Finished the Heisig method! 2042 Kanji!

The monstrous goal  has been reached! After a year and a half (give or take a few months : p ) I’ve finally completed all 2,042 Kanji for the Heisig method! I will admit I kind of sped through the last 10 Kanji or so, but hey, I’ve been going at this for a while and I wanted to just be done!

So what does this mean? Well it means the following;

1. I have a working familiarity with 2,042 Kanji.

2. I have a solid base with which to transition into learning and understanding the meanings of common words that utilize these 2,042 Kanji.

3. I can now focus primarily on Kanji revision and studying meanings in context, versus learning new Kanji.

*note* There are an additional 1,000 Kanji to learn in Remembering the Kanji part 3, but I will start learning new Kanji after 8 weeks or so of working on solidifying meanings from what I have studied so far.

Does this mean I remember all 2,042 Kanji?

Good heavens no! The program is called “Remembering the Kanji” for a reason as opposed to “Memorizing the Kanji”. What happens is that from the 2,042 that i studied and made stories from, a good percentage of those, say, 70-80% I will have a decent working memory of which allow me to look them up and tackle seeing them in context. Some Kanji I will “somewhat remember” and will have to work on to solidify the meanings using sentences and so on. Some more obscure Kanji, I will forget but understand the primitives and be able to reconstruct the story I made, and then reinforce this understanding as time passes. So Heisig is the base that allows me now to really go solidly into reading sentences which deal primarily with these 2,042 characters. When I get my “sentence swag” up, meaning I can read and understand 2,000-5,000 sentences, I will start piling on more Kanji, read more manga, etc.

The stress with Heisig is that you have to spend a specific measure of time on each story, and since there are over 2,000 stories, it will definitely take some time. But since you made a story in your brain for every single Kanji it means that on some level, you will have that story in your brain, it just depends on if the story is weak or strong. But this is where just reading tons of manga and doing sentences with Anki starts making life easier. Instead of me seeing a Kanji and having no familiarity with it at all, I can see it, not know the meaning, but have a “sense” of what it is and then lookup the word.

Either way, i’m happy to have finished what seemed IMPOSSIBLE only a year and a half ago, and I really want to ensure that I go right into a proper revision system to retain the meanings of the Kanji.

Where do I go from here?

I’m sure i’ve written about this loads of times before, so forgive my redundancy. But basically after finishing Heisig I will:

1. Study hundreds of sentences with common meanings of these 2,042 Kanji in context.

2. Read Manga & Japanese media to further reinforce these meanings as I see them.

3. Solidify these readings and meanings further by listening to and watching Japanese media spoken at native speed.

4. Practice speaking with a native speaker to have grammatical challenges and use vocabulary.

So my current plan?

I’m presently at about 300 sentences in Anki and i’m getting through learning some very basic verbs and terms like occur, 起きる、decide 決まる、open 閉じる、and so on. Some of the sentences are painfully easy to read, but I dont’ know all the meanings of the Kanji yet, so I’m trying to blaze to 1,000 sentences, because at that point I should be able to start navigating game menus and handling manga a little better. Of course I’ll keep updating the blog with my progress and my observations.

I’m going to pick an easy Manga to start reading daily to re-familiarize myself with such lovely phrases like 遣って見るのか?(You wanna do it?) which most High-school style anime are chock full of. So the journey continues but I’ve hit a MASSIVE milestone today that makes me glad I kept it up, and let’s me see more lights ahead like i wrote in my last post. 


About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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6 Responses to Finished the Heisig method! 2042 Kanji!

  1. Paul Nogas says:

    Congratulations! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

  2. marcusbird says:

    Yeah it’s pretty cool. The next 1,000 doesn’t feel like so bad, i’m just ready to dive into learning sentences and just getting as familiar as possible with what i’ve learned!

  3. Kesha says:

    Congrats! I recently started reading your blog. I know I got to the 1500 kanji mark around last Dec. I need to get back to it so that I too can finally have the feeling of being done. Well, sort of…

    • marcusbird says:

      Yes, I know the feeling. I was at 1700 in February and stopped for a little while. You can see from the blog that I had a blank period between say.. January/February and May because I had left Japan because of that whole earthquake thing. About eight weeks later I started to rediscover a passion for just… the process and then I decided to do like 50 Kanji a day (which didn’t work too well!) but I did the last 340 Kanji in in a month or so. While i was just getting back into the fun of blogging and messing with stuff. So go for it!

  4. your expression is precious and your hand-written japanese looks so cool, such a great moment captured! I’m using Heisig method too, hope that one day I can shoot a picture like yours 😆.

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