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Viewing Lessons

Click on any of the lesson links from the home page to view the Kanji, Kana, and English for characters in each lesson. The most frequently used Kanji are in the lower numbered lessons. There are over 2000 characters included here, but some 1500 or so form a solid majority of what one can expect to see on a daily basis.

The Kana shows the On-yomi or Chinese derived sounds in the Katakana script, and the Kun-yomi or "native" Japanese sounds in hiragana, separating by a period the segment of the word which uses the Kanji from that which is written in Hiragana.

All of the material here is encoded in Shift-JIS and you will need a browser and operating system which allows you to view Japanese characters. For Windows users of Internet Explorer, you may try installing the IME language package (Google is your friend). For users of older Macintoshes try installing the language packs on your installation CD for OS 9. OS X users should have no trouble as long as they didn't purposely disable installation of Japanese fonts when they installed their system. *NIX users should have no trouble after running a few dozen commands and configuring a few scripts.

Printing Lessons

Click on the "P" from the index page or the link on the Lesson pages themselves to view the lesson data without any extra data. This is ideal for printing out a lesson of information.

Reviewing Lessons as Flashcards

The flashcard feature is more powerful than it looks. Basically it works like any other flashcard, there is a" front" (the "question" or the information you wish to study "from") and there is a "back" which contains the information that you wish to review. By default the Kanji is on the "front" and the Kana and English are on the back. You may change what is shown on the front and the back by clicking on the check boxes for those things you wish to be visible on the "front".

When you have looked at the "front" and have decided whether you remember the information on the "back" of the card, press the "Advance" button. When you do so, all of the information for the card is shown, allowing you to confirm whether or not you really knew it. If you were "correct" simply press "Advance" again. If you were mistaken press "Wrong"

The flashcard feature will keep score, and assuming "Continue Review Until All Correct" is checked at the bottom of the page, you will continually cycle through the flashcards until you have marked all of the entries correct by not pressing "Wrong" for any of them.

Many language instructors who see this kind of software ask me, "Where do I write in the answer?" As any student who has crammed for a test or memorized information from a flashcard will tell you, unless you are practicing how to write the characters (which is obviously very important as its own form of study) in which case a computer would have great difficulty in checking your handwriting, it is very time consuming to have to write down an answer for each card. Instead, we "flip" through the cards. If you fail to mark cards wrong, who are you fooling but yourself?

Jii-Chan can only Supplement the Study of Kanji

Quite honestly, this site is not a good way to learn Kanji. Simply memorizing the characters in descending order of frequency is a fairly unproductive method which, even if it gives you instant recall of sound and a few English words, is no match for either the:

-Systematic study of Kanji which includes learning compounds that use the Kanji along with the actual use and context of these words in the Japanese language.


-The simple gradual acquisition of Kanji indirectly over time or in combination with other elements of the study of the Japanese language.

I'm sorry to report that, in my own study of the language, I have not found flashcard study to be a scientific magic bullet leading to rapid acquisition. It has however, been tremendously useful in helping to maintain what is learned, especially when away from formal study or the natural spoken environment for a period of time. This site is about reviewing, not as much about learning Kanji. I cannot emphasize how important context, as well as the activities of hearing, speaking, and actually writing the characters are in allowing long-term recognition and active mastery of the Chinese characters.

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Last Updated: March 29, 2003

Site Designed by Konrad Mitchell Lawson
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Kanji information is from the KANJIDIC dictionary database.
Copyright (C) 2003 The Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group, Monash University.

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