Harnessing furigana to improve Japanese learners' ability to read kanji
This paper shows how furigana, the small phonetic letters attached to Chinese characters to show their reading, can be harnessed to improve Japanese learners' ability to read kanji. Issues explored are how many of these characters - kanji - are required to read Japanese, how many are actually taught in Australian schools, and whether this number can realistically lead to the proficiency in reading that students might reasonably expect. Evidence that furigana assists in kanji-learning is then considered. Finally, the implications for teachers in successfully employing furigana in their classrooms, based on surveys of students, is then discussed.