にち/じつ and にん/じん the pain!

Agh 人 and 日 are killing me in some vocab kanji combinations. What methods do people use to get around the struggle of knowing which to use? I’m mostly trying to sound out the vocabulary and go with the one that just sounds right to my ear but this isn’t working too well. Any suggestions?


Not much help here but I just had to learn it. Flash cards, readings, just getting a feel for the meanings…


I heard someone using the trick of making a special mnemonic for either. For example for にん/じん they had a mnemonic involving resp a ninja and a djinn.


My method seems to be to always get them wrong so they‘ll stay at Apprentice forever. :sob:


For those just starting, over time I have kind of gotten a feeling for them. These days if I encounter some jukugo with ~人 or ~日, I usually guess right. There is a some intuitive logic somewhere, but I don’t have enough of a grip on it to understand what it is.

1 Like

Know the struggle! I always mix it up, what helped me was to kinda read the word out loud, really imagine it in my head. So for like ふつか = 二日, I tried to imagine feet, on a car, 二 = Two feet, 日 = Car. Often times I remember it better if it makes me laugh, that might work for you as well! Good luck!


I just wanted to reiterate what was already said because I’ve had the same issue and have had success with these exact two tips:

  • What Pep95 said, include some reference to what reading to use in your mnemonics for vocab. Side note, anything you do to sort of “personalize” the mnemonics you use, the more effective they will be.
  • What Alphania said (Hi Alphania! Welcome to WaniKani), you’re learning a language, at some point you want to speak it, not just read it, correct? Start now by always doing the readings outloud so your brain associates the sounds with the visuals.

I’ll throw in a bonus tip too. When I get things wrong, I tend to want to move to the next thing as quickly as possible out of frustration. Try your best not to do this. Either take some extra time at that moment to re-study or make a note to study it again later. Persistence is key. You’ll for sure get this down and move on to complaining about some other Japanese mind-frick lol.


Wait until you get にんじん (carrot)


Thank you very much! I’m glad I found this website, many of the mnemonics are wonderful!

B.t.w. I remembered another thing that usually works for me. Furthest down on the mnemonics side, or “meaning”. They will put the Kanji/Vocabs into sentences, when i read those outloud a couple of times it sticks much better. Because then you have to find that word hidden in a sentence and that takes a few extra loops through the brain, hence easier to member! (The memberberries says heelu) ^^

I also have a gut feeling about 人 - though I tried to substantiate my theory and I was still a little off.

The ones that throw me off are the ひと ふたり type readings. As for whether it is にん or じん I find that it is almost always じん unless the meaning is counting persons or describing a person in the abstract. eg:

There are some exceptions of course (人参 springs to mind) but if I am unsure I can generally guess right with this method.

I hope there is a rule and someone smarter than me can explain it!


I try to not ask here if i can find things from a simple google search but really couldn’t find any concrete rule for which is used. A bit annoying but i can hardly complain when my native English is ladened with countless strange rules regularly broken.

I feel the same. Also on level 6
I find listening to the pronunciation several times over really helps and I also just make a mnemonic with a martial art theme for anything that is じつ

It’s taken until this week for me to finally sort out 四日/ 八日 :woman_facepalming:t2:


Yes, I do this! I try to picture very vivid images featuring a ninja or a djinn as appropriate, and it genuinely helped to nail nearly every one of those leeches.


Is that にんじん / じんにん / にんにん / じんじん or, because I will absolutely do this, ひとじん :joy::sob::joy:



For what it’s worth, here’s a carrot who wants to be a rapper


…plants have feelings too! (And life ambitions apparently)


My mnemonic is that 四日 is twice as long as 八日 both in pronunciation and in meaning (よっ vs. よう). Easiest mnemonic I’ve ever come up with.


That’s exactly what I arrived at today :hugs:

Felt like I uncovered some deep workings of the world for a nanosecond.

One thing I’ve noticed that for the most part, when I see ~人, it tends to be にん when it’s what a person does, and じん when it’s what a person is.

白人、黒人、アメリカ人、友人、外人、美人、all things that people are.

商人、a person that sells stuff as a merchant, 役人、a person that does public service…job-related I guess?

Unfortunately I can think of countless exceptions, but maybe it’s a frame-of-mind type thing? 村人 is a whole other ball game…

Like why is it びょうにん for 病人、then てつじん for 鉄人? I guess if 病む is a verb for being sick, then the rule still follows…

I just try to remember that counting people is usually にん, including other more abstract forms of counting/identification like 他人. Crazy how annoying one simple symbol can be, lol


Same rule I also apply at the start, but as I was totally exposed to most of the ~人 vocabs, its just about “what sounds right” (I know it doesn’t help, sorry!)