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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A structured approach
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...
Published on 9 Sep 2004 by T�rlind Anders

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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A No-Nonsense Dive Into Japanese Characters
The first volume of Basic Kanji Book Vol. II is a publication stripped to the essentials, which learning the ill-reputed Chinese characters, that have found their way into Japanese, is all about. It tails its user into crude repetition, aids your ability to remember the shapes by association through illustrations, and at the end of the chapters induces you to exercises...
Published on 26 Sep 2000


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A structured approach, 9 Sep 2004
This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic Kanji Book 1 Excellent, 19 Aug 2008
This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
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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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best way to start learning kanji properly!, 18 Nov 2008
This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
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. Personally I learnt the kanji from the book and then as well as using the book's exercises, I tried to use them in actual sentences as much as possible. For reviewing them (and I stress, purely for review), I added them and the compounds to a free flashcard program called Anki. I made flashcards for kanji with one side the kanji the other the readings as well as flashcards for compounds with meanings.

You may find a lot of Heisig learners, but you won't find too many people that have become really proficient at kanji using his method. For a book so popular it is surprisingly hard to find many people that have used it and progressed to a high level. The book 2 of his series only associates one reading to a kanji as far as I understand. So do yourself a favour, forget about quick fixes that won't work. If you want to learn kanji then you need not look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Nonsense Kanji book., 3 Feb 2009
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Mr. E. K. Murray "Donman" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
This book is great. A definite 5 stars from me. This book teaches 250 basic kanji in a no nonsense approach. I have tried kanji books other than this and failed, however this book teaches kanji in a structured and simple way. I have just ordered the second volume.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, 13 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars very good, 16 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
This is an excellent introduction to Kanji and recommended by my Japanese tutor. I have begun the course and find it very straightforward to follow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 21 July 2011
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This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
This is a really good book for learning kanji, i am finding it very useful in my studies. Very fast delivery. Very happy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for the basics learner, but you need some basis in Japanese, 8 Mar 2009
By 
T. D. Woo (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
I've been looking for a book for learning kanji for a long time and I was directed towards this one - although it was expensive, I have found it to be extremely useful. The lessons teach relevant and related kanji with some simple exercises and review previously learned ones. ON and KUN readings are encouraged.

However, I found it easy to do since I have a good grounding in Japanese language and I would imagine that it would be difficult for anyone without a good knowledge of Japanese grammar and hiragana/katakana
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A No-Nonsense Dive Into Japanese Characters, 26 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
The first volume of Basic Kanji Book Vol. II is a publication stripped to the essentials, which learning the ill-reputed Chinese characters, that have found their way into Japanese, is all about. It tails its user into crude repetition, aids your ability to remember the shapes by association through illustrations, and at the end of the chapters induces you to exercises that test you on the Kanji you've recently learnt. The book includes as little English as is necessary, which is commendable. The lazy non-Japanese reading eye easily travels over to characters you're familiar with. The verdict is appropriate since the book adequately fulfils its function, but does not do it in an explicitly encouraging or enlightening way. More pictures and a more childish lay-out would provide beginners of Japanese a friendlier milieu to work in, and, subsequently, make the tedious task of learning Kanji seem decisively easier.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars tries to simplify a difficult subject, 5 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Basic Kanji Book: v. 1 (Paperback)
this seems to be the standard book for learning kanji and so far it is working. Of course things could always be clearer- perhaps an answer section at the back?
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Basic Kanji Book: v. 1
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