Kanji Clues: A Mnemonic Approach to Mastering Japanese Characters introduces a novel approach to character acquisition that combines the ancient practice of memory enhancement with a modern appreciation for active learning. By placing phonology at the center of the reading-writing process, the learner establishes an essential link between sound and meaning before addressing each character's orthography, much in the way native speakers do.
Another prominent feature of these volumes is that the lessons are organized thematically according to components in order to enhance their retention and to distinguish between similar looking kanji.
As a result, character order is determined by the frequency of their primary elements or components.
Once a character is learned, it retains the same meaning when it appears as an element in other characters.
There is thus an internal recycling of components and characters throughout the course that serves as an additional aid to their retrieval.
Proceeding from components and characters, each lesson then introduces ten new compounds, half of which appear in sentences.
Here again, the learner actively forges meaningful links by responding to the clues provided.
Indeed, the entire learning sequence is based upon mnemonic principles, such as attention, association, and elaboration, which, when employed together, comprise a memory-enhancing network that facilitates accurate recall and retention. Designed for students who wish to master the Japanese reading/writing system, each volume is comprised of a year's worth of lessons, which can be used alongside a primary textbook, as well as for self-study, reference, or review.
Upon completion of the course, the learner will have not only mastered all the 2,136 everyday use characters, but also be familiar with more than 1,200 kanji compounds and the most common sentence patterns in the Japanese language, thereby providing a deep understanding of the inner workings of the language and the tools to decipher new words. Volume 1 is an ideal supplementary resource for students throughout their first year of Japanese-language study.