Kanji Tree Manual

This is the online manual for Kanji Tree, an app which aims to take the chore out of learning Japanese kanji.

Recognition Game

Most kanji have multiple meanings and pronunciations, and things get even more complicated when they're used in conjunction with other kanji.  It's pointless even to try and remember everything about each particular kanji the first time you see it.  To begin with, just try to get them into your brain.

The Recognition game is intended to help learn the essential meaning of each kanji, but you can also use it to practice readings too.

First off, choose a collection of kanji
The jōyō kanji are the ones in daily use, these are the set of kanji that newspapers use.  Japanese children learn kanji in this order; the first six grades during primary school, and the remaining "High School" ones in secondary.

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is another graded system, it's used by people who learn Japanese as a foreign language.

Finally, there are additional kanji which are used in people and place names.

Set the game options
Once you've selected your category, you can browse the kanji within it.  The colour indicates how well you know that kanji, with white meaning you haven't seen it yet.


  • Learn means kanji which you haven't seen yet get asked first, followed by those you have.
  • Revise is the opposite; it starts with kanji you've already seen.
  • Meanings asks you the English meanings of the kanji.
  • Readings ask you the Japanese readings of the kanji.
  • Random Order shuffles the order of the kanji, while still keeping seen and unseen separate.
    • If you un-check this then kanji you haven't seen yet are asked in textbook order, whereas those you have are asked in order of how well you know them.  With the ones you don't know very well being asked first.
  • Hint Delay specifies how long to wait before showing you helpful hints.
    • Drag this to the extreme right to switch hints off.

As you modify the options, the order of the displayed kanji will update accordingly.  When you're happy, press Play.

How To Play

The Recognition Game
The boxes at the top of the screen indicate the questions in this round.  Each round has ten questions, you must get them all correct before the game progresses to the next round.  Don't worry though, you get as many tries as you need; it's a game, but you can't lose.  :)

Look at the displayed kanji and tap the corresponding button below.  You get a slightly better score if you can manage to answer before the hints appear.

If you get it correct, you get a "maru" , and the game advances to the next question.

If you get it wrong, you get a "batsu" , and the game brings up the dictionary screen to show you the full details of the kanji.  Press "back" to exit the dictionary and continue with the game.

If you really have no idea, and don't want to guess, then you can tap the kanji itself.  This counts as "give up" so you get to look at the definition directly.

Reading Game

Once you have learned to recognize some kanji, you should move on to the reading game.  The way kanji are pronounced depends on the context in which they are found, and the other kanji which surround them.
Reading Game Options

Usage Frequency allows you to choose words based on how commonly they're used in everyday language.  This is a great option to choose if you're building your vocabulary for actual conversational use, rather than purely for studying the kanji.

User List plays the game only with words you've specified yourself.  This is good for revision after you've been playing with the other categories, because words you've got wrong before automatically get added to your user list.


  • Kana Only shows words which don't contain any kanji at all.  There are a surprising number of these, and often get overlooked by students because naturally they're not in any kanji drill lists.
  • Single Kanji shows words consisting of only a single kanji symbol with no kana either.
  • Simple Words shows words which contain one kanji symbol and some kana.
  • Compound Words shows words containing more than one kanji, and possibly some kana too.
  • Learn means words which you haven't seen yet get asked first, followed by those you have.
  • Revise is the opposite; it starts with words you've already seen.
  • Random Order shuffles the order of the words, while still keeping seen and unseen separate.
    • If you un-check this then words you haven't seen yet are asked in frequency order, whereas those you have are asked in order of how well you know them.  With the ones you don't know very well being asked first.
The Reading Game (Question)

How To Play

Look at the word and try to read it correctly.  If there's more than one way to read the word, then the other ways will be displayed in the "Other Readings" area.

Each kanji in the word gets a "Show Hint" button, which displays the meanings in case you can't quite remember.  You do get a better score for the word if you don't use hints though, so try to avoid it if you can.

You get as long as you need to think, then when you're ready tap the "Reveal Answer" button.

The Reading Game (Answer)
This game is scored using the honour system; you simply tell it whether or not you could read the word properly.  This is a lot faster and less tedious than making the player type out the word, and it also allows for one finger play which is great for using on the bus or train when you've got a few spare minutes.

The JLPT level of the word is shown, alongside a description of the type of word it is; noun, verb, etc.

Beside that is the User List button/indicator.  Tap the button to toggle whether or not this word is included in your user list, for focused revision later.

 means the word is not in your User List.
 means the word is in your User List.

If you tap "Wrong" then the word is automatically added to your User List, unless you've turned that feature off in the Options screen.

Writing Game





  1. how can I get this app on my pc?

    1. If you get an android emulator like Bluestacks you can download apps on a PC

  2. Wonderful job. Thank you Andrew.

  3. Thank you very much for this wonderful and very helpful app for kanji sir andrew! Godbless you and your family.

  4. Hello! I really enjoyed your app and it helped me learn so much. Still, there is a minor thing I would suggest rethinking, maybe.

    When you learn Kanji, your level of knowledge of a single kanji or compound kanji is displayed as colour. Green means you did well - or does it?
    It kind of bothers me that I score, for example, 97% again and again to get it there just to have it turn red again if I practice drawing it after a couple pf days, even if it was right.
    I'm really tired right now which means my English is probably pretty broken, but I hope you get what I say.

    The consequence of this is that I refrain from practicing the kanji or even the whole section after it's on 100% because it's not a reward but a punishment to see it all be resetted just because I tried to get it into my long term memory (without making mistakes).
    At the same time some things immediatly turn green if I score 32%... which is pretty bad.

    I hope you understand my point of view. I see that it's probably meant in a way that encourages people to do it all over again, but I don't think this is how it actually play out.

    Still, I very much appreciate your work. That you so much. I hope you're doing well.

  5. Hi. Is there a way to import the user list from my free version of Kanji Tree to my paid version? Thanks very much.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Great app. One question - in the writing game, what are the penalty scores for? What are we being penalised for?

  8. あの~

  9. You can easily export files, but there is no import option that I can find. I guess you can try to manually add the file, but I am yet looking for the right folder (using a PC).


  10. Andrew. I wonder if there is a way to donate to the development of this excellent app.

  11. Is there a chance for an iOS version of the app?

  12. The last update of Kanji Tree Pro is broken and I can't use study lists (the whole reason for Pro, really). Does anyone know how to find the APK files for older versions while this is fixed? Thanks!

    1. I am a pro user and I could not make customized user lists. Now I know I am not the only one, hopefully he will fix it soon.

    2. Just bought the pro version. Didn't know that would happened and I'm kinda pissed tbh. Hope he fixes it as soon as possible.