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Remembering The Kanji Ii [Perfect Paperback]

James W Heisig
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 20 1990
Beneath the notorious inconsistencies in the way the Japanese language has come to pronounce the characters it received from China in the fifth century, there lies a solid and rather ample base of coherent patterns. Discovering these patterns can reduce to a minimum the time spent in brute memorization of sounds unrelated to written forms. Volume II of REMEMBERING THE KANJI takes you step by step through the varieties of phonetic pattern and offers helpful hints for learning kanji that resist systematization.

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About the Author

JAMES W. HEISIG is a permanent research fellow of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture (Nagoya, Japan), where he has been since 1978 and which he served as director from 1991 to 2001.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The two Japanese syllabaries known as hiragana and katakana (or collectively, as the kana) originated as stylized versions of Chinese characters used to represent the sounds of Japanese without any reference to the original meaning of those characters. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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2.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as useful as the first book March 19 2005
By A Customer
Format:Perfect Paperback
James Heisig deployed an elaborate mnemonic system to help learn the meaning and writing of the kanji in Remembering the Kanji I, and many people will come to the second book expecting something similar for the readings. Unfortunately, Heisig has run out of magic for this task, and all he has to offer is brute-force memorization like everyone else. Remembering the Kanji II is basically nothing but an abridged dictionary of kanji readings, and you are expected to just drill through it without any special tricks.
I found the first book very useful but this one just dry and demotivating. There is little to be gained from learning kanji readings using RTK2; I found it much better to just start reading Japanese texts and look up the readings as I went along.
The only advantage RTK2 really gives you is that it teaches you readings corresponding to primitives. So you can save time by learning, say, a block of 5 kanji with the same sound-determining primitive all at once. But this only works for a few hundred kanji, and is something you'd be naturally be doing anyway even if you learned readings ad hoc. So you might find RTK2 somewhat useful, but if you don't buy this book you really aren't missing out on much.
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By A Customer
Format:Perfect Paperback
The system that James Heisig presents in the "Remembering
the Kanji" series is the fastest and most effective
way to learn Japanese characters that I have seen. There are
a great number of systems that promote learning Kanji by
associating them with a visual image, which can be effective,
but also has draw backs. A phenomenon common to any serious
Japanese learner is the ability to recognize Kanji when seen,
but when it comes to writing them... you draw a blank - or make
subtle, but important mistakes.

Heisig, on the other hand, uses "imaginative memory" not
visual, and this makes all the difference. Often, I found
that the opposite of the above scenario was true in the
beginning stages - I'd remember how to write a character
before I recognized it printed somewhere.
And the best thing about this system is that it reduces the
amount of time required to become proficient from a matter of
years to a matter of months. I whole heartedly recommend this
book to any and all Japanese students frustrated with learning
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent way to learn the readings of Kanji Jan. 9 2000
Format:Perfect Paperback
Before you dismiss this review because of my Japanese name, I grew up in America and did not study Japanese before University. This book is an excellent companion to Remembering the Kanji I. It is not meant to be studied independantly. At first I thought this book wouldn't be as useful as the first. However, it did wonders in helping me to figure out pronunciation. The limits of the book are inherant to to non-nativeness of Chinese characters to Japanese sounds. However, it is amazing just how much this book helps. It is particularly good for the on-yomi or Chinese pronunciations, but it's ideas for the kun-yomi or Japanese pronunciations are helpful as well. If the first book worked for you, I highly recommend this book as a follow-up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So easy! July 22 2002
Format:Perfect Paperback
I have been living in Japan for almost three years now, and for two and a half of those years I tried to learn Kanji the usual way- that is, the same way Japanese do; write the character on a word card and the on and the kun readings, as well as the english meaning, on the other side. Impossible. So a friend of mine recommended the first book of Heisig's and I'm flying through them. I can't wait to finish it so I can buy this book. Living in Japan makes it easier, I'm sure, because I'm surrounded by the things. I just can't forget them!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remember how to read kanji once and for all. March 2 2011
Format:Perfect Paperback
Once you can recognize the kanji after studying Volume 1, you'll need to learn how to pronounce and read them, too.
This volume is extremely helpful to learn the "on-yomi," i.e., the Sinitic pronunciations of the characters. But not only that, the author also gives us several good hints on how to remember the native Japanese "kun-yomi" as well.
I recommend this book to all my intermediate level students, especially those who come from the Chinese and Korean background because all they need to do is to reorient their native language knowledge into the Japanese-type pronunciation. But then again, non-East Asian learners of Japanese will also find this book very helpful - they just need to first study Volume 1 to make better sense of this wonderful system. Thanks Dr. Heisig! With your help I have managed to learn the basic kanji 10 times faster (and more reliably, that is systematically) than I would otherwise do if I'd just relied on language textbooks and rotary learning.
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