Reviewing the Kanji is a website and community dedicated to help you complete the kanji learning method called Remembering the Kanji.
- Edit and share kanji stories with fellow learners
- Vote for the best stories, copy the ones you like
- Review with scheduled flashcards
- Track your progress through the Remembering the Kanji lessons
- Participate in our community forum
What is Remembering the Kanji?
This website complements the kanji learning book:
Remembering the Kanji by James W. Heisig.
To fully take advantage of this website, you will need to read the book to learn the imaginative memory technique, as well as the components that make up the Japanese characters.
Try the free sample chapter and see if it works for you!
In addition to the many comments from reviewers at Amazon.com, you may enjoy Mary Noguchi's thorough review at the KanjiClinic.com website (highly recommended!). For details about the publisher, errata etc, see the official page.
What is Spaced Repetition?
Reviewing the Kanji uses a spaced repetition system (also known as "SRS") based on the popular Leitner System:
In the Leitner system, flashcards are sorted into groups according to how well you know each one in the Leitner's learning box. This is how it works: you try to recall the solution written on a flashcard. If you succeed, you send the card to the next group. But if you fail, you send it back to the first group. Each succeeding group has a longer period of time before you are required to revisit the cards. -- Source: Wikipedia
The Leitner System helps you to:
- Make sure that you review all the information that you have learned.
- Review at increasingly longer intervals to stimulate long term memory.
- Review more of the difficult flashcards, and less of those that you know well.
Once you have logged in, you will see a quick summary of your progress : current lesson & number of kanji remaining in this lesson, number of expired flashcards, number of "failed" flashcards. Each summary corresponds to an area of the website explained below.
Flashcards are added through the Manage tab.
If you are using Remembering the Kanji, you can simply enter the maximum frame number that you have studied so far.
If you are not studying the kanji in the RTK sequence (say, JLPT), or you want to skip parts of RTK, then you will need to use Add Cards > Custom Selection instead.
Checking your progress
This is how the Leitner cardboard box looks like in Reviewing the Kanji :
There are five compartments, displayed from left to right. Each compartment corresponds to a level of knowledge.
Coloured bars in each compartment represent stacks of cards.
Clicking any of the coloured bars on the graph will take you to the reviewing screen.
- Failed cards. The red stack shows cards which have not been answered correctly. The kanji in this stack likely needs more work on the stories/mnemonics.
- Untested cards. The blue stack shows cards that have not been tested yet. Below the graph there is a blue link, clicking the blue link is the same as clicking the blue stack. The blue link simply gives you more detail, it tells you which was the latest pack of cards that were added, when they were added, and how many cards remain in that pack of cards. Each time you add new cards, they go to the top of the blue stack. When you click the blue stack you get to review the most recently added cards first.
- Expired cards. An orange stack indicates cards which have reached their scheduled reviewing date. These are the cards you will want to review most of the time. Keep in mind that expired cards in the second and third stacks are more critical to review than those in the last compartments, since they have been added recently and have been reviewed only once or twice.
- Non expired cards. Cards in the green stack are scheduled for review, but have not expired yet. In other words, they are still 'fresh' in your memory, so they don't need your attention yet. You can review unexpired cards if you click on the green stacks, but this is not recommended. If you review cards ahead of time, you are encouraging your memory to store the information in short term memory instead of long term memory, thus defeating the purpose of the review scheduling.
A card that is answered correctly will be promoted to the next compartment. Since it also gets scheduled for review, it will also always move to the green stack.
When a card is not answered correctly it will move back to the first compartment! This is why you can gauge your current level of knowledge just by looking at the count of cards in each compartment : cards in the last compartment have not only been tested four times or more, they also have passed the test at least four times in a row. Thus, the cards in the last compartments correspond to the kanji you know best.
When a card has been tested, it is scheduled for review in a number of days corresponding to which compartment it is moving to :
|Cards moving to compartment...||Are scheduled for review in...|
(incorrectly answered cards)
* : cards tested succesfully in the last box remain in the last box
and are scheduled again at the maximum time interval.
There is also an amount of variance added to the interval to help shuffle the flashcards over time. It is roughly one sixth of the interval so for example, a card going on a 30 day interval may be scheduled anywhere from 25 days to 35 days.
Also note that the last box on the graph on the Review page shows the total of cards from the 5th, 6th and 7th boxes together.
Clicking any of the stacks in the Leitner graph will take you to the reviewing screen :
Depending on how many cards are in the stack the reviewing session could be very short or very long. Keep in mind that you can test as many or as few cards as you like, and you may leave the Review screen whenever you want!
Every time you answer a card, that card's status is updated. When you click the "Finish" button to skip to the Review Summary screen, the remaining cards that were not reviewed simply stay in the stack, and can be tested when you have more time.
When you test one of the expired stacks (orange), you get cards in order of their expiry date, starting with the least recently expired ones, i.e. first come the cards that expired first.
When you test the untested stack, it works the other way round. Cards that were the most recently added, get tested first. This lets you review immediately newly added cards, regardless of how many untested cards were already on the stack.
Cards are always shuffled when they were added or expired on the same date. In other words, during review you get the cards in the order explained above, and within this order, groups of cards that fall on the same date get shuffled together.
Reviewing is done from the keyword to the character, and not the other way around. As recommended in James Heisig's method, you should write down the characters while reviewing. Since the book teaches you the stroke order of all the components of the Japanese characters, being able to recall the kanji from the keyword means you are able to write every one of the kanji from memory. There is no planned support for testing kanji the other way round (there is however some sight-reading test/games planned).
Write down the character on a sheet of paper, or trace it in the palm of your hand, then press the Spacebar key or click "Flip Card" to verify your answer :
Note that you can edit a story S during a review, and even the keyword (click the keyword).
If you were correct, answer "Yes" otherwise answer "No". Answering "Easy" will increase the interval by 50% compared to the "Yes" answer. You can answer by clicking the buttons or using the Y, N and E keys.
Correctly answered cards will be promoted to the next card box, incorrectly answered cards will return to the red stack in box one. It is highly suggested that you do not settle for half answers, if you forgot even just a small part of the writing of the character, answer "No". You are your own judge, but keep in mind that it is is not a race. Also realise that because many kanji look similar, forgetting "just one small stroke" here or there can make the difference between one kanji and another.
The "Stats" panel shows you how many kanji you have been testing in this session so far, how many were answered correctly, and how many were answered incorrectly.
At the end of the session, or when you click the "Skip to summary" button, you will be taken to the Review Summary screen :
The Review Summary lists the kanji that were not answered correctly during the review session.
The table can be sorted on any column by clicking on the column headers. In the example image above the review summary is sorted on the frame numbers.
Clicking any of the keywords will take you to the corresponding character in the Study area, where you can check your mnemonics, adapt them, or maybe use a mnemonic shared by another member if yours wasn't working so well.
Study And Share Stories
The Study area is the most active area of the website, after the flashcard reviews : this is where you can enter your stories (as per Remembering the Kanji's method) and share them with other members :
Here too, you can customize the keyword simply by clicking it.
There are two ways to enter the Study area : click the "Study" link in the main navigation bar, which will show you an introductory text with some hints for editing your stories. The second way is when you click the red stack representing your "failed" flashcards, this gives you the opportunity to rework stories that didn't work well, see what new ideas have been shared by other members, and eventually click the "Learned" button to move the flashcard back into the review cycle.
If you choose to publicly share your story, it will appear in the list below. You can vote for stories that work well, copy a story from another member (you can use it as is, or you may want to edit it).
- With the Leitner system, each cardbox represents a level of knowledge of the kanji. You can get a rapid estimate of your current progress simply by checking how many cards are in each box.
- You are able to set your own priorities simply by choosing the card box you want to work on. If you feel tired or you don't have enough time, review the higher compartments. If you are ready to tackle difficult kanji, work on the lower compartments.
- Too many reviews in a short period is a waste of time, as the information learned will remain in short term memory. Wait too long before reviewing, and you have lost the information. The scheduling system in "Reviewing the Kanji" uses increasingly longer spaced reviews, in order to promote long-term memory retention.
- You can optimize your reviewing time thanks to the scheduling system. There will be lots of reviews early on, but once your cards spread into the higher compartments, they will be scheduled for longer intervals, during which you can focus on the kanji that needs more attention.
Q. I can not see Japanese characters in my browser.
A. You have to enable East Asian languages support in Windows in order to see the kanji correctly. See Installing Japanese Support for a detailed how-to on installing East Asian language characters and the Input Method Editor (IME) which lets you type in Japanese.
- Remembering the Kanji official page with Errata
- Theoretical aspects of spaced repetition in learning