Cracking the Kanji Code: A Primer to Learning Japanese Kanji

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(350)
This two-day course is suited for both beginners and intermediate Japanese learners. Together we'll look at tips and tricks, practicality, and cultural significance of the kanji. A recommended prerequisite to higher IJC Kanji course levels.

Class Experience

Beginner - Intermediate Level
This class is taught in English.
Students will be able to:

 - Attain a proper foundation to both accurately and effectively learn new kanji characters (regardless of whatever current level of past experience)
 - Understand the differences between Japanese and Chinese kanji characters
 - Distinguish between multiple readings of kanji characters 
 - Utilize furigana and okurigana to decipher readings of unknown kanji characters
 - Develop a "reading instinct" that will allow them to interpret meanings of words and characters even when their readings are not easy (or necessary) to remember 
 - Appreciate the unique historical and cultural connections between Japan and its writing systems
 + Magna cum laude graduate in philosophy with honors and concentrations in Japanese studies and religion
 + 2nd Level JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) certification-holder* 
 + Member of the 2007 International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on Diplomacy & International Relations in the People's Republic of China 

*JLPT 5th level is the lowest and 1st is the highest (also now denoted "N5" through "N1)

I studied Japanese language, culture, history, and economics both at home (Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota) and a year abroad (Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan). I returned to Japan after graduating to live for another three years in Kagawa prefecture, Shikoku, where I worked in language instruction and Japanese-English translation. I attained certification in the 2nd highest level of the internationally recognized Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), and twice sat in for the 1st level. 

My teaching experience in language instruction (where I also often implement the Natural Approach and TPR) continues to this day in private lessons for both children and adults in ESL, Japanese language learning, and JLPT test prep. For Japanese, this includes literacy in kanji and the language's other character sets, as well as comprehension and production in both informal and business-level conversation. It also means a top-down approach to deconstructing, studying for, and tackling the JLPT for those students looking to take their Japanese to the next level and even get this important certification that can land them a job abroad. (Feel free to contact me for more information about the JLPT and suggestions on whether or not it may be right for your learner's language goals.)
In between our two meetings, students will be expected to perform the analysis-and-search assignment for one kanji of their choice and turn in a screenshot of their result. This assignment should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.
 1 file available upon enrollment
Learners most wanting to benefit from this intensive kanji overview will need the following: - A printed copy of the IJC Japanese Character Writing Practice Sheet (attached as a PDF to the welcome post in the forum) - A pencil and eraser (recommended over pen) - Access to a device that allows for Zoom's on-screen annotation tool (optional)
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
Students will be given comprehension checks on each of the following during class:

 - Demonstration of handwriting 
 - Telling apart Japanese from Chinese writing
 - Recalling and/or guessing character readings
 - Discern furigana versus okurigana readings for different character uses
 - Understanding stroke order rules and most important radicals for study

A Mastery Check will also be given at the end of the last class for self-evaluation. 
1 hour 15 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 0 - 1 hours per week outside of class.
There are no particular resources recommended for this level course. Learners can bring and utilize their own resources or are welcome to peruse the IJC's resources site here:

Of those featured, those most useful for kanji study are the following:

 - Japanese Kanji & Kana: A Complete Guide to the Japanese Writing System
 - Japanese Kanji & Kana Workbook: A Self-Study Workbook for Learning Japanese Characters (Ideal for JLPT and AP Exam Prep)
 - The Complete Guide to Japanese Kanji: Remembering and Understanding the 2,136 Standard Characters (for All JLPT Levels)

Available times

Table of available sections

Meet the teacher

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(350)
At a Glance

 + Magna cum laude graduate in philosophy with honors and concentrations in Japanese studies and religion
 + Praxis II 5161 (Mathematics Content Knowledge) certification-holder
 + 2nd Highest Level JLPT (Japanese... 
Group Class


for 2 classes
1x per week, 2 weeks
75 min

Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(5)
Completed by 20 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 13-18
4-8 learners per class

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