Kanshudo uses learning concepts and data developed by many individuals and organizations, for which we are deeply grateful.
Kanshudo concept, kanji data and mnemonics
The concept for the Kanshudo kanji learning system was created and developed over more than 20 years by Jonathan Kirk ⇗, an English entrepreneur who lived in Japan for several years, has visited over 100 times, and still gets an enormous kick out of reading Japanese novels. The Kanshudo system helped Jonathan pass the 'ikkyu' (the colloquial term for what is now N1, the highest level of the JLPT, the standard exam for measuring the Japanese ability of non-Japanese) with flying colors, work in a Japanese language consulting environment for several years, and co-found a successful business in Japan. Jonathan also used his Japanese to start a successful software-based language translation company, Elanex ⇗, which grew to be one of the largest language translation companies in the world. All kanji mnemonics are copyright Jonathan Kirk and Kanshudo, and their use is subject to our terms and conditions.
Kanji key meanings
Kanji key meanings were synthesized from a variety of sources, including Kanji & Kana by Hadamitzky and Spahn, Remembering the Kanji by Heisig, the Japanese-English Character Dictionary by Nelson, research by Joy o' Kanji, and various Japanese language sources. It's important to note that often there is no definitive 'meaning' for a kanji - a kanji is used in certain words, and comes to carry the associated meaning of that word. Often a single kanji may have several important but distinct meanings. Japanese native speakers tend to learn kanji in terms of key words that use each reading, and this is an approach we favor - this is the basis of our learning game, Kanji Keywords. However, for non-native speakers, a key meaning is a useful memory aid, and it also enables the use of mnemonics for remembering kanji based on the meanings of their components.
Kanji and radical synopses
Kanji and radical synopses are provided by Joy o' Kanji ⇗, a wonderful site which provides detailed (free) notes on many of the 214 standard radicals and long essays (purchase required) for several hundred of the 2136 Jōyō kanji.
Kanji animations
The SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) data used to generate the kanji animations is copyright KanjiVG and Ulrich Apel of KanjiVG ⇗, and used under Creative Commons License ⇗. There are over 11,000 individual kanji graphics, which represents a huge amount of work, and we are very grateful to Ulrich for making these available. The kanji animation algorithm is copyright Kanshudo.
Vocabulary dictionary
Jukugo and their definitions are in part based on the EDICT/JMdict dictionary file, originally created by Jim Breen of Monash University, and used here in accordance with their license terms. Jonathan has been following Jim's work since he first began studying Japanese, and he is one of the key figures in the development of open dictionaries and standards for Japanese text. We owe Professor Breen a large debt of thanks! For more information on EDICT/JMdict, see here ⇗, and on Jim Breen personally see here ⇗.
Example sentences
Kanshudo includes example sentences from a multitude of sources, including novels, newspapers, websites, and existing collections. We have also created many thousands of examples ourselves. Where possible we include an original source reference in the example details page for third party sources. In many cases (such as the examples from the Tatoeba corpus) we have modified the translations or the source text. In all cases the sentence parsing, inflection and grammatical analysis are by Kanshudo. All sentences are copyright Kanshudo unless otherwise noted.
Lesson material
All content for the Beginner Lessons and Intermediate Lessons is copyright Kanshudo. The Beginner Lessons were put together by a team of Japanese educators - thanks in particular to Natalie Rees!
Indirect acknowledgements
The idea of using mnemonics was first introduced to Jonathan by the flashcards of James W. Heisig in Remembering the Kanji, and we are very grateful to Professor Heisig! Remembering the Kanji was first published in 1977, and is still in print, which is a testament to the power of the system. Read more about Remembering the kanji ⇗.
Software and code
The majority of the software, including Kanshudo's AI study recommendation engine, our kanji recognition tool, our Japanese parser, inflection engine and other language tools, the flashcard system and all games were written in-house. We are deeply grateful for the code contributions of some of our avid users, especially Ben Maerkle.
Collections, usefulness and other data
Unless otherwise noted, all collections, kanji word and usefulness data, grammar reference articles, and other data used around the site are copyright Kanshudo and may not be used outside Kanshudo without the express permission of Kanshudo. For more information please see terms and conditions.
Site design
Our 'responsive' navigation system draws on the 'Mega-Site Navigation' system developed by Sebastiano Guerriero at CodyHouse ⇗. Thank you!
Kanshudo is your AI Japanese tutor, and your constant companion on the road to mastery of the Japanese language. To get started learning Japanese, just follow the study recommendations on your Dashboard. You can use Quick search (accessible using the icon at the top of every page) to look up any Japanese word, kanji or grammar point, as well as to find anything on Kanshudo quickly. For an overview, take the tour.