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Strategies for Learning Kanji
  Physical/Emotional Response
  * Sound
Stroke Order
Strategies for Managing Learning

Remembering a kanji by the sound of its English meaning, or by the sound of the Japanese on or kun reading can act as a memory jogger for recalling kanji.


1 I associate the Japanese sound with the English meaning
e.g. 1 帰る (かえる return) has katakana リ at the front. ‘Ri’ for ‘return’.
e.g. 2 茶 (ちゃ)has katakana ホ in it - 'hot'tea'.
e.g. 3 空 (から) has katakana エ in it - meaning is 'e-mpty'.

2 I associate the English sound with the meaning of the kanji
e.g.1 帰る (かえる return) has katakana リ at the front. ‘Ri’ for ‘return’.
e.g.2 西 (にし west) Looks like legs dangling down into a pool of water and getting ‘wet’ – sounds like ‘west’.

3 I associate the Japanese sound with a letter of the alphabet
e.g.1 左 (ひだり left) has English H (on side). ‘Hidari’ means ‘left’ in Japanese.

4 I give names to the strokes or elements
e.g.1 正しい (ただしい correct) “yoko, tate, yoko, tate, yokobō nagaku” (across, down, across, down, and a long horizontal stroke) (Shimomura Kanji Book 1 1977:35).
e.g.2 草 (くさ grass) “kusa kanmuri ni (or yokobō tate tate) 日 (hi) wo kaite ‘juu’ ()” (Onto the ‘grass’ radical – or horizontal stroke, vertical, vertical – write the ‘sun’ kanji, then ‘ten’) (Shimomura Kanji Book 1 1977:49).
e.g.3 生 (せい to be born) “no (ノ) ichi (一) no tate de, yoko ni hon” (On the katakana ‘no’, write the kanji for ‘one’, then vertical stroke and two horizontals (Shimomura Kanji Book 1 1977:51).