast and fun.
Act now to set yourself up for success in 2017: Kanshudo's Christmas sale gives you 50% off Pro membership for an entire year! Only $15 - less than 5 cents per day - brings you full access to our beginner and intermediate lessons, our textbook companion, unlimited flashcards and many more great features.
Take advantage of this very special Christmas offer now: Give me 50% off!

Introducing the Kanshudo Japanese Grammar Library

Posted: 2016-12-12 | Tags: New features Study aids Grammar Search
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We're excited to announce another major new element of the Kanshudo system for learning Japanese: a searchable grammar reference library.
Currently the library contains about 200 articles, covering all grammar used in the JLPT levels N5 and N4, with a smattering of N3-N1. We are adding more articles every day.
You can browse various overview articles listing grammar by category, and the library is searchable in either English or Japanese.
Best of all, you can 'favorite' grammar articles in the same way as kanji or words. Grammar articles you've favorited appear in your favorites list, and can be used for Quick Study or Flashcards just like your other favorites.
You can also provide instant feedback, or let us know if anything doesn't make sense, using the quick link at the bottom of every grammar article.
Grammar search can be accessed from both the SEARCH menu and the STUDY menu for easy access.
Check out Kanshudo's Japanese Grammar Library today and let us know what you think.

New from Kanshudo!

Posted: 2016-10-26 | Tags: New features Summary
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A lot has happened on Kanshudo in the last few months. We've added many new features to help you master Japanese kanji even faster, and to make Kanshudo even more fun for studying written Japanese. This post is a summary so you have everything in one place. Check out the list below, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Textbook Companion
Use Kanshudo with your favorite textbook! Get the best of both worlds: all the power of Kanshudo, with your existing course. We currently support Adventures in Japanese, Genki, Minna no Nihongo, and Japanese for Busy People. Click here to try the companion now, or read the blog post first.
Beginner Lessons
Our 20 Beginner Lessons are designed for absolute beginners: a fun and engaging introduction to the first 100 kanji, along with about 200 words, and about 50 basic grammatical constructions. Take a lesson today, or if you are ready, move on to our Intermediate Lessons, which cover the first 1000 kanji. You can also start with our guide, Getting started learning Japanese.
The Kanji Wheel
The Kanji Wheel is a personalized visual summary of your entire knowledge of Japanese kanji. Divided into 7 rings representing different levels of difficulty, the Kanji Wheel shows you at a glance what you know, and gives you intelligent study recommendations. Check out your personalized Kanji Wheel now, or read our detailed 'how to' guide, How to use the Kanji Wheel to guide your Japanese studies.
Study Points
Earn free Pro access to Kanshudo! Every time you interact with Kanshudo (study a lesson, learn a flashcard, play a game, tag a kanji as a favorite etc.) we reward you with study points. As you accumulate study points, you are automatically awarded coupons for free use of the system. Check out the Study Points you've already earned!
Quick Study
Use any spare five minutes to study! Quick Study lets you create a study set with just a couple of clicks from your favorites, any flashcard set, or cards you forgot or are finding hard. Just five minutes extra study per day can dramatically improve your Japanese over time. Get started here.
Example Search, Name Search and more
We've added a lot to our search functionality:
The list of improvements is even longer - we've added several more games (we now have six in total: Kanji Match, Word Match, Sentence Builder, Sentence Complete, Phrase Builder and Reading Match), we've added a new mobile-friendly navigation system, we've extended the formats you can use to import flashcards, and we've added keyboard shortcuts to flashcards. We have more great new features coming in the next few weeks and months, so check back again soon!

Introducing the Textbook Companion

Posted: 2016-10-24 | Tags: New features Study aids Study points Kanji mastery
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Lessons and games that correspond with your textbook content
Now you can use Kanshudo with your Adventures in Japanese, Genki, Minna no Nihongo, or Japanese for Busy People textbook!
For all of you studying Japanese in school or university, or with a private tutor, you can now get the best of both worlds: the power of Kanshudo for making your studies more fun and effective, along with all the benefits of your existing textbook.
The Kanshudo Textbook Companion is similar to our standalone lessons, except that the words and kanji correspond to the lessons of your textbook. You can review words and kanji introduced in each lesson, practice drawing the kanji, play kanji and word games, and automatically generate flashcards for each lesson.
Each lesson is fun and engaging, and will help you learn the material faster and more effectively. Kanshudo tracks your progress, and presents your kanji knowledge in your personalized Kanji Wheel. Best of all, as you study the lessons in the Textbook Companion, you earn Study Points which count towards free Pro access!
The Kanshudo Textbook Companion supports the latest editions of four popular textbook series: Adventures in Japanese, Genki, Minna no Nihongo, and Japanese for Busy People. We have more books in the works, so if yours is not listed, please register your preference so we can prioritize it for you.
Get started with the Kanshudo Textbook Companion today!

Improvements to the Kanji Wheel and flashcards

Posted: 2016-10-10 | Tags: New features Study aids Power users Advanced features Flashcards Kanji Mastery
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We're delighted to announce some very useful improvements to the kanji wheel and to the flashcard system. Our flashcard system gets some great advanced management tools, including keyboard shortcuts, merge sets, and duplicate identification. For Kanji Mastery, those with high enough Quiz scores can now mark whole rings as mastered or partially mastered, and you can now manage your mastery score for individual kanji.
Improvements to flashcards:
  • Keyboard shortcuts in study/review mode (click on the help icon for details - the keys use the same mapping as Anki, which our Anki users will find very convenient)
  • Merge flashcard sets, with automatic de-duplication (click the icon which appears above your flashcard sets when you have more than one)
  • Duplicate identification between sets (the merge tool identifies duplicates for you)
  • Duplicate identification within a set (a new option towards the bottom of a flashcard set details page)
Improvements to the Kanji Wheel and Kanji Mastery:
  • See the rationale for your current Kanji Mastery score in a kanji details page (this information will update automatically as you work with kanji going forward)
  • Edit your own Kanji Mastery score for an individual kanji (in the kanji details page)
  • Flag your mastery of entire rings based on your overall mastery level (this new option will appear in your 'study recommendations' if you achieve suitably high quiz scores)

Kanshudo Beginner Lessons

Posted: 2016-09-09 | Tags: New features Study aids Beginners
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We are very excited to announce a brand new series of lessons created especially for beginners and early students of Japanese: Kanshudo Beginner Lessons.
Our Beginner Lessons take you step by step through the very early stages of learning Japanese, assuming no knowledge whatsoever. Over 20 lessons, you will cover about 50 basic points of grammar, the most important 100 kanji, and about 200 words. Once you have completed the Beginner Lessons, you will be ready for the written part of the first level (N5) of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test).
Kanshudo's Beginner Lessons are specially designed by Japanese linguists to be a fun and effective way to get started with Japanese.
  • Each lesson starts with a clearly written introduction to the kanji and readings, including plenty of example sentences
  • Concise grammar points illustrate the grammar introduced by the examples
  • Practice drawing each kanji with a new animated drawing tool
  • Play a selection of five games for each lesson, designed to cement your knowledge in a fun way
  • Automatically create flashcards for later study and review
  • Use a computer, a tablet, or a mobile - or several; Kanshudo will remember your progress
We've prepared a detailed new guide, Getting started learning Japanese. If you are completely new to Japanese, this guide is all you need to make a successful start.
Take your first step towards mastering written Japanese today. Take a Kanshudo Beginner Lesson!

Introducing Quick Study

Posted: 2016-09-02 | Tags: New features Study aids Flashcards Usability
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Quick Study is a great new way to learn Japanese effectively on Kanshudo. Now you can use a spare few minutes to focus on anything that needs attention!
Quick Study enables you to choose a set of words or kanji with one click and get started studying them right away. You can create a Quick Study set from your favorites, or using learned/unlearned cards from existing flashcard sets. Or you can use some really effective study options: choose cards you have had most trouble learning, or cards you've recently forgotten.
Once you've chosen a set, you can study it at any time by choosing QUICK STUDY from the main menu. If you don't yet have a Quick Study set, this will first help you create one.
You can also create a new Quick Study set (and discard your current one) by going to the STUDY menu (or the Study index) and choosing Create a Quick Study set. You can go directly there by clicking here.
Anything you do in Quick Study does not affect existing flashcard statistics, so you can use Quick Study to get an extra review of words and kanji you are worried about forgetting!

More ways to create flashcards on Kanshudo

Posted: 2016-07-06 | Tags: New features Study aids Flashcards Usability
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Did you know that Kanshudo can automatically create word or kanji flashcards for you from a variety of popular dictionaries, or even just word lists you create yourself? Any flashcards you study on Kanshudo, however you create them, count towards your study points! Plus - any kanji flashcards you study will improve your kanji mastery score, and help Kanshudo provide better study recommendations.
Kanshudo supports several key formats for vocab lists:
  • Simple text - write cards yourself, or copy/paste from eg Excel
  • Midori - a popular iPhone dictionary
  • imiwa? - another popular iPhone dictionary (Kanshudo supports two separate imiwa? formats)
Additionally, Kanshudo can create kanji cards for you from any Japanese text - you could just paste an entire paragraph of text and Kanshudo will select the kanji.
We've increased the import limits - Kanshudo Pros can now import up to 50,000 character vocab lists, which enables you to quickly import your entire vocab collection for study.
Any flashcards you create can go into a new set, or an existing set. Plus, as with all Kanshudo flashcards, any kanji included are shown in cascading kanji™ format to refresh your memory of the components and mnemonics. Kanshudo intelligently remembers your progress and shows you cards to learn or review using the spaced repetition algorithm invented by SuperMemo and used in the popular Anki flashcard program.
See our detailed 'how to' guide, or just experiment with cutting and pasting text into the importer yourself - try the importer now.
If you have cards in other formats you want to import, or you are not sure how to import your cards, we'd be happy to help you - just send us a message.

Awesome search improvements

Posted: 2016-06-20 | Tags: New features Usability Search Navigation
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Study Japanese on Kanshudo more easily than ever! We've introduced a bunch of improvements to our search functionality. Now you can search for names and examples as well as kanji and words, see common results for any search in a single page, and get much better prioritization of most useful search results.
Here's the detail on the improvements:
  • Quick search, accessible from the link at the top of any page (or the main nav screen if you're on mobile), now provides all common search results in a single view.
  • Name search - now you can search from a comprehensive library of over 600,000 Japanese names, in English or Japanese. Plus, we've flagged the most common 10,000 surnames, and the most common given names (1000 each). Where your search is for a common name, we will show you the most common readings - this helps solve one of the hardest challenges in learning Japanese (figuring out how to read a name).
  • Example search - now you can search directly in our library of over 150,000 example sentences, automatically displayed with furigana. Explore each one in depth by clicking on the item in the search results, as with kanji / words / names.
  • Kanji and word search are improved - now you can search directly in either using the actual kanji/word, the Japanese reading in hiragana, or the English meaning.
  • Search switching - now you can run the same search quickly and easily in any of the key search functions in Kanshudo (quick, kanji, word, name or example) using easy links right above the search bar.
Here are a few example searches to demonstrate the new functionality in action:

Great new vocab game: Word Match

Posted: 2016-05-21 | Tags: Games New features
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Introducing Word Match, an incredibly fun new way to expand your Japanese vocabulary.
Match each word with its correct reading, in the same way as our very popular Kanji Match. Choose words based on their frequency, or based on the kanji ring of the kanji they use. Quickly study any words you don't know after each round.
Word Match is a fun and effective way to extend your vocabulary quickly with words useful and appropriate for your current level.

Study Points and the Weekly Study Update

Posted: 2016-05-05 | Tags: New features Kanshudo Pro Benefits
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Earn free Kanshudo Pro access just by studying!
We want you to master Japanese. We want you to succeed in your dreams, whether they be top grades in Japanese at school, studying or working in Japan, reading Japanese novels, or building deep relationships with Japanese speakers. We want to help you get there by studying effectively and efficiently.
So today we are announcing an amazing new benefit on Kanshudo: earn free Pro access to Kanshudo ... just by studying! That's right: the more you study, the more free Kanshudo Pro access you get! Here's how it works.
  • Every time you interact with Kanshudo, you earn 'study points'. You can earn study points from studying flashcards, taking lessons, taking the quiz, playing games and more.
  • The study points you've earned can be viewed at any time by clicking the new study points link in the main navigation at the top right. You can also click here.
  • Your study points screen also lets you see view your detailed study history - you can find out what kanji you've studied, and you can see how your studies affected your kanji mastery score for that kanji.
  • As you pass defined thresholds, you will automatically see coupons appear in your study points screen. Just click on any coupon to apply it to your account. Once applied, coupons never expire, and are automatically applied to subscription payments.
  • You will also receive a weekly study update, with a summary of your study points, along with your kanji mastery score , and our top intelligent study recommendation. You can manage your preference for the weekly study update any time from your account details page, or directly here.
We sincerely hope this awesome new benefit makes the full power of Kanshudo accessible to every student of Japanese. Study on Kanshudo today and accelerate along the road to kanji mastery!

New navigation

Posted: 2016-04-14 | Tags: Usability Navigation Ease-of-use
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We're delighted to introduce our new navigation system, which makes accessing Kanshudo even easier and more accessible! The new nav:
  • Maintains the color scheme and general feel of the previous nav to aid your visual memory!
  • Includes 'quick search' - you can now search for kanji and words without leaving your current page
  • On larger screens, shows all key options in an overlay when you select an item
  • On smaller screens, shows the full menu when you click on the navigation icon in the top right of the screen
In addition to the new nav system, we've modified the design of Kanshudo so it now works across all screen sizes. Whatever device or devices you want to use to access Kanshudo, you can use all features of the system, and all your favorites and flashcards etc will be automatically available. We're still ironing out a few stylistic kinks, so if you run into any problems please let us know!

The Kanji Wheel and your Kanji Mastery Score

Posted: 2016-03-23 | Tags: Study aids Revolutionary
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We are very excited to announce the most powerful tool available for studying Japanese and the kanji: the Kanshudo Kanji Wheel™, and your Kanji Mastery score.
The Kanji Wheel is a huge step forward in Japanese learning. The Kanji Wheel:
  • Summarizes your entire knowledge of the kanji in a single chart
  • Shows you instantly where to focus your studies
  • Gives you tools to see and study kanji you know at different levels
  • Provides intelligent study recommendations
  • Is completely personalized for you!
  • Evolves in real time as your studies progress
  • Summarizes your progress in a single Kanji Mastery score
The Kanshudo Kanji Wheel is free and available now for all users of Kanshudo at:
https://www.kanshudo.com/kanjimastery
The Kanji Wheel includes interactive help, but we've also prepared an in-depth how-to guide, How to use the kanji wheel to guide your Japanese studies

Two great new flashcard features

Posted: 2016-03-21 | Tags: Flashcards
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Today we released two great new features for our flashcard system:
  • You can now just paste any text, and Kanshudo will automatically create a flashcard for each kanji in it! Paste text from any website, e-book, email etc - or just a list of kanji you want to memorize. Create a new set with your cards (go to Flashcards home and select the option called 'From any text containing kanji'). Or, add cards to any existing set.
  • From the details page for each of your flashcard sets, there is now a convenient summary of all cards in the set, including the spaced repetition data so you can see how well your studies are progressing. Just go to any set details, and click 'Edit' next to Cards. To read more about spaced repetition, see our how-to guide, 'How to use spaced repetition flashcards to study Japanese'.
The Kanshudo flashcard system is unbeatable value for students of Japanese. You get all the benefits of a dedicated flashcard system such as Anki (unlimited cards, spaced repetition, multiple platform support) - but with the added benefit of Kanshudo's focus on Japanese (automatic kanji card creation, the cascading kanji display format, support for imports from several standard Japanese dictionaries).
Plus, a year's subscription to Kanshudo only costs the same as some flashcard applications cost for a single platform - and those applications come with no cards, no Japanese support, and none of the other amazing benefits Kanshudo provides for your Japanese studies (lessons, games, kanji and vocab search and more).
GO PRO today to unlock the full benefit of Kanshudo and speed your way along the road to mastery of the kanji and the Japanese language!
PS: if you don't know the word in the image, click here for details!

Katakana collection

Posted: 2016-03-17 | Tags: Study aids Collections
We've just added the companion to our Hiragana collection, the new Katakana collection. Now you can study both of the basic 'alphabets' (the technical term is 'syllabaries') of Japanese in one place. Read the outline, then quickly and easily create free flashcards for study!

New interactive kanji slideshow in lessons

Posted: 2016-02-29 | Tags: New features Study aids Graphics Usability
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Today we've added a really useful feature to Kanshudo lessons: an interactive slideshow which provides details of every kanji in the lesson.
Most fun: the slideshow includes a new tool enabling you to practice drawing the kanji yourself! This helps to cement your knowledge of the kanji in an entirely different way from visual learning, through 'motor memory'.
To access the new slideshow, just go to lessons via the STUDY menu at the top of any page, and click TAKE NOW next to any lesson. Then click on the row of kanji at the top of the overview page.
To access the drawing tool, just click on PRACTICE DRAWING at the top right of any kanji page within the slideshow.
The kanji slideshow is a 'carousel', so you can swipe (from a phone) or drag each slide to move forwards/backwards (or you can click on the dots underneath to jump to any slide).
Note: kanji lessons are available to all registered users of Kanshudo. Kanshudo Pros have access to all lessons in the system. For more details, see Go Pro!.

Reading improvements

Posted: 2016-02-24 | Tags: New features Usability
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We've made a bunch of improvements to kanji readings which make them much easier to understand and learn! Here's a summary:
  • On (音) readings are now shown in katakana, per convention.
  • Hiragana kun (訓) readings now distinguish between the reading of the character itself and okurigana used for verb endings etc. For example, see .
  • Each kanji now has a single key meaning, which is prominently displayed at the top of the kanji details page, and at the top of kanji flashcards.
  • For kanji used in names, their name readings are displayed together with their on/kun readings. For example, see .
  • Common on/kun/name readings are now distinguished from rarer 'additional' meanings, to make it easier to know what to learn first. For example, see , which has a total of 45 readings! In cascading kanji view, we continue to show only the common on/kun readings.
  • Kun readings in kanji details view are now clickable, taking you to a word search for the reading.
  • On/kun/name readings in kanji details view now have help buttons for ready reference. We've also increased the total number of kanji in Kanshudo to over 13,000! That should keep even the most advanced masters among you busy ...

Kanji animations

Posted: 2016-01-26 | Tags: New features Study aids Graphics Usability
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We are on the move! More specifically, our kanji are now on the move: in the details page for any kanji, you can now see an animation of the kanji being drawn. This will help familiarize you with a kanji's stroke order, and will help cement your 'visual memory' of the kanji.
To see the animation for any kanji, just click on the kanji in the search results to go to the details page, and then click the 'Animate' button at the bottom right of the large kanji image. Here's an example search.
Here are some direct links to the same kanji:


And, for fun, here's the kanji with the highest stroke count in the Jōyō: . It has 29 strokes! This kanji has a frequency of 1803, so if you already know this, you are well on your way to kanji mastery!

Introducing the component builder

Posted: 2016-01-12 | Tags: Search New features Components
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The new Kanshudo component builder is one of the fastest ways there is to look up kanji.
Quickly and easily build any kanji by selecting its radical or other common components. A very cool and unique feature is that you can just start typing the names of components to see them highlighted.
To get started with the component builder, just go to Kanji search and click the new '部 Components' button.
You can also read a detailed how to guide, and review a comprehensive collection of all components used in the Jōyō kanji as well as the standard radicals, with their names.
We are super proud of our new system - we think it's the best one out there, and we hope it will really speed up your kanji studies. Let us know what you think!

Major improvements to word / vocab search!

Posted: 2015-12-12 | Tags: Study aids New features Search
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Today is a big day: we are delighted to announce several major improvements to word search! Helping you learn the kanji is our central focus, but our goal is to make Kanshudo the most useful system for learning Japanese. Being able to search for vocabulary, tag the words you want to learn, quickly create flashcards from those words, and then learn the kanji they contain are core functions for successful study. Today we are announcing a whole series of improvements to how Kanshudo helps you with this process!
First, you can now tag words as 'favorites'! The little green star appears next to words as well as kanji. Most importantly, when you create flashcards from your favorites, flashcards are created for the words as well as the kanji. This basically allows Kanshudo to be your constant companion - look up words whenever you encounter them, tag them as favorites, and then study them in flashcards whenever you have a free moment. See for example this search for 漢習道.
Next, as you can see from the search above, vocab entries are now bigger and bolder, and they are clickable just like the kanji in search results. When you click on a word, you will now go to its details page, where you can find additional information, links to external sources, and examples. See for example the details page for 日本人.
Search capability has also been greatly improved.
As before, if you enter a word in kanji search, any exact matches (ie words in the dictionary which match your search exactly) will be displayed above the kanji, as in the search above for 漢習道.
In addition, there is a whole new search page specifically for vocabulary, which does much more. Depending on what you search for, the new system will run various searches, and combine the results:
  • Exact matches - the same results that appear at the top of kanji search.
  • Words beginning with your search term.
  • If you enter a search consisting of multiple kanji, Kanshudo will search for words contained in your search. So for example running the search for 日本人 in word search finds additional words.
  • If your search looks like a conjugated form of a verb, Kanshudo will try to identify the dictionary form. For example, if you enter 話しています, the present participle of 話す, Kanshudo will show you the words it thinks could fit.
You can access the new word search here, and you can find it any time from the advanced search page.
With these improvements, when you cut and paste words from anything you read electronically (such as web pages, Kindle e-books / iBooks), or type any word out, Kanshudo will help you find the words, and let you store them for reference. Then, you can review your favorites list and create flashcards to study whenever you have the chance.
Let us know what you think about these improvements, and what other features you would like to see Kanshudo introduce to speed you along the road to kanji mastery!

Hiragana flashcards now available

Posted: 2015-10-14 | Tags: Study aids New features
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If you are just beginning your study of written Japanese, learning hiragana is one of the most useful things you can do.
By popular request, we have created an overview of the hiragana, and we have made it very easy for you to create hiragana flashcards on Kanshudo. With one click, you can create your personal set of hiragana flashcards!
As with all Kanshudo flashcards, Kanshudo intelligently shows you cards you are finding harder more frequently, and will prompt you to review cards you've learned at intervals to help you remember them.
All registered users of Kanshudo can use flashcards for free. Start your Japanese studies today by learning the hiragana!

Introducing spaced repetition flashcards

Posted: 2015-09-28 | Tags: Study aids Usability New features
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We are delighted to announce some major improvements to our flashcards system, along with a new 'how to' guide with all you need to know to use flashcards for your studies.
Here's an overview:
  • Spaced repetition: flashcards now automatically include built-in spaced repetition. Cards you have studied will come up for review at increasing intervals to ensure they stay memorized!
  • New limits: we have simplified the limits. Pros still have unlimited cards, but can now have up to 2500 cards in a single set! You can put the entire joyo kanji in one flashcard set :-) Registered Users can have up to 150 cards, which gets you through the first few lessons in our graded lesson series. There are no longer any monthly limits on how many cards you can create or study.
  • Edit any card: you can now edit any card, including kanji cards, which lets you add your own notes or memory hints.
  • Import or manually add new cards to any set: you can now add cards to lesson sets, kanji sets, or any set!
  • Bigger, clearer buttons! Plus, now cards have 3 buttons instead of 2 (the new button is an 'only just' button which tells the spaced repetition algorithm to show you the card more frequently).
  • New set details screen shows you the study / review status for each set
  • Any set can mix and match kanji and vocab
  • All existing flashcard have been migrated to the new system. If you had already completed studying a set, we have marked the cards as ready for review in one week!!
We've put together a new 'how to' guide showing you how spaced repetition works. Here's a link: How to use spaced repetition flashcards to study Japanese.
Our goal is to make Kanshudo flashcards your one-stop-shop for managing your Japanese studies. You can now keep all your kanji and vocab flashcards in one place, and study whenever and wherever you like. If you like these improvements, please let us know! (And if you have more suggestions, we'd love to hear from you.)

How to master the kanji - our step-by-step guide

Posted: 2015-09-18 | Tags: Study aids Usability
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Whether you are just setting out on your journey to kanji mastery, or you are steadily climbing the mountain, it helps to see the 'big picture' of what you need to accomplish.
We have put together a step-by-step guide which shows you the whole story from beginning to end, and illustrates how the pieces fit together. With our guide, you can see what you need to do first, and then how you need to progress.
For the first time, you can get a comprehensive overview of the entire process of learning the Japanese kanji, all in one place!
To put your kanji studies on a sure foundation for success, read How to master the kanji today!

Introducing 'how to' guides

Posted: 2015-09-01 | Tags: Study aids Usability
Today we are introducing the first of a series of step-by-step guides to the more advanced features of Kanshudo, focused on one of the most useful: how to create vocab flashcards.
Kanshudo enables you to create flashcards for words you want to learn, and automatically presents any kanji in the words in the 'cascading kanji' view used in search results, enabling you to learn or re-learn the kanji in the word while you study the word. This is an extremely effective way to improve your Japanese ability.
To see the detailed guide, visit the new How to guides index. The index is also linked from the top STUDY menu, and from the footer. We will introduce more guides based on demand, so if there are functions you would like explained, please contact us!

Site index

Posted: 2015-08-20 | Tags: Navigation Usability
By popular request we have added a site index! This is mainly to make it much easier to find pages that can be hiding in different sections, but we've also heard of users running into pages and features they didn't know existed, and the site index should help you find those sooner!
You can access the site index directly here, but it's also linked from the top of the Tour, and a link appears at the bottom of every page in the footer navigation area.

Introducing lessons!

Posted: 2015-06-18 | Tags: Study aids
One of the most requested features on Kanshudo so far has been a structured way to learn the kanji, enabling even absolute beginners to get started. So we've introduced lessons, which are designed to be a fun and friendly way to take students from a very early stage (knowing only hiragana) through to the second highest level, N2, of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), the standard metric of written Japanese, which requires about 1000 kanji.
Each lesson in the series is structured as a series of fun games and exercises - Kanji Match, Jukugo Match, Sentence Complete, and finally Flashcards. We call the series '53 stages of the Kanshudo', after the famous series of ukiyo-e by Hiroshige (and like the picture series, there are actually 55 - there's a beginning and an end!).
The first few lessons are available to all Registered Users of Kanshudo. All 55 lessons are availabled to Kanshudo Pros. To get started, go to MY LESSONS.

The Japanese for Busy People kanji collections!

Posted: 2015-04-11 | Tags: Study aids
For those of you actively studying Japanese, we have great news: a set of 42 collections of all kanji used in the very popular Japanese for Busy People textbook series!
Now you can see the kanji introduced in each chapter at a glance, investigate each one in detail, and create flashcards for study on your computer or smartphone.
The Japanese for Busy people kanji collections include 2 for Book I, and 20 each for Books II and III. A total of about 400 kanji are included. All 42 collections are available to Kanshudo Pros. Registered Users can access the first five, and new users can access the first collection.
To view the collections, click STUDY in the top right navigation area, then select COLLECTIONS from the purple study navigation bar. Or just click here.
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