The Kanshudo Blog

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Textbook Companion for the Basic Kanji Book series

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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!

Kanji Wheel improvements

Posted: 2019-04-11 | Tags: mastery kanjimastery kanjiwheel
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Kanshudo's Kanji Wheel is a unique way to visualize your knowledge of kanji. You can instantly see how well you know kanji of all levels of difficulty, and pinpoint what to study next. The Kanji Wheel is a visual representation of your 'kanji mastery', which is also presented as a single score to help you track your progress.
If you're new to Kanshudo's Kanji Wheel and your Kanji Mastery score, check out our detailed guide, or just visit your own personalized wheel to see it for yourself. You can reach your Kanji Wheel by clicking the icon wherever you see it in Kanshudo.
We're delighted to announce several improvements which make the Kanji Wheel even more useful:
  • Overall summary data
  • Simplified scoring mechanism
  • Detailed explanation of your current score
  • Graphical illustration of your progress over time

Overall summary data

Many people have asked for a summary of their overall progress - how many kanji have I fully mastered? How many do I have left to study? We've made this very easy: now, when you visit the Kanji Wheel, you will see an OVERALL PROGRESS panel which shows you exactly where you stand.

Simplified scoring mechanism

We've simplified the way your kanji mastery score is calculated to make it more transparent and easy to understand. Previously we used a 'weighted average' score - different mastery levels would contribute different amounts to your average mastery score for a ring. Now we've made that a simple average - your average mastery is what you would expect: the total of each kanji in the ring multiplied by your mastery of that kanji, divided by the number of kanji in the ring.
For a few users, this means that your score went down a few points. However, we've updated all your historical scores to use the new formula, and since you can now track your score over time visually, you can see your relative progress over time much more easily than you could previously.

Detailed explanation of your current score

To help see what you need to do to improve your score and why it changes the way it does, we now provide a summary of exactly how it is calculated. In the OVERALL PROGRESS panel, click CALCULATION DETAILS.

Graphical illustration of your progress over time

How fast is your kanji knowledge progressing? How long will it be before you have fully mastered the kanji? To help you understand this, we've added a graph showing your progress over time. You can see the most recent year's progress directly from your Kanji Wheel - in the OVERALL PROGRESS panel, click SCORE HISTORY. You can also see a summary of your progress since you began using Kanshudo - you'll find a link in the quick view, or you can reach the full view from your account index. Here's a direct link.
We hope you enjoy these great new features, which are intended to help your kanji studies progress faster and more enjoyably! If you have any feedback please let us know.

Reading Corner updates

Posted: 2019-03-01 | Tags: newfeatures read reading partners satori
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We've made some big improvements to the Reading Corner, Kanshudo's Japanese/English bilingual reading library.
  • We've doubled the number of readings to choose from
  • Readings cover all levels - we have pieces for absolute beginners, beginners, intermediate and advanced!
  • By popular request, we've added some non-fiction pieces, including news extracts
  • We have several pieces by some of Japan's most famous authors
  • The index page has a fresh new look, and you can now filter readings by difficulty level, genre, and your own reading progress
  • You can now create flashcards from the kanji and word lists for each reading
  • You can take a 'Quick Test' for the kanji & words to find out what you already know, and create flashcards only for what you don't
Visit the Reading Corner now to get started!
As always, through our partnership with Satori Reader, you have access to over 450 additional readings, and you can sync your Kanshudo progress.

Obligatory-Gift Chocolate

Posted: 2019-02-12 | Tags: valentine holidays chocolate
Valentine's Day is a big event in Japan, but the customs are somewhat different to what you might be accustomed to. To help you prepare for a Japanese Valentine's Day, we've added a delightful new bilingual reading to our Reading Corner:
As well as Valentine's Day customs and vocabulary, this piece introduces you to the core Japanese grammatical concept of giving and receiving, covered in depth in our grammar point, あげる, くれる, もらう - giving and receiving.
The Kanshudo Reading Corner is the perfect way to practice your Japanese. It contains short bilingual texts of various levels and styles, designed to introduce you to useful words and grammar in real world contexts. Try to read each sentence in Japanese first, but then check the detailed annotations and grammatical notes to build your knowledge.
To find out more about Valentine's Day in Japan, you can also read our in-depth article, Valentine's Day in Japan.

How to read Japanese kanji

Posted: 2019-01-20 | Tags: studyaids kanji readings
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Ever since we started Kanshudo a few years ago, one of the most consistently requested features has been for help answering questions like this:
  • Which kanji readings should I learn?
  • Which kanji readings are actually important?
  • When a kanji has several readings, how do I know which one to use?
We're delighted to let you know Kanshudo now has the answers! Today we're announcing three major new features: together, they will give you all you need to know to understand how to read kanji.

A comprehensive step by step 'how to' guide: 'Kanshudo's guide to reading Japanese kanji'

Our new guide is a practical step-by-step introduction to kanji readings, with many examples, and simple rules of thumb for determining how to read any word you encounter.

Detailed data for each Jōyō kanji on how important each reading is

We have analyzed every common word for every Jōyō kanji, and created a comprehensive assessment of how useful each reading of each kanji is.
Now, whenever you click on a kanji to get the 'quick view', you will see a summary of usage of each reading.
Plus, you can click through to the kanji's details page, where you'll see a summary of all readings used in all words in Japanese!
To check this out, run a search for a kanji. In the search results, click the blue box to get the quick details, and you'll see the usage summary. For example, try:

Ability to search for words that use a specific reading of a kanji

You can now search for all words that use a specific reading of a kanji. Our new search syntax even lets you search for different variations of the same reading separately.
To use this function, enter a search of the form kanji:reading. For example, try this search for all words that use 本 with reading ほん: 本:ほん
Together, these new tools let you quickly find the most useful words for any reading, so you can get a sense of how important that reading is, and determine how important it is for you to learn.

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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.