Leaning Kanji With the Rorschach Inkblot Technique

Hi Everyone, I waited awhile since my last post so I could get not only this forum’s reaction to this new illustrative mnemonic approach (which has been positive or neutral for the most part) but also a response from a teaching professional in the field. I contacted (but never personally met) a native Japanese teacher named Taro Taguchi. I created some proof-of-concept Google Slide presentations (consisting of 15-20 Hyakkan’e examples each) for him to evaluate. His response was very positive, see below.

(If you’d like to see the first set of slide that he saw, I converted it into a Web Presention which is located at
[Hyakkane Proof of Concept Google Slide Set A.pptx - Google Slides].

Google Slides is not as robust as PowerPoint and the Web Presentation is even less robust. Some stuff is lost in translation but the gist is definitely there. It is important to see this in animation-mode. The Web Presentation is set up for an automatic 3-second scroll. This is sometimes too fast and sometimes too slow. Feel free to click the mouse to take over manual control the scroll speed. Don’t go too fast!)

BTW, Taguchi Sensei responded:

I believe that 百感絵 is an excellent tool to learn kanji. The mnemonics are short enough, and the humor makes it easy for one to remember. The illustrations depict these mnemonics very well, and they look so classically drawn that I believe they look pleasing to most people. I also liked how you described radicals such as 貝 as tears as opposed to shell, and associated kanji that use this radical with tears. If it were a complete product, I would certainly recommend my students to use it.

I showed 百感絵 to seven students, and all of them had positive feedback. A few of the students had had experience learning from Wani Kani, and they told me in comparison to it, 百感絵 was easier to study with. One of them said it was getting difficult for him to remember mnemonics after mnemonics with Wani Kani. One might experience similar fatigue with 百感絵 due to the fact that there are more than 2,000 kanji that are used frequently. However, it is not a flaw in 百感絵 but learning this large number of kanji poses a challenge for one no matter what method one uses.

There was no negative feedback from anyone, and from their feedback, and especially for beginners students, it appears that understanding the function of the radicals is important. Since 百感絵 goes over that in detail, it should not be a problem.
While there was no negative feedback, one’s openness to using a tool with mnemonics and illustrations such as 百感絵 could influence one’s decisions and inclination to use it. Some students had been studying kanji in a conventional manner by learning its meaning, radical strokes, and commonly used words with it, and it appears that it was their preferred method.

However, overall, students were impressed, and if they started using 百感絵 unbiasedly, I believe that they can learn kanji faster and better than when one does in a conventional way. The earlier the stage of one’s development of kanji, the better it is to start using 百感絵.

1 Like

I really love your drawings and I would probably buy a book of them. Frequently when I’m learning kanji, I try to visualize the WaniKani mnemonic “taking place inside” the kanji, and I find that this helps me a lot. It’s kind of a hard process to describe but I think it’s pretty similar to what you’re doing here.

If I had to guess, I imagine that this kind of approach is good for visual learners.