Point of interest: Top 5 Things to Consider When Learning Japanese Kanji

Top 5 Things to Consider When Learning Japanese Kanji
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Learning Japanese has never been easier, thanks to the internet. The answer to the question, "Is it possible to learn Japanese through self-study?" is a resounding "YES!"---but the question of the best approach still remains.
There are as many opinions about the best app, textbook, method, or approach to learning Japanese kanji as there are students of Japanese. You will need to experiment to find the best method for you, and your approach may evolve over time as you learn more or your circumstances change.
At Kanshudo, we've developed a comprehensive approach that has already helped over 25,000 students of the Japanese language. It combines multiple learning modes that work well together to address many different learning styles and life situations. Do you like to track your progress? Are you motivated by competition? Games? Do you like flashcards? Are you big picture or detail oriented? Are you a kinesthetic learner? Learn best with a textbook? Like to tie what you learn to the real world? We've got you covered.
Regardless of the methods you choose to help you learn the kanji, here are five things to remember for success:
  1. Practice, practice, practice. Every day. Review the kanji you know, learn something new---even if it's only for five minutes, do something every day. This will make the biggest difference. We promise. On Kanshudo, our AI picks out the most effective study tasks for you to work on, and presents them to you in a custom designed study session on your dashboard.
  2. Use your kanji! Apply what you know immediately, and as often as possible. Kanshudo has a reading corner and games such as our sentence completion game. You can practice your reading with our partners Satori Reader and Joy o’ Kanji. Watch your favorite anime in Japanese, with Japanese subtitles. For speaking practice, there are apps like HelloTalk that help you find language exchange partners for free. There is no "ready" to read or speak your target language. Don't wait until you've learned all the Jōyō (daily use) kanji or hit some other arbitrary target before you start to apply what you've learned. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have: the biggest secret for success in learning a new language is to use it.
  3. Don't fail before you start. Use ALL THE TOOLS at your disposal. At least try. Mnemonics can be a highly effective study aid for some people, and sometimes they can become more effective as you progress. Some people swear by learning the most common components or the standard radicals first, while others find that they pick them up incidentally and naturally as they learn whole characters. Some like to focus on kanji alone, where others learn fastest by studying grammar in parallel. Experiment, and be willing to change your approach as you progress.
  4. Don't do it in isolation. There are lots of online communities of Japanese language learners at all stages of the process, from learning the Kanji to long-time fluency. Reading about the experiences of others on the same journey can give you ideas you wouldn't have thought of on your own. Hearing about how other people have solved the problems you face, or how they achieved a breakthrough after struggling or stagnating for a while, can be just what you need at a crucial moment. Check out the Learn Japanese subreddit as a good starting point.
  5. Know your intrinsic motivation. Do you love Japanese culture and want to immerse yourself in it? Do you need to pass an exam? Do you want to be able to play games or read manga that aren't available in English? Will you be travelling to Japan for a few weeks? Your goal will influence your approach.
Check out our helpful guides to learning kanji and the Japanese language: Getting started learning Japanese, Kanshudo's guide to mastering kanji, and more. Sign up for our Daily Kanji email, and compare the features available to you when you register for a free account or a Kanshudo Pro subscription. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, comments, requests, or feedback of any kind. We're excited to meet you!
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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.