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When I studied Japanese I tried to learn from Kenneth G. Henshall’s A guide to remembering Japanese characters the history and logic of 漢字 kanji. I enjoyed his book very much.
I try to expand on Henshall’s book. If possible I also try make short entries in the style of Henshall. Those parts are the boxes with a black border and yellow background at the top.
Sometimes I make similarly short entries that depart from Henshall’s style. Those are in green boxes with white background.
Note: as of the summer of 2016 there exists a book called The compete guide to Japanese kanji, that deals with the new set of 2136 kanji. Supposedly it is an update of Henshall’s A guide to remembering Japanese characters, written by Christopher Seeley and Kenneth G. Henshall (with Jiageng Fan), but it feels more like a complete rewrite. Considering the style is very different and that Seeley is named as the first author, I suspect it’s actually written by Seeley.
See my bibliography for a full list of the books I use. Let me know if you want information about a specific graph.
Progress will be slow, thanks to the constraints of capitalism and neoliberalism.