Behind the notorious inconsistencies in the way the Japanese language has come to pronounce the characters it received from China lie several coherent patterns. Identifying these patterns and arranging them in logical order can reduce dramatically the amount of time spent in the brute memorisation of sounds unrelated to written forms. Many of Following the first volume of Remembering the Kanji, the present work provides students with helpful tools for learning the pronunciation of the kanji. Many of the "primitive elements," or building blocks, used in the drawing of the characters also serve to indicate the "Chinese reading" that particular kanji use, chiefly in compound terms.
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In either case, you would be sidestepping the entire method on which this book is based. Be sure to read the instructions on pages before doing anything with your cards. Fourth, certain Japanese sounds undergo phonetic alterations when set alongside other sounds. Some of these alterations are regional, some standard. In any case, they are best learned by trial-and-error rather than by a set of rules that is more complex than it is worth. Fifth, a word about Chinese compounds M 1m, L:.
With a grain of salt, one might compare the blend of Japanese lam and Chinese on words to the blend of Anglo-Saxon and Latin-Greek words in English. Generally, our words of Anglo-Saxon root are richer in meaning, vaguer, and more evocative than those of Latin-Greek root, which tend to precision and clarity.
For instance, the word "glass" can suggest a whole range of possible images and meanings, but as soon as we substitute its Latin equivalent, "vitrine," we have narrowed it down to a more concrete meaning.
The presence of Chinese words generally a compound of two or more on readings in Japanese performs a similar narrowing, specifying function, while the native Japanese words reverberate wider and deeper meanings. In the same way that we combine Anglo-Saxon words with Latin-Greek words for example, in the term "fiberglass" , Japanese will occasionally mix on and kun readings in the same compound, As a rule, I have avoided these in the exemplary compounds.
The order of preference in choosing examples was roughly as follows: 1 a compound that includes a reading appearing in a previous frame; 2 a compound in ordinary use; 3 a compound that uses a reading to appear soon after the frame in question; 4 the most common or instructive compound: 5 a name of a person or place; 6 rare or archaic compounds.
TIle student is encouraged to substitute familiar compounds at any time for the examples T have chosen. Sixth, the use of signal primitives demands the same rigor applied to primitive elements in Vol. Where a single jot or tittle of difference is present, the element is excluded. Additional attention will have to be paid to the position of the primitive, which was not important in the earlier book. Seventh, I would register a plea against trying to begin with the two volumes of Remembering the Kilnji at the same time.
T wash my hands or as Japanese would have it. That having been said, there is no reason that these pages cannot be used in conjunction with a set of graded readers. J would only advise that you begin this after having worked your way through Chapters 2 and 5. The benefit of such an approach is that it enables you to take full advantage of the grammatical and vocabulary drills that such readers provide.
At the same time, the commonly heard advice about leaming characters "in context" is one that Is not as the frame in which they first appear. Index 2 presents a listing of all the kanji treated in this and the former volume, arranged according to the number of strokes. Index 3 lists, in syllabic order, all the on readings, their respective kanji, and the number of their respective frames. Index 4 lists all the lam readings and their respective kanji.
Together these two indexes constitute a complete dictionary of readings for the general-use kanji. Index 5 follows the frame sequence of the first book, giving the kun readings and the.
The frames have been arranged to facilitate reviewing: if you block out everything to the right of the compound used as an example, the student is able to run a simple self-test from time to time. For more thoroughgoing review, the flashcards that were prepared according to the design given in Chapter 5 of tile first volume can be completed, with the aid of the Indexes.
A complete explanation is provided in Chapter Although the principles that govern the structure of this book will become clearer as the student grows more familiar with the content, there are a few points that seem worthy of mention at the outset.
They represent both the courtesies Ipaid my own memory in learning to read Japanese and the pitfalls ] watched fellow students fall into following other methods. As time goes on, you mayor may not choose to follow them, but at least you should know what they are.
First, relating one compound to another by means of similarities of sound is to be avoided at any cost. It merely clutters the mind with useless information. Resist the temptation. Second, it is best not to try to learn on and am readings at the same time for the same character. Tbe idea of "conquering" a character in its entirety will be supported by nearly every textbook on the kanji you pick up, but is nearly as mistaken as trying to learn to write and read the kanji at the same time.
Once you have learned the general-use characters, you will have a much better base from which to learn the meaning, writing, and readings of new characters en bloc as you meet them. Until then, ding to the Caesarean principle of "divide and conquer. When second or third readings appear, reference to earlier frames will inform you of the fact.
You will no doubt notice that the quickest way to complete the information on your flashcards is to rush to Index 5 and start filling them in. New Japanese vocabulary falls on the foreign ear with much the same impact-totaUy unrelated to anything we already know. The benefit of a context is that it enables one to d rill anum ber of words and assimilate something of how they relate to One another grammatically and connotatively. For this reason, students who wish systematically to make their way through this book frame by frame need not trouble themselves over the absence of context provided they do not abandon all reading practice in the process.
Eighth and finally, a vigorous warning against the use of romaji in learning to read Japanese kanji. Get the idea out of your mind that the Roman alphabet is a "crutch" to help you hobble along until you master the hiragana and katakana syllabaries, It is nothing of the kind. It is rather a slow and selfinflicted amputation that will leave you crippled for the rest of your Japanesereading years. Not only does the Roman alphabet inflict quirks on your pronunciation, it cultivates a systematic bias against the kana that gets harder and harder to uproot.
Be patient with the kana, and never write Roman letters underneath them. The stricter you are in expelling all romaji from your study of Japanese words, the quicker you will find that Roman letters become an obstacle to reading and writing, which they are for the Japanese and should be for anyone learning the language.
The manuscript of this book was completed in December of and privately circulated in the spring of the following year under the title Adventures in Kanji-Land, Vol. I decided to issue it in a new edition at this time because of the many letters I received from those who had found profit in Remembering the Kanji and were anxious to know how further to systematize their study of the kanji.
It is my hope that these pages will go some way towards answering that request. Nagoya, Japan 25 October James W.
Remembering the Kanji II: A Systematic Guide to Reading Japanese Characters
Read an interview with James Heisig on how his method was born. Heisig rememberiny that it is much easier to learn one thing at a time, and has incorporated this idea into his books. Waht do you advise me??? This will of course work wherever you have that font installed, which will primarily be Windows computers. Remembering the Kanji, Volume 2 Do what you feel like doing. Home Tadoku Resources Remembering the Kanji vol. My advice is to just read the book.
Remembering the Kanji Volume 2
It was first published in , with the sixth edition of the book released in There is no attention given to the readings of the kanji as Heisig believes that one should learn the writing and meaning first before moving on to the readings in Volume II. Each kanji and each non-kanji primitive is assigned a unique keyword. The method requires the student to invent their own stories to associate the keyword meaning with the written form.
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