Kanji Clues: A Mnemonic Approach to Mastering Japanese Characters : Volume 2 book cover
1st Edition

Kanji Clues: A Mnemonic Approach to Mastering Japanese Characters
Volume 2

ISBN 9780367441555
Published November 24, 2020 by Routledge
376 Pages 102 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Kanji Clues: A Mnemonic Approach to Mastering Japanese Characters introduces a novel approach to character acquisition that combines the ancient practice of memory enhancement with a modern appreciation for active learning.

By placing phonology at the center of the reading-writing process, the learner establishes an essential link between sound and meaning before addressing each character’s orthography, much in the way native speakers do. Another prominent feature of these volumes is that the lessons are organized thematically according to components in order to enhance their retention and to distinguish between similar looking kanji. As a result, character order is determined by the frequency of their primary elements or components. Once a character is learned, it retains the same meaning when it appears as an element in other characters. There is thus an internal recycling of components and characters throughout the course that serves as an additional aid to their retrieval. Proceeding from components and characters, each lesson then introduces ten new compounds, half of which appear in sentences. Here again, the learner actively forges meaningful links by responding to the clues provided. Indeed, the entire learning sequence is based upon mnemonic principles, such as attention, association, and elaboration, which, when employed together, comprise a memory-enhancing network that facilitates accurate recall and retention.

Designed for students who wish to master the Japanese reading/writing system, each volume is comprised of a year’s worth of lessons, which can be used alongside a primary textbook, as well as for self-study, reference, or review. Upon completion of the course, the learner will have not only mastered all the 2,136 everyday use characters, but also be familiar with more than 1,200 kanji compounds and the most common sentence patterns in the Japanese language, thereby providing a deep understanding of the inner workings of the language and the tools to decipher new words.

Volume 2 is an ideal supplementary resource for students throughout their second year of Japanese-language study.

Table of Contents


  • Elements of a Mnemonic Network
  • From Mnemonic Principles to Practice
  • Weekly Course Outline
  • Clue Principles as Simple as ABC
  • How to Make Best Use of This Book
  • For Love of Kanji


  1. Person-To-Person
  2. Under Water
  3. With All One’s Heart
  4. Fire And Ice
  5. Review: Lessons 51-55

  6. Mouthpiece
  7. In Other Words
  8. Hanging By A Thread
  9. Come To One’s Senses
  10. For Good Measure
  11. Review: Lessons 56-60

  12. Color Coded
  13. Devil’s Claw
  14. Stop Horsing Around
  15. Jewelry Box
  16. Sick Days
  17. Review: Lessons 61-65

  18. Weather Report
  19. Make An Entrance
  20. Plant Oneself
  21. Weapons Strike
  22. The High Ground
  23. Review: Lessons 66-70

  24. Get Moving
  25. Woman Of The World
  26. Bend Over Backward
  27. Easy Money
  28. Keep One’s Head Above Water
  29. Review: Lessons 71-75

  30. On The Farm
  31. Wine And Dine
  32. Raise The Roof
  33. Body Language
  34. Take Wing
  35. Review: Lessons 76-80

  36. Forest Denizens
  37. Wait On Hand And Foot
  38. People Power
  39. Watering Hole
  40. In The Wild
  41. Review: Lessons 81-85

  42. It Takes A Village
  43. Rice Dish
  44. Nice Threads
  45. A Bird In The Hand
  46. Fishing Boat
  47. Review: Lessons 86-90

  48. Put Words in Someone’s Mouth
  49. Metal Detector
  50. Wetlands
  51. Dance Steps
  52. Moon Diviner
  53. Review: Lessons 91-95

  54. A Well Of Compassion
  55. Thirst For
  56. Out Of Hand
  57. Wooden Words

100. Garden Variety

Review: Lessons 96-100

101. Strange Bedfellows

102. Odds And Ends


  1. Kanji Components
  2. Secondary Pronunciations and Acronyms
  3. Secondary Meanings and Acronyms

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John Esposito is Professor in the School of Global Studies at Chukyo University, Nagoya, Japan.