Studying kanji is painful. It is an endless journey full of frustration and torment brought on by repeated failures of one’s memory. So anything to make kanji’s elusive meanings and readings easier to remember is always welcome in my home. Over my three years of studying kanji I have tried everything from internet games to manga, but the one tool that I’ve found most effective has been the simple flashcard. However, for most people – including myself – the idea of making 2000-plus flashcards to learn the Jouyou kanji is overwhelming and not worth one’s time and effort. The best solution to this problem is to simply buy the flashcards.
A company called White Rabbit Press makes and sells excellent study materials for students of Japanese. I have purchased several items from them, but none more valued than their kanji flashcard sets. There are three sets that are sectioned off based on JLPT test levels. The kanji that appear in levels 3 and 4 come in the first set; level 2 kanji come in the second set; and level 1 kanji come in the third set. The cards are sturdy and difficult to stain, as well as numbered to help keep them in order. The card’s value is undoubtedly in their comprehensiveness, as each card contains the following:
a large picture of the kanji
2 to 6 example words using the kanji along with their corresponding readings and meanings
the kanji’s stroke order
1 to 2 pictures of similar looking kanji
the kanji’s Japanese and Chinese reading(s)
the kanji’s meaning(s)
a line to track your progress through the set
Given their clarity, quality, and thoroughness these cards are better than anything most people could ever produce.
There is one catch in that they are not cheap. Set one is $25, set two is $48, and set three is $64. But for serious kanji students, I cannot recommend them highly enough.
For those interested, here’s the link.
Also, here is a link showing what the cards look like.