How do you efficiently study kanji you're unfamiliar with?

Whether I like them or not, I sit and really truly visualize all the given mnemonics like I’m reading a novel. The mnemonics are vulgar, violent, and ridiculous in order to help you visualize them in the most vivid and lurid way possible. Often they’re a bit negative/scary/bloody because your brain tends to remember negative things better than positive things. There are lots of times when I’ll step through the radicals in a Kanji and remember each piece from the mnemonic story to get the full picture again. It really does work if you sit and work with the mnemonics like they’re a book.

Like others mentioned, each time you review a Kanji, even if you know it well, re-tell the mnemonic story to yourself again. I agree that this really helps. (Even if it’s your own self-made mnemonic.)

In the later levels, there are a lot of Kanji that look visually similar, so it’s easy to get them confused. I’ve installed this script to help identify similar Kanji, so that when I get a mix-up, I can compare right away to see what the differences are. This helps sort them out fairly well.

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