Passionate about Naruto and more generally Japan? Larousse editions have thought of you with “Initiate yourself to Kanji and Kana with Naruto”, a small notebook intended to familiarize the youngest with kana and other kanji.
Article made from a copy provided by the publisher.
By way of introduction, the book opens with a first part of about ten pages quickly presenting what Japanese writing is. The existence of two syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) and kanji, how these are constructed or the rules governing their writing, the basics of Japanese writing are presented in a few pages, allowing the neophyte to quickly know what he ventures. If those who already speak the language will be able to argue that this presentation is very superficial, it is important to note that we are not here in the presence of an academic textbook that one uses to become bilingual. Initiate yourself to Kanji and Kana with Naruto is indeed a purely introductory manual intended for (young) complete beginners. Those who really wish to learn the language can already go their way.
After these few pages, here we are in front of the heart of the subject with the presentation of the two syllabaries and the kanji. Very basic, the layout is based on that of the exercise books of any good Japanese student with the character presented roughly, accompanied by a small commentary sometimes useful, sometimes frankly dispensable when there is nothing particular to note , and boxes to practice writing. For ideograms, the result is the same except for the addition of a translation of it.
Regarding the syllabaries, not much to say given that, having no meaning as such, the simple explanation of their writing may suffice. However, the result is very slight when it comes to kanji. The characters are indeed presented in a raw way without example sentence and the comments are more than light. Without going into the heart of the matter, we would not have been against a list of a handful of simple words for each kanji in order to have the gratifying impression of having learned something all the same. After reading the book, the young reader will certainly be able to write characters, but without a vocabulary at hand, the possibility of using what has been learned in practice is limited and therefore frustrating. Even though Learn about Kanji and Kana with Naruto does not have the ambition to teach you to speak Japanese, a little more content on the vocabulary side would not have been refused.
Concerning the coating, Larousse was satisfied with the union minimum with small illustrations on each page and others taking on double pages. The characters are not addressed to the reader, so we are quite simply in front of official artwork placed here and there to brighten up the pages. The rendering is thus not crazy but should however be sufficient to satisfy the young readership targeted by this book. As for the kanji illustrations with the meaning of the strokes, these were taken from a database, contributing to the generic feeling that emerges from the whole.
In the end, we are faced with a very basic work that is satisfied with the minimum both in terms of content and form. However, its affordable price makes it a very valid gift for a child interested in Japan, and Naruto, and who would like to learn for the first time to write these characters from the other side of the world. .