Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Tip for Those Who Learn Kanji (kanji app for the kanken test)

Ok, let's be honest here, learning kanji is not easy. When I started learning them, I decided that I should try to learn as many as I can and that it was not a big deal if they were approximate or if the stroke order was not correct.

Unfortunetaly, I later discovered how naive this reasoning was and how bad I needed to start again from the start and learn kanji properly. I also noticed something when I spoke with Japanese people. They seemed surprised that I could write some difficult kanji but that I had problems with some basic ones.

I had learned kanji in the order they came to me, never questioning if it was a kanji I should learn or not.

I also changed that and I have now decided to learn kanji in the same order as Japanese people themselves. It is actually easy as it is documented. You will find both the system: 1st year of elementary school, 2nd year, ... 6th year, 1st year of junior high school, etc... and the kyuu system: 10kyuu 9kyuu, etc...

The two systems are consistent (10kyuu is for kanji learned in the 1st year of elementary school, etc..).

This kyuu system is from the Japanese Kanji Aptitude test (or 漢字能力検定試験 kanji nouryoku kentei shiken), sometimes reduced to kanken. This test is aimed for Japanese people and therefore not commonly available outside Japan (unfortunately) but I do like it a bit better than the Japanese Language Proficiency Test for this particular topic (as we are following the same path as Japanese people themselves).

I was surprised to find an iPad app to train for this kanken test. The only thing you need to do is to look for it in Japanese (you won't find anything in English or in roma-ji). The app is also available on the Google play store:

PS: I looked for the app again for you to see if I could help you find this app (it drove me crazy again because this app does not appear in search results). The easiest to find it is to look for the app developer: imagineer. Just look for it and you should find it.