There are a few different methods for learning kanji. Since it can be a pretty daunting task, people have come up with different methods to make the process a bit easier.

According to the Japanese government, there are 1,945 kanji that are recommended to know in order to read everyday books and newspapers. The Japanese school systems teach some kanji each year in every grade through high school, so that ideally by the time a student graduates they will know all 1,945.

Some people think that the best way to learn the kanji is to learn them in the same order in which they are taught to Japanese students. In most cases, this is not a good idea for foreign learners. Remember that Japanese kids are already fluent in Japanese by the time they start school. If you try to learn the kanji in the same order that they do, it’s extremely probably that you will learn some kanji early on that you haven’t even learned the vocab for yet, and won’t use them for years, and you’ll also miss out on some kanji for the vocab words that you’re using every day.

Another way is to manually look up the kanji for each word as you learn it. This ensures that you are learning the characters for words you already know, and will be likely to recognize them if you encounter them in real life.

A relatively new method was proposed by a philosopher named James Heisig. He published a series of books called “Remembering the Kanji” (google it) that teaches the meaning and stroke order for each kanji, while ignoring the readings (pronunciations) until much later. It is thought that by this method, the characters can be rapidly introduced, and then later when you learn the vocab and reading new words, you will already know and recognize the kanji. His method has strong supporters and detractors, so it’s worth investigating to see if it’s right for you.

You can also just choose not to learn any of the characters, but you probably won’t get very far in your studies that way.