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Remembering the Kana: Hiragana and Katakana Paperback – 1 Apr 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Japan Publications Trading Co (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4889960724
  • ISBN-13: 978-4889960723
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 1 x 14.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 980,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

This book will help you teach yourself the writing and reading of all 46 characters each of Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabary from memory. By making use of a method of "imaginative memory," introduced in this book, you will be saved from the order of repetition. Following the method, you will be able to write and read all Japanese Kana is three hours and retain them by means of the incredible mnemonic methods. Instructions at the bottom of the each page will ask you to skip backwards and forward through the book, following the best "learning order." The lessons will guide you step-by-step through this process. As an added bonus, the book includes a supplement on "Learning How to Remember."


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book if you happen to have an American accent, but if you're English and pronounce words properly, a portion of Heisig's "key words" are going to hinder rather than help. In the introduction he mentions that he's assuming a "generalised American" accent (whatever that is) and so offers a story about an otter (or, "ah-dar") to remember 'a', hopscotch to remember 'ha' and so on. What's more frustrating is, this could have been avoided with a little more care over the keywords (he also mentions in the introduction that he rattled the first draft off in a few hours...)
As with Remembering the Kanji (which doesn't fall into this trap since it doesn't deal with pronounciations, though I worry about Volume II) his method is unusual and fascinating, and there's certainly scope for fixing up the keywords (as I'm doing) with your own which if anything will be more memorable. That said, I think for the cost of this book your money would be better spent on something interactive like BitBoost's TileTag, or Declan's ReadWrite Hiragana, both of which provide sounds, and the first of which has a demo which got me through the first half of both syllabaries in around an hour.
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By A Customer on 18 May 2003
Format: Paperback
I did learn the hiragana within 3 hours and it was thanks to this book. Some of his "tricks" helped me memorise the characters, but I have to add that a lot of them were quite useless. Would you remember one hiragana character by thinking about a dog's tail put through a boomerang? And the stories get even more complictated.
Maybe I'm a bit biased, being Chinese. Some of the original Chinese characters did the trick for me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, this taught me the kana in one rush, when the more "normal" methods of memorization and familiarization weren't working. Why so good? Partly pictorial association. But just as importantly, picking apart the kana and giving pieces (wierd but memorable) names. What was an unnameable, unmemorable squiggle becomes a sword, the seven dwarfs, or a puppy dog's tail. It's surprising how much easier it is to tell kana apart when you can recognise them piecewise.
Second, what an odd, yet cool book design! Kana are presented in their proper alphabetic order for reference, and you progress through lessons hopping forward and back to seemingly random pages, following for each lesson a trail laid down with directions like "now go to page 21". I found this concentrated my mind during the lesson. I was lost in the wilderness of kana and the only way out was through!
Also cool, the book covers hiragana and katakana, and they both start on page 1, without overlap. How? Flip the hiragana book head-over-heels about its middle, and you're faced with the katakana book, printed on what was "at the back and upside down" of the other. This is fun! Pure genius.
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By Recycled Rabbit TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For me it's working- I've just got all the basic hiragana learnt in under a week. I tried just rote learning through before and started to forget ones in the first fifteen. Yes I agree the pronunciation is a little whacko at times-as are the examples- but the whole point is that eventually your mind can read the letters without reference to hopscotch and dwarves trying to swat wasps with walking canes. When you start out you need to have someone help you tell squiggles apart. I am so chuffed that I can now read bits of Japanese web sites and I'm glad I decided not to stick to just learning spoken Japanese. Either you love it or hate it- I would recommend relaxing and going with the flow- you only have to learn this stuff once.
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Format: Paperback
I have attempted to learn kana the traditional way, years ago, spending weeks and weeks trying to get to grips with it without much success.

Then I found this book and decided to enter the world of James W. Heisig. It was nothing less than a revelation! Six hours spent in total over a period of ten days and it was done! Astonishing! I have no idea why his method works so well, but it does!
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