How to pretend reading Kanji

Yes, here is my method in feigning an ability to read Kanji (out loud). By calling it Kanji, of course I mean Chinese characters in JAPAN, not in PRC (where they are called Hanzi), or in Korea (where they are called Hanja).

I’ve applied this method numerous times, but I must remind you that before you start applying this trick, you have to realize that this method isn’t completely foolproof.

Here are the steps:

· You must have completed mastery of Kana (Hiragana and Katakana), no exception allowed.

· Make sure that the whole text of Kanji, whether it is from a children’s magazine, children’s book, or Japanese beginner’s text has Ruby Characters (Furigana) on them, including the repetitions of the characters. Hence, if you see the character in the beginning of the text has transliteration of やま, make sure that when you find the same character in latter part of the text, thewould still have its furigana of やま

· It would be better off if you can speed-read Kana.

· Under any circumstances, NEVER attempt this whole method in front of a real Japanese speaker, otherwise you would be laughed off straightaway. A real Japanese speaker would recognise your “kanji-reading” as a fake one directly, because beginners in Japanese language tend to emphasise their “speaking” in the accents, not in the intonation as a real Japanese speaker would do.

· Practise the reading-out-loud of the text concerned in private before you try demonstrating it in front of your relatives/colleagues/friends/acquaintances, in order to minimise the possibility of stumbling in several Hiragana/Katakana characters.

· The people whom you demonstrated the “Kanji-reading” method to would certainly applaud your ability to be able to read such complex characters. Sometimes, they would ask you to give them the summary of the whole text. In order to ready yourself for such a case, open your Japanese dictionary and look for the vocabularies and get a grip on what the whole text is about.

If you follow the whole method above without missing a single step, you’ll surely get the acclamation you wanted. I often tried this method in the past, during the days when I was able to read only less than 20 kanji. However, today that I am able to read around 300 kanji, I actually come to realise that it is a hell lot easier to speed-read a text that consists of 80% kanji 20% kana (like most general Japanese newspapers have) than 100% kana (like Japanese kindergarten schoolbooks). I’ll tell you my analysis on that next time.

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