Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji Vol. 1
The aim of this book is to provide the student of Japanese with a simple method for correlating the writing and the meaning of Japanese characters in such a way as to make them both easy to remember. It is intended not only for the beginner, but also for the more advanced student looking for some relief from the constant frustration of how to write the kanji and some way to systematize what he or she already knows. The author begins with writing because – contrary to first impressions – it is in fact the simpler of the two. He abandons the traditional method of ordering the kanji according to their frequency of use and organizes them according to their component parts or “primitive elements.” Assigning each of these parts a distinct meaning with its own distinct image, the student is led to harness the powers of “imaginative memory” to learn the various combinations that result. In addition, each kanji is given its own key word to represent the meaning, or one of the principal meanings, of that character. These key words provide the setting for a particular kanji’s “story,” whose protagonists are the primitive elements. In this way, students are able to complete in a few short months a task that would otherwise take years. Armed with the same skills as Chinese or Korean students, who know the meaning and writing of the kanji but not their pronunciation in Japanese, they are now in a much better position to learn to read (which is treated in a separate volume).
RTK was written by Dr James W. Heisig, based on techniques he used to learn Kanji himself. It gives you a systematic approach to learning how to remember, and write, 2042 Kanji (the JOYO kanji + a few extra useful kanji).
RTK1 uses a few techniques to make learning Kanji easier:
- component analysis to break up the kanji into smaller pieces (divide and conquer).
- learning the kanji in the order they are easiest to learn, rather than their frequency of use.
- imaginative memory – linking the components together in a scene you picture in your head. This is the real key to the method.
- flashcards to help you remember what you’ve learned. I’ll be writing more about this soon!
RTK1 is not teach you how to say or pronounce kanji in onyomi or kunyomi, but RTK1 tell you the story of kanji to make remembering the kanji more easily. Kunyomi and onyomi are covered in Remembering the Kanji Volume 2.
Download Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji Volume 1 PDF