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Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 Paperback – 1 Apr 1991


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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Bonjinsha; 4th edition (1 April 1991)
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 4893580914
  • ISBN-13: 978-4893580917
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 18.4 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Basic Kanji Book Volume 1 This volume covers about 250 kanji and the second volume completes the 500 in the Basic series. These books are really textbooks just for learning kanji. Each lesson covers about 10 characters and begins with a section called "About the kanji" which gives interesting background on the kanji you are about to learn. Next comes writing and reading lessons for each kanji. Lastly, there is a longer reading section followed by a game or some quiz.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T�rlind Anders on 9 Sept. 2004
This is not a flashy book. On the other hand, flash is not needed to learn kanji. Learning kanji is what you should buy it for, and it will deliver.
Prerequisits for using this book is a firm grasp och hiragana and katakana. Without it, the going will be much to slow to be enjoyable. Further, a certain control of the language itself is needed, as the reading exercises, while simple, contain many common words not explained in the book itself.
The book is devided into 22 chapters (or lessons if you will), each teaching 10-13 kanji. 249 kanji is presented in these chapters, each with all Kun- and On-readings, complete stroke order and example words wherein they are components.
Each chapter begins with a short piece on some kanji related subject, such as radicals, readings, history and other things on interest. After that comes a section containing the kanji list with associated information. The third section is a reading drill with the newly learned kanji, the fourth contains writing exercises, and the fifth is a reading and understanding exercise with control questions. Some chapters also contain a sixth part, containing things like games, and other extracurricular activities.
The main attraction with this book is the structured approach it takes in presenting the kanji. Each chapter has a certain "theme" to the characters in it, and the exercises are cleverly designed to constantly let you repeat the chatacters learned in earlier chapters. In this the book really shines - I have yet to see another book that is as consequent in both character choice and in making use of already known kanji.
The only reason I do not give a five star rating to this book is because it lacks somewhat in etymology. Had the raicals been explained and the way each character was derived elaborated upon, this would have been a truely beautiful aid in learning. As it stands, it is merely very, very good.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By . on 18 Nov. 2008
If you are looking at this book thinking it looks a bit basic and are being swayed by the promise of Heisig's method teaching you 2000 kanji in weeks I urge you to read this review.

When I started Japanese a few years back, I was swayed by Heisig, I bought his book, I got a bit of a way in; but what was I actually learning? It is a common misconception that you must associate a meaning to each kanji, this is all that Heisig's first book does. This is completely the wrong thing to do. For many kanji, on their own they don't really mean anything. Combined with kana or other kanji, you get meanings. What is truely important about a kanji is it's readings. After learning some compounds and uses of a kanji you will quickly build up a sort of meaning to a kanji, but you won't be afraid of it in a new compound either. It is so very important that you see a kanji in context! Learn it in context!

This is where the Basic Kanji Book series comes in so well. The book is split into chapters, each chapter starts by listing the new kanji, how it was formed, all readings and a few compounds. The rest of the chapter is filled up with exercises to practice the kanji in that chapter and ones in previous lessons. There are also sections dedicated to reviewing kanji every few chapters.

Now I am not saying that simply using this book will enable you to learn 2000 kanji (the rather unimportant number that Heisig people like to talk about) in 10 weeks. For starters this book only covers 251 kanji, but trust me that is plenty enough. Whether you will learn many kanji quickly will depend entirely on the effort you put in, whatever the method.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Holly on 13 Jun. 2014
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I have tried a couple of Kanji books but this was recommended me by my Japanese teacher who is a Japanese native. It works brilliantly. It doesn't just have a list of readings and a bit of writing practise, instead it teaches you to apply the kanji in words and sentences and gets you to do hiragana to kanji and kanji to hiragana practise. It encourages you to see the origins of the kanji so you can see why it is drawn the way it is. this enables you to understand how Kanji is used so you can very quickly use it in your own writing, substituting it for the hiragana equivalent.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ironman on 19 Aug. 2008
This book really works for me. It has a multiple approach, understanding the Kanji thro' their picture origins, compounds, radicals... You will need to complete this with a good set of Kanji cards and a japanese reader (children's stories and books are excellent, my personal fav is kodomo biberu). You must work very hard writing and rewriting the Kanji to learn them by heart. There is variety, exercises, writing, reading, you break the 50 Kanji barrier with some solid work and then get to 100 quite quickly, with the 100 Kanji really solid, this helps enormously in reading. After that I really enjoyed Read Real Japanese (but I would call this well advanced). Basic Kanji book 1 is an excellent base tool, but it won't do the work for you, you must scribble away and use your Kanji cards daily. After using many books that introduced too many complicated kanji too soon, this book has really helped me get on with my japanese (Don't forget to read Botchan, by the way), now go and buy a pack of automatic pencils and get to work...
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