The hardest part of learning Japanese, as a child or as an adult, is memorizing the Japanese and Chinese characters required for reading.

Beginners, like my son Genji, start in kindergarten with 96 kana characters—the native Japanese syllabary—and that is followed by 80 new Chinese characters—kanji—in the first grade. But that’s still just the beginning.

Genji will need to memorize over 1,000 characters before he graduates from elementary school. Too many students of Japanese simply give up after the first year or two.

Kanjilicious is going to change all that—for any beginner. We are going to turn rote memorization into a game—many games—so learning the basics isn’t so intimidating. Learning games are fun, efficient, and ultimately more effective.

In 2014, in order to fund the development of the Kanjilicious iOS app I created a Kickstarter campaign to raise at least $15,000 for the development team I had worked with at JUXT Interactive, in their new incarnation as Super Toy Box.
The first task was to create a short video describing the project and introducing the audience to myself and my son Genji, who was six at the time. I’ll post the full video later, but here is an outtake from the day of shooting: