Kanji Hacks 漢字の覚え方

How to memorize kanji so they stick

How to make up a good “hack”

It can be challenging to come up with a good hack at first, so here are some tips to help get you started:

  1. Use the radicals if you can. There should be a link to all the radicals in each kanji entry.
  2. Make up a sentence or “story” that includes all the components of a kanji, plus the meaning.
  3. In your hack, try to use the components in the order that you write them. For example, a hack for 技 should use the components in the order 扌十又… maybe “skilled hands have ten (fingers) repeating something again and again.”
  4. Keep it as simple as possible. It’s a challenge, but try to avoid extra words as much as possible. My example for #3 probably has too many words, because when I try to write I may be trying to think of a radical for “fingers” which is not even in the kanji.
  5. Make your hack silly, absurd, shocking, or whatever you like as long as it is not bland. Your brain is wired to remember the unusual, so make the most of that and really give it something to grab on to.
  6. If you can get your hack to come out in some kind of rhythm or singable to a tune, you will never forget it. That’s a tall order, I know, but some people are talented that way.
  7. Don’t worry about what others will think. We’re all in the same boat here, and if it works for you, chances are it will work for others.

If you’ve got other advice for coming up with good hacks, please leave them in the comments!


March 18, 2009 - Posted by | General learning, Memorization tips

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