For those like me who have been studying Japanese for a while this is a good book to go along side your kanji studies. You will need a reasonable vocabulary and understanding of Japanese grammar to make full use of this book, saying that you shouldn't be attempting kanji until you are quite a ways into your study. This isn't a book for beginners but as I said for those further along its a good addition. The lessons are clear and concise each beginning with a set of kanji to learn. The writing grids could be a little bigger to make it easier until you can get the stroke order down but I just use graph paper instead. After the set of kanji are reading and writing exercises again each in clear and concise. Each question designed to take you another step along your journey. What I really like are the pages with manga panels on which give a good taster for how what you've learned looks like in practice. As I mentioned before a good vocabulary is essential. The only thing I find strange with this book is the pictures that are supposed to make the kanji easier to remember, they may work for some people but I feel the book would be better without them. I find them confusing and the links to the kanji tenuous as best. All in all a good solid book.
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I've been self-teaching myself Japanese for a few years now and I'm fluent in Hiragana and Katakana and can understand some basic grammar/convos etc so I wanted to start teaching myself Kanji and thought this book would be a fun way to learn.
I wouldn't say I'm disappointed but I would say that I seriously underestimated the level you need to be to study this book, this book is by no means for a beginner learning Japanese for the first time but more a book to compliment your Japanese study in general.
I was also hoping I would be able to read the manga cartoon after I had studied the first few kanji's as the book suggests but I couldn't, the text is very advanced for me and includes lots of other kanji's not already studied, there is explanations for them in simpler kana but unless you are good at Japanese in general you won't have a clue what's going on other than from the pictures and something to do with on top and underneath lol (exercise1)
The questions too are hard and you will need to memorise everything, and I mean everything before answering them. You won't be able to simply remember the kanji character, you will need to learn how it translates into spoken language, learn the brush strokes, learn all the different contexts and how their spoken for each instance the kanji can be found in and so much more before answering the questions.
This book is by no means a quick way to learn, you will need to study hard and have a good memory from day 1 so don't expect results straight away! I also find the ways of remembering the characters really odd but at least this makes you remember them! I'm still haunted by spiders in hats... you'll see.
All in all I would recommend this book for someone studying Japanese in general but as a book on its own for a beginner I would say leave it for now until you have mastered the kanas and some basic grammar/Japanese language etc first.
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