Japanese Kanji Study is probably the best Android app I’ve ever used for studying kanji. I’ve studied kanji in many different ways over the years. Books, classes, apps, drilled kanji, read kanji, my own flashcards, etc. But nothings worked in quite the same way as Kanji Study has. Here’s why…
Note: This is not a sponsored article, just an honest review.
Japanese Kanji Study Android App Features
This app has a LOT going on. I love how much it has.
The creator, Chase Colburn, worked incredible hard to create an app that would suit how he wanted to learn. He was using the White Rabbit kanji flashcards but found they weren’t practical when moving about. He spent a year developing a program that will have kanji, readings, example vocabulary, and will teach you how to write them. He’s been improving the app ever since its release and is always working on new features.
These are the features when this review was written:
- Teaches Hiragana and Katakana.
- Teaches Radicals (English and Japanese terms).
- Teaches Kanji by JLPT and Jouyou (daily use) grades.
- Customization studying and testing.
- Provides example vocabulary (labeled by JLPT level).
- Has example sentences with kanji based vocabulary.
- Practice writing Kanji (shows you stroke order).
- Provides the radicals in each kanji.
- Hidden achievements.
Free For Beginners!
This app is free for the beginner levels and comes with no ads! (I personally loath apps with ads). This means you get hiragana and katakana, radicals and JLPT N5 kanji, are all available for free. This is great because you can play around with the app, see if it suits you, before buying it.
Hiragana and Katakana
You can practice reading the hiragana and katakana, but also write them. (I find not many apps helps with writing the kanas).
I love that this app teaches you radicals. Radicals are the building blocks of kanji and most Japanese people learn them, but they’re rarely taught to foreigners. I think they’re great at helping you learn kanji because you can create meaning based on what the kanji is made up of (it’s kind of what Heisig’s method is). You can read more about radicals and learning them here.
The thing I love about this is you can learn the radicals from their English meaning or Japanese term. And you can customize your learning based on how you want to learn. I.e. test on the English meaning or Japanese reading or both!
When you learn a level of kanji you can break them down. I.e N5 has 103 kanji, which you can split into 10, 25, 50, and 100. So If you want to learn 10 kanji at a time you will get 9 sets of 10 and 1 of 13 kanji. You can then merge split courses later on.
You can drill kanji in a flashcard style, learning their readings and meanings. Swipe up to bring up example vocabulary (with JLPT levels), names and example sentences. Swipe down to bring up the writing practice section.
You can then practice the kanji in customized quizzes. You can test yourself on the kanji definitions, their readings, your own custom notes, through vocabulary, and example sentences.
And you can practice your kanji writing in a test format!
I only just found this out… I don’t know what the achievements are or how you get them, but they’re a feature.
Thoughts on Japanese Kanji Study Android App
I already said how I love this app. I paid for the full version and it is worth it!
Let’s say you wanted to buy the White Rabbit Kanji Flashcards. There are 3 sets each one between $30-$45. This app has all that, and more, for only $10! As I said, the beginners levels are free, but if you want to learn N4 to N1 kanji you have to pay for them. And considering just 1 kanji book can cost at least $20, this is a huge bargain!
(Note: Prices may vary depending on your region.)
It’s really easy to use this app on the go. I like using it on the bus, studying about 25 kanji using the drills then testing on the judging. Then reviewing the kanji that I’d learnt in the evening. I find that I’m learning fast and able to retain them well thanks to how easy it is to review.
I really like that I can look up how the kanji is used in vocabulary. Kanji often has a lot of old readings that aren’t used anymore and I can not learn the useless readings.
I also like how you can save vocabulary and kanji to favorites and lists so you can come back and learn them later. You can drill kanji saved to custom lists, but not vocabulary.
It would be really nice to be able to drill JLPT specific vocabulary. But this is a feature that requires a lot of work or even a whole new app, (and Chase is too busy working on other things).
Summary of Japanese Kanji Study Android App
- 2000+ kanji divided by JLPT and Jouyou.
- Can study radicals.
- Can practice writing.
- Easy to use and easy to learn.
- Can make custom kanji lists to practice.
- Beginners and radicals are free to study.
- Keeps track of how much you’ve studied.
- No ads!
- Always being updated and improved.
- Chase (the developer) is really nice and responsive.
- Full version costs money (but it’s not expensive)
- Can’t drill vocabulary (it is a kanji app)