Crazy for Kanji: A Student’s Guide to the Wonderful World of Japanese Characters

“Crazy for Kanji” provides the context sorely missing from most classes and books about kanji. Jam-packed with exhibits, the book supplies background information, explores fun themes, and challenges readers with games. Novices will gain the basic knowledge needed to grasp kanji, and advanced students will come to understand the system of kanji as they’ve never understood it before.

Students often stop learning Japanese because of kanji. If teachers present kanji as a random collection of characters, it leaves students feeling hopeless about understanding and mastering this system. Above all, they don’t have the slightest inkling that kanji can be fun. What a shame!

They’ll feel differently once they read “Crazy for Kanji” and realize the following:

The immense challenge of kanji can lure you on, much as Mt. Everest beckons to intrepid mountaineers. You can love kanji, not in spite of its being difficult but because of that.

Japanese words abound in puns that you can understand if you grasp the kanji. Hanabi, “fireworks,” breaks down as “flower” + “fire”–a perfect, poetic way of describing fireworks!

Understanding kanji affords a wonderful feeling of being in the know, as when you can decipher characters on restaurant signs, tattoos, and T-shirts.

The child in us longs to decode. That’s why kids spend hours solving puzzles. And that’s why you’ll enjoy unlocking the door to a hitherto sealed-off area.

Kanji study has proven effective as an antidepressant! This “drug” works because it gives endless entertainment to overactive minds.

Studying kanji brings you into contact with old Japan–with a pure form of the culture and the Japanese mind–as well as with ancient China. Dating back several thousand years, kanji provide a time capsule, giving us insight into the way people once made sense of the world. As timeless human symbols, kanji characters can evoke the deepest feelings, above all joy.

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