As much as I like the approach to learning kanji on this site, I have to say, I simply loathe the reading/writing system.
Nothing seems to really work for me. Mnemonics don’t - I end up trying to remember the mnemonic rather than what it’s supposed to remind me of. Kana is from me, I can work with that, but kanji is just something I do not get.
The mnemonics don’t really do much for me either
When I first started learning Kanji I couldn’t remember anything. I remember trying to write 多 over and over again but it never stuck with me. I think you just need a LOT of practice and eventually it feels easier as you go.
The best way to remember is practice. Just write them down over and over again, review them everyday, and try to get yourself to write them without looking.
Also, read/look at a lot of Japanese material. The more you see the kanji the better.
If you don’t know the stroke order, go to Jisho.org and just put the kanji and #kanji and it will show you.
Also, try to make it fun Don’t loathe it. Learning Kanji (In my opinion) is one of the best parts about learning Japanese. It helps make vocabulary make more sense, and it makes grammar study 100% easier because you can actually read example sentences.
The reason kanji is needed is because they have so many words pronounced the same way:
For example: 加味、上、紙、神、髪 are all pronounced かみ. It makes it easier to understand what word we are using. Also, since they don’t have spaces, it would be difficult to read without it
For example, it’s much easier to understand この中で一番好きな食べ物は何？ compared to このなかでいちばんすきなたべものはなに？ Because you have no idea where the words start and end
There’s no real “easy” way to learn kanji. I find learning it the same way Japanese people do is the best Just review it over and over and over, etc. Again until one day everything clicks
Also! Romaji isn’t part of their writing system. It is the Roman alphabet, which is the English writing system.
Nothing in life is a logical system.
Anyways, the mnemonics always work quite well for me, although I usually end up shortening them.
For example, the kanji for special (特), using the radicals for cow and temple. The COW at the TEMPLE is SPECIAL because it can talk/とく. If I see a kanji I read the radicals in my head and remember the story that i put them in.
And now I’m gonna sleep because it’s past midnight bye
I’m sorry you feel that way, getting to know enough kanji to be functional it’s of course an overwhelming feat to achieve.
But let me copy a page of Tae Kim’s grammar guide for you where the reason of why kanji is used is explained:
You may wonder why Japanese didn’t switched from Chinese to romaji to do away with having to
memorize so many characters. In fact, Korea adopted their own alphabet for Korean to greatly
simplify their written language with great success. So why shouldn’t it work for Japanese? I
think anyone who has learned Japanese for a while can easily see why it won’t work. At any
one time, when you convert typed Hiragana into Kanji, you are presented with almost always at
least two choices (two homophones) and sometimes even up to ten. (Try typing “kikan”). The
limited number of set sounds in Japanese makes it hard to avoid homophones. Compare this
to the Korean alphabet which has 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Any of the consonants can be
matched to any of the vowels giving 140 sounds. In addition, a third and sometimes even fourth
consonant can be attached to create a single letter. This gives over 1960 sounds that can be
created theoretically. (The number of sounds that are actually used is actually much less but it’s
still much larger than Japanese.)
Since you want to read at a much faster rate than you talk, you need some visual cues to
instantly tell you what each word is. You can use the shape of words in English to blaze through
text because most words have different shapes. Try this little exercise: Hi, enve thgouh all teh
wrods aer seplled icorrenctly, can you sltil udsternand me?" Korean does this too because it
has enough characters to make words with distinct and different shapes. However, because the
visual cues are not distinct as Kanji, spaces needed to be added to remove ambiguities. (This
presents another problem of when and where to set spaces.)
With Kanji, we don’t have to worry about spaces and much of the problem of homophones is
mostly resolved. Without Kanji, even if spaces were to be added, the ambiguities and lack of
visual cues would make Japanese text much more difficult to read.
I’m not convinced about that. Kanji is probably the biggest hurdle to learning the language. If they wrote everything in hiragana, leaving spaces between words, as is done for foreign learners and in kids’ books, then the language would be much easier to learn.
That wouldn’t help. Trust us on this one. I was of the same opinion that you are now about 5 months ago, but as you spend time actually learning the language you’ll realize that kanji are quite necessary. To draw a parallel in our own language, you may be familiar with the sentence :
This is a grammatically correct English sentence, and those unfamiliar with the sentence are going to have a hell of a time parsing it. This is a slightly hyperbolic comparison as Japanese, so far as I know, doesn’t get this bad in normal usage, but you start to appreciate why having homonyms everywhere becomes problematic. And Japanese homonyms are everywhere. Honestly I’m sometimes I’m amazed that Japanese people can understand each other, but I guess that there are often enough context clues in speech that people can figure out what’s being said. In writing, it’s often difficult/clunky/inconvenient/sounds bad to include those context clues, thus we have/need kanji.
As to why the language is this way? I attribute it to a number of really suboptimal decisions that were made between the 5th and 9th century, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it now. On the up side, the Japanese pun game is on point.
Edit: I just remembered that logographic languages such as Chinese and Japanese are supposed to be incredibly fast to read for those who are literature. I don’t have a source on that, but maybe somebody else can verify.
These would be my worst nightmares when it comes to written Japanese.
It’s very true that kanji is not an easy topic to get into at first, but I hope you reach the point where you can look back and shake your head at your past self’s dislike of the writing system just as I have.
I personally pushed off studying kanji intently until my lack of kanji proficiency started to really interfere with my grammar and vocab studies. So there’s always the option that you can do the same, since there really is a whole lot more to Japanese than just kanji.
I doubt that the language is going to change because one guy on a forum says it’s too hard to learn. That’s bs anyways, nothing is too hard to learn as long as you’re willing to put the work in. Kanji is just a small taste of the language, there are much more difficult things ahead. If you think it’s too much already then you might as well quit while you’re ahead and save yourself some time, otherwise suck it up and bear through it.
Sorry if this came off harsh but when it comes down to it, that’s the reality of the situation.