Japanese Syllabary and Kanji Resources

  • admins

    One of the first hurdles to get over in learning Japanese is becoming familiar with the two syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) and making one's way through the dense forest of beautiful and expressive kanji characters.

    To help break it down for you, we've put together a list of resources to give you an in on the Japanese system of writing.

    The Yoshida Institute's introducton to hiragana: https://yosida.com/en/hiragana.html

    Real Kana's hiragana and katakana resource: http://realkana.com/

  • I also recommend WaniKani! It doesn't teach writing, but it is still super useful.

  • admins

    Agreed. Another great resource is the Pitct-o-graphix series. They have books for hiragana, kana, and basic level kanjis. It's a great way to start understanding the modular nature of the radical system, and it's visually a cool book too. I recommended it to a lot of the students in the basic Japanese courses I used to teach.

  • Hiragana and katakana are not that bad. It's similar to learning a new alphabet and can be done in a relatively short time. The kanji is the hard part! Once you're ready to move on to studying kanji, one of the best resources I've found is James Heisig's "Remembering the Kanji." Be sure to read the forward. For beginners, first looking at a kanji and be such a daunting task. Heisig relates it to staring at a kaleidoscope: no matter how hard you study the lines, as soon as you look away for a few minutes it's gone. RTK does a great job of helping to build each kanji up from their base "radicals," and in doing so makes reading and writing kanji similar to spelling a word in Western writing systems.

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