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Japanese Questions


Jul 2, 2015
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I know this was probably covered before, but I couldn't really find the specific answers.

So I'm 17, I started learning Japanese 1 week ago, i already know hiragana and can basically read it at ~1/5 of my native language reading speed and i know around 50 words and a few kanji. My goal is to be able to understand and to read ~70% of Japanese in news,manga,anime,novels etc. in around 3 years, I have no interest in writing nor speaking as of now as I'm not going to use them any day soon or maybe ever or I will learn it through learning other things. So my questions:

1. How do i learn kanji ? Is memorising their meaning in english a good idea ? Because that doesn't make any sense for me, how will i read Japanese if I can only understand the meanings in english ? I mean, if there is a sentence with Kanji and Hiragana, i will read hiragana IN JAPANESE and translate to my self what it means, while when i see a Kanji i will only know it IN ENGLISH and won't know it's japanese reading. And that's basically how all the courses are designed Kanji - English. That's my biggest question at the moment, should I continue learning like that and everything will fall into places eventually or am I doing something wrong ?

2. How many kanji/words/phrases etc. do I need to learn every day ? I have lots of free time right now, but I still want to know the efficient way of learning.

3. Is reading stories for kids in hiragana (with a few Kanji) and translating in my language a good way to learn vocabulary and get faster at reading ? (Because i will read A LOT when I learn Japanese).

4. Do i really need to learn all of those grammar rules or will it be clear how the sentences are formed when I have enough reading practice ?

Thanks for reading and I'm again sorry , I'm almost sure these have been covered before.


Oct 12, 2013
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Hello Berserk,

We get these questions from time to time. "My goal is only XYZ, do I really need to learn ABC". People are intimidated by grammar or kanji, and they think it will be OK to bypass all of that in Japanese as long as they only limit their end goal to one narrow, specific thing. To me its like saying, "If my destination is straight in front of me, I don't need to learn how to use the steering wheel (and thus, it will be quicker and easier for me to learn to drive)". Its all one, big package, and learning it as a package is really the only way to do it. So get yourself a decent study guide and dive in. Don't be afraid of the rules. You don't need to swallow the whole thing in one bite. Learning to write will reinforce your reading, which will reinforce your speaking, which helps out with the writing, etc.

1. Well, you need to know both the pronunciation as well as the meaning, right? As a beginner it is inevitable that you will have to memorize the meaning in English, but the pronunciation is equally important, and hopefully the study materials you are using provide both of these. You do need to use decent study materials, so if you don't have those you are screwed from the begininng.

2. Get a good study book and follow the course and don't fret over whether you are learning 3 kanji per day, or 30 per day. Japanese kids learn kanji all through school, starting with simple kanji (a hundred or so... I forget the exact number) in their first year of primary school, and then building up yearly until they learn 2000 or so by high school.

3. Yes, its OK.

4. Yes, its necessary to learn all the grammar rules.