What is Tankan?
Tankan is an indispensable training application for anyone who
wants to memorize the meanings and pronunciations of Japanese
Tankan's simple, browser-based user interface is carefully
designed for efficiency. You can easily deal with large kanji sets,
and carry out the entire training cycle by keyboard.
Tankan offers a multitude of ways to select kanji for
learning, such as JLPT sets, school grades or frequency, with
additional filtering and flexible subdivision so that you can focus
on manageable sections of material.
Tankan keeps a history of your answers and can not only identify
characters you are having trouble with, but also characters which
you are confusing for one another.
Stop wasting time on flashcards and clumsy programs that emulate
them. Get Tankan today and start conquering the kanji!
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January 3, 2011
Tankan 2.00.0375 released!
December 21, 2010
Tankan 2.00.0369 released!
December 12, 2010
Tankan 2.00.0363 released!
December 10, 2010
Limited time offer:
60 day full trial!
Download now and go through the purchase screen to
unlock the full features. Do not pay for 60 days!
December 7, 2010
Tankan 2.00.0359 released!
December 6, 2010
Tankan 2.00.0357 released!
November 30, 2010
Tankan 2.00.0353 released!
Instead of following a flashcard paradigm, Tankan generates test sheets, which
can contain a large number of kanji, all in one window. Next to each
kanji is a small input field for typing the test answer, which could be a
kanji English meaning or a Japanese reading. Use the Tab character to
move from one field to the next, and press Enter to grade the test.
The better you recall the kanji, the faster your testing will be.
You will find that your eyes can read several kanji ahead of your
fingers, and will be able to complete the tests as fast as you can touch
type. Testing yourself on a batch of several hundred kanji in a single
test will take only minutes. And the entire test cycle can be driven
with the keyboard only.
A faster user interface is hardly
Tankan maintains a history of your recent test answers,
independently for each kanji, and combination of various test
parameters. Based on your response history, Tankan can deduce not
only which kanji you are having trouble remembering, but it can guess
groups of kanji that you are confusing for one another. It is
possible to test quiz yourself on the confused kanji so that you can
learn to distinguish them.
The program state — your response history, the results of
the last test, and the settings of all of the user interface controls
— can be saved to disk, and later restored. You will
appreciate this when having to log out or restart the computer,
and it is also handy for experimenting with the program without
disturbing your progress.
Tankan allows you to select kanji in various ways:
- grade: Select the Jouyou kanji by a range
of grades, from 1 to 9.
- frequency: Characters in descending
order of their frequency, meaning how often they appear in
- stroke count: the range of how many
brush strokes make up the character.
- Heisig index: the order
in which the characters appear in James W. Heisig's book, Remembering
- JLPT sets: kanji sets believed to be
used at various levels of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
Text Search Engine
The selection of kanji can be further refined with a
text search over English meanings or Japanese
readings. Searching can be done by exact match on full dictionary
entries, word or word stem matches, free substring matches.
Divide and Conquer
Independently of the selection methods by grade, JLPT level and
so forth, Tankan divides all the kanji arbitrarily into sixteen
sets. The search filter offers a matrix of sixteen checkboxes to
select these sets, in any combination. With this filter, you
can break up a large, undifferentiated kanji category into
manageable chunks that can be learned independently, and gradually
combined into larger sets.
Search for Kanji by selecting one of the 214 classical kangxi
Kana Reading Fluency not Required
With the click of a button, Tankan can display all Japanese
readings in western letters (romaji) instead of Japanese
hiragana and katakana characters, which is convenient
for students who are not yet fluent in reading kana.
Easy Japanese Input
Japanese text can be entered in romaji. Though you can
use your computer's Japanese input method (IME), it is
not required. IME entry slower, and based on romaji anyway,
just with some extra keystrokes.
The system requirements are:
- Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7, 32 bit*.
- 80 megabytes free disk space.
- Internet connection
- Browser: IE 7 or higher, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.
- Not to forget: Japanese Fonts!
Tankan runs on Microsoft Windows as a background process which serves
web pages. You interact with it using your web browser.
When you launch Tankan for the first time, it automatically opens up
a browser window. If you close or navigate away from that window, you can
double-click the Tankan tray icon to open it again.
* 64 bit Windows is currently not supported.
The installer is an executable program. To install Tankan,
download and run the installer. If you are prompted whether to
run the program from an "unknown publisher", go ahead and confirm.
Tankan files are located in three places. The executable files
and other materials are located in the installation directory. Saved
program state and the license file are located in the
Tankan sub-folder of
your user folder. You can navigate there by opening
%USERPROFILE%\Tankan from the Windows start menu. The
installer also creates shortcuts in your start menu (for the
installing user only, not all users). Tankan does not store anything
in the Windows Registry.
The Tankan uninstaller is located in the installation
directory. It is called
It tries to remove the program directory and shortcuts,
but it does not remove your license (the file called
license.lisp), or the saved state file
Tankan is offered to individuals and organizations for the purpose of
private installation and use. Redistributing it the public, such
as hosting it for download on a website, constitutes "broadcasting"
and isn't permitted. A detailed copyright notice
is displayed by the installer prior to installation.
The Tankan installer may be shared using Bittorrent,
using only the official
.torrent files obtained
from this web site.
Current Release: 2.00.0375
- Improved identification of confused kanji.
- Upgraded dictionary to 2010 jouyou kanji.
- Improved quality of JLPT data: N2 and N3 separated.
- New filter feature: select kanji using one of the 214
- Smaller installer: down to 3.9 megabytes from 4.3.
Download 2.00.0375 quickly from CNET:
- Subset filter increased to 16 sets.
- Method added for selecting kanji with multiple definitions.
- Romanization bugfix: the -っちゃ (-ccha) fragment was mapped
to the wrong romaji.
- Powerful new feature: all Kanji are now assigned into 8 sets.
- Use a few simple checkboxes to filter for sets in combination with any category.
- Conquer the large categories like JLPT 1 in multiple pieces!
- Small bugfix: checkboxes in main form were being cleared
when returning via Back button in licensing screen.
- Select kanji according to the order in James W Heisig's book
Remembering The Kanji.
- Select kanji from the JLPT sets.
- Minor bugfix: some characters incorrectly displayed in help page.
- New feature: Test Preview section on main form.
- Allows Tankan to be more effectively used as a kanji search engine.
- Provides a study mode, without clumsy modal behavior.
Tankan comes with a trial demo license which provides limited functionality,
and imposes a 90 minute session time limit.
Purchasing Tankan is initiated from within the application. When you initiate
a purchase, the licensing server on this website gives you a
temporary license that unlocks the full features of the program.
When your payment is received, your temporary license
will be replaced with a permanent license which is
portable and comes with e-mail support.
Using the licensing screen within the program, you can check whether
a new license is available from our server and provision it with the click
of a button. We will notify you by e-mail when your new license is available.
Option 1: Online Payment using PayPal
The online price is $35 CAD (thirty five dollars, Canadian).
Option 2: Mail-in Discount
A mailed-in payment is accepted in a number of currencies, as follows:
- $20 CAD or USD (Twenty dollars, Canadian or American)
- 15 EUR (Fifteen Euro)
- 1500 JPY (Sen go hyaku en)
- 15 GBP (Fifteen British pounds)
- 20 AUD (Twenty Australian dollars)
The Tankan license file is bound to your computer by means of two
pieces of information: the serial number of the disk volume where
Tankan is installed, and the MAC address of the network adapter. If
your hardware configuration changes, or you wish to use the software
to another computer, you can activate your license on the new
hardware free of charge. Simply install the program on the new
computer, copy your existing license file over and invoke the
license activation function from within the program.
Tankan is the name of sweet and delicious variety of orange which
grows on the island of Yakushima. This is the inspiration behind
the orange theme. The word tankan also has additional meanings. It
means "single kanji" (written 単漢) and also "brevity" or
"simplicity" (単簡). Both these meanings are close to what the
program is about!
I'm trying to learn the N3/N2 JLPT kanji, but there are too many!
Enable Tankan's filter, and choose "Filter by: subset". A
set of checkboxes, which break down the kanji into sixteen
groups that you can select individually or in any combination.
See the User Guide for more info.
How can I maintain custom lists or, dictionary entries?
Such features are left out of the program because they
complicate the user interface without adding significant value.
This is a program for kanji learning, not "kanji farming".
Does Tankan implement the Leitner system?
In short, no. Tankan keeps a detailed response history for each
kanji. Kanji that require more study are identified by evaluating
the history. Predating the era of personal computers, the
Leitner system is a manual system of prioritizing the presentation
of paper flashcards.
My kanji look blocky, not like the Tankan screenshots!
It's because your font: change it. If you're using Firefox, look in
Tools/Options/Content. The font you see in the screenshots is
Why is there no multiple choice testing?
I didn't implement multiple choice testing in Tankan, because
I find it irksome and slow. When you already know the right answer,
you just want to blurt it out, rather than search for it among
incorrect answers. Speed is of the essence. If you can answer three
fill-in-the-blank questions in the time it takes you to do one
multiple choice, multiple choice is not a good use of your study
Multiple choice testing has a niche in knowledge areas where the
complexity of the objects makes it impractical to ask for a direct
answer. Consider "Which of these six pictures is Da Vinci's Mona
Lisa?" versus "Using color crayons, reproduce the Mona Lisa
in the space below."
Is this the best way to learn kanji?
This program is only a tool for memorization, intended to
complement other forms of study, especially "offline" study
away from the computer. It's important to study the kanji
in their context: words and sentences. Likewise, it is important to
write the kanji.
Speaking of which, you can generate writing practice sheets using
Tankan. Thanks to the web-based interface, anything you see in Tankan
can be sent to your printer. I practise writing from time to time by
selecting some Kanji, choosing either Japanese readings or English
meanings, and then printing out the main page. Working with the
printed pages, I cover up the left side to hide the kanji, look at
the definitions on the right side and write kanji in the middle
space. Then I uncover the kanji and check my work for incorrect or
I have a feature idea. Can you implement it?
Every feature suggestion will be carefully considered. More weight
will be given to those from customers.