The Japanese in MangaLand series from JPT introduced language learners to an innovative, entertaining and educationally-sound way of learning Japanese through the use of manga. Now, this same approach is applied to the often-daunting task of mastering kanji – the Chinese ideograms – in Kanji in MangaLand, the first of a 3-volume course covering the 1,006 basic kanji characters.
Aimed at Western students aged 12 – 25, the Kanji in MangaLand program differs from traditional methods in that it uses distinct drawings for the “parts” that form each kanji character; then it shows a manga-style illustration to help the student connect the shapes and the meaning. In addition, the books present information on compound words, stroke order, meaning and such unique features as identifying similar-looking kanji and alternative or older shapes for the same character.
Kanji in MangaLand: Levels 1 & 2 includes 21 lessons. The first seven of these cover all 80 kanji characters learnt by Japanese children in their first primary school year. Lessons 8-21 cover the 160 kanji studied in the next year. In every lesson, the student will learn 8 to 12 kanji and then move on to the exercise section, which features one page of manga using all the characters learnt in that lesson; a page of different types of exercises; and a page with the correct answers, translations and a summary of the new drawing-compounds that will appear in the next lesson. The book also has two special exercise parts – one at the end of each level – as well as indexes of kanji and reading.
With manga sales booming – in 2006, they approached $200 million – and interest in learning Japanese skyrocketing as well, the Kanji in MangaLand series is the perfect blend of entertainment and solid language instruction to make learning fun and effective.