1st Edition

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

By John Esposito Copyright 2021
    376 Pages 102 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    376 Pages 102 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    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.


    • 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


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