10,000 Sentences: How

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10,000 sentences is a lot. But the way we’re doing it, you can easily learn about 50 every day no sweat, and even more if you want to. Don’t freak out if you only do 15-25 every day. The important thing is to learn every day.

You will need:

  • Computing device(s) (PC, electronic dictionary, PDA, etc.)
  • An SRS (KhatzuMemo, Mnemosyne, etc.)
  • One or more sentence sources (dictionary, movies, music)

In order to have learned a sentence you need to be able to do 4 things:

1. Read it in full, aloud, with kanji, no furigana.

Furigana are great for when you’re reading comics and such, and I heartily recommend you use books that have them, but you need to learn to function without them.

2. Know the meaning of every word in the sentence.

I don’t suggest you over-analyze the sentence, but you should know the function of each part of the sentence, otherwise you can’t truly be said to be understanding it. You don’t need to provide an exact translation when you give your answer, in fact, don’t bother translating at all. Of course, early on, you will be using Japanese and English together (later, Japanese only), and you will need probably get translations of the sentences, so put those translations in the “answer” field of your SRS; use them as a check of your understanding. But again, you just need to remember the gist of the translation (not the exact wording) for it to count as knowing the sentence.

3. Understand the meaning of the entire sentence
4. Write (copy) out the sentence by hand

This is so you get practice writing Japanese — you don’t have to do this for every sentence, but do at for as many as you can. You should do this on graph paper (one square per character). If you have no graph paper around, do without until you get some. By our definition, if you cannot do any one of these 4 things, then you have not learned the sentence. Notice how:

  • This does not involve looking at an English sentence and translating it into Japanese. Do not translate from English to Japanese. Why? Well, because there are so many possible translations for a given sentence, how are you going to say which is right and which is wrong? Are you only going to count the one you’ve got written down? That’s too restrictive and too failure-prone. What’s more, if you get the Japanese sentence wrong, you haven’t just made a mistake, you’ve sown the seeds of bad Japanese. Good Japanese starts with mindlessly imitating good Japanese. Don’t go inventing your own Japanese; no one will understand you. You’ll be doing the Japanese equivalent of “all your base are belong to us” (Japanese discussion of the same) “全ての貴方のベースは私に属する”. It sounds weird…off.
  • Nor does it involve saying or writing the sentence from memory. Do not memorize the sentences. That’s too complex and too failure-prone. If you’re like me, you can barely memorize words, let alone sentences.

“But wait, if I don’t memorize it, how do I know I know it?”. Oh-ho. That’s where the SRS comes in. When you first learn a sentence, of course you’ll “remember it”. What counts isn’t so much that first time, as 2, 3, 10, 52 weeks later. Thanks to an SRS, you will be given the chance to truly test your knowledge, by reading that sentence several times over several weeks and months. By doing that successfully, that sentence will be in your brain, pretty much like white on rice. In other words you will memorize the sentence just by seeing and reading it repeatedly over time. The SRS will take care of things to make sure that you see new sentences or sentences you keep forgetting, more often than old sentences that you know well.

Seeing and reading things repeatedly over time is just how advertising works; you can remember sentences like “You can’t beat the feeling”, some 15 years after Coca-Cola stopped even using that slogan. It’s also how it is that you can memorize the words of an entire movie (Independence Day, anyone?) But, yes, it takes time, and for a while you don’t believe you’re learning because you (apparently) have nothing to “show” for it. This is part of why classes are so bad. Classes are generally too focused on output—on display—but not on what is really going on inside.

So, even though just being able to read short sentences aloud is so easy, you are learning. Recently (October 8, 2006), I had to stand before a Japanese audience and read aloud some documents that I had never seen before (祝電=しゅくでん), and it was no problem at all; I can read the same as your “average” adult in Japan, and I’m not smarter than you.

While you will eventually memorize a lot of the sentences, you will almost certainly not memorize all of them. But if you were to hear or read them (or sentences similar to them), you would understand them. This is important. Why? Well:

  • In every language you speak, your passive vocabulary (what you understand) always outstrips your active vocabulary (what you say/write)
  • It is generally far for more important to understand other people, than to make yourself understood. It’s fine if you can ask for directions, but if you can’t understand the response…might as well take the next train to Whatsthepointville. More broadly—the simple fact that you are outnumbered 1 to several billion, means that you’re going to spend much of your life receiving input;; there are more people, books and videos than there are of you. If you are to function as an independent, mature adult in any society, then it is imperative, I mean, really, really, important, that you fully understand the written and spoken input of the world around you.

So, remember input precedes output. ALWAYS.

Readings of Kanji

As you know, in Japanese, a single kanji generally has two pronunciations (readings), sometimes less, sometimes more. Something that this method implies is that readings of kanji will take care of themselves just in the sentences you read. You don’t need to go learning the readings separately—learning things completely out of context like that has always been too boring, meaningless and ineffective, at least for me. Learning to read aloud thousands of sentences you will eventually get the feel for when to use which reading in any given situation. And you will also learn the exceptions; and there are plenty of exceptions. Not only that, but learning kanji readings in the context of a sentence is just easier—perhaps because a sentence connects everything in it with some rhythm or meaning. I don’t know the real reason just like I don’t know why electromagnetism works, but I know that it’s effective.


Look at these examples of sentences in the typical question-answer (Q-A) form flashcard. Note that the answer is not always necessarily the full “answer” that you give, it’s more a clue—definitions of words, etc.




これ は(わ) れい・ぶん です。
This [as for] example-sentence is. (PL3)
*This is an example sentence.




お・まえ は(わ) なに・もの だ

Update: I’ve made some major improvements to this, discussed here.

Observe the following things:

  • The direction is from Japanese only.
    • Initially you can go Japanese-to-English, but eventually, you should start going Japanese-to-Japanese only. For me, this was at about 500-1000 sentences. The effect of using only Japanese to discuss Japanese is pretty phenomenal; it’s like your Japanese becomes a self-sustaining reaction. You will probably have to do a lot of looking up, such that your answer area may contain definitions of definitions. That’s super! Because everything you are doing is exercising your Japanese skills.
  • It’s important to either access to an Internet dictionary or a software dictionary installed on your computer. That way, you can look up at the push of a button. A paper dictionary is fine for browsing, but for looking up an actual, specific word, it is BMT: brutal, medieval and time-consuming.


It would be nice if the sentence idea were my own, but the truth is that it belongs to a small group of Poles who learnt English to native-level fluency before ever leaving Poland. They even built a website about their work in learning English. The great thing about their site is that what’s true for learning English is largely true for learning any other language, including Japanese. Warning: I heartily encourage you to read their site. But unfortunately, while a former SuperMemo user/evangelist myself, I cannot recommend the SuperMemo software as they do. Fortunately, there are similar programs out there that do what SuperMemo does, for free. One of those is Mnemosyne.

AntiMoon Homepage

AntiMoon Sentence Article 1

AntiMoon Sentence Article 2

  160 comments for “10,000 Sentences: How

  1. CharleyGarrett
    October 24, 2006 at 23:36

    OK, Katsumotosama, I get the idea. Input, yes. Books, movies, yes! Here’s where I’m stymied (from a sentence on the AntiMoon site). How do you decide which sentences from your input to copy over to your SRS? Not every one, surely! Of course. You don’t need a bunch of sentences of the form “Hon da.” “Pen da.” “Jitensha da.” Is there no other suggestion than “pick the ones you like”? Maybe “pick the sentences that you might like to repeat someday”? Or that say something like something that I might like to say. Or understand if said? Can you talk about that aspect of 10,000 sentences?

    • November 12, 2011 at 02:49

      Just choose sentences that you like. Sorry, bud. We’re not in school anymore, we get to pick the sweet berries and stuff.

  2. Charles
    October 24, 2006 at 23:45

    I must say that I absolutely love your attitude and blog. Sorry it went down but here’s to
    a new beginning!! There’s so much I want to say but I’ll limit it to a comment about the post.
    I want to write sentences to learn but I have a few questions before I start.
    1) Where do you get the sentences? (internet, etc?)
    2) Do you make example sentences for grammar points or just vocab?
    3) I have a decent level of skill, do you think I should jump into the J-to-J cards?

    Good luck at your new job!


  3. Steven
    March 14, 2007 at 10:31

    I don’t know if this is the right way to do this but
    do you just type in sentences and just learn them straight off the bat?
    how do you manage to memorize the kanji readings and stuff?

  4. khatzumoto
    March 15, 2007 at 09:52

    >how do you manage to memorize the kanji readings and stuff?
    1. Learn the reading of each kanji as it used in the sentence. So, rather than learn all the readings of a given kanji, learn the one reading that is being used *in this case*–in the sentence at had.
    2. Add that kanji reading to the “answer” section of the SRS.
    (i) A sentence has a kind of rhythm to it that will actually make the reading quite easy to remember, generally speaking. Certainly, it will be easier to remember than an isolated kanji reading.
    (ii) Also, be sure to use SHORT sentences to begin with, don’t overwhelm yourself. Something like 「テレビを見る。」 or 「夕食の支度をする。」 or 「慌てて登校する。」 is a good length.
    (iii) Use sentences that have multiple parts of speech. What I mean is, you want nouns, verbs and adverbs/adjectives all in there.

    Remember, in order to say you “know” a sentence, you need to:
    1. Understand the meaning of every word in the sentence
    2. Be able to read the sentence correctly ALOUD (i.e. know the reading of every kanji in the sentence)
    3. Know/understand the meaning of the sentence as a whole. Not just “sort of understand”, but REALLY understand what is meant, and the context in which it was/is being used.
    4. Write it out [no need to write it out from memory, you can just copy it down, but DO write it; this is to get writing practice; this is important because no matter how well you've memorized kanji via Heisig, if you stop writing them, you willl start to forget; using a computer, it's too easy to stop writing. Never let a day go by where you don't fill two A4/letter-size pages with normal-size kanji. In all likelihood, you will be more proficient at writing kanji than most adults in Japan currently are, and that's fine.].

    • ライトニング
      November 27, 2011 at 14:24

      How large is normal size? I mean, If I write every single rep, Kanji and sentence flavors, at my normal english size, I’d probably only take 1 page, max. When i write in english my letters measure around 2-3 mm

  5. Yorkii
    July 1, 2007 at 02:10

    I have a question. i do hope you can provide me with an answer.

    what if the word has multiple meansings? for example in your example above 夕食の支度をする, the word 支度 has a couple of meanings according to Yahoo 辞書: dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?p=%E6%94%AF%E5%BA%A6&enc=UTF-8&stype=0&dtype=3

    in this case it is clearly the first meaning, but should the other meanings be added as other cards so you are more, fully aware of the words uses?


  6. khatzumoto
    July 1, 2007 at 06:53

    >should the other meanings be added as other cards so you are more, fully aware of the words uses?
    Yes. :D

  7. Yorkii
    July 1, 2007 at 10:38

    thanks for the fast reply.

    keep up the good work!

    i appreciate the “starter packs” of sentences, but would it be rude of me to ask for a sample mnemosyne file with some more examples? i would like to get a better idea of what to include in an ideal card. I personally study J – J but the cards I make are a little different. I include a definition and example sentences with the word I am wanting to review blanked out on the question side. e.g:


    then on the answer side the word i am wanting to study and it’s synonyms:


    this method is a little different to the one that you use, so i am wondering if i should switch over to including the definition on the answer side and actually include the word I want to study in the example sentence on the question side. doing so would mean that I would be studying much more passively (as in i will not have to actively “fill the gap” with the word that I want to study). This seems to be the main focus of your method and the one described on Antimoon – input, input, input and it seems to work for you guys. having extensively reading the Antimoon website, I realized that learning a word in context means that the whole sentence where it was first seen is remembered as a sort of block showing how the word connects to other words and so can clearly see that using the sentences-method works, I am just working over the fine details of SRS at this point in time.

    keep up the good work,


  8. Istvan
    July 24, 2007 at 15:49

    Khatzumoto, First of all, thank you for the work you have done to put this site together. It is a fun, and motivating resource.

    Regarding your sentences, where did you find the politeness levels that you use. I would love to add that to my card deck consistently.



  9. khatzumoto
    July 24, 2007 at 23:26

    >where did you find the politeness levels that you use
    I made them up (set them myself). The origin of the PL system is Mangajin’s Basic Japanese Through Comics. Even if you don’t stick a PL on all your items, you’ll naturally pick up what the register of a sentence is.

  10. kurojohn
    July 26, 2007 at 23:10

    What would you suggest for a person at my level? I have lived in Japan for 14 years and for most of it focused almost solely on conversation. In many ways I was successful, but knowing what I know now, I wish that I had started differently The handicap of not being able to read and write very well was a thorn in my side, but now I am on the way to remedying that. I have learned all 3007 kanji that Heisig has in Book 1 and Book 3. Skipping Book 2, I decided to learn the key onyomi of each of the first 2000 in the frequency list because onyomi are generally used for compounds. Have just finished learning those onyomi as well. Using an SRS has truly been a wonderful help. Was planning on attacking vocabulary next to bring myself up to around JLPT Level 1 vocabulary proficiency. Actually not planning to take the test (no need at the moment), but just thought it might be a good goal to set. Just came upon your site this last week and have been captivated by your approach of 10,000 sentences. Much better than learning vocab by rote which I never felt peaceful about. Wish I would have found it before all the onyomi learning (though I can’t say that it has been a waste because my reading ability has increased immeasurably) or 14 years ago for that matter. Where am I now? I have high listening comprehension and most people who speak with me think I am essentially fluent (I know better but am able to communicate effectively on basicly any topic). When I read, I am confronted with my shortcomings in vocabulary as well as when I watch more complex news items on TV. Because of Heisig and the onyomi I learned, I can read basically all the vocabulary I already know but if you asked me to write a large majority of the words I know with their correct kanji I would be at a loss since speakng has been my life so far, not writing. Of course I can get by with my computer, but I don’t want crutches anymore! So, I want to learn new vocab as well as know how to write the words I already know. If you were in my position, how would you approach the next step? Sorry for this long rambling message! Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. khatzumoto
    July 28, 2007 at 02:39

    Hey kurojohn,

    I would suggest…you keep going with sentences; I think it applies as much to your case as it does to a complete beginner. Choosing sentences is/can be a very personal thing.

    Focus on your weak points. Work on what needs working on, and ignore what doesn’t. Always be looking out for what you DON’T know, what you CAN’T (yet) read or understand or say; find holes to plug. Maybe you can read 羨 in 羨望, but can you read it as 羨ましい? Things like that…

    Always have a Japanese book with you. For travel, get books with furigana (I recommend books for kids around 小6, since these have tons of kanji but all with furigana because they’re cutting the kids slack for being 小学生) so you don’t have to bother look up readings; for home, get books without furigana so you can find your weaknesses. Do things you like, watch movies you like, but do it all in Japanese. Keep away from English; if you have bilingual acquaintances steer them to Japanese (even if they speak English, pretend that you don’t). Et cetera! Hope that helps…

  12. O
    August 11, 2007 at 03:52

    so, i decided to start the sentences thing yesterday. i think its a great idea! i already memorize vocabulary from j to e only, and i notice that i definetly know the word the other way around when i need it. i started with the www.guidetojapanese.org/ example sentences and am working my way through the ones that i like. i am not quite sure where i will go after that, but thats not the point. my question is that it seems like sometimes i remember the meaning of the word, because i have read the sentence before (when entering it for example) is this ok? do i count this as full recall and trust that the srs will make everything stick?

    anyways, thanks a bunch for your website! i dont think i could learn japanese as hard core as you did, but i think that you have alot of great suggestions that i will apply to future studies. :)

  13. khatzumoto
    August 11, 2007 at 07:41

    >sometimes i remember the meaning of the word, because i have read the sentence before (when entering it for example) is this ok? do i count this as full recall and trust that the srs will make everything stick?

    Sorry, I’m not understanding the question :(. But, if you remember something. then, yes, it’s a recall.

    >i dont think i could learn japanese as hard core as you did

    Yes, you could! Harder! Better! Faster! Stronger!

  14. O
    August 11, 2007 at 08:38

    >Sorry, I’m not understanding the question :( . But, if you remember something. then, yes, it’s a recall.

    eh, what i mean is: for example suppose i have 「これは魚です。」but i dont remember what 魚 means. but then, i remember adding/seeing the sentence, “this is a fish” and then i remember that the kanji is さかな … should i try not to do this? or is this how its supposed to work.

  15. khatzumoto
    August 11, 2007 at 08:41

    As long as you recall it from your own memory, that counts. Since it sounds like a slow recall that required some figuring out, I’d give it a “3″ in KhatzuMemo/Mnemosyne/SuperMemo.

  16. ddddave
    August 11, 2007 at 11:29

    I think I know what O is talking about. When my collection of sentences was low, I tended to remember the meaning of the sentence by the people / things involved, rather than reading the sentence and inferring the meaning from it.

    At one time, the only sentence I had which mentioned Mr Yamamoto had him kicking balls to Mr Ito. When I saw Mr Yamamoto come up during review, I simply remembered his inclination to kick balls before having a chance to read the whole sentence. But after that name was used in different sentences and in different situations, the reliance on that kind of memory quickly became… not so useful. :) “Ahhh yes, Yamamoto likes to drive cars across bridges now!”

    It still happens occasionally though, 川口さん is still the only 政治家 I know at the moment, but I guess pumping in more sentences will sort them out too.

  17. Nickster
    August 23, 2007 at 16:25


    Love the site. Not learning Japanese though (sorry!) – I’m learning Chinese and am pretty much a beginner. My question is about sentences. I’m keen to go Chinese –> Chinese on sentences pretty much as soon as possible, but I worry about the “question” element of my flashcards. I am worried that I’ll invent a question which is pretty much communicates what I want to gt across but for one reason or another is grammatically incorrect. This worries me because if I see it regularly I know I will remember it – and I will remember it wrong. Have you got any tips for this?

    I’m really sorry if the answer to this is obvious from your samples above but I can’t read Japanese!

    Thanks, Nicky

  18. khatzumoto
    August 23, 2007 at 16:49

    > I am worried that I’ll invent a question
    Because you’ll be INPUTting, you won’t invent questions. All your questions will be taken from correct sources.

  19. Nathan
    October 4, 2007 at 06:40

    Nice blog, good suggestion. I speak Japanese fluently enough to interpret it in a professional setting, but I’m always looking for ways to improve. I’m an avid user of Supermemo (Nearly 20,000 items now!), and I’m curious as to why you stopped using SM. Too buggy?

  20. khatzumoto
    October 4, 2007 at 07:03

    Too buggy. Plus data mobility sucked–even just copying files to a new disk was an ordeal…

  21. Potemayo
    October 10, 2007 at 17:56

    Khatzumoto: A question! ^_^ What do you mean by understand sentence but DON’T memorize them? I mean, if I read “sonna mono wo sonna konomu wa inai, to wa itteiru” (gomen for romaji) with Kanji and no Furigana, then I’ve learnt it?

  22. khatzumoto
    October 10, 2007 at 18:03

    >but DON’T memorize them?
    Yeah, don’t bother memorizing it…It’s too stressful, and it will slow you down. You will “memorize” it naturally through multiple exposures.

    >then I’ve learnt it?
    In a sense, you have. The moment you can read it out loud and understand it, then you have learned it. Thereafter, the key is to RETAIN that knowledge. That’s where an SRS comes in.

  23. James
    October 14, 2007 at 09:37

    So, I have my source of sentences. But, these sentences do not have any furigana with them. Are you suggesting that we look it up ourselves as part of the learning process?

  24. khatzumoto
    October 14, 2007 at 09:40

    Yes :D.
    Of course one can also use sources that already have readings given (and this might save time, especially early in the process), but the lack of furigana shouldn’t preclude the use of any source.

  25. ivoSF
    October 18, 2007 at 08:47

    good day, i just found this site and i feeling the approach you use a good one and want to implement it, now of course i have a question ;)

    i have long wanted to get some simple books to read, like child books with furigana, could you tell me how you bought them?
    ideally I’m looking for a Japanese (second hand)online book store where you can order a decent amount in once and save on shipping and handling.(and be able to use paypal)

    i know I’m asking for something hard, but any help would be appreciated, for now i ordered remembering the kanji(i got the pdf but like books beter)
    kind regards ivo

  26. khatzumoto
    October 18, 2007 at 08:52

    amazon.co.jp and my school library were my sources of books…
    There’s also bookoff, but I’ve never used them.
    For saving on S&H, try this article.

  27. Charles A.
    October 18, 2007 at 10:59


    This article, bar none, is what has been keeping me going the last two months. For that time, I’ve been trying to finish RevTK (upto 1700 now) while looking for all sorts of ways to build up my sentences.

    My sources for now are: Pimsleur (the introductory conversation of each lesson), Genki, Japanese for Everyone, JLPT Study site, NHK Brush up on Japanese.

    For sentences I’ve gotten from conversation samples, I try to include one sentence from both speakers. Usually it’s QUESTION [speaker a: question, speaker b: answer] ANSWER [pronunciation and explanation if necessary]. Prior to that, I was doing one sentence each, but began feeling I was not getting the context for the shorter sentences. Other than that it’s been simple sentences.

  28. Charles
    October 18, 2007 at 14:39

    Hi Charles A.
    Sounds like you have a bit of the same issue I have. Before I started Khatz’s method, I had acquired TONS of Japanese books; always thinking that each one was the perfect book. So I have many of the same books you have. Anyway, are you using just sentences from the conversations samples or other parts of the text. Also, have you been trying not to repeat target phrases from book to book? And how, oh how does one keep track (the books present info in different order).
    I think Khatz mentioned mining for sentences but not this specifically, I think. I’d love to mine all my old text books and get rid of them. Care to weigh in, Khatz?

    And Khatzumoto, thank you so much for the site (and the answer to my last comment)!!

  29. khatzumoto
    October 18, 2007 at 18:24

    Whatever materials you have, mine them until it bore you, then switch to something else.

  30. Charles A.
    October 18, 2007 at 21:40

    Charles A,

    I’m just doing it one step at a time and changing strides and paths as I see fit. Since I’m still in the Learn Kanji phase (though nearing the end), I’m taking it slow on the sentences. Right now I’m doing Pimsleur (which has NO written material provided), so I’m using the introductory sentences which is only 3 to 5 samples per chapter.

    For the sentences from the books, I think that I can use the conversation samples and the other examples given in the chapter. For the conversation examples, it does seem important to get both speakers sampled in the same card. I’m not even going to stress if stuff is getting repeated. It feels like you’re going to look at a sentence and tell yourself “why do I care about that, I know that already” and ignore it as time goes on. Probably why it’s important not to bulk add 2000 sentences via an Excel spreadsheet. Just look at what you’re adding for the day and make the call. I’m not the best guy to ask for advise cause I haven’t even started yet. You could say I’m just getting my game plan together.


    No problem there. Rosetta is starting to bore me and I haven’t even started yet. Still, I’ll keep it around for now just to see if Anki + Rosetta = Rapid vocabulary in long term memory. I’m just going on the assumption that creating a large pool of passive vocabulary will not be a bad thing. Besides that, yeah, if it gets boring.

  31. Charles
    October 19, 2007 at 07:59

    Thanks guys,
    I think you hit it, Charles. Mine for as many sentences as possible and try not to repeat. I seem eternally stuck in the learn Kanji phase (yes, I’m a multiple time three day monk in that respect). So to switch it up, I’m looking to finally finish RTK and while cherry picking sentences. I think the key the Katzumoto keeps stressing and I agree, is to stay entertained and focused.
    As for Rosetta. I used it for a while and it got really boring. I think if you use it with Anki, like you mentioned. That would be a good strategy. Not sure if you can, but cutting and pasting the stuff, would be a good way to minimize the SRS input time.

    @Katzumoto. I agree. Keep moving until I get bored. I did rip the Japanese audio from Old School (the Will Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson movie) and I can’t get enough of it.
    I enjoy listening and can follow it pretty well.

    Thanks all and ganbatte!!

  32. October 29, 2007 at 08:33

    Charles A. mentioned it before: Rosetta Stone.

    What do you suggest Khatzumoto? Mine sentences from the program and leave the program itself alone or use both (mine sentences from the program but also use the features from the program)?

  33. Charles A.
    October 29, 2007 at 11:45


    Now that I’m getting more into the sentence phase of AJATT, the less attractive Rosetta Stone looks. Yes, I’m still in the process of developing a spreadsheet so that anyone can use it in conjunction with the photos and audio. Basicly, it’s take the Romaji located in a .txt file with all the photos, convert that to Kana via a website I use, then use JWPce to convert the Kana into the correct Kanji going picture by picture in Rosetta. Takes about 3 hours per unit so I’m only upto unit 3 (19 in all). Thing is, going picture by picture, I’m seeing that there’s not much meat to the sentences. Yeah, you’ll get ALOT of vocabulary in context with Kanji which is nothing to sneeze at. The other thing is, no one has told me if what Rosetta presents is good information. Am I picking up way too many bad habits with their choice of sentence structure?

    As for using the program: Remember that SRS helps you retain what you already learned. If you use Rosetta’s guided exercise, you’ll definately have learned something by the end of the lesson. Then just add that lesson to the SRS and keep it up. By the way, if you do a lesson a day (40 photos) I think you’ll find your SRS will smooth out to about 60 reviews a day. I’m thinking for that part, just go Kanji sentence to photo (with kana pronunciation and audio if you can pull that off). The reverse is not necessary. In addition, think about mining real sentences to compliment.

  34. Mark Quinn
    November 12, 2007 at 18:17

    Hey Khatz

    A quick question when you get back from your break.

    When I started using my SRS, I entered the English sentence in the question field and the Japanese translation in the answer field. But after reading your method on this site, I no longer try to translate – as you say, this is too failure prone, so now I just put the Japanese in the answer field and leave out the translation.

    The only concern I have in doing this is that I am not actively using my brain to come up with the sentence I want to say – I am just reading a sentence that has already been created. It seems like the easy way out. It’s like for example asking somebody to write a Japanese email for you and you may understand it perfectly BUT you would have learned and retained a lot more if you had gone through the thought process by writing the email yourself.

    I hope this makes sense?!



  35. zodiac
    December 3, 2007 at 20:01

    “Something that this method implies is that readings of kanji will take care of themselves just in the sentences you read.”

    I’m not sure if I haven’t searched carefully enough, but in yahoo dictionary (and most of the other dictionary sources) the example sentences have nothing like furigana, no way to tell which way the kanji is read.

  36. Kay
    January 22, 2008 at 11:17

    Zodiac: a great solution to that problem is Rikaichan. Download that for free, and then you’ll be able to hover over the reading of any kanji and get it immediately.

  37. AwkwardMap
    February 15, 2008 at 14:25

    Hey Khatzumoto, I’m really interested in learning 10,000 sentences using this method, but I have a concern about buying things from amazon.jp: should I just accept that the shipping is going to be a lot?

  38. Nivaldo
    February 20, 2008 at 02:47

    I’m not so sure about Rikaichan. Maybe I downloaded an older version but the fact is that I’m not getting the right readings for some compounds. For example: 慰霊碑 should be read いれいひ but rikaichan gives いれい to the first two kanji and for the last gives いしぶみ.
    The same with 疾風伝(しっぷうでん). Normally It does a good job with compounds but somehow 疾風伝 is an exception.
    Again, maybe the version I’m using is an old one.
    But yeah, for the majority of things it does a pretty good job.

  39. boyprangko
    March 22, 2008 at 18:12

    I have a quick question. I noticed that in your example SRS sentences, at least for the Japanese-English ones, you had specific english “translations” for many particles. Where would I grab those?

  40. khatzumoto
    March 28, 2008 at 10:10
  41. Kitacutie
    April 2, 2008 at 10:01

    Hi. Quick Question. So…I teach English at a junior high school and usually when I don’t have class I try to study Japanese. I would really like to use that time to study using the SRS system that I uploaded to my computer but I can’t bring my computer to school everyday. Any suggestions on what to study or how to study during “free time” while on the job at school? Thanks!

  42. cabjoe
    April 2, 2008 at 14:38


    Try Anki – it works on a mobile phone so you can study using that. I use this to study on my commute to and from work and it works very well for me.
    You can download it from ichi2.net/anki/

  43. christine
    April 2, 2008 at 22:39

    hey cabjoe,

    Thanks for that! Just wondering how to DL it b/c it asks me to choose from windows, Mac, and two other options that aren’t supported by my keitai. :/ Thanks again!

  44. Sarah
    June 2, 2008 at 13:56

    My one concern about this is: Where do speaking and listening come in? I mean, I know you’re supposed to read sentences aloud, but I find that the idea of “good Japanese comes from mindlessly mimicking good Japanese” is very important with pronunciation as well, so without an actual model to listen to and repeat after, it seems that pronunciation would most likely also be a “little off.”

    I suppose there’s only so much someone could do, and I still think your method makes a lot of sense (Actually, my classes in school were very much about mindlessly mimicking conversations and drills to very good effect), but I’m just curious as to how you addressed this issue.

    Thanks in advance :D

  45. khatzumoto
    June 16, 2008 at 22:40

    Listening is part of the entire process. Speaking is allowed to come naturally (and avoided otherwise).

    I’m working on “linearizing”/creating a table of contents for this site, since it’s not entirely to suitable as a blog; it was simply easier to create in blog form.

  46. liosama
    July 9, 2008 at 15:21

    Why not try reading actual books instead of memorizing sentences :S?

  47. Mike
    July 10, 2008 at 02:10


    It is a bit hard to read a book in a language that you have no input (aka sentences) in

  48. liosama
    July 10, 2008 at 15:38

    No but once you build a decent level of grammar by STUDYING sentences (rather than memorizing) you’ll be able to read books (im talking easy books with fairly few kanji and all have their furigana attached) Would that not

    a) be a much more enjoyable learning experience

    b) more beneficial since they are, actually, *real* sentences in every basic sense of the word.

    and c) you’ll able to attach whatever readings for that specific kanji assuming you know all 2k.

    The most common form of acceleration in *any* language is reading. You start reading when you’re at a very young age, you read small children’s books that provide a very basic vocabulary database which is implanted in your head. Then you slowly adapt new books here and there where you need to look up a word every 15 or so pages (or you understand it by context)

    I don’t mean to troll.

  49. densha_onna
    July 11, 2008 at 12:38

    Hey there,

    after reading your whole blog in the last few days, I finally decided to write a comment.
    First of all a big thank you for your motivating blog entries :D

    As for me I have been watching animes/jdramas and listening to Japanese music for over 10 years now. My listening comprehension is REALLY good thanks to this.
    I have been studying Japanese at university for 2 years, but only like 4hours per week and then had a huge break again. After that I wanted to continue studying by myself, but somehow I always had too many huge breaks in between.

    That is why I’m still on a beginner’s level, I’d say. I could pass level 3 of the JLPT with my current skills, but that’s about it.

    Since March I’m living in Japan and my motivation is bigger than ever. Since then I’ve started again to study Japanese. This time on a daily basis, for as many hours as possible.
    Of course I don’t really have problems with my immersion project here. I also read “real” Japanese every day, mostly doujinshi lately. I feel that my Japanese is getting better, but waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too slow for my taste.
    Actually I’m very frustrated lately. Mainly because I basically could already be fluent by now, but still am on a basic level. It’s my own fault though.
    But as you said in one of your entries, it’s no use looking back, what is important is what lies ahead.
    And I don’t only want to become fluent, I have DECIDED to become fluent this time.

    So here I am, with basic vocab, grammar and kanji knowledge (about 400).
    Where should I start?
    Should I do RTK1 right now? Can I skip the kanji I already know??
    Can I start mining sentences while still studying the kanji or should I only focus on the kanji for the time being?

    Somehow I still have this textbook and I know what you think about them, but I REALLY wanna finish it! I think it’ll take about 4 more weeks to do so, after that I can fully concentrate on other things, but I really wanna finish this damn textbook before that.

    So would it be a good idea to start doing RTK1 and entering everything in SRS (I’m using Anki btw.) while still doing the textbook? Like … at first I won’t be able to do many kanji (because of the textbook), but as soon as I’ve finished I can increase the # of kanji I daily do, right?
    Would that be a good idea?

    So my plan right now looks more or less like this:
    Starting with RTK (btw. do you recommend to learn how to write all the kanji right from the start, too?), while still finishing my current textbook.
    Then finish RTK1, after that start with sentence mining.
    I intend to use “Kanji in Context” (do you know that book? can you recommend it?), A Dictionary of Basic + Intermediate Japanese Grammar for sentence fishing as well as all of my manga, doujinshi, jdrama, anime, variety shows, daily life conversation etc.

    Would it hurt to still continue studying Eng-Jap (isolated) vocab via SRS in addition to the sentence input? Yes, I’m still a little bit doubtful – that’s why I feel saver to do a little bit more active studying alongside.

    I’m thinking about getting a Japanese teacher here. It’s not like a class, more like a volunteer person who will have a conversation with me or whatever.
    I’m not sure if this will help me at all at my current level.

    I think my main problem is that I have bought too much material and that I’m too impatient. I’m really sacrificing almost every single second I have to study Japanese and in my free time I listen to Japanese music or watch Japanese tv.

    I think that’s all for now.

    Of course I’m also happy to hear about other peoples’ opinions and am very thankful for hints of any kind.

    (Please ignore any mistakes I’ve made. I’m not an English native-speaker.)

    Bye (^-^)/

  50. konakona
    August 23, 2008 at 00:44

    i was wondering if i put this correctly into the srs. i got the sentence from the grammar book “Japanese sentence patterns for effective communication”.

    QUESTION: 試験は難しかったり、やさしかったりする。

    ANSWER: し・けん は むず・かったり、 やさしかったり する
    exam (as for) sometimes difficult sometimes easy to do
    exams are sometimes difficult and sometimes easy

  51. Meister
    November 24, 2008 at 04:10

    So how exactly are you supposed to find the meaning of the sentences you find? For example, I’m using Doraemon to get my sentences, but on only the 3rd sentence I’m already stuck. Doraemon says: いやあ、ろくなことがないね。 I have no idea what ろく means. I looked it up in Jisho.org, and it says ろくな means satisfactory…but that doesn’t really make sense in the sentence for me. How will I know that the meanings I’m giving to sentences are actually correct?

  52. Rochella
    January 24, 2009 at 05:42

    I have a few quick questions if you have the time to answer, I’d love it!

    After receiving the link to your site, I’ve really decided to tweak what I’ve been doing to follow a good handful of your advice. So now I’ve got quite a few sources now of sentences and I can already mine sentences from shows and such.

    My question is more so, to switch to JP-JP, do I merely do kanji-kana form for q to a? or do I try to explain in JP the gist of the sentence?

    My other question is would you consider mining sentences from www.alc.co.jp/index.html to be correct? I guess I’m feeling a little insecure about trusting random dictionary sites/textbooks for correct sentences. XD

    Thanks for you time!

  53. Ayo
    February 3, 2009 at 07:03

    Umm… with the 10,000 sentences. Even if you copy the sentence out how will you know how to pronounce it? I mean you might know what every kanji means but not know how to say the kanji in Japanese.

    This might seem like a really stupid question, but I would really like it if you have some answers.

  54. Steven
    February 8, 2009 at 00:10

    I have a question about actually learning upwards of 50 sentences per day. For me it takes an extremely long time to find sentences and add them to my SRS. For example a mere10 sentences can take over an hour maybe two. Perhaps I over analyze the sentences and put too much into the answer. Anyway afterwards, at least that day, I am mentally fried or don’t have the time to learn them all top to bottom. Okay my question: Do any of you just spend a few days adding the sentences and come back another day and spend all your time learning those sentences not focusing on adding more? Whew, that would make a challenging sentence :) BTW my main sources are Mangajin, Teach Yourself Japanese (romaji but sentences seem good), Kodansha Furigana Dictionary, Japanese for Everyone, J-pop/anime lyrics, and Barron’s Japanese Grammer.

    PS On a very side note: If any of you own the US Batman Begins Blu-ray, it contains the Japanese audio! I hope to see this in more US releases.

  55. Badger
    February 26, 2009 at 20:47


  56. Badger
    February 26, 2009 at 20:47

    seriously, I mean it.

  57. Chris
    March 6, 2009 at 22:21

    This is to Katz or anyone reading who can answer this:

    How many of you have over 20,000 cards? How would (or do) you deal with using an SRS to learn, say Chinese, Japanese AND Korean if you wanted to do the “10,000 sentence” method for each? Wouldn’t the load eventually just become unbearable and take too long? Is there a limit or shortcoming to spaced repetition in this respect?

    I’d appreciate any answers on this. I’m considering using Anki for Korean, but I intend to learn Chinese as well. The thought of spending several hours a day in the future doing SRS reps is rather frightening…

  58. Rhino
    May 10, 2009 at 23:44


    This is a couple months late, so hopefully you’ve already had your q answered. I have a min before bed so ill cover this one incase anyone else reading through has a similar query.

    two points will pretty much answer your question:
    1. your SRS reps will become further and further apart as you get them correct, so you can keep adding cards at a good pace and maintain a similar “per day” workload while you keep learning. eventually cards become once a year or two years or more after so many reps.

    2. 10k sentences is ALOT of info. Think about it for a min, by the time you have 10k sentances in your deck you can probably pick up any comic-book, magazine, even newspaper or text and have a pretty dambed good idea whats going on. If not perfect comprehension. At this point the SRS becomes obsolete. Rather than spend that 2 hours a day on your SRS, you can spend an hour or two reading a comic book or browsing japanese stuff on amazon or whatever. if you run into something you don’t know, then you might throw it into your SRS so you can fill gaps in your knowledge further. You’ll be doing that with a monolingual dictionary – so there’s more reading practice. And the process goes on. (I picture this as a smooth gradual process, its not like the plan is: do 10k sentances then -> read comic book)

    My strategy is this (and I make no point of saying its the “right” way to do it), If im at home with some free time i’ll put on some music or tv or a movie or something and play around on my SRS. If I finish all my reps and still have free time I’ll add some items that I want to know. I avoid trying to “grind out” 2 hours of straight SRSing. Im doing it all the time when life isnt getting in the way. If I cant cope with the reps ill tweak the level of SRS imput.

  59. Sam
    May 16, 2009 at 20:08

    Just a quick question regarding texts with furigana.
    Aside from some manga, what other kinds of texts are available with furigana? There aren’t any bookstores selling japanese material near where I live, so when looking for books online, how would I know the text contains furigana?

    Also, I remember reading one of khatzumoto’s posts, but I’m having a hard time finding it now. Something to do with learning how to read kanji. I forget, am I supposed (if i were to follow this particular method) to complete RTK before attempting to (learn how to) read japanese characters? How and when am I supposed to assign a reading to the characters?

    Glad if anyone can answer some of my questions, and also, in the question regarding the readings, pointing me to the relevant posts would be helpfull.

  60. Gabe
    May 29, 2009 at 08:13

    Hello, I have a similar question to what Ayo posted a while back. We can be sentance mining and all that good stuff, but how will we be able to pronounce the kanji?

  61. momoko
    May 30, 2009 at 05:16

    Ayo, Sam (in answer to part of your comment) and Gabe,

    Mrs. Khatzumoto here. Khatz covers how you learn to pronounce the kanji in his FAQs section. The fourth question down reads:

    Remembering the Kanji Volume 1 (RTK/RTK1) does not cover kanji readings. How will I learn pronunciations of kanji in Japanese?
    You learn kanji readings on a sentence-by-sentence basis. When you input a sentence into your SRS, part of the input process will be for you to find out the readings for its kanji. Those readings will be part of the “answer” section on an item in your SRS. Go here to read Heisig himself explain the system.”

    In the comments section of this article ;) he answers a similar question with a more detailed answer:

    “>how do you manage to memorize the kanji readings and stuff?
    1. Learn the reading of each kanji as it used in the sentence. So, rather than learn all the readings of a given kanji, learn the one reading that is being used *in this case*–in the sentence at hand.
    2. Add that kanji reading to the “answer” section of the SRS.
    (i) A sentence has a kind of rhythm to it that will actually make the reading quite easy to remember, generally speaking. Certainly, it will be easier to remember than an isolated kanji reading.
    (ii) Also, be sure to use SHORT sentences to begin with, don’t overwhelm yourself. Something like 「テレビを見る。」 or 「夕食の支度をする。」 or 「慌てて登校する。」 is a good length.
    (iii) Use sentences that have multiple parts of speech. What I mean is, you want nouns, verbs and adverbs/adjectives all in there.”

    So, to sum up:

    1. Don’t worry about the readings when you are still learning the kanji.
    2. After you’ve learned the kanji, then you learn the kana (hiragana+katakana). These are your pronunciation guide.
    3. When you are ready to start picking out sentences from your immersion environment (listening, books, etc.), you will naturally and gradually learn the readings of kanji one by one in the context of individual sentences you enter into your SRS (start really simple!). At this point, dictionaries with sentences, beginner books and books with furigana (tiny hiragana printed over or beside kanji) are your best friend. (Some manga–especially those written for Japanese children–put furigana on all the kanji. Like Sam says, it’s frustrating when you don’t know if a book from an online store has furigana…Sorry we don’t have reviews of furigana books on this site yet–will put that on the to-do list. Until then, here’s a link to an article Khatz wrote on how you can automatically put furigana on any Japanese website: “Kanji Reading Aids”)

    Here is an example of how to learn pronunciation of kanji in the context of a sentence when you enter it into an SRS:

    1) Put the sentence with kanji in the question of your SRS: 行こうよ!
    2) Using hiragana, indicate the pronunciation of the kanji in the answer: いこうよ! (or 行こう=いこう, etc.)

    The fact that each kanji has multiple readings can sound intimidating when you think of it all at once, but it’s easy when you take it sentence by sentence. Like Khatz says, you just get used to it. Kind of like how English speakers get used to how “ough” in words like “dough” is pronounced like “ow” in “snow”, but the “ough” in “cough” sound like “off”, and the “ough” in “rough” sounds like the “uff” in “cuff”. When you’re still learning the alphabet, if you worry about all the diffent ways you can pronounce the vowels, you might get a heart attack. You start out with something easy and fun like “The Cat in the Hat” and before you know it you’re sounding out the highly-processed ingredients on your cereal box and asking your mom what “dextrose” and “trisodium phosphate” are. Likewise, when learning Japanese pronunciation sentence by sentence, your knowledge gradually builds and connects until you develop a ‘sense’ or ‘feel’ for how a kanji is probably read (even if you’re not sure). It’s a process that you go through a step at a time.

  62. Ben
    May 30, 2009 at 08:00

    So basically to put it into steps, do you:

    Read Heisig’s “Remember the Kanji”

    Add the individual symbols to your SRS until you remember them all

    Read “Remember the Kana”

    Add the individual symbols to your SRS until you remember them all

    And then string sentences together in SRS, that you have obtained from the internet, for example, using the furigana to find out the pronouncination/phoenetics and add that to the answer, along with the meaning of the sentence?

    (Sorry im extremely new to this, and the idea of beginning to learn Kanji bewilders me at the moment)

    Thanks in advance!

  63. ロナルド
    June 11, 2009 at 12:02

    I honestly dont see the harm of just reading RTKvol.2! That way you dont have to limit your SRS sources to books with furigana only. If learning some readings before starting sentences was a bad idea would Heisig have written a book specialising on readings only???

  64. 7
    June 22, 2009 at 13:59

    Do I really have to write out the sentences khatz? :(

  65. Macca
    June 28, 2009 at 18:10

    ロナルド said:
    I honestly dont see the harm of just reading RTKvol.2! That way you dont have to limit your SRS sources to books with furigana only. If learning some readings before starting sentences was a bad idea would Heisig have written a book specialising on readings only???

    Yes, it’s generally considered by most people that it was a bad idea. You don’t want to complicate the process by adding a whole new element to it. If you learn all the on-yomi, soon you’ll be relying on reading the sounds only, and not being able to simply recognise words. In short, you could spend months learning RTK2, which is far harder than RTK1, and in the long run, it may not help you at all.

  66. Andie
    July 24, 2009 at 15:29

    I’m not sure If I understand the bit about using Japanese to define a Japanese sentence, if the point is to translate it so it is easily understood by yourself(a learner) so it can be used in an SRS, how is this done in the language you are trying to understand?

  67. Tarutaru
    October 15, 2009 at 08:17

    Question for Grand Master Katz:
    I’ve used Heisig to learn all my Hiragana and Katakana and am about 200 kanji deep in my quest to finish “Remembering the Kanji 1″. When exactly do you suggest starting to sentence mine and SRS with sentences? After all 2000+ kanji are memorized or somewhere along the way?

    Thanks much!

  68. gurkenkralle
    November 1, 2009 at 02:56

    hey volks,

    now I’ve decided to enter my post here. Of course this site is really briliant. However, I think I got stucked in my learning prozess. I have about 500 entries in my SRS just to realize that I only can answer just a few ones of them and to forget almost all the pronouncation and things… This is really frustrating-,.-
    I bought RTK2 and its… like… its okay, but not the really good thing you know?
    Somehow I’ve got the feeling to forget all the kanji meanings and only can say a hand of these sentences. I have been in Japan for two weeks and all the others taking classes were able to speak japanese much better than me.
    I miss a bit my payoff … Or am I too impatient?
    During this times i miss someone to chat with, who has gone through the same problems. This would be so nice maybe…. However
    Thank your for answers


  69. kevin
    November 20, 2009 at 18:44

    To anyone who might be able to help:

    When I add my sentences into my SRS, what do I do with the words that are new to me? Do I make separate flash cards with just a single word, or do I try to learn entire phrases? I feel like I have to keep failing a card over and over because I can’t remember the pronunciation of just one word….What should I do?

    One last thing: Khatz (or anybody): when you say “Don’t memorize the sentences” what precisely do you mean? Are you saying just don’t use rote memory? Should I just read it (at first with the help of furigana), then if I can’t pass the four checks, fail the card, and repeat until I get it? Thanks everybody!

  70. Philip
    December 3, 2009 at 07:08


    You’ve probably figured out an answer to your question, but here’s what I do with new words: add more sentences with that word. A good place to go is www.jisho.org/ and put in your word, and then search for sentences with that word in it (I wouldn’t rely on the site too much because some of the sentences/translations are off).

    As for not memorizing, just don’t try to memorize the sentence so that you can recall it without the SRS. Of course, you’ll be memorizing the kanji, the readings, “the sentence” if you will, but only with the SRS. You don’t need to pull sentences out of your head while walking around town, just to make sure you’ve memorized them. Like Khatz said, it’s too failure prone and you might get the sentence wrong.

    Hope that helps!

  71. Lost in Japanese
    January 10, 2010 at 09:58

    I feel lost can someone help me?Where are my sentences supposed to come from?And how do you use SRS without doing it incorrectly.I don’t want to put sentences in there that I’m never going to hear.Also I don’t understand what you meant when you gave your example




    これ は(わ) れい・ぶん です。
    This [as for] example-sentence is. (PL3)
    *This is an example sentence.


    Do you mean I enter a sentence I want to know in Japanese mostly using Kanji and then answer it in Hirigana???

    But whatever I doubt anyone will answer seeing how this was posted years ago..

  72. Raven
    January 28, 2010 at 17:34

    Lost in Japanese,

    Remember that the point of putting sentences in your SRS is to be able to do the four things that Khatz said in the post: 1) be able to say it aloud 2) know the meaning of all the words in that sentence 3) know the overall meaning of the sentence and 4) be able to write it down yourself.

    The answer or “back” part will have the aids that you will need to “decode” your sentence. It would of course be better if it’s in kana or kanji. It really will depend on you what you will put on the answer part, whichever will really help you understand what the sentence is trying to say.

    I have my own question for Khatz and the other readers:

    What is your opinion on the “proper way of writing kanji”? I.e. stroke order and stuff. A lot of books and guides insist that all kanji should be written in a specific order. I’ve searched and this site does not address this.

    Thank you and keep up the good work!

  73. dusmar84
    March 24, 2010 at 10:43

    Hi all.

    I think I finally get the point of the sentences. Before I was spending too much time focusing on the English definition which can be frustrating. Anyways, reading your four criteria of learning a sentence, I know I must start reading aloud more. However I do most of my SRSing on the train, so as not to appear as a weirdo, which is hard enough in itself, would it be ok to whisper the reading aloud? Is the point here just to physically have sounds coming out of your mouth regardless of how loud they might be?

    Thx 4 the time

  74. nalcomis
    March 31, 2010 at 20:05


    I don’t know if this helps or not, but somebody posted a link to a sentence list in excel format containing ~1,100 facts which can be imported relatively easily into an SRS. Check it out if interested…


  75. Gabriel
    July 20, 2010 at 12:19


    This is to anyone who’s doing/has done 5,000+ sentences. I looked around the site/internets, but couldn’t find a concrete answer.

    I’m 6 or 7 weeks into the 10,000 sentence ‘method’ for Korean, and using Mnemosyne. Right now, I’ve got 1,526 items in the program (70 Not Memorised). Today, there are about 140 sentences scheduled. That’s a lot of freakin’ sentences.

    What happens when I get to 5,000 items? Should I expect to review 400 or more a day?

    A quick reply would be awesome!


  76. Gabriel
    July 20, 2010 at 13:28

    By ‘quick replay’ I meant ‘brief reply.’

    Thanks again~

  77. Gabriel
    July 21, 2010 at 18:49

    And by ‘replay’ I definitely meant ‘reply.’

    • Dustin Ewan
      February 10, 2011 at 13:23

      Gabriel, did you get an answer to your question?

      I’m living in Seoul, also studying Korean, but I’ve just started the journey. So I was wondering if there was a plan for a little further down the road!

      • Gabriel
        February 15, 2011 at 21:06

        Yep. Got my answer a couple of months ago when I hit 5,000 cards. It turns out, I’m hovering between 140 and 170 scheduled reps a day now. Not too far off from where I was.

        If you’re just starting out, I would soak up as much advice from this site as possible, as soon as possible. I went through two years of hagwon classes before finding AJATT. Two years of low-retention rates and constantly wondering, “When am I going to understand ‘real’ Korean.”

        Let me get you started. This is mostly taken from AJATT.

        TV = On. (Korean shows of course). Dramas, talk shows, cartoons, music videos. Whatever. Personally, I don’t care what I watch, as long as it’s in Korean. I have no Korean critic. Brainy? Fine. Teeny-bopper? Fine. News? Religious? Informercials? Fine. Oh, those little colored subtitles that get blasted across the screen on the ‘celebrities-doing-random-stuff’ shows are your friend. Sometimes they explain the situation. Sometimes they give a word-for-word of what someone just said. I figure, if those words are common enough to be on a mainstream celebrity show, they’re probably worth knowing. So in the SRS they go. Watching Korean TV seems so obvious. I wish I had started years ago.

        Naver dictionary = Good. As far as I know. Most of my sentences come from this source. You search, copy and paste. Like a lot of people here, I’m not too interested in typing in my sentences. By the way, you can find most of your grammar here too. (It seems like a good portion of grammar points are just vocabulary anyway.)

        If you’re new to Korea, you might thinking about sentence/vocab mining a phrase book. Someone on the site, or a link on here, said something along the lines of, “Don’t start your language studies with the first pages of a textbook. Start by memorizing your phrase book.” Wish I’d done that. Most of it’s worth knowing. Definitely personal questions and directions and the like. And you’d be surprised how many times you hear the words for “application (form),” “ambassador,” and “economy.” Obvious if you’ve been studying for a while. Not obvious if you’re just starting out.

        Read now. Khatz says this over and over. Do it. Read Korean. Look up the stuff you don’t know and SRS it, unless you magically learn everything from context (don’t know how people do this, I can’t). Comics work. I just read the Death Note series. It took a while, but I learned a ton. It all pops up too. On the news, on TV, in the first few pages of Twilight (just read some…it’s sitting here at this cafe…shut up). Anyway, if you’re going to learn everything eventually, don’t be picky. Dive in.

        Unless you want to be picky, in which case there’s a good frequency list of the top 6000ish Korean words. Google “ezcorean frequency list.” Careful though. Some of the definitions aren’t correct. Use the list part, and get short sentences from Naver dictionary.

        But you still need to read other stuff. Reading is sustainable. Just taking things from lists is not.

        Don’t get discouraged. Quite a few people ask why I’m studying (Koreans and expats). It’s annoying. One Korean guy, “Why are you learning Korean? I don’t think you need it.” I don’t know. Well, I do know. I have a list of reasons, some rational, some irrational. But why do people do anything? Fly-fishing? Stamp collecting? Shoot me. (Has anyone here read the article arguing that stamp collecting in your target language would be better than watching TV in your target language? Hilarious…) People ask, ‘what’s the point?’ quite a bit. Korean is not as “cool” to learn as Japanese or French. But I’m guessing it’s just as cool to know it. I’m getting there.

        You’ll get there.

        I may have left out some stuff. If I think of anything really useful (to me), I’ll add it.

        Good luck. It’s AWESOME when things – shows, comics, Twilight… – start to make sense.

  78. Jordan
    August 5, 2010 at 02:51

    hey katz if i cant do any of the four steps should i keep study kanji because i know hiragana and katakana but i dont know any kanji

  79. nippyon
    October 1, 2010 at 09:58

    Hey Khatz and 皆さん!

    An SRS’ing question>>>
    I really love manga and just bought 25 new volumes(BookOff rocks!). They almost all have furigana, so there’s no problem typing them in in Japanese. However, although I may understand the gist of what’s going on, I don’t know the sentence’s word for word meaning. Often these sentences are the ones I want to inout into my SRS, but I’m worried that if I translate the sentence wrong, then SRS it, I will be reinforcing an incorrect meaning. I have so much input material and don’t want to waste it! What should i do?


  80. Sileh
    December 16, 2010 at 23:10

    Sup Khatz,

    Just wanted to thank you again for your advice. I’d especially like to thank you on the order of learning Japanese that you recommended. At the moment, I’m a little over half way through the Heisig RtK 1, and I decided to start trying out sentence reading, (They have some nice sentences on Anki with audio and everything) and I’ve found, the Kanji that I’ve learned from Heisig are much easier to work with when they are in a sentence. The keywords he gives in the books are usually pretty close if not identical to the meaning when translated to English. What that means, as you know, is when the sentence is being read, you don’t have to guess the kanji meaning, and only have to memorize the pronunciation of it in the sentence. My only beef is that some of the sentences in the pack I downloaded are a bit long, and the initial reading of purely kanji ridden sentences is a bit overwhelming. But hey, I’m getting there. By the way, I haven’t stopped listening to Japanese ever since I first visited this site, and am doing everything I can to become fluent. Have a good one, and cheers.

  81. Modvind
    February 14, 2011 at 18:34

    Hi there

    I’ve been doing an AJATT-like routine for some 10 months now. I’m not exactly at the point of “burn-out” or whatnot, but there is a problem that increasingly frustrates me: Kanji readings. Maybe the community (am I allowed to say that Khatz?) can help? :p

    The case is that I love reading, so much of my AJATT lies in books. Picking up stuff I like to read in English (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, etc.) there are so many words that I do not know the reading of. As you probably know, looking up kanji you don’t know the reading of from paper is extraordinarily time-consuming, and hence gets boring quickly. However, not looking up the readings feels like such a waste – I may understand the meaning from context, but not knowing the reading I will never recognize it in a conversation.

    Possible solutions:
    Manga w. furigana: Not much I find interesting, reading Slam Dunk and HUNTERxHUNTER
    Web contents w. Rikaichan: Unfortunately I don’t have internet at home since moving to Japan
    E-books w. copy-paste into dictionary: Not a lot of them in Japanese it seems.

    Oh, and to give you an idea of my level, I recently bought some Isaac Asimov Sci-Fi novels and enjoy reading them.

    Any suggestions?

  82. gurkenkralle
    April 1, 2011 at 23:08

    disappointing that you cannot find anything about the mcd’s here on the regular ajatt site :(
    However, this method is great for learning, though it’s more useful when you’re an advanced learner in my view.

  83. Anne
    May 5, 2011 at 18:59

    One more question about senteces… :P

    You recommend to study short sentences. Does this also apply to more advanced levels?
    Actually, when I put my first sentences in Anki yesterday, I typed some fairly long ones. They’re not that hard to understand, though. E.g. there’s about one ‘new’ kanji to me in the sentence, but the sentence is damn long – and that is exactly what I like about it. It’s by a Japanese friend and I was impressed by it, as even though I know the words and could convey the meaning myself without struggling, I couldn’t say it THAT way. That completely friggin’ impressively complex-yet-totally-natural way. :)

    Was that stupid? Won’t I be able to memorize such a long sentence?

    • ブライアン
      May 6, 2011 at 08:29

      The part about short sentences still applies, I think. It’s a matter of efficiency. If it takes you 30 seconds to read a long sentence with one new kanji, but 10 seconds to read a short one, then you’re better off with the shorter, quicker sentences. The long ones get tiring quickly, IMO. (To the point that I often stop my session early when I get one.)

      That said, there are grammar structures that only show up in longer sentences (for example, listing reasons for having done something.) Also, Japanese can produce some really long sentences that can be hard to untangle at first. So it’s worth it to SRS them for that. However, what I do is (as Khatz suggests elsewhere) break them down into phrases and clauses — particles are a good break-point. This gives you shorter “sentences” for your cards *and* trains you to understand sentences clause-by-clause.

      Of course, it’s all a matter of preference. When in doubt, try it and see.

      • Anne
        May 7, 2011 at 08:16

        Oh right, I see. So you do use sentences mainly as kanji study, don’t you?

        Up to now, I don’t really do that. I mean, there are some new kanji-words on the cards – but not even on all of them. It’s rather grammatically interesting structures and ‘small’ words, i.e. hiragana-words, as actually this is most interesting to me. You don’t get the right usage of hiragana-words, gitaigo and so on by using a dictionary. That’s actually what makes studying sentences appealing to me. I don’t think, I read the kanji for ‘nuclear bomb’ any better, if I study a sentence like ‘Nuclear bombs are a great danger’ than if I study just the word.

        • ブライアン
          May 7, 2011 at 10:55

          Not necessarily. I put in sentences that have something new in them. New word, new kanji readings, new usage of a word I know, new grammar points, etc. Even if its something I understood easily, I usually stick it in there anyway. I can always delete later.

          For example, from what I’ve put in today, I have this sentence:

          • ブライアン
            May 7, 2011 at 11:06

            (accidentally posted, oops.)

            Anyway, I knew the reading for 転校生(てん・こう・せい) because I’ve seen the characters before elsewhere. (And I suspect they’re contractions of 転勤 学校 生徒.) But adding the card reinforces that reading, as well as showing me how to use the word.

            For non-kanji examples, here’s another card:

            No new readings here for me, but it was a good example of -てもらう. Textbook explanations of this stuff confuse the hell out of me, so I just look for it wherever I can find it in my reading. Similarly for stuff like というわけで、いう vs ゆう、etc.

            • Anne
              May 8, 2011 at 20:16

              I see.
              So you would devide a sentence like
              into smaller bits?

              For me, the only ‘new’ word (i.e. new kanji-combination with reading) is 刺激. However, I also find both the usage of しっかり(と) and the whole part of 「私も外国語を学んでいる者として」interesting. (in other words: I can easily understand and read that, but would probably not fluently say a sentence like this myself. For example, I tend to use 勉強する instead of 学ぶand hardly ever refer to persons as 者, most often I use 人.)

              So, is it only a question of lazyness if you use short sentences (One long sentence doesn’t put me more off than 3 short ones) or is it really more useful to study bit by bit, even though you necessarily end up having sentence-parts that don’t make much sense on their own, because they actually refer to the context of the longer sentence?

              (I do have some short sentences as well, don’t worry. But until now I just took the sentences as they were, so I have all lengths and shapes…)

              • ブライアン
                May 9, 2011 at 04:29

                I would *definitely* break that up. It’s not entirely a matter of laziness — I’ve noticed that sentences that seem to be a fine length at first can turn out to be a real pain after a few repetitions. And you may as well focus on the bits of the sentence that interest you.

                Also, if you break it up properly, the bits should make sense. For example, I would break that sentence up like this:

                (Ane-san’s own thoughts)
                (Seeing [them] communicated tightly in Japanese)
                (As someone also studying a foreign language)
                ([I] receive very excellent encouragement)

                As you can see from my (very rough, sorry) translation, each phrase/clause has meaning. They’re not complete sentences, but that’s pretty much irrelevant. When native speakers talk, they don’t put individual words together — they put phrases together. If you want to retain the entire context, you can put the complete sentence in the answer section, but only test yourself on one bit at a time.

                If you’re exposing yourself to enough Japanese on a daily basis, you’ll figure out how those clauses go together. So just focus your SRS on learning the clauses themselves.

                • Anne
                  May 9, 2011 at 04:42

                  Right, so I’ll split up, I think.
                  means ‘Seeing that Ane-san is able to communicate her own thoughts firmly in Japanese.
                  So that part is one part.

                  Still thank you very much for your advice. I’ll try to shorten as much as possible.

  84. xddx
    June 9, 2011 at 17:19

    Hey! Where do I get sentences? I don’t think listening to J-music (or anything having to do with listening) is a good idea because I can’t even make any sense what they say unless I read the lyrics . I suck in listening comprehension even in English which is not my native lang though . I also do not own any Japanese games…well, one, but it only uses hiragana = not good.
    SO where do I get them, from jisho.org? Dx booring…

    • Jason
      June 28, 2011 at 11:49

      You do realize that there Japanese websites right? Like millions of them on the internet. Message boards, forums…etc…

      Japanese books, novels, manga, etc..magazines…

  85. August 19, 2011 at 22:18

    Here’s my two cents: you should choose sentences that are fun and easy to understand, but you shouldn’t try to learn them.
    Writing them down isn’t necessary if you are going to encounter the sentence again soon. What I mean is if you’re reading a book for the second time but plan on reading it some more, you don’t need to take notes just yet.

  86. September 3, 2011 at 00:39

    So it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve finished RTK, and now I’m onto sentences! It hasn’t been an easy transition though, I’ve been really struggling with the initial uptake. It’s not like I’m working with Japanese that’s too difficult, (I’m “copy and pasting my way to victory” with My First Sentence Pack), I just can’t seem to make the new sentences stick.
    Now, it’s not like I’m not remembering anything; once I finally get a sentence down, it seems to want to stay in my memory. Also, interestingly enough, I seem to be able to remember the meaning of sentences a lot better than their readings.
    Anyway, does anyone have any advice on how to better remember sentences, and perhaps describe their method for learning a sentence upon it’s initial encounter?

    • September 3, 2011 at 08:11

      #1 Don’t enter sentences you don’t know. Look up the words first, find out their meaning, their pronunciation, etc. Also, you went through RTK, so I think you’ll understand this, but don’t introduce too many new concepts in a sentence. 6 kanji you didn’t know the readings for + 3 previously unknown grammar points = a sentence you don’t need right now, and which you’ll keep forgetting over and over and over.
      #2 Don’t set your bar too high. You want to be able to read the sentences, and to “get it”. You don’t want to memorise the sentences themselves, dictionary definitions in either Japanese or English, etc. Also, expect to miss 1 out of 5 at first, and 1 out of 10 on a longer term. It’s okay.
      #3 ADD NEW ONES! Sentences that contain elements you’ve already learned in an old one can reinforce those concepts.

      • ブライアン
        September 3, 2011 at 10:59

        #3 is right on the money here.  If a particular word gives you trouble, go find a bunch of other sentences using it (Yahoo Dictionary is good for this.)  For example, the word 現れる (あらわ・れる, to appear) gave me fits because of it’s length until I added a bunch of sentences using it.  And then after you get it down, you can delete the redundant cards (unless there’s some you want to keep.)
        Also, keep in mind that some words will stick right away, and some will have to be beaten in by immersion.  (And no, it doesn’t really corallate with how common a word is.)  So don’t beat yourself up over it, fail the card and move on.  There will always be words you don’t get.

    • September 3, 2011 at 10:10

      Copy problematic sentences by hand. That’s what I did when I was trying to learn Chinese.

  87. October 26, 2011 at 21:22

    Wow, thanks a lot for this article. I’m re-reading the whole website 3 years after having started studying English hardcore. I’m reading all the comments too. It’s really helping me!

  88. November 9, 2011 at 10:08

    Hi, I have a question: how would you approach this with something like Korean, which has a phonetic alphabet of its own and little or no use of Chinese characters?

    I started applying your method to Japanese recently, but I also want to apply it to Korean as well (another language I’ve been studying in parallel), but since I can read Hangeul already, I am not sure what to put in the reverse-side of the flash cards.  Any advice appreciated.  :)

    • ライトニング
      November 9, 2011 at 14:11

      Well, since korean has spaces, you already know where the words are.
      Not saying that it’s hard to find where the words are in japanese, because the particles and kanji/compounds clearly show where, but anyways.
      Well, on the reverse side, definitions to the words in the sentences of course. Maybe notes for the functions of particles, and in the bilingual stage, translations. Everything is the same for japanese, just take away readings.

      • November 10, 2011 at 03:48

        That makes sense, thank you.  :)

        • ライトニング
          November 10, 2011 at 13:44

          Here’s an example on how I format my SRS cards
          I have the original sentence on the front and on the back, i put the readings right after the kanji and before the kana ending (戦「たたか」う). Under the sentence with the readings added in (Couldn’t find out how to get the anki plugin to work) I put the word, then in parenthesis the definition. Every recursive look up is indented.
          敗者「はいしゃ」復活「ふっかつ」戦「せん」 Sentence with readings added
          敗者(勝負に負けた人) Definition
              負ける((対)勝つ) Recursive definition.
          復活(死んだものが生き返ること。蘇る。) Definition
          戦(戦い) Definition
          You could try using that for your korean, all you need to do is remove the reading line.

  89. michael
    November 10, 2011 at 12:09

    where do you find the sounds of the kanji for you sentences?

    • ライトニング
      November 11, 2011 at 08:12

      When you paste them into an online dictionary like www.sanseido.net or www.dic.yahoo.co.jp, it will show the reading above the definition. Also, when you write them into the kanji pad if you have microsoft IME, it will show kun and on readings

      • ライトニング
        November 11, 2011 at 08:13

        Sorry, take away the www. on the yahoo one :P

      • ブライアン
        November 11, 2011 at 14:25

        Another note on this:  be sure you’re getting the right reading for a given situation.  (This means dictionary lookups, not pasting together on/kun readings.)  There are cases where a visually identical word will have multiple readings with different meanings.  I.E.:  行って can be read 「いって」(going) or 「おこなって」(preforming/carrying out an action). (FWIW, the main forms are different: 行く、行う). J-J dictionary defintions will help distinguish between them.  If you’re not certain, move on, it’s not worth it to be learning incorrect information.

        • ライトニング
          November 11, 2011 at 22:24

          Yeah, I also forgot to mention, sometimes on Yahoo Dictionary, The first result may have an uncommon reading, and it will usually come without a sentence. On the right bar, choose the same compound with different reading, and usually it will be the common one with sentences. Sanseido will almost always give the most common one as the first result, so you can find out which one you need to take.

  90. michael
    November 14, 2011 at 05:44

    khatz says that i should immerse myself, but if i learn sentences like this, knowing what they mean, and corresponding them with an english sentence, would that not be contradictory? 

    • ライトニング
      November 14, 2011 at 10:19

      The bilingual sentences are used as a spring board to help you pwn the monolingual definitions. You gotta start somewhere.
      Also, you need to associate the particles and stuff with things you already know. Trust me, after a few months of bilingual, where 90%+ of your sentences will be gained, all the english will be gone. I’ve been doing monolingual sentences since August, and I don’t really think of any word or whatever with english.

      • ライトニング
        November 14, 2011 at 10:21

        few months of Monolingual.
        Sorry, made a mistake 間違った xD

        • michael
          November 14, 2011 at 10:24

          thanks, i was just thinking “how am i gonna start”, how will i correspond them to japanese if i don’t know japanese yet. lol. this was ultra helpful, thanks.

  91. MoMo
    December 20, 2011 at 10:58

    @khatzumoto I started to learning kanji a month ago and then soon stopped.  However I still ended up listening to things like Japanese music, Japanese movies, raw anime, etc. I now started doing my Kanji again. However, now that I’ve listened to Japanese for a while now I can start picking out words and phrases. So do I know add those word and phrases into my vocab, or do I create sentences with them and do them in the SRS along with the kanji? Thanks

  92. Suisei
    December 30, 2011 at 15:53

    Um, so, I have to remember what the kanji symbols are and then what the japanese is for them before I start doing this right? *Is still slowly understand Heisig’s method. x.X *

  93. CrissySnow
    January 10, 2012 at 06:13

    Ok so I just wanted to let you know I watched a drama without subs and 80% of it was understood all because of your help! Thank you!!!!

  94. January 26, 2012 at 14:34

    “learning things completely out of context like that has always been too boring, meaningless and ineffective, at least for me. Learning to read aloud thousands of sentences you will eventually get the feel for when to use which reading in any given situation.”
    I really believe this quote from Khatz is one of the keys to reading Japanese.  Learning kanji in context helps to decipher which reading to use, and having a realistic example helps make it easy to understand and thus memorize.  The 10,000 sentence method is a great bridge between RTK and true reading ability. 
    I find getting sentences from grammar textbooks to be effective.  You learn essential grammar along with the kanji.  Of course, if I hear something on the news or in a conversation that seems important, I’ll enter that as well.

  95. アミール
    February 29, 2012 at 12:16

    Ken Seeroi, surprisingly your comment all the way at the bottom was very convenient, and very helpful for me. Thank you very much(:
    I’m new to this 10,000 sentences thing, but in my little time I’ve studied Japanese, I found the best results from writing sentences. And I found it easier to remember Kanji as well. In fact, at one point I questioned this.. I thought.. isn’t it easier to learn kanji by reading sentences? Because then I’d know exactly how it fits in a sentence, thus understanding it better… but I have no one to talk to so I threw that thought out. Thankfully I didn’t waste too much time on RTK, I speed threw like a race car to 1,500.. stopped.. and noticed my kanji writing has improved drastically. All that’s left is 10,000 sentences and genki 1 + 2. Maybe I’ll rush threw genki also, since I’m better at reviewing content, than looking at fresh meat ^_^ and I’ll have a bunch of sentences to review with. Or maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about? Why is my keyboard out-sounding my thoughts :O

    • February 29, 2012 at 18:48

      Hey アミール.  Glad something I said finally helped someone somewhere.  That’s probably a first.
      Yeah, I’m a big fan of the 10,000 sentences method.  As you mention, learning kanji in isolation is of limited value, since kanji often have quite a broad range of uses.  Seeing them in context is essential for understanding how they’re used in a practical sense.  Now, anything I come across that seems useful or interesting gets entered as a sentence into Anki.  The whole SRS thing does have it’s drawbacks, but I write about on my own site.  I would absolutely recommend going through Genki I and II, and taking sentences from those textbooks that you feel you need to review.  For me, I entered a bunch of example sentences for the transitive/intransitive verbs, and causative/passive-causative forms, which always strike me as kind of wacky.
      I also like to write out sentences when I’m reviewing them, not every sentence, but the ones that seem the most challenging.  
      Keep up the good work!

  96. Chris†
    April 3, 2012 at 03:38

    I got it wrong. I thought that without being sure of the meaning of the sentence was enough, it would fix itself with time. So I’ve started with monolingual.
    … Well, at least I had the gist of them thanks to Rikaichan and some basics grammar.
    質問 -> You said to undestand every word. I’ll quote you here, in MCD’s examples, you put this sentence : You can’t handle the truth!” | 貴様に真実など分かるか!.
    Japanese isn’t as tasteless as your translation. Everyone translation in fact. So, how do you learn the nuance that aren’t in the translation (貴様/など/か) ?

    • ブライアン
      April 4, 2012 at 14:03

      This is why bilingual learning is *temporary* — as soon as you have the vocabulary available to understand a dictionary definition, you switch to Japanese only.  Any nuances that you don’t pick up from context, you’ll pick up by reading the definition in Japanese.
      (And, you know, if you’re doing *anything* outside pre-packaged stuff, you’ll pick up that 貴様 isn’t exactly polite.  A good immersion environment should be correcting your mistakes constantly.)

  97. Chris†
    April 5, 2012 at 01:04

    貴様 is quite easy but others are a real pain…
    How do you know the use of わ (at the end of a sentence) ? I looked at the Yahoo!辞書 and there was no answer. I know this is grammar stuff but where to find the exact answer ? You can’t quite figure it out even from context and 勝元 said that grammar isn’t needed.
    This is just an example but that’s what I want to know : how to undestand fully this kind of little things which are always here. Some nuances are just lost in my reading and one can’t learn what one can’t understand. You was able to overcome it, 勝元 too. I haven’t read all the blog entries but I don’t remember having read someone talking about it. So, how did you do ?

    • ブライアン
      April 5, 2012 at 12:36

      You read a lot, and you pick it up.  There *is* no “exact” answer, especially for stuff like わ, where the rules change depending on gender and dialect.  This is not low hanging fruit.  You should know what わ *means*, in a basic sense — it’s an emotional emphasis, and typically feminine — but that’s all you need for now.  Nuance comes from being completely swamped by Japanese, by a volume of Japanese that you might not be able to fully appreciate at this point.  You can figure nuance from context.  You will usually have to.  If you can’t, it just means you don’t yet have enough context.
      I am nowhere near fluent, despite having read dozens of manga, 2000+ pages of Japanese novels, having played a Key visual novel almost to completion (the equivalent of another couple thousand pages), reading NHK news daily, learning Japanese rock songs on guitar (from tab notated in Japanese), and having listened to Japanese music and raw anime for a year and a half almost nonstop.  I am, at least, an order of magnitude away from fluent (more likely 3-4.)
      So, while I understand わ in the feminine usage (and to a lesser extent, the rather rare male usage), it’s not from studying its meaning.  It’s not from being magically “fluent” and everything suddenly making sense.  It’s seeing it in context, a lot of *different* contexts: 「綺麗だわ」、「聞かなくても分かったわ」、「それは気の長い計画だわ」, etc (random excerpts from my SRS deck).
      If you don’t get the nuance yet, let it slide.  Once you have the rest of the pieces in place, the nuance will come in time.  This is something your brain is really good at.  Too good at, really, or puns and dirty jokes wouldn’t be funny.  Focus on building a vocabulary and the necessary understanding of grammar, and then go read/listen/watch until you can look at a 200 page light novel and scoff at how thin and easy it is, until you’ve read more written Japanese than the average high schooler, until you’ve read as much in Japanese as you have in your native language.
      Sorry for the long, somewhat condescending post, but really.  There’s nothing magic about it.  It really is as simple as exposing yourself to as much Japanese as possible.  Stop worrying how it works, it does.  Just soak it up.  You don’t need to know what water is made of to go for a swim. 

      • Chris†
        April 6, 2012 at 00:16

        I see. Well, I was hoping that some magic trick would allow me to understand it like you understand a basic word. Speed includes.
        Thanks for your answer. It was quite refreshing. I’m more amazed by the fact that you aren’t fluent actually.

  98. #4 Kitty
    April 5, 2012 at 06:22

    Why is it called 10,000 sentences?  Is that how many sentences are necessary for fluency?

  99. Kani
    September 7, 2012 at 22:01

    I have a question about Step 1

    Does this apply to people who are still in the beginner stages? You say to listen, listen, listen as much as possible so you don’t end up speaking terribly, but then you also say that you should be speaking these sentences out loud. Does this step only apply to people who can already speak well?

    Would it be a good idea to add the audio to the question side instead until you’re comfortable speaking at a steady pace? You won’t be learning Kanji readings from memory using that method though, so I’m not sure.

  100. Aaron Bair
    January 29, 2013 at 01:14

    I’ve been studying japanese for several months and write in Hiragana pretty well. I am very interested in setting up the sentences on SRS, but I havent started studyiong Kanji yet. Should I intergrate Kanji when typing sentences or should I hand write kanji? I’m kind of at a point where I do not know which way to go… Sentences in Hiragana, start learning kanji, or type sentences and convert to kanji? Input is greatly appreciated

    • ミル
      February 3, 2013 at 23:43


      I suggest you soak up as much Kanji as possible BUT it’s also good to write them at the same time just to get used to writing kanji, etc! Looking at hiragana alone sholdn’t be nessecary because the kanji you learn at a beg. level is very very easy to remember. Also looking at only hiragana alone could get confusing, HOWEVER, you also don’t want to burn out by looking at a sentence full of kanji you don’t know. Keep in mind your goal is to soak up as much kanji as possible, I can’t stress how important kanji is to learn!!!

      Here’s an example from a sentence I made back during Genki 1,2. Insted of defining the kana right next to the word「この赤い(あかい)セーターは白い(しろい)のより高い(たかい)です。」 , which distracts me personally, I put numbers and list the kanji down below. So here’s something you might want to try↓↓↓



      So as you see, I lable each kanji with 1,2,3 etc then put all of that under the sentence. To me, this makes it pretty effiecent for me to find out what the word I’m dealind with is. A more advanced form of that which I currently use for my own deck would be like so(it handles either small text, or entire story worth of text)


      しろ・い【白い】(1) Definition in japanese here/or english(for your case)

      Note how I use ・・・ as a divider, works great. Also this is sorta based off khantz idea, twisted to work for me. As you see I put ONLY the sentene on the front deck to test what I know, then I shove everything to the back. I don’t always make MCDs, sometimes I just make sentences, so never limit yourself to what your sentence is, but at least have a foundation to make them quick so you can keep going on.

      Let me know if this helps or doesn’t help, or I didn’t answer any of your questions, etc(:

    • ミル
      February 6, 2013 at 01:25

      YES, my bad, I forgot about RTK. Although the information I provided should stil help. Keep in mind if you start RTK, keep studying grammar(or at least review what you learned), otherwise you’ll just throw all that time down the drain(been there done that). Although that guy said to furthur study readings after RTK, I suggest to note the readings to the kanji you already know, and any you come by within context(in context is important, it makes the “readingz” easier to remember in most cases). Studying kanji alone by readings will make you burn out(depending how you study of course). I personally rememember readings only when they’re used in senences/context, otherwise they fly out my head^_^

      If you decide to do RTK, and as far as doing SRS setences after it, in order to review what you learned, you should probably go ahead and SRS that material while including any kanji you can(using a SRS method similar to mine, or something that works for you). NEVER limit yourself in life with anything. Just because you didn’t do RTK, doesn’t mean you can’t learn jap and start SRS’ing, that’s just stupid. RTK is the easiest and best way to learn kanji yes, but it’s not mandatory!

      aynways, goodluck(:

  101. Hayden
    February 5, 2013 at 05:14

    Is it suggested to start this straight after RTK, ASAP, or after even more studying of RTK and readings? Thanks.

  102. June 29, 2013 at 01:10

    A lot of people have difficulty finding sources of sentences for 10000 sentences. I’ve been using 10000 sentences to learn German, and it’s very time consuming to manually enter all the data, so I have developed a tool which can help you to quickly find useful and interesting sentences for your chosen language using data from Tatoeba.

    It’s called TaToTen (Tatoeba to Ten Thousand sentences) and it helps you generate a sentence file rapidly (I add around 500 new sentences to my list in under an hour). When you have chosen your sentences, you can download the file to use with your favourite SRS tool.

    You can try it out here : tatoten.com/

    Please let me know if you find any bugs or have any feature requests!

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