Why Kanji Pivot

kanjipivotlogo-2 I designed Kanji Pivot to help me learn all 2,136 Joyo Kanji without confusing similar looking kanji and also to use pivot radicals to group kanji into small groups based on pivot radicals to make it easier to study them


For example if you look up the kanji for temple 寺 てら in Kanji Pivot,  you can will find it’s 訓読み:てら 音読み:ジ and the app automatically draws the character to show you the stroke order.  In the lower right corner you will see it is a grade 2 kanji. Tap on the kanji, you will see a list of  several 熟語 compounds showing parts of speech, hiragana pronunciation and their English translations. If you tap and hold on the character, you will be given a screen to practice drawing the character with your finger or a stylus pen.  The algorythm only accepts strokes that are accurate within 95% .  The app will give you a score based on the number of stokes, grade, and difficulty of how to draw the character.

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The above description is what I think anyone should expect from a good kanji learning app.  However, there is something special and unique that you can find in this app and that is the Pivot Radicals.  In Individual Card Mode, at the bottom of the screen you will see 3 pivot radicals for this character 寺:  寸 土 寺.  When you tap on either of these Pivot Radicals a new deck of cards will display with any of the kanji within the 2,136 joyo kanji that have that radical within the character whether it’s their official radical or not.   It is helpful to look at  the characters  that would be considered ancestors 寸すん: [measurement (3.3 cm)] 土 つち:  [earth] which combine to make 寺 : [temple].
However, by taping the pivot radical 寺, the app generates a deck of cards with all 8 of the descendants of 寺 : [temple].  You know that they are all important because 100% are Joyo Kanji.

寺 temple
時    time
持    hold
詩    poem
待    wait
特    special
侍    samurai, attendant
等    class, equivalence

Because 80% of Kanji or Chinese characters are phono-sematic compounds, you see that many of these kanji have the same 音読み:ジ.  It is very helpful in your study of Kanji to learn the descendants of a kanji, and I have painstakingly analyzed all 2,136 Joyo Kanji to find kanji that are useful Pivot Radicals, in that they have descendants.

This is very different from the Heisig RTK Remembering the Kanji method in several ways.  First, we list multiple (up to 5, pivot radicals for each kanji so that you can explore all pivot radicals and switch back and forth between open pivots to explore a kanji which may have up to 4 parents and you can explore the multiple descendants.  So you are free to chose what aspect of a kanji’s family tree that you want to explore.


For example, when I was looking at 32 kanji that are listed under the the pivot for 寸すん: [measurement (3.3 cm)], I discovered a kanji, that at least to me, looks kinda similar to 寺。専ら もっぱら which means specality.  Looking at it’s 専Pivot Radical I discover:

専 On: せん (sen)
Kun: もっぱら (moppara)
専門 (せんもん, senmon, “expertise, area of study”)
専攻 (せんこう, senkō, “academic major”)

博 Dr. PhD
縛 bind tie
薄 thin
簿 record book, register

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Kanji Pivot gives you the freedom and power to explore all the complex relationships between a Kanji’s parents and descendants  among the Joyo Kanji regardless of the grade. You can utilize Kanji that you know, to learn groups of other kanji within the same family tree.

Kanji Pivot is an alternative to the Heisig RTK Remembering the Kanji method and an alternative to the traditional method of studying kanji based on the traditional 214 radicals. Although they are included, we also use kanji as radicals, to expand your ability to explore the relationships between kanji.

To the Point! Using the traditional radical 寸 we find 32 random kanji. However, with Kanji Pivot,  寸 plus the Pivot radicals to find more logical way to study the kanji descended from 寸:
寺 時 持 詩 待 特 侍 等
将 奨
守 狩
専 博 薄 縛 簿
付 附 符 府 Pivot-> 腐       

There are several more 寸 pivots in the app

And you can endlessly explore tangents by exploring the pivot radicals on any card.
For example you can use the last kanji I listed  pivots to find it’s descendant kanji .
This is a precise way to study related kanji.