||The logographic writing system used in Japanese and Chinese, known as kanji or hanzi /H ^ respectively, is a source of both fascination and frustration for students faced with learning the thousands of characters necessary for literacy in either of these Asian languages. This is often compounded by language teaching methods that teach kanji by rote learning. My thesis project argues for an innovative approach to kanji learning where the characters are introduced in their original pictographic form and semantically explained within the context of their construction within East Asian culture and society. The kanji come alive through their original shamanistic, magical meanings, providing powerful visual mnemonic aids in character recognition and recall. Explanations are based on the research of Shirakawa Shizuka S JHH, the late Japanese authority on Chinese ideograms, whose work with the Oracle Bone and Bronze inscriptions refuted many of the traditionally held kanji interpretations. This approach uses Shirakawa's research and Oracle Bone Script characters to relate the shape of the kanji and their components to their original meanings within the cultural context of their construction. Etymological explanations from the Shuowen Jiezi will be used, when applicable, to demonstrate how shape and meaning has changed over time. This method imparts students with the three critical areas of kanji learning, orthographic, phonological, and semantic awareness, and through cultural mnemonics, seeks to establish a fourth fundamental aspect to language learning: cultural awareness.