Grouping of Kanji by Shape, Will it Help?

I have been attempting to arrange and group the 常用漢字 (JOUOU Kanji) according to their shape, structure etc. Some of my friends described this exercise as cumbersome. They asked if there is any logic behind doing this.

Japanese children learn Kanji by writing them repeatedly. Repeated learning is the key to memorize Kanji characters. For many of the employed foreigners, who do not have enough time to dedicate for study, this repeated learning method may not be possible. It is this realization that led me to arrange the Kanji as per their shape and structure.

What did I do?

What I did was simple; just arranged the Kanji that looked similar to me in the first look.

Why did I do that?

I found it difficult to remember the Kanji that looked similar. The more I learned, the more I became perplexed. They made me confused. Most Kanji look similar but they have different meanings and readings. The small differences among them vary from just a dot or line to the association of radicals.

How it was done?

Got a list of all the Kanji in an excel sheet. It was a list of Kanji in one column. I started arranging the Kanji by their shape. I moved the Kanji that were totally different in look to separate columns. Then started looking for Kanji similar to that first Kanji. After a while, I got an array of Kanji. Then Later, arranged them according to their simplicity. The more simpler on the top and the complicated ones at the bottom.

Here is a sample:

I am not sure about the real effect of this effort in memorizing the Kanji, but it helped me a lot to remember the difference between kanji that looked similar but have different meanings and readings.

Would love to hear your opinion

Jayaprakash

Author: Jayaprakash

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