So you think you’re a kanji master? Why not put your skills to the test by quizzing yourself with some nandoku kanji (難読漢字)?
Nandoku kanji “difficult to read” kanji, single and compound characters that are not a part of the Tōyō kanji list (check out wikipedia for more information on Tōyō kanji ), that use nonstandard readings or that have fallen out of general use.
A search for 難読漢字 or even just 難読 on Google will get you a whole number of sites with lists and simple HTML games, but one free fun flash game I’d like to recommend is Puchi Game’s “Nandoku Kanji” typing quiz!
The game is simple. Your digital teacher quizzes you on the readings of nandoku kanji and you type in the answer. If you’re correct the game quickly moves you to the next question but if you make even one mistake the reading is revealed and you’re given a second chance. The game allows users to input the readings in several styles of romanization (for example, し can be entered as shi, si or ci) so you can type in whatever standard you’re used to typing in!
If you’re new to nandoku kanji the game will probably seem overwhelming at first, but you can use it as a starting point to study. Although the time limit doesn’t allow you to spend too much time taking notes or looking up the English definitions for words you don’t know, during the quiz you can keep a memo pad or digital text file open to jot down a few words to look up afterwords. The good news is even if you are totally new to nandoku kanji the game repeats fairly often, so after playing and studying for awhile you’ll see your work paying off in your score!
Remember, nandoku kanji are difficult for even native Japanese speakers to read, they aren’t considered “hard to read” for nothing! But while you probably won’t be seeing nandoku kanji on the JLPT or in your favorite manga, if you’re up for a challenge they can be a fun way to test your kanji ability, learn some impressive words and surprise your friends and teachers.
And for those of you who are hooked on nandoku kanji, you might be interested in the Nandoku Kanji DS game. Much more involved than Puchi Game’s free typing quiz, the DS game has a greater number of kanji and tests players on the words in a variety of ways. You can play a free trial of the game online at Yahoo Games: free trial
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