Making Kanji flashcards

The following PDF files can be downloaded and printed onto regular US Letter (8.5"x11") cardstock, and then cut up to form flashcards to teach some of the earliest Japanese Kanji symbols and words. Grades 1 and 2 are available now. Later installments will provide Kanji associated with Grades 3 through 9.

Each card is 2"x2.5" and has a + mark where you can drill a hole and pass a keyring, lanyard or string for storage.

These cards are small for easy handling, and have no "on yomi" Chinese readings or "kun yomi" Japanese readings. The readings are usually partial words, there are often many alternative readings for one kanji, and don't really help most beginners focus on learning the meanings or boosting usable vocabulary. Where a single kanji means many things, only one core meaning is selected. And to help mix and match related words for studying, different categories appear in select bold colors.

Grade 1 cards have the preferred Japanese word for the kanji on the FRONT, in hiragana. If you're still working on your hiragana, this can give you some incentive to practice reading, since it will be an additional hint for the kanji's meaning. The word is in English and in Japanese Romaji on the back of each Grade 1 card.

For the higher grades, there is no word reading on the front of the card to give you any assistance: focus on the kanji. Also, there is no Japanese Romaji on the back of the higher grade cards. You will have to read the Japanese word in hiragana to study the upper grades.

j-grade1.pdf e-grade1.pdf
j-grade2.pdf e-grade2.pdf

Here's a bonus set that includes hiragana (in deep red) and katakana (in blue).

kana.pdf roma.pdf

If you have the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary, then you can look up the kanji in that resource with the direct index featured on each card. This will unlock all of the other information which cannot appear on such small flashcards.

I am just an early student in Japanese language, so please send me comments or corrections on my study aids!

Contact Ed Halley by email at
Text, code, layout and artwork are Copyright © 1996-2010 Ed Halley.
Copying in whole or in part, with author attribution, is expressly allowed.
Any references to trademarks are illustrative and are controlled by their respective owners.
Make donations with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!