Which reading to use for the “person” kanji has been the most annoying thing for me while using WaniKani, but I have finally figured out an effective (at least for me) mnemonic! I use “ninja” for にん and “jeans” for じん. For example, for アメリカ人 (american person) which uses the じん reading, I remember that a lot of Americans like to wear jeans. For 料理人 (cook) which uses にん I imagine a ninja cooking. Remembering that it’s not one of those two can help too - for instance for 証人 (witness) which uses にん, I think “if you were a witness for a court case, you would not wear jeans to court.” I’ve seen a lot of “how do you tell the difference?” threads, but not any that actually offered advice before, so I hope this helps!
Thank you so much for this!
Country-name+人 is always read as じん. 日本人, オーストラリア人, ブラジル人, 宇宙人, et cetera, et cetera.
Something else to note is that にん tends to be seen more often when it comes to professions. It is also the older reading, so if an idea has been around for a long time you will often see it as にん. This can help provide a “default” assumption and you can use the mnemonic for exceptions.
Thank you! This has been driving me mad and I was just going to ask the question but luckily I searched first