OK, so Heisig shows up in basically every beginner thread. There are lots of people who swear by it, and those who don’t generally prefer to not talk about it because it’s…different.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t give it an extensive look. I looked over the first book for the most part and read bits and pieces from the second to see what it’s about and it’s..well…weird. Let’s take each aspect into consideration, shall we?
There are lots of people who use them so they have to be on to something, and I do use mnemonics for a few Kanjis myself(but only the really obvious ones. For example 森、林、親.) They just make sense, you know? Or they’re cute(I find it adorable how the kanji for parents is “they who sit on a tree and look at you”). But finding a mnemonic for 元？A bit too much. I think it takes more time to learn the mnemonics than the actual kanji, and the fact that you learn them without context or readings is just silly, if you ask me.
OK, I get why it is tempting to learn certain kanji before others. “Hey look, I learned日, 昌 AND 晶 today!” does sound better than “I extensively studied 日”, indeed. But getting to really know 日 is worth much more than remembering a few kanji which have it as a radical. Because seriously, 日 is kind of in a gazillion words, whereas you won’t run into 昌 too often. Do you “know” it? Sure! Will it help you in any way? Not so much.
It’s all rather simplistic, innit?
I mean, Kanjis aren’t really stand-alone you know? They mingle with others, they have a different reading according to each interaction, they can be inserted into compounds which completely disregard their stand-alone meaning, thus confusing anyone who learned it. Not that you shouldn’t learn the stand-alone meanings, but they ain’t gonna help you much in the long run.
Am I the only one who noticed that RTK fans are usually beginners?
I’ve seen advanced users recommend RTK, usually with a “I never liked it but others did” attached. It could be an OK add-on. But as the only means of studying? Definitely not. I think the fans of a method tend to shape up my opinion of it a bit. I try to not let it get to me(otherwise I would have completely disregarded Heisig), but it does have a bit of influence.
Did you use Heisig? How did that work out for you?