Nintendo DS: 250万人の漢検

Nintendo DS imageWell, I finally got around to removing the shrink wrap on the 250万人の漢検 DS software. This was no easy task. Usually Japanese shrink wrapped items have a little pull string to help the poor guy who bought the item. But we are not so lucky today.

Before we start, if you don’t have a Nintendo DS, consider picking one up at Amazon. It is a great little toy that can be very educational too! It has been too educational for me; I really should buy a game for it…
Anyway, when you start 250万人の漢検 you are presented with five pages in order to set up your new account.

  1. Right handed or a lefty?
  2. Whether to auto submit a few seconds after writing Japanese or not. I would recommend setting this as 「なし」 meaning to not have it auto submit. You can change it later, but especially for non natives, having it submit before you are finished writing is a pain.
  3. Next you write your name
  4. Give your gender—Nintendo will know if you lie!
  5. Lastly you choose if you want to play using the ‘story’ or not. You can change this later. I haven’t tried the story mode yet since I wanted to get right to studying!

The game actually includes two dictionaries! But before you get too excited, they aren’t extremely useful. The Kanji dictionary is easy to use; you can look up kanji by their on and kun readings, by their stroke number or by the level they appear on the 漢検 test. However, no meaning or example jukugo are given. It lists the readings, what test it falls on, number of strokes and the radical. It does give an example sentence. (You have to click on 「れいぶん」) This is nice, but probably not incredibly useful for the non-native learner of Japanese.

The other dictionary is the 四字熟語 yojijukugo (four character compounds). Again no meaning is given, but there is an example sentence.

Of course you wouldn’t buy this software for the dictionaries.

The main study options are:

  • 漢字力チェック Kanji Power Check – Do this after studying and learning how to write kanji
  • 書く学習 Practice Writing – excellent and makes this software worth ten times the price (ok, maybe not…). After choosing which level you want to practice (10 is the easiest!), start with 反復練習 Repetition Practice. This allows you to practice writing kanji over and over with the answer shown in the bottom left. This way you can try to remember how to write a kanji but peak in the corner if you get stumped. Once you practice a group well, you can then go to the ‘real’ quiz to test yourself. See a screen shot below showing what the practice section does. The red line next to the katakana is the target word you need to write the kanji. The answer is shown in the bottom left box. If the word is a jukugo, the box will alternate quickly between the two kanji. That is a neat new addition to this version.
  • 読む学習 Reading Study – practices the readings for the kanji.
  • Practices counting the stroke number, stroke order and other parts of kanji

I took a video but at the risk of waking Makoto (He just went to sleep!), I won’t record my voice over until the morning. That means the video won’t debut until then!

Overall, this is something highly recommended for the language learner. The older 200万人の漢検 was awesome, but they’ve managed to improve on it with better stats, record keeping and a few other additions. It also has those two dictionaries, but I don’t see either as being too terribly useful for non native speakers. Nintendo DS at Amazon

Nintendo DS to Learn Japanese

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10 thoughts on “Nintendo DS: 250万人の漢検

  1. I wonder what kind of use is there for asking your gender on this kind of game… 😛

    I’ll have to give this game a try, in the meanwhile, Kanken DS 2 will have to do.

    By the way, I gave “hissatsu kanfu – kanji doragon” a small ride, but I got bored after 5 minutes on the tutorial… I couldn’t read any of the kanji 😦

  2. Maybe for males, the questions are more manly; for females they must be more flowery and full of sugar and spice?

    I loved the 200 man nin and the 250 seems even better. I haven’t tried it yet, but the dragon game reminds me of the old typing training ‘games’ where you had to type the letters and words as they appeared to save the world. I preferred the more obvious this-is-for-studying software. I guess that would be 250 man nin no kanken.

  3. lol, if I ever get that game, I’m going to say that I’m a girl just to find out the difference!

    But seriously now, I’m really looking forward to trying 250 since I’m mostly using Kanken for its Kanji Dictionary. Having an example sentence should be interesting, and being able to practice the writing of kanji over and over again should be more helpful for beginners like me!

    Also, having the option to turn off the auto submit feature must be really nice, Kanken only has “fast”, “normal” and “slow”, but even in slow you can sometimes feel the pressure and make mistakes trying to write faster…

  4. >>having the option to turn off the auto submit feature must be really nice,

    Absolutely. I think the 200 man nin no kanken had that option too, but the default was on. Or maybe I am thinking of the Casio XD-GW9600… It is too early in the morning!

  5. Thanks Clay. This game just arrived (from Amazon.co.jp) a few minutes ago and thanks to your instructions I was able to get through the screens to the practice itself (I’m only at JLPT 3-kyuu level so can’t read it).

    However now my (Japanese) girlfriend has taken it to try herself, hmmmph! Methinks I need to get another DS…

  6. I was afraid that would happen to me. My wife hoarded the DS when we first got it UNTIL she tested herself with the Brain game. It told her she had the mental age of an 80 year old. She hasn’t picked it up since.

  7. I just gave this game a small test ride today… but it seems like there is no “write your kanji” dictionary included… 😦

    With Kanken DS 2 you can just try and write a kanji and the game will give you a list of possible coincidences (similar to the Windows XP IME Pad, or however it’s called XD).
    But in 250 man nin no kanken I only see the possibility of searching by sound using a “virtual keyboard” (in Kanken DS 2 you would have to write the hiragana yourself), but not by freely writing the kanji itself!

    Can anyone please confirm this? I’m afraid that since my Japanese level isn’t that good, I might have missed the option (I’m crossing my fingers here ^^).

  8. I can’t make up my mind. Should I buy the 250万人の漢検 OR 漢検2???
    My Japanese ability is pretty high and I took 2kyu last year (that does not mean that I passed!!)

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