Remembering the Kanji is a book series created by James W. Heisig. It has become increasingly popular in the Japanese language learning community due in part to endorsements from the AJATT method.

Parts of the series (mainly the first book) have been published in other languages, including French, German, and Spanish.

The Series Edit

  • Remembering the Kanji 1: A Complete Guide on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters encompasses 2,042 kanji. This total includes all except one of the current (as of October 2009) Jouyou kanji.
  • Remembering the Kanji 2: A Systematic Guide to Reading Japanese Characters teaches kanji readings systematically by grouping them.
  • Remembering the Kanji 3: Writing and Reading Japanese Characters for Upper-Level Proficiency expands on those kanji introduced in the first book by introducing an additional 965 characters, for a total of 3,007.

The Method Edit

The kanji are broken down into their constituent elements, which are dubbed "primitives". No kanji is introduced in the book until all the primitives to build it have been learned.

In order to recall the location of primitives in relation to others within characters, and to distinguish similar characters, the creation of "stories" is fundamental to the method. Stories are mental images created using the primitives in order to link them to each other and to the kanji's "keyword", which is a pegword intended both to aid in memorization and to capture the essence of a character.

Vivid stories are encouraged, as stronger imagery creates a stronger association in the mind. The use of stories that make "too much sense" is downplayed because more bizarre stories tend to be more vivid.

Criticism Edit

The most prominent criticisms seem to be centered around the lack of readings and the fruitfulness of learning kanji in isolation. Although readings are covered in the second book, many question the book's organization and recommend learning readings through context.

External Links Edit