国 is terrorizing me


The 国-Kanji is killing me. I mean not the Kanji, but the Vocabs.
I assume there is absolutely no logic when it’s read ごく or こく, right?
I think this will be my best friend until Level 60. But I’m sure on the remaining 51 levels there will be a lot more of similar friends…



Yup, rendaku thing has no logic, just get used to it.
Welcome to Japanese.

upd: and yes, there are hella lot of such cases. Rendaku is turbo-common.


which one does somewhat automatically anyway, by means of more exposure. i’m not even good at japanese but i’m developing a feeling for when things rendaku and when they don’t …

… and then the exceptions come along :sweat_smile:

i’m quite fond of the rendaku information userscript.


Well, not like I said it would be impossible, right? :wink: SRS is a magic :star2:


Personally I remembered 天国 with Goten and Goku.

However I have no tip for 中国. I have not burnt that one yet :frowning:


There’s been posts on this in the past:

On WK, there’s only three words that use ごく instead of こく: 中国、天国、隣国. So just memorize those and you’re good.


It’s almost always こく, because that is the actual reading of the kanji. Being an on’yomi, it is rare that it undergoes rendaku.
(This is unlike some rather mischievous kanji, like 大 and 神, where obe in’yomi (usually the go-on) is voiced and another (usually kan-on) is unvoiced.)

However, it may still occur after ん, presumably because because -んご- is easier to pronounce than -んこ-. This is probably what happens in 天国.
That being said, that doesn’t stop 韓国 from being read かんこく.

The odd one out is really 中国. In their article about rendaku, a cuple of possible reasons are listed:

  1. Rendaku helps solidify that this needs to be thought of as a compound word, where the parts don’t necessarily make sense on their own; unlike the 韓 in 韓国, which rarely means anything other than “Korea”, 中 has a multitude of meanings, and is used very frequently.
    Think of it like the intonation difference between “red beard” and “Redbeard”.

  2. If it were pronounced -こく, 中国 it could be confused with 忠告 (“advice, warning”).

Doing a search on Jisho for “*ごく *国 #common”, and sorting out ones listed as irregular alternative readings, it seems the main ones you’ll need to worry about are:




島国 (but this is usually pronounced しまぐに, anyway)
両国 (primarily when referring to the Ryōgoku area of Tokyo; otherwise, りょうこく will do the trick)

It’s probably best to think of the ごくs as an exception, and try to remember a reason why it’s an exception, until you’ve repeated it so many times that it just comes naturally to you.


I just got 全国 wrong just now! :joy:


Wow! Thanks a lot for all those quick answer! :slight_smile:
I think I will let the SRS do it’s magic. Although I’m just level 9, it already helped with some items where I was close to throwing my computer out of the window… So I’m confident.

Haha! Sorry, that was not my intention… :slight_smile:


I hadn’t seen this thread yet. If I had, I surely would have got it right :wink:


天国 is rendaku’d because it is a high place. (You can think sacred place)
中国 is rendaku’d because kanjis are chinese character so they did what they wanted with it :wink:

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I see you don’t watch many sports anime…


No I’ve heard it a bunch in テニスの王子様 and maybe also in ダイヤのエース (though I think they usually call it 甲子園 there). I just had a brain disconnect (and then accidentally pressed backspace and entered the right answer).

But you’re right, I’ve only ever watched those two, and I didn’t even finish the second…

So this is how one can do a boolean (AND) search on Jisho? Everything in parenthesis? I was trying to find how to do this for sometime… Thanks!

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My understanding is that Jisho searches always have an assumed (AND); it’s (OR) that’s the tricky part :slight_smile:

(That is, assuming that it finds anything in that cross-section; otherwise, it splits it into multiple searches.)

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I have Wanikani Rendaku Information script installed, and it has this fancy mnemonics about 中国 pronunciation:

中国 (ちゅうごく) does rendaku because although 国(こく) is onyomi, 中国 is one of the three countries in WaniKani (China, Heaven and the Neighboring Country) that you really want to go (ご!) to.


Ha! Just installed the Rendaku-script. That’s cool.

BTW: Another Kanji is also terrorizing me: 日 Is there anz logic whether it’s read にち or じつ ?

My take on it - a lot of rendaku start making sense after a while. Not in a logical sense, but it starts sounding right when you say them out loud. I have the voice function turned on and I typically repeat it out loud.


I’m okay with 国, but the difference between じん and にん for 人 is killing me. Anyone have any tips?


Haha… You’re right, me too. There’s a lot more terror when you start thinking about it…