Scribe: Origins - Learn Kanji & Hanzi Characters

There are 2377 kanji for basic Japanese. 2617 hanzi for simplified Chinese. The native learns these over a minimum of 7 years. A language student needs to learn them in under 1 year.

Scribe Origins

It’s difficult to remember things. Especially abstract drawings like characters, which at first have no meaning. Trying to remember them through rote learning works at first. The brain, in it’s excited “this is all new” phase, can actually manage quite well. The first 100 or so characters get absorbed.. and then “the slowdown” begins. Characters get muddled up, there are now too many similarities for the brain to differentiate. You feel frustrated and unsure how to proceed. It often leads to giving up.

This is ridiculously common.

And it is also something that a group of people have become masters at. True masters. And these people enter competitions to become World Memory Champions.

The Magic Behind Rapid Learning

Decades of research has now proven conclusively that it is possible to remember thousands of characters, no matter how abstract or similar. The World Memory Championships have contestants remember thousands of random numbers in sequence in a few short hours. What’s even more amazing.. is that the contestants don’t have any special memory ability.

It’s all in their techniques.

Scientists have trained regular people with the techniques to the extent of being able to remember as well as World Memory Champions.

How do they do it?

The key is in creating emotional journeys that link seemingly-random information into a unique mentally-coherent structure. In other words: stories.

Unlike random numbers, kanji and hanzi Chinese characters are actually very well structured. Almost all complex characters are made up of more simpler characters. For the other elements, that aren’t characters themselves anymore, these so-called “primitives” can still be named and used. Together, they make creating a story incredibly easy.

For example, the character 親 (parent) is made up of smaller characters: 見 (see), 立 (standing up), 木 (tree). So one might make up a story, “a PARENT stands up on a tree, to see where their children are”. Using this story, when you need to remember how to write “parent”, you would remember this story, and from there remember the 3 primitive characters: 見, 立, 木, and the character would come together.

This is the magic behind rapidly remembering thousands of characters permanently.


The Breakup / Making It Easier

To really plant the visualisation of characters into the mind, we’ve taken the breakup of primitives, and animated them to float out from the new character when learning it in the Flashcards game. We want to help stimulate the mind to recognising these primitives.

We did this because we found that while some textbooks were brilliant in giving stories for the individual primitive elements that make up a character, sometimes it was hard to “visualize” each element. Consequently, we found that the mind often got confused, especially with similar characters, as the mind wouldn’t remember all of the primitives.

We wanted to make it as easy as possible to visually prompt the mind to remember the abstract pieces of information, and how they combine in their positions to a new character.

This is the core foundation of any learning method: making it as easy as possible to repetitively master the language.

Scribe Origins

This app is only for YOU if you want to learn ALL characters. If you want the ability to learn 3000 - 4000 characters in 3 months. If you want to learn visually, with advanced primitive breakdown of every character.

Primary Features

  • Primitive radicals for 4,800 kanji + hanzi characters (e.g. 親 (parent) is made of 見, 立, 木).
  • 6 kanji + hanzi language sets: JLPT, JOYO, HSK, TOCFL, Taiwan School System, Hong Kong School System character sets. Covering all major Japanese writing and Chinese writing systems.
  • 7 kanji games: Kanji Flashcards, Kanji Multiple Choice, Kanji Scrabble, Kanji Tiles, Kanji Matchup, Kanji Blockfall Keywords, Kanji Blockfall Primitives.
  • Unified keywords across all kanji + hanzi character sets, based as closely to the original meaning as possible (and you can download customised lists too!)
  • Spaced-Repetition System that.. is simply incredible. When you get down into the deeper levels with thousands of characters to remember, you’ll be amazed at how accurately the right character comes along.
  • Similar character, character usage, Japanese dictionary + Chinese dictionary of common words all included per card.

Scribe Origins is designed to help you RAPIDLY learn kanji and learn hanzi.

And whichever language you want to learn, starting to study kanji first or starting to study hanzi first, you’ll build the base keywords that apply to ALL Chinese characters.

Scribe Origins is the ultimate study tool to learn Chinese characters. It’s more than just a kanji dictionary. It covers the entire practical set of the Chinese alphabet. All of the “Chinese letters” in Chinese writing, used in both Japanese language and Chinese language.

Practice reading kanji and reading hanzi while seeing the primitive breakdown which hints at the underlying meaning of the Chinese character.

Learning the hiragana, katakana, and Japanese kanji is vital for having a foundational understanding of Japanese language. And for Chinese students, learning each Chinese character of the Chinese alphabet is key for every single word in the Mandarin Chinese language.

Writing always comes FIRST in learning a language, as it allows your brain to specifically link word sounds, word meanings, and their written form together. Whereas learning to speak Japanese or speak Chinese before learning writing means your brain will learn one set of links, then needs to unlearn them and re-learn them, which is why most language students take 3 years to learn a language. To study Japanese and study Chinese efficiently and effectively, the Chinese writing system is foundational.

Even if you don’t think you’ll using Japanese writing or Chinese writing, being able to read Japanese & read Chinese is an imperative skill to easily understand the language.

Scribe Origins is far more than a Japanese kanji dictionary. Far more than a Chinese hanzi dictionary. It is an expertly-linked system of 4800 characters, visually linked by primitives.

Scribe: Origins is designed to help students rapidly learn the thousands of kanji/hanzi characters required for reading and writing Asian languages. Specifically, students of Japanese or Chinese language. To make learning as fast as possible, we’ve developed several different games to help practice the characters you are currently learning. Using a unified, inbuilt spaced-repetition system, whichever game you are playing will use the same characters you are currently studying, and remember your progress in them as a single study deck.

Scribe: Origins is an attempt to map nearly 5000 commonly used kanji + hanzi characters across Japanese Kanji, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese Hanzi. Each character has a single, 1-to-1 mapping between each character and a unified meaning. Each character also has a breakdown of the primitives (the component characters/radicals) that make up a larger character. These are the KEY to rapid learning, to help you understand that the meaning of a larger character is derived from using a handful of common smaller characters. This is key to learn kanji and learn hanzi, upwards of 30 new characters per day.

Many teachers also advise students to write a story of the primitives, and how that makes up the larger character. For example, the character 親 (parent) is made up of smaller characters: 見 (see), 立 (standing up), 木 (tree). So one might make up a story, “a PARENT stands up on a tree, to see where their children are”. Using this story, when you need to remember how to write “parent”, you would remember this story, and from there remember the 3 primitive characters: 見, 立, 木, and the character would come together.

Unlike other data sources, this project has used as many historically accurate primitives as possible, rather than using artificial components.


  • Similar character list in the base flashcard study mode, so you can associate the different kanji and hanzi to watch out for
  • Japanese dictionary and Chinese dictionary included, showing only the most common meanings, so you can get a feel for how to use the character across languages.
  • Study Kanji completely offline - no internet bandwidth used. Learn and study kanji anywhere - on the train, bus, on the way to work, sitting waiting, in coffee shops, on bed before dreaming Kanji in your sleep.
  • Remembering the kanji has never been easier with visual cues to rapidly increase your learning.
  • Ruby text places the reading above the kanji character, just like in manga and anime readings.

One Other Thing

When learning, you need a stable resource. One where the keywords are fixed, clear, and unified. We’ve put a tremendous amount of work into having experts go through over 4800 characters, and selecting a single keyword for every character unified across Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. We’ve got as close as we can to the original meanings, while trying to be flexible enough to also represent some of the newer meanings as languages have adapted and evolved. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close.

But we also realise that you may have your own keywords you’d like to assign, that you’ve derived from specific textbooks or study methods. We’ve made it possible for those students to load these into the app. Simply send an email with an Excel file or CSV file with columns for the following: # character # new keyword # optional notes

We’ll then upload it to the user server and it’ll be downloadable for all. (We’re also working on a solution to allow individual lists within the app, but this is further down our todo list).

How to Try: Scribe Origins

We’ve wanted to make this as easy as possible. We know people who have invested thousands of hours into developing their own flashcards, so the price of having it done for you is easily, easily worth a few hundred dollars if you’re serious about mastering all characters.

But we aren’t going to charge anywhere near that. In fact, we’re going to offer the first level of characters for each language, free of charge. You can download it and try it out, and get a feel for if this system is really for you. We think this is the best way for you to purchase a product, as it hands over full power to you.

Download Now

If you would like the rewarding experience of experiencing Scribe Origins, give the app a try. Download Now