Book review: Japanese Kanji Made Easy

Japanese Kanji Made Easy

 

Japanese Kanji Made Easy:
An Easy Step-by-Step Workbook
to Learn the Basic Japanese Kanji

To be published some time in 2023
by Lingo Mastery
155 pages
Nonfiction/ Language book/ Japanese


Ecopy received for review

You may have read that I recently decided to learn Japanese, and this has become a bit of an obsession. Actually, can you even manage to learn Japanese if you are NOT obsessed, lol?
So today, I’m presenting a very special kind of nonfiction, an ebook I just received from Lingo Mastery for review: Japanese Kanji Made Easy: An Easy Step-by-Step Workbook to Learn the Basic Japanese Kanji.

I already have two books published by Lingo Mastery, on Hiragana and Katakana (two of the 3 Japanese alphabets). I like the way they work, so I was thrilled with this one on Kanji.
And obviously, you first need to master hiragana and katakana to be able to fully enjoy kanji learning.

I am currently working with a few other tools, so I’m planning to start working daily with this book in January.
But I have been through it and can see that it will be very useful to consolidate what I already know and expand my vocabulary.

The goal of the book is to present 102 most basic kanji used in daily life in Japan. They all appear in the JLPT 5 (which is the easiest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test). And this is roughly the number of kanji you need to know to pass this forst level test.

The focus is also on helping to write Kanji, though I was told that in fact it is not that useful to focus on writing. A lot of Japanese are not that good at writing Kanji, and when you take the JLPT tests, it’s just reading not writing them. But writing can definitely help memorize! And that’s how I will approach the writing practice.

The book starts with a nice and simple presentation on the history of kanji.

Then there are 5 thematic lessons. Each contains 3 sections:

  1. Explanation and structure
  2. Boxes where to practice the kanji writing and learn vocabulary at the same time, by adding the kanji in a box
  3. And advanced section, to practice listening (audio files are available through a link), reading, and writing longer sentences

Lesson 1 has 30 kanji on people, nature, and body parts
I like that they start with pictograms, and where the kanji came from. It makes it easier to remember. They repeat the pictogram on the following pages for each kanji.
They also give the basic rules of stroke order and stroke endings.
The advanced section contains the days of the week.

Here is an example:

Japanese Kanji Made Easy. p18

Page 18

Lesson 2 has 26 kanji on numbers and time
It explains 6 different counters. Also how to tell time and date.
The advanced part is also about the price of clothes.

Lesson 3 presents 19 kanji on places and directions
Lesson 4 has 17 kanji on verbs, with basic conjugation rules
Lesson 5 has 10 kanji on adjectives
Not sure why they included only one color!

There’s actually a 6th lesson, but it is a review lesson, covering all the 102 kanjis learned throughout the book.
It works with short paragraphs (a few are in audio) on different characters, and questions on them, some in English, some in Japanese.

And obviously, the Answer keys are at the end of the book.

It’s also thrilling to know Lingo Mastery is preparing a second book on more advanced kanji!
I hope they will soon publish it in print, obviously better, so you can really practice the writing in the boxes prepared for that purpose.
And I can’t wait to start diving into this! Thanks Lingo Mastery!

VERDICT: Perfect tool to start learning basic Japanese kanji!

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HAVE YOU USED SOME OTHER BOOKS BY LINGO MASTERY?
What language are you working on? What are your favorite tools?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

Mailbox Monday2This book counts for Mailbox Monday.
Come over (click on the mailbox) on Monday,
and share what book you just received!

23 thoughts on “Book review: Japanese Kanji Made Easy

  1. Emma, do you know the author Susan Spann, who writes historical mysteries set in Japan? She is a cancer survivor and an American lawyer, who retired to Japan and is climbing all the mountains there. She is a student of Japanese writing and has won awards for her work. I follow her on Facebook.

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      • I have followed her for years. When she still lived in California she would post beautiful pictures of her coral reef aquarium. She raised seahorses and kept us up to date with stories of their life. After her struggle with cancer she decided to climb 100 mountains in Japan and moved there to accomplish her goal. Follow her on Facebook too. She posts more there about her travels in Japan, her house and kitty there and lots of posts about the food in Japan.

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  2. I do very much like the pictograms you feature – mother, friend – showing how they might visually relate to the ideas they represent. It’s a bit late in life for me to consider a disciplined approach to learning a language like Japanese, though the fact that the Chinese writing system also derived from pictograms has always intrigued me.

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    • Well, for years I have been saying I was too old to learn Japanese (I’m in my late 50s), but finally a young person managed to convince me it was NOT too late! And it’s actually really good for your brain, as you need to make lots of visual and vocal associations to remember, so it activates a variety of zones in your brain!
      Actually the Japanese kanki come from the Chinese pictograms

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not really for now. I may get a tutor down the line, though my purpose is the reading, not the speaking per se, as I’ll probably never be able to go to Japan. Actually the speaking is easier than the reading, lol

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  4. That looks like a great format for learning and good it has an audio link too. I’ve learned just a few Chinese words since my son learned Mandarin and my d-i-l is Chinese. Interestingly – I had French in 6th grade and although I can speak only a little, I can still read pretty well in French.

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  6. This is very cool! Part of me would love to learn a little Japanese, and I think it would be exciting to learn a language where the written characters are very different. But I also would really like to make sure I keep my Italian and Spanish in practice, since I’m getting pretty rusty in both! I’d love to be able to balance them all.

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