Rahul's Web Log

Reflections on Learning 2,200 Kanji in Six Months

January 20, 2019

Today I finished learning the last of the 2,200 kanji in the NihongoShark Kanji Mastery Anki deck. At a rate of 20 new kanji per day, naively it would have taken me about three and a half months, but I finished it in around six. However, just reviewing old characters took about 30 minutes every day, while adding new characters to that was another 30-45 minutes of arduous effort. I’m quite proud to have completed this at all, let alone at a pace that I would never have thought possible before starting this journey.

Huge props to Nico and the team at NihongoShark for putting their Japanese course together and even releasing the kanji mastery content for free. I highly recommend reading Nico’s post on how to learn (paywall) - I found it motivating and insightful for not just starting but slogging through learning these kanji. Honestly, it’s great advice for learning anything non-trivial, whether it be kanji, a whole language, or another sort of skill entirely. I hope to put the approach I learned from Nico and this process to the test as I continue advancing my study of Japanese and in new areas. It took time, effort, discipline, and much of the time it wasn’t even that fun, but it was often satisfying. Also, thank you to Heisig and his Heisig method of kanji study and all the folks at the kanji learning community Koohi for their often amusing mnemonics and occasional insight.

I’m planning to follow up in another post with the lessons I learned from this process. I don’t think they’re necessarily novel, but I’d say this is the first time I tried to self-learn something this big and thus had to actually put advice on learning that we hear all the time into practice.

Thanks for reading!

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