How To Survive Remembering The Kanji (RTK) — 15 Comments

  1. This, that’s it.
    Great article, wish I read it two years ago when I did RTK.
    today I am already up to my neck with sentences but I still have about 40 reviews a day of RTK which is way too much because I struggled with rote memorizing some of the characters.
    Reviews takes less time as you advance.
    never give up!

    • Better late than never, right? Hopefully this makes RTK+Reviews a bit less painful going forward, especially for our courageous Summer Kanji Riders =)


  2. 本当に凄い記事マットさん!この情報はとても使えるだと思う。生徒はマットさんのアドバイスを通れば直に高い読解力になります。マットさんは新しいJalupユザーを援助するから素晴らしい!

  3. Great article, lots of technical details. I agree completely with skipping Kanji that just don’t stick, and that goes with sentences as well. I also completely agree with pacing yourself and realizing some days are going to be good and you will cruise through reviews, and some days will be bad and you will struggle, no big deal.

    • Yeah. It’s a little different with Sentences because you’re not really going to Suspend (in an i+1 deck), but you often have to accept hitting Hard or Good on a card you don’t 100% understand yet, and just give it time to sink in while you move on to doing other cards.

  4. Heisig does have some odd keywords, and some that I can’t find in my dictionaries. I always look in the Halpern dictionary to see if there is something better than Heisig uses for making stories. Many times there is.

    • Because of trying Heisig, I cannot for the life of me remember the reading for 旬 because Heisig gives the word “decameron” as the keyword and I had no idea what it meant. And so now, every time I see the 旬 kanji, instead of my brain working on bringing up the Japanese reading, my head immediately goes to the frustration I had with the word “decameron”.

      • Yeah, that kind of stuff makes me wish RTK could get a well-deserved modernization. It’d solve a lot of problems.

        For what it’s worth, you *will* eventually overcome that issue. Given enough time, your association with the Japanese meaning/reading will overtake the RTK memory and associated sense of frustration. This is natural in the same way that you’ll steadily forget the English RTK keywords and stories as you spend more time working with kanji in native text.

        • I wish there was something like RTK, except with the keywords replaced with appropriate japanese vocabulary. It would probably need to build up the primitives in a fashion similar to how RTK does it to get the same effect.

        • That is actually why I stopped Heisig immediately and decided just to continue with my only using native materials approach to learning Japanese. I might learn kanji at a slower rate than Heisig-ers but I also have avoided the English dependence. Just need to get that 旬 kanji. :P

  5. I just started using Heisig’s method and its been such an adventure, sometimes I find it quite easy to put things together but since my mother tongue is Spanish sometimes I have to uses references in my own language to keep the meaning in my mind, its been really interesting because for me there is words in english I didn’t even know existed, which is great for improving my english but sometimes slows down my development in Kanji, so what I’ve been doing is editing the cards in Anki with my own reference word to make it easier. By now in less than a week I’m hitting the 400 kanjis… Yes, I need to learn fast…. Job hunting is a pain when you don’t speak Japanese in Japan…

  6. Many great pieces of advice, it made me realize how much freedom the RTK method gives us. I started one month ago and I started to struggle with some keywords and stories. Thanks for sharing your experience !

    • Well good luck. 頑張って.I am currently at 680 and i’ve been doing about 15 a day along with immersion. How far are you now?

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