This study investigates three important issues in kanji learning strategies; namely, strategy use, effectiveness of strategy and orthographic background. A questionnaire on kanji learning strategy use and perceived effectiveness was administered to 116 beginner level, undergraduate students of Japanese from alphabetic and character backgrounds in Australia. Both descriptive and statistical analyses of the questionnaire responses revealed that the strategies used most often are the most helpful. Repeated writing was reported as the most used strategy type although alphabetic background learners reported using repeated writing strategies significantly more often than character background learners. The importance of strategy training and explicit instruction of fundamental differences between character and alphabetic background learners of Japanese is discussed in relation to teaching strategies.