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Kanji Software!

Kanji Software!

- Overview
- Download
- Help

OCha No Kanji is a completely free, simple software designed to map your knowledge of kanji.

Some 2kyu kanji After one month Some 2kyu kanji after testing
Some 2kyu kanji before testing And after testing

This software runs under MS Excel 2000 and above.
There are currently three levels : 4 kyuu (80 kanji), 3 kyuu (245 kanji) and 2 kyuu (985 kanji) of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

This software tests your knowledge of the pronunciations of kanji, and really helps you remember the meanings and the pronunciations of the words of the JLPT.
Focusing first on kanji is known to be the best way to learn Japanese ! It makes the best use of visual memory in studying Japanese vocabulary.

Test Window
Test Window

You can test up to 40 kanji at a time. The test consists in asking the pronunciations of each kanji in a few words of the JLPT list. You will learn all the pronunciations you need and only the pronunciations you need !
After testing, the software updates the colors of the kanji in the 'All Kanji' table:
- Red means that the pronunciations tested were all incorrect.
- Blue means that some were correct some were incorrect.
- Green means that they were all correct.

The important point of the software is that the 'green kanji' will fade progressively to an almost white color, simulating your forgetting process. The more often you test a kanji and get all pronunciations correct, the slower the green color will fade (see help for details).
Therefore, the 'All Kanji' table really maps your memory of kanji and prompts you to keep revising.

Blank 4kyu 'All Kanji' table After a few tests After some practise
At first the table is blank Then you start the tests... And, with some practise, you become a 'Kanji Master'!

When the table stays dark green for a long time, it means you will definitely pass the kanji part of the JLPT... And you can now move to the next level !


1. You need to download [x]Kyu_OCha_No_Kanji.zip ([x] stands for 4, 3 or 2).


2. You need to decompress (unzip) [x]Kyu_OCha_No_Kanji.zip .

HOW ? (Windows XP users)
HOW ? (Non Windows XP users)

3. You need to enable 'Macros' in MS Excel.


4. Then you can open OCha No Kanji in MS Excel, and start learning Kanji...

5. Please send comments, queries,... to ochanokanji@chuobunkyo.jp.

Download OCha No Kanji 4 kyu
.zip file; 250 Kb
Download OCha No Kanji 4 kyu
Download OCha No Kanji 3 kyu
.zip file; 350 Kb
Download OCha No Kanji 3 kyu
Download OCha No Kanji 2 kyu
zip file; 750 Kb
Download OCha No Kanji 2 kyu


Help Contents

- Getting Started
- Tips
- How does it works ?
- Copyright

Getting started

- Launch the program
- Start a test
- All Kanji Sheet
- Test Basket Sheet
- Tool Bar
- Test Window
- Savings Tests
- Update Word
- Kanji Info Window
- Fading Process

Launch the program

Double click on the icon of the software. The following message box should appear :

Enable macros

Click 'Enable Macros'.

If this box does not appear, you need to set the 'Macros Security' to 'Medium'.
Click here to see how to do this.

Remember to always save OCha No Kanji when you close it.

Back to Help Contents

How to start a test ?

First select some kanji from the 'All Kanji' table.

How to select cells ? (with Windows)

Click once (with the left button of the mouse) on one cell, then move the mouse keeping the button pressed.
A rectangular area of cells will be selected. The background color of the selected cells is changed, except for the first one you clicked (but it does not mean that it is not selected).

If you want to select more than one area, select different areas while pressing Ctrl the whole time.
In this way you can select areas of any shape...

Then there are two ways to start the test:


If you want to check the list of kanji before testing, click the button 'Copy to Basket' on the Tool Bar, which adds the selected kanji to the 'Test Basket'.
'Copying to Basket' will display the 'Test Basket Sheet'. After checking the list of kanji included in the test, click the 'Start Test' button.


If you are sure of the list of kanji to be included in the test, click the 'Start Test' button on the Tool Bar.
Selected kanji will be copied to the basket and the test will start automatically.

Instead of clicking the buttons on the tool bar, you can use the following shortcuts:
- Press Alt + B at the same time or Ctrl + B for 'Copy to Basket'.
- Press Alt + T or Ctrl + T for 'Start Test'.

Back to Help Contents

All Kanji Sheet

This sheet displays all kanji of the level in a table, and uses the colors to 'map your knowledge of them'.

Please read the 'Start Test' topic, to learn about selecting kanji and starting a test from here.

Please read the 'overview' section to understand the meaning of the colors.

Please read the 'Fading Process' topic, if you want to understand how this works.

All Kanji

Click the 'Switch All Kanji/Test Basket' button on the tool bar to flick back and forth between the Test Basket Sheet and the All Kanji Sheet (when you are not in the middle of a test).

Back to Help Contents

Test Basket Sheet

This sheet displays the 'Test Basket', which contains the kanji included in the test.

It is here to help you check the list of kanji of a test before starting it.

If the content of a cell is not a kanji of the JLPT level, it will be ignored. In the same way, if the same kanji appears more than once, the test only include one.

To start a normal test click the red 'Start Test' button. The results of this will affect the colors of the kanji in the 'All Kanji' sheet.

To start a non affecting test, click the gray 'Start non affecting Test' button.
This kind of test can be use for learning new kanji : colors of tested kanji will not be changed.

To start a saved test, click any of the two buttons.
A box will appear asking you if you want to continue the saved test.
If you answer 'Yes', you will continue the test where you stopped it. The basket will display the kanji of the saved test.
If you answer 'No', the saved test will be deleted.

If the test basket is empty, tests will start with the kanji selected in the 'All Kanji' table.
If the test basket is empty, no kanji is selected and no test is saved, the two buttons do nothing.

Test Basket

Click the 'Switch All Kanji/Test Basket' button on the tool bar to flick back and forth between the Test Basket Sheet and the All Kanji Sheet (when you are not in the middle of a test).

Back to Help Contents
Tool Bar

The tool bar of 'OCha no Kanji' appears on top of the Excel window when you open it the first time (if Macros are properly enabled).
It looks like this:

Tool Bar

You can detach it from the top, by clicking on the left end of the bar and dragging it away (as per any tool bar).
Once detached you can put it back on top of the screen, by dragging it there.
If detached it looks like this:

Tool Bar

Buttons' details:

'Switch All Kanji/Test Basket' : Click the 'Switch All Kanji/Test Basket' button on the tool bar to flick back and forth between the Test Basket Sheet and the All Kanji Sheet (when you are not in the middle of a test).
Shortcut : Alt + I.

'Copy to Basket' : This button adds the selected kanji to the 'Test Basket'.
Shortcuts : Alt + B, or Ctrl + B.

'Start Test' : This has the same effect has clicking the red start test button on the 'Test Basket' sheet:
A normal test will start checking your knowledge of the pronunciations of the kanji in the 'Test Basket'.
Shortcuts : Alt + T, or Ctrl + T.

'Kanji Info' : This displays the kanji information of the selected kanji.
See 'Kanji Info' topic for further details.
Shortcuts : Alt + I, or Ctrl + I.

'Zoom' : This tool is the MS Excel zoom.

OCha no Tools :


Rebuild 'All Kanji':
This button is used to make the 'All Kanji' table fit your screen.
It will also rebuild the table if you accidentaly modified the table (either the content, or the format)


'Start non affecting Test':
This has the same effect as the 'start non affecting test' button in the 'Test Basket' Sheet with the kanji in the test basket.

OCha no Help :


Internet link toward this page.


Display the copyright window.


'About Chuo Bunkyo Gakuin':
Internet link toward the home page of this web site.

Trouble shooting:

If you accidentally close the tool bar, you can make it reappear by clicking with the right button of the mouse on top of the MS Excel Window. Then click 'OCha No Tool Bar'.
Tool Bars

Test Window

What words are included in the test ?

Only words of the chosen level (and levels below) will be tested. For instance, in 3Kyu OCha No Kanji, the words are the ones of the 4Kyu and 3Kyu level.

Each Kanji usually has several pronunciations, which usually appear in several words:
The software contains a list of each kanji's pronunciations and a list of the words where each pronunciation appear.
For each kanji in the Test Basket, the software checks its pronunciations list and picks up two words for each pronunciation (when more than one exist in the level's words list).

In this way, all the possible pronunciation are included in each test.

For example, there are 32 words with the kanji 大 in the 2 kyu level : 14 words with the pronunciation Dai, 10 with 'dai', 7 with 'oo' and 1 with 'o' (in 'Otona'). In the test there will be 2 words for 'dai', 2 for 'tai', 2 for 'oo' and 1 for 'o', so 7 words in total.

You will be tested on the pronunciations until you get all of them correct.
The title of the window display the 'round':

When you start a normal test the following window appears.


Write the pronunciation of the kanji in the box and click 'OK'.

You can also press 'Enter' twice (once to validate the pronunciation, and once to press the 'OK' button).

For the 'little tsu', please type in '/' (forward slash) : double consonants will not work.
Otherwise, any spelling that makes sense is accepted: for instance, 'tchi'='chi'='ti'. Be careful : 'ca' = 'ka', 'co'='ko', 'cu'='ku' but 'ce'='se' and 'ci'='shi'.

If the pronunciation is correct, the following window appears:


If the pronunciation is incorrect, the following window appears:


On these two windows, the button 'Update Word' allows you write your own translation.
See 'Update Word' topic for further details.

Once the first round is finished, the colors of kanji in the 'All Kanji' table, are updated according to your results.
See the Overview section, to understand the meaning of colors.

Then you will be tested again on the 'non affecting test':

non affecting test

Saving Tests:

If you click to close the test window, a box appears asking if you want to save it:

Save Test ?

If you click yes, the test will be saved.

The next time you click the start button, a box will appear asking if you want to continue the test. If you click yes, the last saved test will continue, remembering the words you got correct and incorrect.

If you answer 'Yes', you will continue the test where you stopped it. The basket will display the kanji of the saved test.
If you answer 'No', the saved test will be deleted.

Update Words Window

You can write your own translation of any word, during a test by clicking the 'update word' button.

Write the new translation in the box, and click 'OK'. To go to the next line press at the same time Shift and Enter.

If you think the word in kanji is ambiguous, and that you need to see the meaning before writing the pronunciation, tick the box 'Always display meaning'.

Update Word

If you do not save OCha No Kanji when you close Excel, any new translations will not be saved.

Kanji Info Window

To show the Kanji Info Window, select a cell with a kanji, and press Ctrl + I or Alt + I, or click the 'Kanji Info' button on the tool bar.
If you select more than one cell, the information about the kanji in the top right cell is shown.

Kanji Info

- Meanings:
All meanings of the kanji. Even the unusual meanings are displayed.

Level of the kanji in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

- Grade:
The grade at which Japanese school students would learn the kanji.

- Stroke Count:
The official number of strokes of this kanji.

- Kanji to Kana Box:
Kanji index in the 'Kanji to Kana' Book, by Spahn and Hadamitzky.

Information about Meanings, Grade, Stroke Count and Kanji to Kana, has been taken from the 'kanjidic' file of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group of Monash University , see copyright for further details.

- Knowledge Information :

For white kanji, this information is unavailable.

For blue and red kanji, you can see here the date and time of the last test, and how long ago you tested it.

For green kanji, the Fading Process is detailed :

As stated in the overview, the more often you test a kanji and get all pronunciations correct, the slower the green color will fade.

A simple simulation of the forgetting process is used :

If you get a kanji completely correct twice or more times, the duration between the first successful test and the last successful test is used as the 'perfect knowledge duration'.
This duration appears below 'no mistakes for'.
Then the number of times this duration has elapsed since the last test gives the fading level.

fading process.
For instance, here the fading level is 3.

If this 'number of reference duration elapsed' is more than 5 then, we set the fading level to 5, the maximum.

We actually add six hours to the reference duration so that if the kanji has been tested only once, then the reference duration is six hours :
When you first get a kanji correct, its color become dark green, and then, it will starts fading six hours later, and be almost white 30 hours later.

If you want a kanji to stay dark green for three months, then you have to get it correct for an interval of three months.



- Selecting multiple areas : please read the 'Start Test' topic.

- Shortcuts : please read the 'Tool Bar' topic.

- Best methods of use:
The good way to use OCha No Kanji is 'A little bit everyday'.

You can decide for instance to learn three kanji a day: test them until they are all three green. Then test the past kanji when they start fading, making sure all kanji you have learnt stay green.

You can also test yourself on all the kanji of the 'All Kanji' Table first all, without worrying about the incorrect results. Then plan your revision accordingly when you see the number of red, blue and green kanji...

If you want to focus on learning particular kanji over a given period of time using the non-affecting test, you can change it to a different color (purple for example) to stimulate your visual memory. Then once these kanji are tested in a normal test they will automatically change to red, blue or green depending on your result. You can change the appearance of a cell by right-clicking on a cell or group of cells, then on 'Format cells' then on 'Pattern' finishing with 'OK' after you have made your selection.

If someone other than yourself is using the test on your computer, they could work with a non-affecting test, so that their results do not distort the colors illustrating your knowledge of the kanji.


How does it works ?

- MS Excel Software

The software consists in a set of Visual Basics Macros. You can see them by clicking Tools=>Macros=>Visual Basic Editor.

A few hidden sheets are also used, containing Kanji, Words, Pronunciations, and Furigana databases, you can see them by clicking View=>Custom Views=>Admin Display.

- Principle

When you click 'Start Test', the initialization module is called. Three arrays are created : testKanji, testYomi, testWords, taking all necessary information from the databases.

Then the test is handled by the 'Testing' module.

And finally the 'Results' module make the update.

Please write a mail to ochanokanji@chuobunkyo.jp, if you need more detailed information.



OCha No Kanji is a software designed to help you learn Japanese Kanji.
Copyright (C) 2003 Benjamin Layet at Chuo Bunkyo Gakuin 431 Imaizumi-Machi Utsunomiya-Shi Tochigi-Ken 321-0962 Tel: +81 28 624 1042 Fax: +81 28 624 1094

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA


Version 2, June 1991

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Most of the information about the kanji (Bushu, Grade, StrokeCount, kanji to kana and Meaning) and about the words (translations of most words of 2kyu Level) comes from the files Kanjidic and Edict created by the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group at Monash University. Please visit the following websites for more information :


Copyright : Chuo Bunkyo Gakuin 431 Imaizumi-Machi Utsunomiya-Shi Tochigi-Ken 321-0962 Tel: +81 28 624 1042 Fax: +81 28 624 1094
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