毎/先/今/来/何〜 x 〜日/月/年 Mnemonic-Tipps

So, I finally managed to re-fill up my “Apprentice”-review queue in WaniKani with all of these combinations again. When I learned them one after the other, at first I managed to just remember those, but now as they are all ganging up on me, I cannot remember which is which anymore. I tried to make a table to try to find some sense in there, somewhere, but I cannot.

まいにち せんじつ きょう らいにち なんにち
まいつき せんげつ こんげつ らいげつ なんがつ
まいとし きょねん ことし らいねん なんねん

Then I googled it, and also looked up in this forum, and the consensus is, that there isn’t any pattern to it, and you just have to bite yourself through with these, and often you read that you’ll learn these by immersion; which generally is fine - I am sure once I am at that point that I can immerse myself in content, I will get the hang of it. But I am not even at level 10 in Wanikani, and in the first quarter of the first Genki, so I am not there yet with immersion, and still I need to remember these to get them out of my daily WaniKani queue (and they are really starting to frustrate me - to the point that I am not even trying anymore but just type in jibberish to look at the answer and copy it in afterwards [if I am lucky, and it get’s re-asked in time, before my brain gets messed up with another of these that comes inbetween]).

So I am wondering, is anyone here having any tips, any mnemonics, any other strategy to remember how those are read? Something like ”来” is always “regular” (月 and 年 are read like the main on’yomi Kanji-Reading you learn first), but stronger :smiley:

So what I am hoping for is not an advice like “these are hard/irregular, you’ll learn them eventually”, but hopefully a list of tips and tricks how others have managed to remember one of these; and maybe if enough people joined in, we’d finally have a list of helpful sentences/mnemonics/ideas to crack them all :slight_smile:

Here is a list of ideas:

毎~: まい → Mice; mice-themed Vocabulary: Mice make a にち sound (毎日); they play a role in Cinderella and like Cinderella being magically transformed, the readings of 毎月 and 毎年 are magically transformed - neither use the original on’yomi anymore, but the kun’yomi readings; thus げつ transforms to つき; and ねん transforms to とし.

先月 and 先日: Last month a Centaur got me (せん and げつ [gets you]). He kept me kidnapped for a while and the other day he finally revealed why: He wanted to show me a weird martial art style - something I’ve never seen. He said it was derived from JuiJitsu and called it Cen-Jitsu.


Sorry to disappoint but I also agree with that :slight_smile:
Now that I’ve been using Wanikani for more than a year, in the category of “things I wish I knew when I started”, I would definitely write “don’t worry about remembering things so accurately with Wanikani reviews, it will become very easy words when you do immersion, until then mistakes don’t matter”. It is hard to be where you are and hear that, I know. I also spend a lot of time before starting on immersion, learning kanji until level 18 and grammar N5 / N4 (Genki 1 and 2). But immersion will come for sure if you stick to learning Japanese. And I’m really happy I didn’t spend more time in my non-immersion period trying to learn things perfectly.
But of course to each their own, if it’s really important for you to learn them now, the best advice I can give you is to make a mnemonic for each that will stick for you.


I’ll +1 the post before, some things need to be learned properly in context, there is no magical way to just get everything, as disappointing as that might be. Even if you make really good mnemonics for every word, when you get to them and see them in the wild, chances are high that you will make the same mistakes until you’ve seen them more often.
Also, there seems to be this misconception, that you can’t start immersion early, that is not true! Maybe people don’t want to and that is absolutely okay, but there are so many resources for beginners, especially for such a “popular” language as japanese. Many people did start from 0 with reading and they also made it to fluency. Most of us are still damaged by language learning in school, which only works through drills and rote memorization (which at both our brain is not actually good at, hence SRS to trick the brain).

I know there are many easy graded readers and very easy listening content on youtube, my recommendation (as it worked for me) is using LingQ. Even from 0 there are special beginner stories that teach the basics through 60 short stories, they just need to be worked through multiple times but will very naturally teach sentence structure basics and the most needed vocabulary. NHK Easy News can also be imported daily into your LingQ profile and be read with a dictionary, there is the complete content from Noriko Sensei available directly on there and many many other easy things to read. :slight_smile:
For those who need it, LingQ also tries to gameify the whole process, most useless feature on there in my opinion, but I know many people who get a motivation boost from that!


As I’ve tried to explain in my initial post, this is all nice and true, but how will this help me in my current situation? I am already immersing myself as much as I can (I did some graded reader reading, I tried to listen to some podcasts, I listen to Japanese music and I watch some really basic beginner YouTube videos), but I am not at that level where I would naturally pick up new things out of these, because I just lack the basics (especially vocabulary); so it’s not that I am learning anything there, except for getting a feel of how Japanese is supposed to sound.

In the meanwhile, ten-ish items keep popping up every time I have some new reviews due, and they frustrate and demotivate me. I want to learn them, but they just don’t stick at all. That’s why I am asking for mnemonic ideas, that will help me (and hopefully others that are/will be in my situation) ease the process. Or is your advice that I should cheat myself through them, because someday I’ll learn them naturally? Or quit WaniKani because I need immersion first? If so that is something I am not really comfortable with…

Write them on paper and hang them somewhere where you see them many times a day and always glance at the items throughout the day to force them into your memory.

I am sorry, but there is no magic to this, either you rote memorize things to force yourself to remember by going over them again and again or you trust the process that you will learn them naturally. I know that might be frustrating, but yes you are not the first person to have this problem and you will not be the first to solve that problem with time. :slight_smile:

So yes, if you need them now and you don’t care for anything else, you will need to look at them a lot and invest time to do this. Maybe try to remember a similar situation with some other stuff you really needed to remember and do the same for this problem.

For those who find this and want to participate in finding Mnemonics rather than having a fundamental discussion:

I have found one idea, that I think might work for me; I added it to the starting post, so we’ll have a nice collection there.

Hope anyone else is still willing to participate, let’s see what you come up with :slight_smile:

The other option, unfortunately not implemented in the WK system, is you say “trying to learn all of these at once is too confusing, suspend learning some of them until I have a few of them solidly in my mind, and then add back the others later”…


Well, if youre getting getsu gatsu jitsu and nichi mixed up, then one way of looking at the problem is you’re trying to remember it like solving a puzzle rather than just knowing the word. I would never guess sennichi because せんにち isn’t a word.

I made this real quick since I already have a python script made to do it for me. But its the audio for all those words in 5 separate instances shuffled around. Listen to it, imagine the word meaning and kanji, and say it out loud. Listen to it a few times and you should start to know when your answers “sound wrong”. Just listen to it any time you are doing work around the house, walking, or just want to sit down and focus for a few minutes.


来日 is also a word. Never heard it used in the context of “future days”, but it’s there in dictionaries.

Yes, learning from context. As in, the more you interact with native content, the more recognizing these will become automatic :slight_smile: .


Wow, that is a great tip. Thanks for sharing this :pray: This will help a lot I guess!

I actually just used the search on WaniKani, basically to get the readings for the table, but stumbled upon this one missing in WaniKani, so I thought it would be written some other way (similar to 去年 instead of 先年 for last year); but I’ll add it for completions sake. Thanks for pointing this out!

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For the 毎 ones, the way I remember will be convoluted to most but it works for me. I use the ‘mice’ pneumonic, and “nichi” sounds a bit like the squeaky sound mice would make.

And then for 毎月 and 毎年, we are continuing the mice theme, and I think of Cinderella and the words magically transforming, because neither of them use the original on’yomi you first learn but the kun. :magic_wand::jack_o_lantern::sparkles::sparkles:

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That’s magical :sparkles::sparkles: Thanks! I included them into the main first post!

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