It’s been a super long time in the making so thank you for your patience as we’ve been putting it all together. We intended to show it off sooner but we really wanted to make sure it was right before we did! It is such a large topic and can feel quite complicated so hopefully, we have managed to break it down into a fun, easy to understand manner.
So here is Hai!ku
A book teaching the Kanji with visuals & Haiku.
We have been bombarded with requests for Kanji from the start so we are very happy to release this book and we hope it will help with your studies. I’m sure you have questions so I put together a FAQ (or what I imagine will be frequently asked questions)
Wait.. A book, not flashcards?
The project started off with our classic flashcard design you know and love. However, we quickly released it was going to end up with considerably more cards than a standard deck of 52. To save you having to buy an incredibly bulky & expensive deck of cards we turned them into a book! We have kept the same format with the visual aid on the front of the page and the answers and clue on the back. Each page represents a different Kanji character, meaning you can more easily test yourself while not get overwhelmed with information. There is even a little ‘dog ear’ marking system so you can save tricker ones to test yourself on.
What does it cover?
Hai!ku covers 162 kanji. Including their readings, useful phrases and tips for studying. We have included around 80 Kanji likely to appear in the JLPT 5 (the first Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Along with 80 basic and useful Kanji for travel, signage & food.
How is it different?
There are loads of great books out there for teaching Kanji and I’m sure we’ll get compared to a certain book for learning Chinese which I hear is easy. We know that teaching Kanji through visuals is nothing new, Kanji’s roots are mainly pictographic after all. Learning Kanji in this way is great to start but after the first cherry-picked kanji which looks like what they mean, you run into more complicated ones that really don’t. Plus it becomes harder and harder to tell them apart when you try and learn 1000’s of individual illustrations. Our method differs by taking the best parts of learning with visuals and applies it to the Heisig system of breaking the kanji down into bite-sized pieces. We then add in a bunch of things we wish we knew when starting ourselves and package it together in a colourful, easy to understand manner.
So what is the Method?
Hai!ku aims to break down complex barriers and give you a simpler method to learning, we do that with these three ideas.
1 ~ Start Small: Every Kanji can be broken down into simple ‘puzzle pieces’ called Radicals. We build up knowledge slowly and in a sequence that makes sense before introducing the more complex Kanji.
2 ~ Visual Learning: The radicals are turned into creative illustrations, allowing you to more easily identify them. We colour code these and the examples which give context for how each Kanji can be used.
3 ~ Haiku Storytelling: Stories are a great way of making long term memories. A Haiku creates links between otherwise abstract radical ‘puzzle pieces’ to identify the whole Kanji. This way you only need to learn a handful of radicals rather than thousands of strokes. By combining these three steps it allows you to learn Kanji without having to memorize thousands of individual illustrations.
When learning a more complicated Kanji such as 男 (Male ~ Man). We first teach it’s easier radical parts 田 (Rice Field) and 力 (Power). You can then identify these inside the Kanji 男 and use them to create a story (or Haiku in our case) to help remember the Kanji’s meaning.
They are short, sweet and don’t really have to make grammatical sense. This simple format makes them a great tool for using in learning but if we are honest we really liked how well the Hai! logo fit into Hai!ku haha. You don’t have to remember each Haiku word for word, they are just there to help inspire you into making your own stories & connections.
Who is this for?
This book is aimed at beginners who have learned their Hiragana & Katakana and are working out how to tackle the bigger Kanji task. It aims to give the confidence to start studying Kanji and discover a method that can be utilized to learn even more! It’s a great fit for visual learners and those who like to study a bit differently to traditional style textbooks. As it covers the basic Kanji it’s not designed for the more advanced Kanji learners but if you like cute illustrations of an incredible writing system then it can look great on your bookshelf all the same!
Can I pre-order?
Yes, you can! We really appreciate the support for anyone that has the faith in us to preorder, it really does mean the world to us 🙂 To say thanks all preorders will get a 20% discount.
When will it be ready?
Right now the first draft of the book is finished! The next step is to print a sample to check the quality of the book and to get some feedback from linguistic experts (plus a few of our very kind native Japanese speaking friends). This should all be done by mid-October, next we will set aside 2 weeks to implement any changes. Then it’s off to print! Our supplier in the UK estimated a 2-3 week manufacture time so our current target is to be shipping out books start of December (In time for Christmas!). We’ll be very transparent on our social media during this process so if any delays come up we’ll let you know straight away.
How can I help?
That’s very kind of you to ask! We are so grateful for the wonderful community of Japanese learners and would like to say thank you for all the support and kindness that has kept us going! We are super grateful for all the shares, recommendations and tags we get on social media. So please help spread the word of our little project, it makes a huge difference to a small business like us and we’d love to make it a full-time thing so we can create even more content.