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An innovative book to learn and understand 2136 Japanese kanji using real etymologies.
An innovative book to learn and understand 2136 Japanese kanji using real etymologies.
2,044 backers pledged €85,657 to help bring this project to life.

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€85,657

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THE WORLD OF KANJI

Chinese characters come to life in The World of Kanji

 A book that offers a logical, well-founded and entertaining solution to the problem of learning a large number of kanji.

  • Learn the 2136 Chinese characters you need to read and write Japanese.... And you won't be able to forget them!
  • Learn the kanji in an orderly and interrelated manner, through thematic stories based on the real etymology of the characters.
  • The World of Kanji is developed as a new learning system: it's straightforward, easy, logical and it reduces the time and effort required for the memorization of individual characters.
  • The book can also be used as a great reference tool for linguistic and etymological queries.

The World of Kanji is perfect for the new student of Japanese, it is great for the intermediate student who still struggles with kanji, and it's also excellent for anyone who's curious about the origin of Chinese characters and the correlations that exist between them. You can enjoy TWOK even without being a student of Japanese!

WHAT IS NEW?

Acknowledging the problem of learning kanji and bringing a solution

HOW DID PEOPLE LEARN TO READ AND WRITE KANJI BEFORE THE WORLD OF KANJI?

Traditional methods:

  • Try to memorize new kanji as you encounter them in new words
  • Learn kanji with no logical order
  • Forget rare or complicated kanji and try to memorize them again
  • Learn kanji with no understanding of why they are written like they are
  • No escape from root memorization
  • No escape from investing a huge amount of time

Modern mnemonic systems:

  • Arbitrary relationships and associations within characters, loss of cohesion and logic
  • Falling to the trap of having to invest extra time and effort on making your own memorization stories

THE INNOVATIONS OF THE WORLD OF KANJI

  • You can take advantage from the real composition of Chinese characters through their etymology
  • Real etymologies and compositions bring cohesion and logic to the process of learning kanji
  • You can learn kanji in an orderly manner since they are divided by thematic groups according to their composition
  • The system is adapted to the Japanese language so you can end up learning the 2136 characters needed
  • Learning the characters in related groups and with sense and understanding makes you save a lot of time and acquire a sense of integration and intuition regarding Chinese characters.

HOW DOES THE WORLD OF KANJI WORK?

The learning system of The World of Kanji is developed from the original etymological composition of the Chinese characters and in a cohesive and structured presentation of them.

ETYMOLOGICAL COMPOSITION OF CHINESE CHARACTERS

The etymological composition of Chinese characters can be used to our benefit in order to memorize kanji faster and more efficiently, since the totality of them can be reduced to a fix set of components.

  • Based on composition, there are simple and compund characters.
  • Simple kanji (a.k.a. 'primitives') are indivisible pictograms or ideograms.
  • Most of the simple kanji also serve as components used in compound characters
  • Compound characters can be divided into two groups:
  • Semantic compounds: 2 or more components with semantic value.
  • Phono-semantic compounds: 1 of the components has also a phonetic value plus the semantic one. 

The primitive characters or components act as the base of The World of Kanji.

If you know the components it's easy to deduce and retain the meaning and composition of each new kanji you encounter!

CATEGORIZATION OF KANJI COMPONENTS

  • Virtually all of the components are graphically or thematically interrelated.
  • The relationship shared between the different components and composites makes kanji acquisition and memorization much easier if they are learned within groups of shared components.
  • Components can be divided into general thematic groups.
  • Components within a thematic group share semantic and graphical similarities with one another.
  • The World of Kanji divides the kanji into four general "realms", which in turn are subdivided into three semantic groups. 

LEARN 2136 KANJI THROUGH THE WORLD OF KANJI

Make a progressive and cohesive journey through the different "realms" of The World of Kanji.

The core part of this book, which explains the primitive elements that form each one of the characters within the jōyō kanji list, is divided into four sections or "realms" grouped in different topics. This division greatly facilitates the cohesion of the whole system and, therefore, the natural and logical understanding of the constituent elements. In addition, the student will learn each character in a way that is not only associative but also progressive, that is, each new character encountered will be a simple or compound character formed by previously studied elements.

The student of kanji, thanks to this book, will be able to acquire a new representative and symbolic consciousness of the world around him, and he will be able to see in each new Chinese character he finds a scene that speaks directly to his consciousness. Once the reader finishes this book he will have acquired a new worldview of his own, and he will be able to maintain an unforeseen conceptual dialogue with the wonderful logographic system used within the Japanese writing. Having undertaken the journey through each “realm”, made up by interesting graphic icons, evocative of scenes of a time and culture that are distant but relatable at the same time, one will have acquired a vision and a deep and permanent understanding about the scope of the visual language used within the Japanese written language. Once the adventure of The World of Kanji is over, the Chinese characters will go from being a threat or an obstacle to being the most intimate ally of the student of Japanese.

LAYOUT OF THE BOOK

Entries on each character are laid out in the following manner:

 

 

PREVIEW THE FIRST SECTION OF THE BOOK HERE:

You can take a feel of how the book works by looking at the pdf version of the first section of the book ("people") clicking in the image below:

Click this image to read the first character section of the book
Click this image to read the first character section of the book

 

CONTENTS OF THE BOOK

Over 500 pages, 6x9 inches (standard version)

Preamble

  • The problem of kanji
  • The solution to the problem of kanji
  • Ultimate purpose of this book

Introduction to kanji

  • Japanese and kanji
  • What is kanji?
  • The importance and singularities of kanji
  • Development and composition of kanji
  • Radicals and the sorting of kanji
  • The worldview of Chinese characters' creators
  • The evolution of kanji up to the present time
  • Kanji readings
  • How to write kanji

How to use this book

  • Journey through the world of kanji
  • Composition of the characters' entries
  • Standard method
  • Shortcut method
  • Referential use
The Human Realm
  • People
  • Human Body
  • Hands and Feet
The Natural Realm
  • Elements of Nature
  • Plants
  • Animals
The Material Realm
  • Utensils
  • Tools
  • Vessels
The Territorial Realm
  • Weapons
  • Spaces
  • Buldings
Indexes
  • Thematic Index
  • Component Index
  • Radical Index
  • Japanese School Grades Index

WHY KICKSTARTER?

First, I decided to use Kickstarter because I think it's a great tool to attract a significant audience that may be interested in this book.

Also, this website can reliably make the publication of the book a reality, because a book more than 500 pages long needs a big print run in order to be published without losing lots of money.

I have to clarify that this ambitious and academic book is written by just one person, and the economic and social stimulus that Kickstarter can bring to the project will be a great incentive for completing a book that I think will be liked and will be useful to many people with an interest in Japanese language and Chinese characters.

Risks and challenges

The product is very well planned already and I have done enough research to make sure that the future printing process will be nice and smooth.

I will communicate regularly with the backers and make updates about the production, printing and shipping processes, so everybody can be aware of when and how this book becomes reality.

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Funding period

- (30 days)