There are 2136 Joyo Kanji for learners to come to grips with. Many of them are used every day, while others may appear only very rarely. Most learners will agree that kanji are the single biggest hurdle to learning Japanese. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to learning kanji. Some methods are better than others, but all require great time and effort.
The key to learning Kanji is to constantly review what you’ve learned. This cheat sheet does what it can to aid review by providing a listing of all the Joyo Kanji according to their approximate JLPT level*. Moreover, the kanji within each JLPT level are further ordered by their degree of necessity (more frequently-used kanji come first).
Due to a lack of space, it was not possible to include pronunciation and meanings of each kanji. Instead, what this sheet offers is a tool to quickly review Kanji; kind of like a giant flash card. Learners can scan the kanji and quickly find ones they have learned and forgotten, and easily identify which kanji they should study next.
Also included is various information which helps round out learners’ knowledge of kanji and the Japanese writing system in general.
* as of 2010 the JLPT levels are no longer correlated to specific kanji, so there is no definitive list of kanji by JLPT level. This cheat sheet’s breakdown is based on both the old test system and a comparison of multiple resources for the new test.
- All 2136 Joyo kanji, broken down by JLPT level
- JLPT N3, N2, N1 kanji further divided into “blocks” of ascending difficulty
- Color coding for kanji which should be learned as a set, or which are used primarily in names
- Common kanji component names
- Terms for describing kanji strokes
- Shorthand kanji forms
- The forgotten kana (ゐ, ゑ, ヰ, ヱ)
- Kanji and kana repetition conventions
- Supplement: kanji and terms used on restaurant menus (including some non-Joyo)