How to study Japanese Kanji

There are many ways to study and memorize Kanji. You can try to learn the radicals or practice the stroke order and write them our repeatedly.

Or you try to learn them organically by making note of all the Kanji you see if you live in an immersive environment.

Or you can do what this teacher recommends. Read this blog to find out the method a Japanese teacher employs to learn Kanji and learn it like a native!

You can also listen to Oosawa sensei reading this blog out loud for you to practice your listening as well as reading.

My Way of Studying Kanji











To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.








My Way of Studying Kanji

How many Kanji characters do you think exist in Japanese now? I do not know the correct number but it is said to be over 100,000. If I was told to memorize all of those Kanji it would be terrible! Among those, there are about 2000 Kanji characters that are commonly used in Japanese newspapers and magazines. The guideline for the N1 level is 2000 characters, so this is about the same.

There is a Kanji certification test in Japan. The test spans from Level 10 to Level 1 and the general standard (high school graduate or university student level) is said to be 2136 Kanji characters.

I have been studying for the Pre-first Level of this test for many years. It's embarrassing to say, but I've taken it several times but I couldn't pass it. Incidentally, 3000 Kanji characters appear in the Pre-first level test. The fact that I don't give up after I have studied this hard for it and still haven't passed it, is a mystery even to me.

I am really bad at memorizing things, no matter whether I study something many times, I forget it soon. So, in order to make myself retain the memory, I have to look up how to use the character, its meaning, and the origins of the Kanji until I can think to myself, “Oh! I see! That's how you use it!”. It takes time to research each and every Kanji character, but for me, this method is effective. And while I am researching the characters, the world of words that I don't know expands too and getting to know these makes me happy.

The pace that people study differs from each person, but if you study a little every day, you can get closer to your goal. Now that I have gone and written this blog, I think would like to pass the test next year. Let's all try hard to study Kanji together!

Let's do just one quiz question at the end: Do you know what the Kanji for りんご is?

一般的(いっぱんてき)に commonly

目安(めやす) guidelines

検定試験(けんていしけん) certification test

長年(ながねん) many years

恥(は)ずかしい話(はなし) I'm embarrassed to say

出題(しゅつだい)されます It will appear (on the exam)

諦(あきら)めない I'm not giving up

暗記(あんき) memorization

記憶(きおく)を定着(ていちゃく)させる memory retention

由来(ゆらい) origin

効果的(こうかてき)な方法(ほうほう) effective methods

目標(もくひょう) goal

目指(めざ)したい I want to


While all of you may have a different goal, there is one common purpose that you all share, which is to use the Japanese language in order to achieve something. I would be really glad if by learning Japanese here at JOI with me, and with your peers we can help to influence your life – even a little.
When I was a child, I used to perform a musical instrument, and played various kinds of music including pop and jazz. I also love to look at old buildings like temples and shrines and so I often travel. In my class, I would like to introduce some of Japanese culture and the traditions, through learning Japanese, and also introduce some of the characteristics of Japanese people. Lets face our goals together and go for it !

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