A Newbie question -_-

I’m lv2 right now. I love the way wanikani makes stories to help us memorize better but I’m just having promblems with the kunyomi and omyomi reading.
Could u guys help like when to use each one.

( from picture) why not Japanese reading? I thought it use the hiragana combo or something.ToT

There is only one vocab that is right, that is, OOKII.

Please do not read the Kanji in vocab too much, but just read the whole word.

Warning. Sometimes the vocab doesn’t use Kun or Onyomi, but exceptional reading.

This is why I also do E–>J (by kana/listening only).


たい is an onyomi (Chinese reading) and おお is a kunyomi (Japanese reading),… so you had the logic right, but you haven’t memorized which is which, I guess. You thought you were using kunyomi. As polv said, don’t worry to much about that and just remember the words.

1 Like

I was confused about Kanji and readings for weeks a few years ago. This is my advice:

Don’t try to memorise readings (pronunciation). Kanji represent concepts. 山 represents the concept of a mountain, for example; 書 represents the concept of writing. Now that we know that, we can take a look at the words that the Kanji is used in. You have to remember that Japanese was a written language for a few thousand years before they stole the Chinese characters over a millennia, incorporating them into the language and creating some of their own characters. Kanji were created to accommodate the words that already existed in the language; not sounds.

Now that we know that 山 represents a mountain (i.e. the meaning of the kanji), we take a look at the words that Kanji is used in. One word it is used in is やま, which is written 山. Another word is とざん, which is written 登山.

Yet, the on-yomi readings are ‘さん’ and ‘ぜん’, so why is it read as ‘ざん’ in this word? Truth is, readings are only really helpful in guessing how it might be read in a word.

It’s pretty pointless to learn the readings of a Kanji; instead, you should learn the meaning of a Kanji, and then learn a number of words that are written with that Kanji and how that Kanji is pronounced in each word.


You’ve really got to focus on the word here as part of vocab studies in WK and elsewhere as others have said. Experiencing enough Japanese (either listening or reading or textbook or whatever) to know the adjective big is おおきい is essential. When these pop up in sentences and you can identify an i-adjective then you’ll remember (hopefully) おおきい.

In my own experience living in Japan before doing any real study meant I knew the word おおきい way before I ever knew the kanji for it or the たい・だい reading. So it works the other way too.

There are of course times when it’s difficult to work out or it’s a strange reading or whatever regardless of how you learnt it. Even Japanese people slip up sometimes although not with a word as common as this.

Personally I think a good grounding in textbook/hiragana/katakana/conversation/vocab work is well worth doing before attempting anything but a few simple kanji with a single reading for each.


I thought figuring out the kanji is better but I’ll change to remembering the whole word now thanks for advice.

Haha my bad. Thanks

Thanks for the advice. I won’t waste time with those readings now

Thanks. I understand now



By the way some of the vocabulary you learn will use the reading given when you first learn the kanji (when it is pink). So, you will need to learn both - however as others have said, it is easier to just learn them through the vocabulary and you get a feel for which reading is naturally right in certain situations.


Thanks :heart::+1:

Remember also that the mnemonics are there to help you. :slight_smile: Some people don’t use them, which is fine, but they’re a big part of WaniKani and can help you out a lot.

When you learn a word, if the reading is different from the reading you first learned with the kanji, you’ll get a mnemonic. For example, you learn the on’yomi reading たい with the kanji 大, but you need the kun’yomi reading おお with the word 大きい , so you get the mnemonic about saying “おお!” when you see something really big.

It may be tough at first when you start learning Kanji, but the confusion goes away and all that’s left is a desire to learn even more Kanji! Kanji+Kana after it almost always means Kunyomi.

Nice advice for me thanks

So does kunyomi or omyomi itself has more than one sound?

Some kanji have many kunyomi and many onyomi. Some have very limited readings.

See for an example of readings gone wild.

The first time I saw I thought I was remembering something wrong but instead it just has several readings. I was puzzled for hours hahaha

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.