望む is not TO HOPE? I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore!

Can someone please talk me down off this ledge?

The meaning given for the kanji 望 is hope (driven hard into my brain by the reference to Star Wars: A New HOPE). It has no alternative meanings. But yet 望む is To Wish, or To Desire, and NOT the very similar meaning To Hope, and I keep getting it wrong and it’s leeching me! I’m afraid to add To Hope as a user synonym because it seems like such a deliberate omission by Wanikani that I’m assuming its a meaningful distinction.

Should I just add it?

Has anyone else been driven mad by this?

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I have not added it. This is painful for a reason. Expect problems with: hope, wish, request, desire, heart’s desire, heartfelt desire, admiration, passion, enthusiasm, thought, prayer - you name it.

There is hope, though: I am finally down to 0 reviews today! :slightly_smiling_face:


I mean, https://jisho.org/word/希望 https://jisho.org/word/望む
Unfortunately, that’s how it works. .-.
Being driven mad by a lot of similar and yet different meanings is part of learning the language.


Personally I don’t think it would be sinful to add it as a synonym.

望む means to wish in the sense that it is somewhat more active than to hope (or at least that’s my personal perception). While you might “hope” for the weather be good(晴れるといいね) “wishing” for the weather to be good is more deliberate and active, and I guess it sounds more dramatic, as if the weather is not a mild inconvenience but a threat to your health(太陽を望む)(Again, just my personal perception).

However, I honestly don’t think it would be that big of a deal either way. Eventually at some point the goal would be to think in Japanese when you speak Japanese, not to have a perfect 1-1 correspondence (unless you look to be a translator I suppose haha). So what’s important that when you see it in text you understand the meaning it is trying to convey.

WaniKani has a LOT of these kinds of words (eg. storehouse vs warehouse) and most of the time I just add them as synonyms because if I don’t distinguish between these in English, I probably won’t care to in Japanese either.

I WISH that opening this thread, however, will burn the leech into your brain. Complaining is actually incredibly helpful :slight_smile:


望む isn’t “to hope”, it is “to wish”; “to desire”, “to wish for”. Unfortunately there are many words in Japanese that do not directly reflect their kanji meaning taken alone (kun’yomi), this is especially true when you combine them.
“to hope” is more often than not translated using 願う(ねがう). Which can also be translated to “to wish for”. It is difficult to distinguish between them, but if I were to tell them apart, I’d say that 願う is more of a “humble wish”, something that you deeply cherish that you may or may not know is unreachable. While 望む is more direct, something that you actively pursue and that you feel you can have an impact on (what you do isn’t important).
That said you can’t really say “to hope” as 望む but there are cases where you can adjust the meaning to “to wish for” and then use 望む.

“I hope this war will be over soon.” - この戦争は終わることが近いんだと望んでいる
Notice how to hope becomes “to wish for”: “I really wish for this war’s end to be close”. In this case you can also use 願う.

Now for the counter example let’s take something really familiar:
“I hope this from the bottom of my heart” - 心の底から願います
If you instead use 望む it becomes: 心の底から望みます, which is really awkward to say (at least for me).

Ending note: I do think that you shouldn’t use the user-defined synonym, instead you should learn the difference between “to hope” and “to wish for” in Japanese. As @sosavles has said if you don’t really distinguish between them in English you may very well care less, but as I showed you above in my post, there are subtle differences that may create a huge impact in what you say and what other people think in response of what you said.

Ending note2: if you feel overwhelmed by these you should just start writing words down in a notebook as a supplement to WaniKani, it really works miracles with similar words. And remind yourself, better to give up on one element than on the objective itself :slight_smile: .


I have no problem with 望む as it is totally related to 望み, which is “wish”.
And the Nozomi is the name of the super fast shinkansen, so it’s not that difficult to remember…


Oddly enough, I usually get 望み correct, because nozo makes me think of Pinocchio’s long nose and his “wish” to be a real boy. (aka, when you wish upon a star)


I just add it. They’re close enough in meaning and you can pick up on the nuance in difference in conversation easily enough when speaking. I don’t think it matters that much.

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I always find it helpful looking up stuff in Japanese. (Correct me if my translations aren’t quite correct.)

望み: a wish.
「 将来よくなりそうな見込み。」A wish for a good future.
「そうしたいそうありたいと思っている事柄。」Hoping that things will go/happen a certain way.

願い: a request.
「 こうなってほしいと思う物事。」 A need for something to be a certain way (implying right now).
「こうしてほしいと人に頼む事柄。」A request to someone else.

Unless you have a bad kanji tattoo of 望, I wouldn’t get so upset and take some liberties on reviews but worth reviewing contexts.

Based on the Kodansha’s Japanese dictionary:

望む:to come to want, to come to desire, to hope for, to expect

“to hope for” ex.: 息子が幸せに暮らすことを望んでいます。
I am hoping for my son to lead a happy life

Though not defined, WK is even using “hoping” for the 3rd example:

I got a haircut but it just made me look even more childish. I was hoping to look like a stylish 35-year-old woman. Boohoo.

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if it is bothering you that much, you can add. it will postpone possible problems but that is a matter of future you.

Oh boy, tell me about it. WaniKani teaches the kanji 慎 as “humility”, but then the vocab section uses it in precisely two words: 慎む “to be discreet” and 慎重 “discreet”. Think if you’re going to only have words meaning “discreet” in the vocab, you should at least mention that 慎 can also mean “discreet”.

And that’s just one example of many…


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