This book enables you to easily recognize the 500 most essential Japanese Kanji—and to memorize their readings and meanings quickly and easily! This book teaches an innovative new method to learn the basic 500 Japanese characters—teaching you how to easily recognize the Kanji and to remember their readings and meanings. Learning to read Japanese and write Japanese requires knowing hundreds of Kanji. Traditionally, the ability to learn Kanji characters was accomplished purely by rote memorization. This method is extremely slow, tedious and time–consuming. The new science of mnemonics has changed all that. By associating an easily–remembered visual image and story with each Kanji, the learner is able to commit the characters to long–term memory far more easily and quickly than ever before. mnemonics also dramatically helps students to write kanji as well. This revolutionary new method has been tried by many thousands of students and it really works! Using a systematic building–block approach to written Japanese, this beginner kanji book also shows you how more complicated characters are constructed from simpler elements. And similar mnemonic strategies are provided for learning the different pronunciations or "readings" of the characters. This book can be used by anyone, and requires no prior knowledge of the Japanese language. It can be used in conjunction with any Japanese textbook to learn the important Kanji characters upon which the language is based. Key features of this book include: Drawings and stories to create mental associations for the characters that stick in the brain and allow you to recall their meanings and readings. Downloadable material showing you how to write each kanji character Native speaker audio recordings for all the Kanji characters, vocabulary and sample sentences. Sample sentences to expand your vocabulary by showing you how the Kanji are actually used. Extensive review exercises to reinforce what you've learned. User–friendly indexes allowing you to look–up the Kanji and use the book like a Kanji dictionary. The 500 Kanji characters provided in this book include all the characters needed for the AP and JLPT Level 4 and 5 exams–giving you access to approximately 80 percent of all the Kanji characters you encounter in Japan!