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Kodansha's Hiragana Workbook: A Step-By-Step Approach to Basic Japanese Writing Paperback – 1 Feb 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International; Bilingual edition (1 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030819
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030818
  • Product Dimensions: 26.4 x 1 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,882,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice book to follow, for starters who know nothing, or even for those wishing to refresh their basic Japanese. I hope to spend more time using this workbook soon. Great for those with little time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The content of the book is what it says. A beginners guide to writing hiragana. By the time the book arrived, i had already learned everything that was in it. But that isn't the book's fault, its mine, for ordering it later then i should have. But I decided to go through it anyway, to help reinforce what i had learned.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book really helpful would suggest it to anyone
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful resource for one to learn how to read and write hiragana. 17 May 2009
By [KNDY] Dennis A. Amith - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hiragana. Japanese syllabary and part of the kana system (along with "katakana" for foreign words) and utilizes no kanji.

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!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kodansha's Hiragana Workbook 17 Feb. 2009
By Cassie Andres - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Hiragana Workbook is great! The "pull out" flashcards included with the Workbook make learning hiragana easy and fun. The free audio download is also helping me tremendously with my pronunciations. It's also great that while learning to correctly read, write, and pronounce hiragana letters, the Workbook is also teaching me hundreds of useful words. I have both the Hiragana and Katakana Workbooks and I hope they come out with Kanji Workbook next! The self-study Hiragana and Katakana Workbooks that I can study at my own pace any time and any where helps me make efficient and productive use of my time. Very informative, educational, and excellent workbook!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle guide and very useful 29 Mar. 2011
By Doug M - Published on
Format: Paperback
I learned Japanese years ago in college, but over the years I've come to realize how poor my handwriting is. I studied for years, but rarely had a need to practice hand-writing, so simple things like stroke-order and balance were completely forgotten, or mixed-up. In desperation, I bought this book and have not been disappointed.

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. ;)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for beginning Japanese. 9 April 2011
By Willis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful book that incorporates brush strokes, flash cards, vocabulary and, a workbook all in one. When a new character is presented, it allows you to practice writing it 24 times and then assits you in using that new charater in a new vocab word. As you work through the book, vocab appears that incudes characters learned in previous lessons. You are given a review at the end of each lesson and a small quiz to test your new found knowledge. Audio for this book can also be found online to allow you to hear what each character sounds like. This is a great book for learing hirigana if you are a beginner. It took me less than a week to go through, but i suggest one go through it slower for memorization puposes.

* I suggest learing the 3 methods of writing in this order: Hirigana -> Katakana -> Kanji
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Workbook :3 28 Nov. 2011
By Memrie - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've got three different workbooks for Hiragana and Katakana, and this one (along with her Katakana one) is my favorite. You learn a character, then have to write it alone a few times, then you start writing words. You can download the media files to hear how each word should sound (they're free).

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
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