Welcome to Kanji alive, a web application (http://app.kanjialive.com) designed to help Japanese language students of all levels learn to read and write kanji.

Kanji alive: Detail view with kanji animation

Click for full-sized image

Kanji alive is a resource for learning kanji, dedicated to helping you open the door to the fascinating characters that form the written Japanese language. All of the content in the application was created and reviewed with painstaking attention to detail by experienced Japanese instructors in order to help you best study, practice and retain kanji.

Key Features of Kanji alive

Easily search for 1235 kanji in Japanese, romaji or English, by meaning, pronunciation, stroke number or radical. You can also search for kanji by lesson in popular textbooks (e.g. Genki), by Grade level or by study list (e.g. AP Exam). Read more or watch a demo video.




Kanji results grouped first by radical stroke then by the canonical order of their radicals

Search results (click for larger image)

View the kanji in your search results sorted by stroke number or else grouped first by radical or kanji stroke number and then sorted again by the canonical order of their radicals. This helps you understand how kanji are related to radicals and provides a clear structure for even large sets of kanji in the search results. Read more or watch a demo video.




Hand-written kanji animation

Hand-written kanji (click for larger image)

To help you write kanji correctly, all our kanji animations are hand-written in the style experienced in common, daily use — with a regular pen, not a calligraphic brush. The model animations can be paused and reviewed at any point, stroke by stroke, via their stroke order diagrams or by using the playback controls. Read more or watch a demo video.





Mnemonic Hint

Mnemonic Hint (click for larger image)

Accompanying every kanji are vivid mnemonic hints which will help you relate the components of a kanji to its meaning and simple animations to illustrate the historical derivations of their radicals. Read more or watch a demo video.



Compare the hand-written kanji animations to model kanji typefaces in four characteristic Japanese styles: Kyokashotai, Mincho, Gothic and MaruRead more or watch a demo video.






Example words and audio pronunciations

Example words (click for larger image)

See and hear how the kanji you are learning are used in context in up to twelve carefully selected example words, together with audio clips of their pronunciations by native male and female speakers. Read more or watch a demo video.



Dictionary references

Dictionaries (click for larger image)

Discover additional contexts and meanings for each kanji as well as example sentences via custom links to Kenkyusha’s online Luminous dictionary or by using the kanji reference numbers for the Nelson and Kodansha dictionaries. Read more or watch a demo video.



Kanji alive is very easy to use. To help familiarize you with the Kanji alive web app (http://app.kanjialive.com) we have prepared a User Guide, several short demo videos and a handy Quick Reference guide in the app itself. Any of these resources can be used to learn how to use Kanji alive.  Japanese language instructors may also wish to read our Notes for Instructors which explain our pedagogic principles and design decisions.

Finally, especially for beginners, we have prepared two online resources which cover the history of kanji, stroke order basics, and radicals. These are the Introduction to Kanji and the 214 traditional kanji radicals and their meanings. We encourage anyone who has just begun to study kanji to review these documents carefully before using Kanji alive in earnest.

Thank you for your interest in Kanji alive! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

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