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Sunday, July 29, 2001


Pocket-sized kanji reference

KANJI STARTER, by Daiki Kusuya. 2001, 196 pp., 860 yen

This book contains about 200 of the roughly 2,000 kanji characters that the Japanese government has designated as "daily-use" kanji.

Of the 2,000, as author Kusuya points out, in the preface, some can easily be understood by the use of pictographs. Most of the pictographs in this book are based on their historical development, but some are not (the author created them).

"The goal is to understand what a certain character means and not how it was derived," Kusuya writes. For instance, a drawing of flickering flames is linked to the character for fire, or "hi." to show the similarity.

Section 1 features single characters, Section 2 covers the integration of two or more characters and Section 3 deals with the combination of two or more characters.

There is an appendix featuring keys for future study and an index.

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