While still studying the Heisig Method of learning Kanji, I have learned 700 Kanji (actually 699 as of writing), which is about 1/4 of all Joyo Kanji required for basic literacy in Japanese.1 700 kanji doesn’t mean much yet, though. The Heisig Method is unusual because you learn the kanji in the order of the components, not in the order that you learn in school. What this means is that you sometimes learn obscure kanji first, and useful ones later.
Anyhow, at first I wasn’t sure if this method was useful, but now I am starting to see the payoff.
At first, I learned the kanji in isolation, but now I know enough Kanji that I can start writing words with them. Words like 木曜日, 慌てる, 怖い, 正午, 曇る, 多摩川, 上京, and 着る.
It’s not much, but it’s a start. The best part though, is that I can easily remember how to write them. This is what makes the Heisig method so effective: it gives a simple method for remembering kanji.
Still, in one year, I’ve learned 1/4th of the kanji which is less than I hoped. With the baby coming in 8 weeks, I probably won’t be studying much for a while. But I’m happy to see the investment was worth it so far.
1 There are more than 2,200 kanji used in Japanese, but for basic literacy, you have to learn the 2,200 Joyo Kanji at least.