Hiragana. Katakana. The major basics of basics. How to write in Japanese. If you want to study Japanese, there is no doubt that you have to learn kana. It’s the beginning. We all have to start somewhere. And you want that start to be as meaningful as possible.
Luckily, kana isn’t considered to be too overwhelming. Most people seem to say that they learn kana in anywhere from several days to a few weeks. Is there that much to it?
Yes and no.
You can “learn” it in a short amount of time. But can you “wield” it freely? Can you take that kana and dominate it? Can you conquer it?
There are a lot of methods for learning kana. But one of the complaints I’ve heard most often from beginners is that when they enter J-E, their kana ability still waivers a bit. When you move to the basics of learning the language, it becomes time to focus on grammar, vocabulary, and meaning. Not dealing with remaining frustration and lingering issues from your first Japanese battle.
Enter Kana Conqueror
Absolute mastery of kana, never giving them a second thought again, making them a natural part of your arsenal, and tying them in beautifully with your next phases of study. This is an Anki deck/PDF, designed for the beginner or anyone still feeling they would like a little more practice with kana.
It fixes issues that I don’t like and does much more than your standard entry level kana learning tools. Here’s what it’s all about:
1. Sentences for all!
You know I like sentences, rather than just words or characters. Right from the beginning, you will not just have single kana cards. You have full sentences, for every single new kana. These sentences are coming from most of the vocabulary and grammar that you will learn on the next part of your journey, Jalup Beginner.
Testing yourself on one kana at a time just isn’t enough practice. Sentences solve that. No more shaky ability due to inadequate time with it. By the end of Kana Conqueror, you will have seen the kana over and over again, in so many different contexts and ways that it will no longer give you any pause.
2. Building one unknown at a time
From the very first surprise expression sentence “あ！！” you are setting up your kana in a building block manner. The sentences start off short, grow longer as you progress, and only use kana that you have already covered.
3. Powering up Jalup Beginner
Since many of the words and sentences are composed of what you will soon be learning in Jalup Beginner, you are getting a nice early start. You’ll get used to it and a feel for the flow of how the words and sentences sound, before you even start studying them.
4. Sets you up for solo travels
For the words that aren’t found in Jalup Beginner (which are mostly in the katakana section), you still have the nice and easy sentences you are used to. Just started created your own J-J cards? You now have a bunch of sentences with only one unknown word that you can easily branch on your own.
5. All kanji is included
While kanji is not the target of this tool, every sentence is written in normal kanji, with the kana readings in parentheses. You get to see kanji and readings from day 1. While the goal of Kana Conqueror is not to actually deal with the kanji just yet, it makes a major difference in your reviews a little later on down the road.
6. Long term value that will increase over time
This deck was designed to evolve as you progress.
– In the beginning, the focus of this deck is to only learn the kana.
– As you enter Jalup Beginner, this deck will act as a kana review, a source of alternative sentences for what you are learning, and kanji reading reinforcement.
– As you finish Jalup Beginner, your reviews will feel like normal sentence cards, expanding your ways of expressing what you know.
– As you enter J-J on your own, they will act as sentence cards that you can expand upon for the unknown words that you don’t know yet.
7. Full native audio of both the kana and the sentences
Everyone loves a little extra audio practice. In addition to each kana spoken out loud by a native speaker, the full sentence audio follows it.
8. Notes and tips
There are a few confusing, head scratch moments when studying kana. I’ve written in some short tips or points to help where I think most people struggle.
9. Stroke order diagrams
While you may be unsure about how in depth you want to be able to write kanji, the ability to write kana is usually needed. For every kana that is introduced, you get a large and colorful stroke order diagram so you can practice your writing.
How to use Kana Conqueror
Here’s what a card will look like on the front.
1. Try to read the full sentence out loud (ignore the kanji, which you’ll know are kanji because they are followed by parentheses)
2. Try to write out the sentence (ignore the kanji)
3. Press the answer button
– Stroke order diagram
– Romaji (English characters used to express Japanese) for the hiragana. For the katakana section, the hiragana is listed instead of the romaji, as romaji is best removed as soon as possible.
– A pronunciation hint in between ( ).
– The kana read out loud, followed by the full sentence read out loud.
Romaji is included for the hiragana section because when you type in Japanese on your keyboard, you are using romaji input, so it is good to at least see how romaji works. Also, some people are more visual learners, and just having the audio alone might make things unnecessarily difficult.
4. You are only testing yourself on pronunciation. For now, kanji/meaning is irrelevant. If you forgot a kana, hit “again.” Otherwise hit “good.”
5. Move to the next card and progress through the deck.
6. When you move to Jalup Beginner, at first you may want to keep the decks separate for ease of use. While the ( ) marks in sentences show this is testing your kana ability only, to prevent confusion you may want to wait before merging them.
A katakana example:
– 232 cards, covering every aspect you need to know about hiragana and katakana.
Want to give it a try first before buying?
● Buy Kana Conqueror: $19.99
Didn’t find it to be of use? Not quite what you thought you needed? No worries. Send an e-mail to adshap (at) japaneselevelup (dot) com within 30 days after your purchase date to ask for a 100% refund, no questions asked.
Do you want to start kicking ass from day 1 and set yourself up for the best journey possible? Yes.
1. Audio is completely redone and in high quality.
2. Kana appears now as furigana over kanji, instead of (parentheses), making it easier to discern what you are expected to do.
3. Audio is split up into kana solo audio and sentence audio. Both will play on the card in order. You can use the media collection folder if you want additional practice with just the sounds, or create a playlist.
4. Sentences adjusted for は and へ, so it is easy to figure out which pronunciation it is, despite having zero knowledge of how these pieces of grammar work.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.