Japanese Language Students' Attitudes Toward Kanji and Their Perceptions on Kanji Learning Strategies


  • Yoshiko Mori,

    1. Georgetown University
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      Yoshiko Mori (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Associate Professor of Japanese at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

  • Hideko Shimizu

    1. University of Colorado at Boulder
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      Hideko Shimizu (PhD, University of Denver) is Senior Lecturer of Japanese at the University of Colorado at Boulder in Boulder, Colorado.


This study aims at identifying interpretable factors underlying Japanese language learners' attitudes toward kanji and their self-reported kanji learning strategies. It also examines the relationship between the two sets of belief factors. A questionnaire survey was conducted among Japanese language students at nine universities in the United States; 311 responses were subjected to exploratory factor analyses that identified six attitudinal factors and six strategy belief factors. Descriptive statistics indicated that students considered rote memorization most effective and metacognitive strategies least effective. Correlational analyses revealed that appreciation of the cultural value of kanji and positive emotions toward kanji were associated with stronger belief in varied strategies. Perception of difficulty and belief in special abilities required for kanji learning, in contrast, were associated with reliance on rote memorization.