Kodansha's Hiragana Workbook: A Step-By-Step Approach to Basic Japanese Writing Paperback – 1 Feb 2009
There is a newer edition of this item:
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Anne Matsumoto Stewart is a professional Japanese language instructor with more than 20 years of experience teaching at all levels, from kindergarten through university. She pursued graduate studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and Cornell University and has authored and co-authored Japanese language instruction books. She is a member of the Association of Teachers of Japanese and the National Council of Japanese Language Teachers.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
I liked the pull-out hiragana cards in the back of the book, it was a nice touch.
All in all, the book is very good.
However. At the start of the book, it tells you to write in the book (trace over, then fill in the blank, kind of thing). This woul have been fine, but the spine of the book has no give, making it difficult to write properly on the left hand side of the book. This problem got less and less and you get to the middle of the book, then starts up again on the right hand side as you gt to the end. At first, I thought along the lines of "This is slightly annoying, but i can put up with it." But i was wrong. I ended up cutting all of the pages out of the book, so i didn't have this problem. Which at almost 100 pages long, was annoying.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you are a new to learning Japanese, you will need to know how to read and write hiragana and katakana and then as you progress, you will need to learn kanji (Chinese characters utilized in Japanese words and sentences). The good news is that by learning hiragana, it will allow you to read Japanese manga (some manga have little tiny hiragana (known as furigana) right on top of the kanji), read various words on Japanese publications, commercials or signs and more.
When I first started out learning Japanese and before I went to college to minor in Japanese, it was important for me to learn hiragana. The first thing you will learn is that in Japanese, you will need to learn the a,i,u,e,o but then you move on to the ka, ki, ku ke, ko and then sa, shi, su, se, so and then eventually using the "t's", "n's", "h's", "m's", "y's", "r's", "w's" and others such as "n", "g's", "z's", "j's", "d's", "b's" and "p's". This goes for both hiragana and katakana and as difficult as it may seem, the truth is that hiragana is quite easy to learn and possibly after a week of studying, you will be learning how to read and write words in no time.
I have had the opportunity to test a few hiragana workbooks over the years and primarily the workbooks focus on two principles:
* Learning the stroke order of how a hiragana is written
* Writing the hiragana, for example, "ka" several dozen times.
"KODANSHA'S HIRAGANA WORKBOOK" by Anne Matsumoto Stewart was actually a bit of a surprise because you write the hiragana symbols about 16 times but then after each lesson, you start learning and writing words.
Rarely do hiragana workbooks have you start writing the words down. Also, as you practice writing vertically, the book has you learning how to write vertically. (Note: In many Japanese publications, reading is done vertically from right to left. Also, if you take an advance Japanese course in college, you will be writing vertically).
So, writing and repetition is a quick way to learn how to write hiragana but the book also includes flash cards. So, you can practice with a partner who can quiz you on your hiragana skills which is wonderful.
Some people find it easier to have a teacher than learning from a book because it helps with pronunciation. For example:
a (is pronounced as "ah"), i (is pronounced like the letter "e"), u (is pronounced like "ew"), e (is pronounced as "eh") and o (is pronounced as "oh"). See a word like "kao" (face), some may say "cow" but you want to pronounce it like "ka-oh". So, Kodansha International allows the user of this book to go online to their site and learn how to pronounce the symbols and words correctly.
This is important because for those who don't go through a class on pronunciation, these MP3's are wonderful in learning how to pronounce the words. And most hiragana workbooks do not offer audio files to learn from.
"KODANSHA'S HIRAGANA WORKBOOK" is probably the best workbook that I have seen on learning how to write and read hiragana. It goes beyond the learning of the strokes and writing the symbol dozens of times but offers you the chance to learn words, write words, use of flash cards and also download audio files through the Kodansha International website for this book.
If you are wanting to learn hiragana, I highly recommend this workbook!
The book is a very gentle, linear guide, teaching kana in the same "alphabetic" order that people in Japan learn them, starting from ' ' ' ' ' and building from there. The book gives you plenty of opportunity to practice, and the stroke order is very clearly explain, with help tips on abrupt stops, or longer strokes.
My four year old is half-Japanese and learning Kana too, so Daddy and daughter sit together sometimes and practice together: she has her own textbook, and I use this one.
The book is exemplary in presentation, structure, and effectiveness. Highly recommended for anyone who needs to study Japanese and familiarize themselves with the fundamentals, even if you're an old-timer who needs a review. ;)
* I suggest learing the 3 methods of writing in this order: Hirigana -> Katakana -> Kanji
I like how often it has you writing the characters, and as long as you read them aloud while writing them, you shouldn't have any issue memorizing them in as little as a day :3 It does teach both vertical and horizontal which I thought was very helpful.
Another good thing - when you're writing the words - except in vertical work pages found at the end of a lesson - it never gives you Romaji. You start off with Hiragana and only see that, with the exception of the vertical writing. It gives you the word, you trace it once in Hiragana, then write it yourself in Hiragana. The other workbooks i had used always put the Romaji and have you write the Hiragana. Well, what good is that? In workbooks like that i found myself relying on Romaji because its familiar.
I can honestly say I have mastered Hiragana because of this book. :3