Another month, another game for kanji!
This game is more of a learning aid, but it feels like a game to be, testing me and giving me happy music when I am successful. This game is also in Japanese from Japan! What better way to get that good ol’ Japanese in?
DS陰山メソッド 正しい漢字かきとりくん 今度は漢検対策だよ!
Kageyama Method: Tadashii Kanji Kakitori-Kun – Kondo wa Kanken Taidaku Dayo!
(image from playasia’s website)
I stumbled upon this game a long time ago when I was simply looking for Japanese games for my DS. This game came highly recommended for learners and I couldn’t pass it up. When I first put it in, it was a little intimidating because I didn’t know much beyond kana and some kanji. It didn’t prevent me from doing a lot in the game however, and it has aided my ability to produce good looking kanji and more importantly correct stroke kanji. This game also gives you lots of practice filling in blanks type of questions for kanji and their associated sounds.
You can purchase the game easily in Amazon.jp and playasia’s website. I personally used playasia at the time due to extreme lack of Japanese skills at the time, and must say was very happy. I got the game quickly and had no issues with their site for all the games I’ve purchased so far.
Sporktacular has a great deal of videos about this game and you can find them starting here. His is the older version which has almost 1 thousand less kanji, so I would get the 2nd release linked above. Though from what I can tell about his videos, they still look very similar.
What I personally like about it you get:
This section has all your kana, and kanji from the official jouyou kanji (1,945). I’m sure it doesn’t reflect the most recent changes to the jouyou actually now that I think about it because the game was released in 2008 I think. You come to a calendar that lets you know when you’ve practice last, and the little professor dude says things like hi, take breaks, and study well sorts of things. Then in the main feature you’ll have a grid on the left and tabs filled with kana/kanji on the right. You can see your percentage grade on each attempted kana/kanji with a click of a button.
If you click on a character you will have these options for both kana and kanji. You can write the character from memory, or you can view the stroke order on your left. You can also choose a shadow version on your drawing side to help you out. You can erase the character if you feel you could have done better, if not you hit the button to move forward to grading. It grades based on a lot of things, stroke order, spacing and proportioning, and so on. You can view tips and actions that will improve your writing and choose to redraw or move onto the next character in line. At any time you can leave this section.
The difference between kana and kanji however is that you will see a small book icon on the kanji character’s screens. This basically opens up a little mini menu that gives you helpful information about the kanji. You get readings, meanings, and vocabulary words in sentences. Its a pretty helpful tool if you’re still learning about kanji.
Honestly I’ve used this section more than any other section to start off with, due to the fact that at the time my Japanese was not advanced enough to move onto the other sections. Navigating to this section is really easy and does not require you to know Japanese at all. Fiddling around with buttons will not mess you up in this section either.
I’m not sure if these sections are the same in both versions, so I will be explaining the version that I specifically linked. This section starts off with 6 options.And then within each option you have the chance to get a tutorial, or to begin. From there you will have additional options. They’re basically school levels, the top is the lowest school grade and last in the top school grade. So the more kanji you know (if you base it on school level) the higher student level you’ll want to pick.
Many of them will have the book icon on the right hand side which will give more information about the kanji involved.
漢字（かんじ）- kanji – The explanation is pretty simple, you are given a sentence with a blank, and you will see the kana for it, you write the appropriate kanji. Sometimes you can even have multiple entries in one sentence to figure out.
部首 （ぶしゅ）- radical – Basically this one will show a kanji, and a part of it will be in red. You have to choose the name for the radical. I’m not sure if this is really helpful, unless you’re planning to be a guru of kanji.
類義語 （るいぎご）- synonym – This game is a stretch your mind game, it basically gives you a word, then you’re suppose to come up with a word that is similar in meaning when it only gives you a part of the word and the sounds. Sometimes I cheat and use a dictionary to help me!
対義語 （たいぎご）- antonym – This game is just like the previous one, except it deals with opposites. Lots of fun! These two really help create word combos in your head!
四字熟語 （よじじゅくご） – four-character idiomatic compounds – In this example you’ll be given a 4 character idiomatic compound with a kanji missing. with the provided kana, your job is to figure out the kanji that fits. This is difficult! Regardless if you get it right or wrong, you will get information on the compound.
熟語構成 （じゅくごこうせい） – idiom configuration – honestly, I have no idea what this is about! haha. From what I gather from the game, you choose one of 5 options, アイウエオ, and each are…explanations like, the two kanji’s conflict, or are the same, or so and so forth. Not sure AT ALL…so if anyone has insight on this section of the game, post away. I’ve never really played this section much at all.
Last you have the third option, as if those fun drills and information wasn’t enough!
Measuring Kanken (漢検対策)
This section is kind of a wrapping it up tester. If you select the bottom of the two options available you can set your grade level. Mine I think is set to 1. It basically reduces the difficulty of kanji (in terms of meaning for schooling in the Japanese system) and often has simple concepts. This testing is basically a review. It shows you the kanji in a sentence and you have to figure out the sounds (kana) associated with the red lined part. You can also view stats on the kanji you’ve learned and you can exit out with the bottom green option.
While I suppose some can argue that this game isn’t a ‘game’ I consider it a game since I play it on my ds. Nothing says lets get it on, Kanji! like a ds. If you didn’t know, DS is a non region coded device and can play games from Japan without any special requirements. You can also set the DS into the Japanese language. Overall this game as been a go to for fun. The stylus can be a little awkward if you’re not use to writing with one, but I got over that really quickly early on. I also noticed that knowing stroke order allows me to read calligraphy easier.
Hope you enjoyed this month review of a game for Kanji! Stay tuned next month for a prominent or made up game!