Quick question: Did you ever feel that you were having a hard time remembering all twenty six letters of the alphabet back when you were a child going to Kindergarten? However — to be honest — that’s really nothing at all compared to what children have to go through over in Japan, wherein they are expected to learn all 96 of the Katakana/Hiragana characters by the end of Kindergarten. Afterwards they must learn an additional eighty Kanji characters before the first grade ends, and it really only gets worse with each successive year after that initial brutal onslaught.

The fact is that Japanese students are expected to remember over 1000 different characters by the end of elementary school, which is not even an easy task for the many native speakers whom actually reside in Japan. It is to this end that Saren Sakurai, whom — after tiring of always watching his son, Genji, struggle endlessly with Japanese — decided that it was finally high time for someone to tackle the entire colossal conundrum. This new found conviction led Sakurai to envision Kanjilicious, an app designed to aid people — both young and old, as well as foreign and native — in coming to grips with the Japanese character set, all via the addictive properties of memorization based game play.

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Sakurai — having long been a project planner for companies such as Nike, Sprite, Red Bull, and Sony Pictures — is no stranger to managing software development, yet currently lacked the funds necessary to pull together a development team for realizing his vision. Therefore — in order to make Kanjilicious into an actual reality — Saren Sakurai recently turned towards Kickstarter with a request for $15,000 in development funds, of which over $14,700 has been secured so far. Although things might currently be looking extremely promising for Saren Sakurai’s edutainment based language learning game, there is — with only three days left — much work still remaining to be done.

Currently those whom donate a mere $10 to the cause will receive their own launch copy of Kanjilicious, with the full course load completely unlocked, which is expected to be ready sometime before the year ends. This ‘full course load’ refers to Sakurai’s plan to release the app with all of the characters taught up through the first grade made freely available, with the purchase of additional course loads helping to fund later updates. Meanwhile — for those whom donate even further to Sakurai’s cause — there will also be extra special backer only rewards such as: special backgrounds for your iPod and PC, ‘Thank You’ postcards handwritten by Genji, project backer T-Shirts, and much more!

However — should you desire to help Kanjilicious become a reality, and possibly learn the Japanese language yourself in the process — you must be sure to chip in your personal donation before the Kickstarter closes on July 21st.

  • Saren

    Clovis, Thank you very much for the write up. We’re really looking forward to making this app happen. I’ll make sure to let you and your audience in on the BETA in couple months.

  • Saren Sakurai

    Clovis, It’s been almost two years but we’ve never stopped working on our Kanjilicious app. Last week Apple approved our first version and so we’re happy to (finally) be able to say that we’re now in the app store. We’d love to hear what you think so far. http://bit.ly/kanjilicious