The Hentaigana App is here

The Hentaigana App has finally been released for iOS (it came out for Android a few weeks ago, but as is well known Apple outsources app review to starships traveling at relativistic speeds). This is apparently the first fruit of Uniqlo founder Yanai Tadashi's donation to UCLA to "globalize Japanese humanities".

What is the Hentaigana App? A flashcard program and quick reference for individual hentaigana. There are apparently plans to add multi-kana phrases at some point, but no kanji, so this isn't a complete "learn cursive Japanese writing" app. On the other hand, as a hentaigana-only app, it's much nicer than it had to be, with most of the visuals taken from Waseda's collection of scanned books. This doesn't make the app any more informative, say, than a hypothetical version with newly created vector-graphic characters and iOS 7-style flat color backgrounds. But it does make it more involving. Japanese calligraphers are fussy about paper for a reason, after all.

There's no getting around the need to drill hentaigana. This app lets you drill in idle moments waiting for the bus, rather than at a desk flipping back and forth between multiple reference works. And it's free. What more could you want?

Popularity factor: 6



Direct link to the App Store:



Now, if they're so kind as to make a kuzushiji app, I will finally gather the willpower to learn some (real, i.e. premodern) Japanese.




Thanks for the links, folks!

A kuzushiji app would be nice. Much bigger undertaking, but even a "top 10 forms of top 200 characters found in official documents" would empower a lot of people to use primary sources a lot more effectively (including Japanese people).


Also, I just realized that that last paragraph makes it sound like I don't like sitting at desks paging through multiple reference works at once. On the contrary, this is actually my hobby. But it's much more fun when the reference works are about what things mean rather than, you know, what they even are.


How far have we come since kanaCLASSIC http://www.ucalgary.ca/newcurrents/Vol6.2/kana.html

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