https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

I DID IT! 2200 Kanji learned!

Hello everyone! 皆さん、こんにちは!

The kanji keeps people away from learning Japanese, even from starting to learn the language, it kept me too for a long time. Hopefully you can find my journey inspiring, and see that the kanji are not that scary and difficult to learn as they look and it is possible to learn them a lot faster than you think!

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こわいですね。

Here’s a cool GIF of the pictures generated by the Anki add-on called kanji grid to track my progress based on the interval (days) of each kanji in the deck, it’s from August 30 when I started to November 11, today, when I finished.

In the last frame, November 11, my average interval is 20 days. The longest is 3,2 months and the shortest is 1 day (the last 30 RTK1 kanji I learned today).
To those wondering, the 7 extra kanjis are just second versions for the same meaning, e.g. The dragon is both 竜 and 龍. And why the grid had more than 2207 kanji at times is because I accidentally generated the grid including my other anki decks with their kanji into the grid as well.

THE BIG QUESTION HOW?

I used the Heisig Method / the book Remembering the Kanji Vol.1 (6th edition) by James Heisig (commonly known as "RTK 1"), to learn the kanji in isolation in 74 days (~30 a day). At first, when I saw the list of all those 2200 kanji characters (includes all of the common use 2136 Jōyō kanji) of the book, I said to myself 怖いですね。the thought of learning them all was scary. Well, 怖かった。it was scary. But, I soon realized that the kanji are actually not that scary.

The book introduces the kanji in an order not based on how frequent they are but based on the components they utilize.

The group of kanji you learn at a time are similar to each other and build upon the kanji components (known as radicals, or "primitives", as introduced in the book. ~200-250 in total) which you have previously learned so, the next kanji you’ll learn will always be very similar (in a good sense, not in a sense that they are so similar it becomes confusing) to what you’ve seen before, and you almost immediately know the correct stroke order to write the kanji.

You’ll also learn to distinguish extremely similar looking kanji from each other, e.g. 千干午牛夫矢失朱未末来.

Learning the kanji by learning the components and how they interact with each other within the kanji to convey a story/mnemonics about the kanji character’s meaning, makes the kanji easy to remember. It helps you to see the logic behind each character, turning random strokes into a clear picture and a story. Thus, I think the Heisig method is a great way to learn the kanji.


On this topic I updated the journey as I progressed. I started in August 30. First few days I was unsure if I could make it and even the initial topic title was different. I don’t remember what it was, but it was not implying that I would actually learn all of the RTK 1 kanji. Things changed, after about a week I started to feel the method was pretty cool actually. On day 12 I made an update and a topic change, stating that I would learn all of them by November 13 (finished 2 days earlier yay!). Having stated that, quitting would have felt really bad so when I had said I would do it. I had to. I did want to quit though, some days I was very tired and felt like there are too many of them in total, interestingly, I never felt that the method wasn’t working.

When I was learning new I’d just check the next 25-35 kanji in the book quickly, to see what the day’s lesson would include, read the lesson/chapter tips for the kanji that followed. Then move on to Anki (Spaced Repetition System / flash cards https://apps.ankiweb.net) to practice with an RTK 1 deck that asks the book’s Heisig keyword (kanji meaning) in English on the frontside which I would handwrite every time before flipping the card while learning the new ones and reviewing the previously learned kanji (130-220 a day). On the backside of the card there are the kanji, a diagram picture showing the correct stroke order, the heisig-primitives, -heisig story, and heisig comments, kunyomi and onyomi readings of the kanji, example words using the kanji, 2 koohii stories (from the users of https://kanji.koohii.com forums) and many times I made up my own story. Anki is very customizable like that, you can just press the edit button on each card and type, even attach images, to the front and back of the card.

Below are the stats of the RTK 1 deck from the 74 days.

Having learned RTK 1 kanji, I find learning new vocabulary so much faster, easier and more enjoyable than before when I had to learn both the word and its ~1-3 kanji at the same time. It was so demotivating and time consuming. Now, when I see a new word and from its kanji I can many times already tell its approximate meaning. That’s pretty cool! I only know about 1000-1500 words now but I am adding more every day with the Core 6000 vocabulary deck on Anki. Lastly, James Heisig also wrote a book Remembering the Kanji vol.3 in which there are ~800 more kanji. I will also learn those utilizing this same method some day, to have learned 3000 kanji in total. If you were wondering, the vol.2 is a book about the kanji readings of vol.1, but the consensus is that you shouldn’t learn readings in isolation because it’s inefficient compared to learning them by learning vocabulary.

If you want to ask anything, don’t hesitate!

Thank you for reading. ありがとうございました。

I hope you will learn Japanese! 日本語を勉強しましょう!

皆さん、頑張ってください!


Edit. Thanks everyone for the positive vibes and warm words! This will inspire me to work harder!

November 11, 2018

49 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Meital640

I think that Asian languages like Japanese or Chinese are simply amazing and I would love to learn them, but I know I will give up if I try hahaha you have my respect!

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkHaydos

omg, same for me! I look at this post and think NO NO NO! lol But huge respect to anyone who can master this.

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Mark! It looks scary but it looks a lot scarier than it is. Good luck with your studies! =)

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkHaydos

Thanks very much Fuurinkazan! Keep up the good work! Very impressive!

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Hi Meital! Thanks! I too, would like to learn Mandarin Chinese basics as well at some point. If you really think and feel they’re amazing, go for it! Every little step is progress. I know that the path is rough and bumpy because of the script but with time we can master it! Doing the japanese tree here I gave up twice last year but eventually I was able to finish it and that erased most of the scariness of the language.

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle

Great job! ^^

I used the Heisig Method / the book Remembering the Kanji Vol.1 (6th edition) by James Heisig (commonly known as "RTK 1"), to learn the kanji in isolation in 74 days (~30 a day). At first, when I saw the list of all those 2200 kanji characters (includes all of the common use 2136 Jōyō kanji) of the book

I was going to make a joke saying you still haven't learned all the Jōyō kanji yet, since that list of the 2,200 kanji in RTK1 only contains 2,135 of the 2,136 Jōyō kanji! So you'd still have one more Jōyō kanji to go before you could say you've done them all. :P

However, since you said you've done 2,207 kanji in total, I decided I'd better quickly check it's not one of those 7 extra kanji you did. So I looked through your slightly higher res. screenshot over on your other thread, and sure enough the kanji I was on about (籠) was actually there, sadly! Spoilt my fun! XD

I really like your animated GIF showing your progression through the list! After seeing one of your previous posts, I tried using Anki myself as I really wanted a neat kanji tracker image like the one you have. I set it up with all the stuff you said, but unfortunately, like every other time I've tried, I still couldn't get along with using Anki.

However, I decided to use an Android app called Japanese Kanji Tree. It has the 6,355 Kanken kanji. The quizzes I used were testing only on meaning of the kanji and were multiple choice quizzes (only four answer choices). But it gives a nice view of the percentages of kanji answered correctly for JLPT, Jōyō, and Kanken kanji. I did one single sweep through all 6,355 kanji (no reviewing afterwards). Took just over two weeks. This is the result I got:

Imgur

Pretty happy with it, but it's not nearly as nice as your chart though. I really wish this one showed individual kanji like yours. ^^

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks testmoogle! Haha, that would have been very funny indeed. Basket keyword is one of those 7 with 2 kanji in the anki-deck, 篭 and 籠. Too bad the joke was ruined because of that. :( Whoaaa, you can recognize almost all kanken? even if with 4 choices to choose from.. That’s super impressive. I’m in awe of your kanji knowledge. =D kowai!

The kanji grid can sort by kanken as well, but since none of my decks have more than those 2200+ kanji combined, it shows the remaining 4000 or so as "missing" haha.

I really felt Anki was not doing it for me but after reading bits from the manual to customize the settings for a bit, adding steps for new/graduating cards and setting the ease% interval modifier I felt like the intervals were on point most of the time and I now enjoy using it.

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Lostsoul123

DANG!

November 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien

Remind me, what are Kanken kanji?

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Hi ISpeakAlien, maybe this will help https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji_Kentei

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien

Thanks!

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MyaRexa

素晴らしいですね。おめでとうございます!

Fuurinkazanさんは、Discordアカウントを持っていますか?

私と多くの国の友達は 言語部のようなDiscordサーバーをやっています。あそこで、一緒に語を学んだり話したりしています 。 もしよかったら、 Fuurinkazanさんも私たちのサーバーに入部してもらえませんか。

興味はあれば、FuurinkazanさんのDiscord ニック#IDを教えてください。 

お返事待ってます :)

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Whoa, so difficult haha. 誠にありがとうございます!Myaさんの日本語は本当に見事だ。I want to be able to write as good Japanese some day. I had to use google translate to understand parts of it because I am still very much a beginner, even though I have now learned the rtk 1 kanji. I am thankful for your kind invitation. I wish I could answer in proper keigo. =) I haven’t used discord yet though so I don’t have an ID. I’m not much of an user of chatrooms really, I do like to write posts on some specific forums of my interests though and chat with other users through PMs. So yeah, I don’t really know what the discord server is about, just hanging out? Everything is written in japanese, too? That would be kowai haha.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MyaRexa

いえいえ、I wish I could say I wrote all that purely from my head and in under 5 minutes but... I know a bit of Japanese beyond what Duo teaches, here though I had help from a friend (on the server mentioned above;) ) composing my invite ;))
Discord is pretty easy to use and me and all our members will help you get used to it, if you are interested. As said above, you just need to make an account and post your nick#randomnumberyouget here, so I can send you a friend request, messages etc.
What we do on our server is chat freely about everything, practice languages, discuss many topics, depending on our interests... in English, as we are from all over the globe. Of course when practicing langs, we can chat in whichever language we learn, or just ask questions about specific words or sentences and get help from the natives or people fluent in them. We have quite the range of native speakers, so I'm sure you'd find a good practice partners among us. There are also private messages there, called DMs (Direct Message) and topic/language-specific channels for things other than just small talk and chatting.
Let me know if you'd like to join, if so, make an account and post your nick#id ! :)

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Ah cool! Haha, well hopefully we both can write like that SOON haha. Hmm that might be interesting. I’ll create an account.

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Hi Mya, the id is frnkzn

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ArtBurnap

本当によくやりましたね。 おめでとうございます。

Myaさんが言ったことをよく考えておいてください。

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

ありがとうございます、Artさん。

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sophiafilm

Wow, it's amazing. So fast! I've recently learned some Chinese characters and these 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十 ones look exactly the same. So when you'll start learning Chinese it looks like half of the work is already done. Congrats!

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Sophia! Yeah, a lot of the kanji are te exact same with traditional hanzi. If I’m correct, some simplified hanzi and kanji are the exact same as well as China and Japan together decided to simplify them, I may be wrong though. Generally, I think the simplified hanzi are different from kanji though. It is a relief indeed, knowing the script from one helps with the other’s. Good luck with your studies!

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien

If I’m correct, some simplified hanzi and kanji are the exact same as well as China and Japan together decided to simplify them, I may be wrong though.

Most kanji exist in either simplified or traditional Chinese (國 is traditional Chinese and 国 is simplified Chinese as well as Japanese, and 緊 is traditional Chinese and Japanese, but 紧 is simplified Chinese). However, there are some that are different in all three. For example, 驅 is traditional Chinese, 驱 is simplified Chinese, and 駆 is Japanese.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Rhabarberbarbara

Congratulations! Are you continuing on with Remembering the Kanji 2?

Now I feel like trying out that Kanji grid add-on. Wonder what it will look like for my Heisig deck.

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Rhabarberbarbara! I will not do RTK2 since it only focuses on readings. Instead, I will learn the readings as a by-product from learning more vocabulary. My next step is to do the Core 6000 anki deck. If I do 10-20 a day, I will have learned all 6000 in maybe 14-18 months.

I will keep reviewing RTK1 as well, and in this review phase, the ultimate goal is to stabilize the RTK1 deck so that I will have only 15-30 reviews a day, and that the grid turns 80-90% green/blue, that would mean 3-6 month intervals.

Yeah the grid add-on is awesome. I thought of making a grid (sorted by JLPT) of the Core 6000 deck progress after every thousand words. The whole deck includes roughly 1600 of the 2200 RTK 1 kanjis.

Here is my RTK 1 deck’s kanji grid sorted by JLPT levels,

You can download the Anki kanji grid add-on here: https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1690856263

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/PycLearner

Well done, I think I'l stick with korean for now...

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks PycLearner! That’s cool, I’ve heard the grammar in Korean and Japanese are similar in many ways! Should you decide to learn Japanese later, you’ll pick up grammar faster! =) good luck with your studies!

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyla279243

Congrats! That's really amazing. I'm planning on learning Japanese too after I have learnt French

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Lila! Go for it! The Duolingo Japanese tree/course 2.0 will probably come next year. I’m excited to practice with it. Good luck with learning French! It’s a beautiful language. I’d like to do the French (from Portuguese) course here some day, maybe after the Spanish one. I try to not think too far ahead haha. Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese are the two languages I really want to be fluent at so I’m focusing on that now.

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Tundra_

Wow, that is super impressive. Even more so if you can also write them from memory. A few of them are near-obsolete (rarely used) Kanji, and you still took the time to learn them. All this over just several months? Legend. I did Japanese schooling for close to a decade and I can't read all of those, although I considered myself okay at Kanji. I guess a passion can take one quite far.

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Inazuma! Yeah I can handwrite each, but only when asked the Heisig keyword, or if I see the character in front of me and need to write it. I hope that with vocabulary training, I can start to produce them in words more spontaneously. That might need a lot of work. I also still need to work on my kanji-recognition skill. It’s not as good as my handwriting (recall) is. On the koohii forums https://forum.koohii.com/thread-95.html there are a lot of people who have done this, I remember reading some did it in just 1,5 months. That’s legendary! Thanks again for your heart warming words! I wish you lots of luck conquering the languages you want to learn! :)

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Micah891366

I almost bought Remembering the Kanji Vol.1 a few days ago. It was in my cart, but I decided to go with something different. Hello regret.

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Ah! What did you get instead? There are other methods as well, as good or better, comes down to preferences. We like different things. E.g. The Kodansha Kanji Learner Course is another excellent choice and a lot of people like it and decide to use it over RTK. Good luck learning the kanji! :) and if you decide to learn all common, you’ll thank yourself later.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Micah891366

I got Japanese Kanji and Kana Workbook. It covers about 600-700 Kanji. It's an addition to several dictionaries that I already own.

I'll probably also pick up a copy of Remembering the Kanji in the near future.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Hi Micah! Cool, should you decide to get another book for all 2000+ kanji, I recommend looking into the kodansha kanji learners course book as well, it’s a bit different and covers 2300 kanji. I don’t know enough about it to make a comparison with rtk but who knows maybe you can find it more suitable to you. Here’s some discussion about RTK1 vs KLC https://forum.koohii.com/thread-13943-post-236466.html Any case, good luck with learning the kanji! =)

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Wesley

Very cool! I didn't know you could do all of that with Anki, but to be honest I've always been content with using it for the "basics" (i.e. spaced-repetition and storage). Regardless, that picture of the kanji is so cool!

Congrats!

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Thomas! Yeah and there should be even more with the add-ons. I don’t even know how to take full advantage of Anki’s potential.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/loyalist_

very cool

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Rocco!

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien

I have no idea how you can distinguish 未 and 末 without looking VERY closely. Do they have similar meanings or pronunciations? What is the reason for having kanji that are only different because of the length of one of the strokes? Anyway, I find it much easier to learn hanzi (Chinese characters used in Chinese) because the vast majority of them only has one pronunciation.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Yeah they are almost the exact same haha, gladly there are no other pairs of different kanji that look this similar to each other. At least I can’t think of one now. Yeah the readings are tricky, but you’ll automatically learn them and get an intuitive feel how to pronounce over time when you learn tons of vocab. Good luck with your chinese studies!

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mariichan4510471

すごいなんですね、お疲れ様でした。Congratulations and great job!

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Mariichan ありがとうごぁいます。

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Maarten-Jan

My hat off to you sir,

have a lingot!

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Maarten-Jan!

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CaseyNedry

Sweet!

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks!

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/coWSgVAL

That's crazy! Congratulations. Would you mind telling me what the AnkiDeck you used is called? I just installed the app and looked through a few decks with "RTK" in the name but I haven't found any that contained the Heisig primitives, stroke order, etc like you mentioned.

November 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

Thanks Cowsgval, the anki deck I used was none of the ankiweb uploaded decks, I was told they’re not as good and organized, not including additional information like readings, example vocab, koohii stories, etc. Check this out. https://djtguide.neocities.org/resource%20guide.html#Kanji The deck is there.

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Primal_Dialga666

WOW

November 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuurinkazan.

=D thanks.

November 15, 2018
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