【Japanese Language】How should we memorize Kanji?

Today, we would like to introduce you about the method of memorizing Kanji.

I guess many of you are not good at memorizing kanji, aren’t you?

(I also hated Kanji mini quiz while I was in elementary and junior high school.  I still remember there was a teacher, who gave us a pop Kanji quiz everytime Hanshin Tigers🐯 (a baseball team) had lost the game on the previous day (this teacher is a big fan of Tigers, and it means almost everydy we had a quiz), and I always got 7 out of 10 points,  (which was  a fail), and then I was punished to write down the character which I had misspelled 10 times for each. )

【The Hang of Memorizing Kanji】

As my episode has shown, many students tend to write down Kanji many times to memorize, right?  but actually… it might be a useless effort.

When studying a new Kanji character, just write it down only once, then memorize it!

This is the concrete method.

➀Please observe this charcter carefully from a part to a part.

Before writing, first and foremost, observe this kanji character carefully.  Look through it, and grasp its distinction in shape.

・What is this kanji’s “Radical(部首)” (the main component of this kanji)?

Each radical has its “meaning” and “pronunciation”.  You can refer this pronunciation when you learn “onyomi 音読み” and “kunyomi 訓読み” of this character itself.  (For example, 青, 静, 靖,,, these 3 character’s radical is “青,” and interestingly these 3 character’s onyomi are all same, “Sei.”)


The website above is the dictionary of Kanji, and furthermore you will look up each”Radical,” and check its “meaning” and “pronunciation.”  When you learn the new kanji character, please especially be aware of “meaning” of “Radical,” then it is easier for you to memorize this kanji.

・Then, please try to think and memorize the part other than “Radical”! Be aware of its “shape” and “meaning”.

 【example】”傘”   The components of this character…”人、人人人人、十”

You will come up with an image that there is a big person spreading his/her arms wide, covering the whole, and 4 little people are under him/her, avoiding the rain, isn’t it?

Likewise, please think about what each component means, and next these components set up together to be one kanji character, and then finally what does this mean?

(For example, 青 means “blue color,” and you will imagine calmness or stillness.  Then, 青 and the other part set up together, it becomes “静,” and “静” means “silence.”  Using this “Link Method of Memory,” to learn the new thing, you can activate your brain more, and much easier to memorize the new data!

➁Do not neglect “stroke”!  Let’s memorize new kanji character by correct strokes!

“I do not need to learn how to write kanji precisely.  If I could read kanji, then I am satisfied!” many of us think like this.  Yes, it is true, we don’t need to handwrite something compared to the ancient times without laptop and smartphone☺.  However, we are learning Japanese( apparently “kanji” is important element of this language!), and above all, kanji handwriting ability is still required in our daily lives!

・First, please check the correct strokes.


The website above is only introducing JLPT’s kanji, but you can see the strokes by movie.

(While I was in the elementary, I wrote kanji by wrong strokes, and turned in the test. I guess the whole figure of kanji character was ok, but there must be a weird point. My teacher gave me “×” for this. I was astonished by my teacher’s observation, but maybe the strokes and kanji’s correctness are related! )


After we go through ➀、➁ (written above), and memorize the new kanji character in detail, then ➂ write it without looking the textbook!

(In the process of ➂, you will check whether you memorize it correctly or not.  If you misspelled, then let’s go back to the ➀, ➁ input!)

Now, you get the hang of studying “kanji”!  You will get a full score at the next quiz!

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