3.27.2008

Is it still popular?

Whenever I see advice about learning kanji, I think about the book Remembering the Kanji. When I was living in Japan, it seemed like everyone who wanted to learn how to read Japanese had that book. I bought it, too, but I didn't finish reading it. I wonder how many people nowadays have that book, or if it's as popular as it used to be. It seems like a book that people buy, but don't finish.

3 comments:

RaLph said...

Of the approximate 1200 pages of "Atlas Shrugged", I skipped about 45 pages of John Galt's speech (radio address) because anything relevant that he had to say had already been repeated 3 to 4 times in the first few pages of the speech. The entire novel could have been reduce to about 400 pages and been more effective.

Maybe "Remembering the Kanji" was too repetitious.

I have bought about 20 self-help type books in the past 2 years that I have not gotten past the fourth chapter because they fizzle out. They start out with a strong concept, then lead nowhere to a solution or conclusion.

Oh well.

RaLph in Baton Rouge

Eve Kushner said...

Hi, MJ.

I'm pretty tuned into the kanji world, as I blog about kanji for JapanesePod101.com (http://blogs.japanesepod101.com/blog/category/kanji-curiosity/) and have written a forthcoming book about kanji (Crazy for Kanji). Perhaps most important, I have a Google alert set up for the word "kanji," which lets me know anytime someone has blogged or published an article with the word "kanji" in it. (That's how I ended up on your site today!)

Anyway, through all these avenues, I've been AMAZED to discover the subculture of so-called Heisigistas. (I think I have that term right.) People all over the world (including some hardcore ones in Venezuela) blog about how they have set themselves daily/weekly/monthly goals about moving through Heisig's "Remembering the Kanji" at a predetermined speed. They ask others to wish them luck (much as if they were about to head out on a dangerous wilderness expedition).

I've also noticed a certain insistence among this population that Heisig is the ONLY way to learn kanji. The devotees are often quick to criticize those who embrace a different method.

Heisigistas frequent a site called Reviewing the Kanji (http://kanji.koohii.com/), which is partly a flashcard-based self-study system and partly a support group, as far as I can make out.

I've been quite shocked to stumble upon this subculture and to sense the ferocity of purpose in its "members."

mj said...

ralph: Remembering the Kanji isn't repetitious, it's really a reference book more than a narrative. There are so many kanji, it gets overwhelming after a while.

eve: thanks for the info--that subculture sounds very interesting and almost unbelievable. I know people liked his method and were into the book, but not *that* much.