Should you Say Farewell to your Kanji Deck? — 10 Comments

  1. Great post as always. It really helps to be reminded of the difference between sentence and Kanji reviews.

    Having never done RTK to produce, only to recall (it was before discovering Jalup.. but so far it seems to have worked out fine for me), I ended up in camp 3, however with a small twist: When I have a Kanji I recognize somewhat from my recent sentences but not exactly or I even know that I have trouble with it, I deliberately fail it. This acts as an additional boost of reinforcement for things I have trouble with. It also has the little advantage that all these rarely used-Kanji fade away until I actually see them the first time and the more frequent Kanji get this treatment much earlier. So far I am quite happy with the results :-)

  2. Thanks for the article. Worse part of Anki review for me was the Kanji deck. I’ve done it for daily several years and it got very tedious.
    Decided to delete it today and it was a big relief.

  3. While I have wondered from time to time if it were still necessary to keep doing kanji-only reviews after reaching a certain a number of sentence cards, I’m still using option 1.

    The only disadvantages that I can see are the time commitment, which is minimal (a few minutes per day at most), and the fact that English keywords are still in my Japanese learning environment. However, I find the keywords are compartmentalized to “kanji-only mode” which don’t carry over into sentence cards or reading unless I consciously want to recall a kanji’s keyword for some reason.

    As such, I choose to spend a couple of minutes per day reviewing the kanji cards so that they all stay somewhat fresh. That way I don’t have to worry that my kanji skills are slowly going downhill. Finishing that kanji deck was a huge milestone for me (and all of us, I’m sure), but it was also a beast which I never want to face again.

  4. This article is really timely. I am to that point where I sometimes find myself wondering if the kanji reviews are really helping all that much. When I see the kanji deck now I remember more the Japanese pronunciations than I do the english keywords. I have been taking a bit of a hybrid approach to lessening reviews but am keeping the deck (for now).

    1) I am still hitting new kanji that aren’t in the core but are somewhat often seen so I like to add them to my deck to help me solidify their meaning.

    2) BUT I have for a some time now stopped hitting “No”. I just hit Yes or Hard. I would almost never recommend doing that because it makes things really wonky. But overtime it has kept my daily reviews <10 but I still see the kanji enough to keep them pretty fresh, especially if I have trouble with them.

    To be honest I think I could drop the deck anytime now and be fine. Over time I just tend to pass the kanji and not even mark it hard anymore except in rare cases where I just don't see that kanji much at all. But for now I will just keep passing things and see where it goes. I don't mind it. But if it gets annoying now I feel more confidence in stopping it.

  5. My Kanji deck is currently at (and has been for some time) just shy of 1000. For some reason, every new year I get inspired to push RTK but then the motivation leaves me.

    I know I’ve been picking up Kanji as I progressed through JALUP Advanced but also know that the Kanji I have learned from RTK and KK (up to 430) do help with the JP-JP cards! Why is it so hard to proceed with a task that I objectively know will help with my future Japanese/JALUP study :)

  6. I’ve passed JLPT N2 and am working towards N1. That being the case, my kanji reviews are focused on the joyo kanji. I have 30 or so cards coming up every day. I review most of them quickly, just glancing at keywords and then the kanji more or less, but the last five of the day I challenge myself to produce them accurately. Depending on the kanji and my mood, I might be super strict and fail them if I don’t get them perfect, but lots of times it’s more like, “eh, I was close” and pass it on Hard. If I did it well I’ll pass it with Good. This is a fairly satisfying balance for me.

  7. Adam, since your Japanese level is so high so you think your personal Anki deck is unnecessarily scaffolding now? Do you think you’ll still be doing it when your 60 or will you eventually give it up completely?

    • I plan on writing about this exact topic in the near future to reflect a big change I’ve made recently :)

  8. What I found has been working for me so far is to simply pass every card. I see a card, flip it, write it and then pass it. I care more about writing practice while doing KK. The sentence decks are helping me to solidify my memory and it has happened where I have seen a new word and remembered its meaning because I was able to recall the kanji meaning because I had written it so much. It has been a gamble, but I figure it should pay off in the end.

    I am nearing the end of KK and maybe after I finish I will be more critical with pass/fail but for now with everything else I am doing re Japanese immersion the added stress of worrying about failing a review is not worth it for KK cards.

  9. Yeah, I’m progressing through the phases of this now.
    Pass and fade out:
    In kanji damage there are some cards for things that arent kanji in and of themselves. like the 䒑 in 前 has its own card. These I pass no matter what. I could probably remove them from my deck – but I like that a card count that is over 9000!
    Kinder, but not super loose:
    I double side my cards. So I saw the kanji 命 and thought “命令するな” from Jalup. The code word was いのち, but since it is also in 命令 pass. for kunnyomi I new it was 言 and 川 but I couldn’t remember which was right and which was left. pass. mixing up 橋 and 呑む or 塔 and 拾 – fail.
    If I can’t write a kanji, no big deal. If I write a different real kanji that is gonna negitively impact my Japanese.
    For awhile I kept leeches in. Now that I finnished adding cards about a year ago- I suspended all cards with 7 or more misses.
    I however replaced some of them with vocab cards like 製造 = manufacturing せいぞう and 漢字書いて:現在のじょうきょうは心配なんです.
    If anyone else wants to do kanji after intermediate, AJATT has a deck of write kanji from hiragana instead of english cards.
    I wouldn’t recomend suspending while you are in the same deck. but turning on leech suspendsion is an easy option 4.

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