Kanji Now!
December 24, 2012 12:24 PM   Subscribe

A friend wants an iPad app to help learn Kanji, there appear to be many and was wondering if anyone has a recommendation? thanks and happy holidays!
posted by silsurf to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm no expert, and am still learning, but have enjoyed iKanji touch. It doesn't require more than a few seconds of time so I can load it up when I'm waiting in line at the grocery store and during other moments when I would normally be idle.
posted by Th!nk at 1:58 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been really enjoying using Memrise to casually learn to read Chinese. They used to have an iOS app out, and according to their website "will have a new app before Christmas" (which I suspect doesn't actually mean any minute now). They have a lot of Japanese study plans, including quite a few of the Basic Kanji Books, Japanese for Busy People (eh), and plenty of JPLT prep here--so it'd be a great supplement to one of these courses. In my brief exploration of Memrise, it seems like they do reading/visual info much better than aural/listening/speaking.
posted by tapir-whorf at 4:00 PM on December 24, 2012

I was using Read the Kaniji as a website, and it was the hands down best site I'd found. Customizable flash card decks, targeted review of kanji you haven't mastered. They were talking about an app, though I'm not sure if they ever did it. Seriously, though, really, really useful, and helped me learn/remember around five hundred kanji in about six months or so.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:48 PM on December 24, 2012

Kanji Flip helped me make a lot more progress than my own flashcards. There are also versions for just kana and for Japanese words. (That said I don't think it's an iPad specific app and would be all blown up huge on the iPad. That drives some people nuts, some people are fine with it.)
posted by Ookseer at 7:19 PM on December 24, 2012

There seem to be a number of interesting choices here, many of which are fairly recent additions. I wish I could say I'm an expert on Kanji, but I've been struggling for a decade to get these characters into my head! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to make a renewed effort, with the help of some of the apps/sites below.

Although many apps/sites try to cover the whole spectrum, it may be the case (depending on the level of your friend) that an app for beginners will be the most help at first, after which they can move on to something more advanced.

Read the Kanji
, as suggested by Ghidorah, is very impressive, though I believe it requires a monthly fee (site seems to be down right now!?).

As a general introduction to written Japanese, Japanese Please! seems quite good. Also see Learning Japanese.

Japanese is ostensibly a dictionary, but has an integrated study element and much more, and is very easy on the eyes; I use it almost every day and I don't regret for a second its somewhat high cost.

Skritter is another new choice (also on iOS), that focuses on writing the kanji characters (as opposed to just being able to identify them). I can't say whether this is good or bad, as I'm currently sitting on the fence about having to pay another monthly fee, but I have been told many times that learning to write the characters is the best method to get them to stick in your brain.

It's still in beta and I haven't found my way around it yet, so I can't say much either way about its effectiveness, but WaniKani also looks very interesting and promising.

Cooori is another option, but I can't quite get my head around its particular approach, and can't really recommend it.

Many swear by the Remembering the Kanji books, and there is an app for that as well. I have no personal experience with the app.

The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary is a great paper resource for Kanji learners, and there now seems to be an app for that as well, though this appears to be more of a look-up focus, rather than studying.

Finally, StickStudy and Japanese Sensei Deluxe are also highly rated on the AppStore. I have both, but find I don't use them as much as "Japanese", probably because I started with "Japanese" and am simply used to it.

Of course there are (many!) others, but these are the ones that I am familiar with.

TLDNR: Read the Kanji and Japanese.
posted by segatakai at 7:43 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am sorry to come to the party so late, but I would also recommend Skritter. I started using it last year when I became annoyed enough at my poor ability to write kanji by hand. It has helped incredibly to reactivate my writing abilities. I am now working my way through the Kanji Kentei and just passed Level 3, due in no small part to Skitter. The monthly fee is worth every penny.

On a general note, I would emphasize that there is no such thing as studying kanji separate from studying Japanese. I recommend that your friend learn kanji in the context of the vocabulary he is learning. In my view, you do not know a kanji until you can know its meaning(s), read it, write it, and use it in context.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:48 PM on December 8, 2013

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