Learn to Write 94.5% of Kanji in 8 Months

Learning by rote doesn't work. This website teaches kanji by etymology. Step-by-step.

Learn KanjiAre you frustrated or intimidated by written Japanese? Perhaps you're just getting started and you need a Japanese kanji study guide. Use the programmed approach on this website to study at your own pace, for free. Learn to write kanji. Fast. And so thoroughly that you can teach native Japanese about kanji etymology. You can start now, without knowledge of the hiragana and katakana syllabaries, as the readings for the list of first grade kyouiku kanji are written in romanization.

More than a kanji dictionary, this is an entire learning system. You will learn to write Japanese efficiently because you will:

If you learn five a day, six days a week, you will learn all 1000 Kyoiku Kanji in 8 months. These cover 94.5% of all occurrences. (According to internet newsgroup data.) In 8 more months, learn the rest of the 2000 Joyo Kanji . These cover 99.7% of all kanji occurrences.

Types of Kanji

All writing systems first developed as pictograms and ideographs, where symbols was used to represent a thing or idea. Our modern character "y" was originally an egyptian heiroglyphic picture of an eye. The Phonecians then used this symbol to indicate a sound, without the associated meaning.

Kanji were originally purely pictographs and ideographs. Scribes then used them to represent similar-sounding words. Then Kanji took a route of development different from our alphabet as scribes wrote additional symbols to distinguish homophones from each other, resulting in a proliferation of characters that we have today.

All Japanese writing symbols are assembled from one or more of 182 elements of the following type:

These elements are then combined in two ways:

Plus, there are two ways to modify the meanings of kanji in the above categories.