Add a list of radicals that make up the ... radical

When we learn kanji, we always get a list of radicals that make up the kanji. But sometimes new radicals are also made up of old radicals, and for those we don’t get a list. For instance, the radical “gambler” is made up of “legs” “blackjack” and “cross”. This was sort of implied in the description of the radical, but I think it would be more clear if we could see those radicals as we read the description.

This wouldn’t be necessary for every radical, but I think for some it could really help.


But…if you can clearly see the base radicals in the higher order radical, why would you need a list?

Of course, then you have things ‘zombie’, which has dirt, mouth, and…something else for ‘base’ radicals. WK wants you to focus on the shape of a person with dirt on their head, not mouth and whatever is under it, since that won’t become part of any mnemonic.

The goal is to help you recognize the larger grouping for faster recognition, and focusing on the base radicals just slows you down as you mentally try to connect the half a dozen radicals you see in a kanji together into a mnemonic that hasn’t been taught.

Ultimately, it’s not like WK radicals are used anywhere outside this program, so focusing too much on them isn’t productive.


Eventually it’s easier to recognize the grouping, but for radicals that are similar, I also think it’s helpful to have the list of other things that make up the radical, as a way to focus on differences (again, not for every radical). At some point, I will just recognize every kanji as well, but as I study before I reach that point, it’s really useful to be able to break them down into smaller pieces if I don’t immediately recognize it. It’s not helpful to say, well eventually you should just recognize the kanji, so it’s not important to break them into smaller pieces when someone is still trying to learn them. I think the radicals are similar.

I think you’re right that it doesn’t make much sense to focus too much on the radicals here, but as kanji building blocks and because of how they’re used in mnemonics I still think it’s necessary to spend some time and energy learning them.


Although maybe I should have been more clear, I don’t think this is necessary for every radical, that would definitely be overkill. But maybe the complicated ones, or ones that are similar to others, could benefit from it.

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It is pet peeve of me too - although i had somewhat oposite problem than wanting to see breakdown on kanji.
I know WK is not supposed to be used as search site for kanji and instead i should be inserting radicals into jisho or something like that, but when encountering new kanji i dont have furigana for, the fastest way to find out what it is (if it it common kanji) is often to just search for one of the radicals and check “Found in kanji” section (especially if you recognise some less common radical). But if this kanji uses some more complex radical, it wont show up there. If there was also “Found in more complex radicals” this wouldnt be a problem.
I think im already beyond the lvl where this would be super helpful as i dont have many new radicals to learn, but it still might help someone else.


It’s just as fast or faster to use your smart phone and Google Translate using the handwriting input method. Very easy to look up kanji that way.

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I think the wk team didn’t want to increase the number of steps you need to do to recognize a word. Currently you might break it down to kanji then if you don’t remember those, you could break those into radicals. If you could break it down further, it would probably cause confusion. Also, radicals morph a lot, so not the best use of your time to remember them based on their composition.

There is this - A list of kanji with common components that aren't Wanikani radicals and there are also images.

However, WaniKani actually makes sure that Kanji are composed of radicals, rather than Kanji are composed of smaller Kanji or radicals are composed of smaller radicals.

Stacking up Kanji would be better, but the system isn’t like that.

Nonetheless, this is Aedict dictionary app for Android.

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I just convinced myself the gambler radical looks like the gambler from the pokemon red/blue version sprite. I see him every time.

This guy:

I honestly thought it’s just me. I also am well aware that people have faster methods that should work, but this is the most straightforward process for me right now.
As for handwriting into google tl or a different site, the experience I had so far with doing this sort of thing is that I would end up with random garbage and most certainly not the kanji I’ve been looking for :smiley:

I would welcome a change like that.
If I can chime in, I miss searching for user synonyms and the support of romaji search a bit. Especially the synonyms I’d really appreciate.

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