Introduction to Kanji

We believe that to remember and write kanji effectively, it is important to understand kanji deeply and broadly. Therefore, before using Kanji alive (, we encourage learners to explore the world of kanji by reviewing the following resource:

  • Introduction to Kanji (PDF – please option-click/right-click to save the file to your computer. Note: You must open this file in the standalone Adobe Acrobat Reader application to view the linked multimedia files).

This multimedia PDF file contains a brief history of kanji, basic rules for writing kanji, etc. We strongly encourage beginners to read through this document carefully before using Kanji alive.

Please NoteAdobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the Introduction to Kanji PDF file. Windows users will also require Apple’s free QuickTime Player to view the kanji animations in this document.

7 thoughts on “Introduction to Kanji

  1. silvio menezes da silva

    this site is amazing! i`m a beginer student of japanese writings… it is so difficult to me…
    I waiting for your help!!

  2. Simo Vihinen

    Hi, I noticed that the PDF seems to be missing lots of hiragana and some kanjis as well. You can clearly see this starting from page 3 where two symbols look to be missing in the part where it says “phono-semantic characters”. There’s a lot of them missing in other parts of the text. Is there some way they could be restored?

    1. Simo Vihinen

      Actually, nevermind. I see that you really have to open it in Adobe… really weird that it shows some but not all of them.

      1. Arno Bosse Post author

        Hi Simo, thanks for your note. We weren’t able to reproduce this problem. Could you please let us know what operating system you’re using and which app (and its version) you’re using to view the PDFs? Where in the document are you seeing the missing characters? Many thanks in advance.

  3. Helen Chrisina Xavier

    No matter what I type in English, romaji hiragana, it says the word does feature in datbase.
    I use windows 10 and still am unable to benefit.

    1. Arno Bosse Post author

      Hi Helen, thank you for your question. I’ll need to know what specific searches you tried to be able to help you. But as a start, what happens when you enter just “read” (without quotes) into the app and pressed enter/return on your keyboard? This is a ‘basic’ search. Next, were you able to carry out an ‘advanced’ search? For example, by entering “on:shin” (without the quotes)? You can click on the “Info” button in the top center of the interface at any time to get contextual help on searching and viewing the results.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.