All my leeches are transitivity pairs and 人 (にん or じん)

I’ve been using Wanikani for four months now, no Burns yet and over 1000 Enlightened items. I keep Apprentice below 120, but early words like 下がる are starting to drop back down to this level. I don’t see myself remembering some of these pairs once they show up for Burns next year, and I think I might be heading for a reset sometime soon. Is this the reason most people have to reset? I feel like my pace has been comfortable so far, but these two issues keep me second guessing myself and making mistakes.

I can’t read much yet since my grammar is pretty weak, but I feel like most of these pairs would be more clear through context and I would learn them better that way. にん and じん seem minor too, so it’s kind of a bummer to see them drop down a few levels when they reappear. I don’t want to stop learning new kanji and vocab because of these two issues.

Has anyone else had this problem and figured out a solution? Am I going to be overwhelmed with reviews once I start Burning items? I’m averaging around 92% accuracy on kanji and vocab, but these pairs are probably closer to 50%.


I can tell you this 100% works. I used to have a hard time distinguishing transitivity and intransitivity, but after started reading a lot of native material, now I have a better grasp about this topic. My advice is to start learning all basic grammar and then after that start reading A LOT of native content. Also, there is a pattern to it (though it does not always follow this pattern 100%), you can watch this video for more in-depth explanation.

As for にん and じん, I always associate にん with Nintendo, and try to cram it into mnemonic, no matter how absurd it is, and it works for me so far. For example 商人 (しょうにん) means trader, and I create mnemonic “trader that sells Nintendo stuff”. I think this also has a pattern to it but I can’t remember how it works.


I’m nowhere near your level, so I don’t know about resetting, but I’m having tons of trouble with にん/じん as well right now. I’ve started making up my own little stories/sentences, “gin” and “Nintendo” related
I feel like Wanikani is lacking a bit there, sometimes we’re given multiple readings, and when it comes to vocab the only “help” is “you learned all the readings, so you know how to read this”


I´m in a very similar situation, the Item Inspector script, Wanikani Self-Study Quiz and Wanikani Self-Study Hide Info could help, take your time to understand the word or kanji, maybe checking example sentences or copying the item and google it. Using a Google extention like JapaneseIo or similar ones can help you a bit. Also you could decrease or stop lessons for a while. For the じん and にん readings I have a mnemonic that has worked for me so far: when the じん reading appears making an image that has strong people in it and the にん ones with weak people or something that fits in the narrative. Example:
主人 (しゅじん) my husband is a very strong man
住人 (じゅうにん)all types of residents usually need to be saved in games, because they are weak
Again, this is somehitng that helps me remember but has nothing to do with the actual meaning.
Somebody in the forums worked on a website called Natively the link takes you to n5 resources and some of them are free and very easy to understand. For grammar Genki and TokiniAndy videos gave me some ground to have an idea of whats going on, but it depends on what works for you.
I don´t interact in the forums so sorry if this is messy and english is not my first language but I hope it helps, in the end it´s about learning don´t feel bad about restart if that´s what you think you need.


Thank you, this is good advice! I watched that same video a while ago and it was very helpful, so I’ll rewatch it soon now that I’m actively struggling with these. Maybe it will stick a little better this time.

I’ve been using the same mnemonic for 商人! That along with 求人 were getting shuffled through my Apprentice pile endlessly because I would get them mixed up every time. Eventually I decided that Nin(tendo) sells you things and a Djinn will grant wishes/help. The past couple of levels have been hitting me with so many 人 words that I just can’t keep them straight anymore. I guess carrying those mnemonics over into every new word is probably the best option. Does the difference ever start to feel natural the way I assume transitivity pairs eventually will?

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Yes, I feel like this is the most difficult part of whatever word they’re in and the WK mnemonics don’t seem to touch on them! “Nintendo” has worked for me too but I think じん has been harder to shoehorn into a consistent word. Maybe it would be better to treat じん as the default reading and work Nintendo into words that use that reading.


For me it did (for the words wanikani teaches) but I don’t have a satisfying theory about why. So I think it’s just familiarity - your brain learns what the right combo for each instance is and supplies it, a bit like a native English speaker will be able to read out “lead pencil” and “the dog’s lead” with different sounds without even a tiny hitch, even though the spelling is the same.

One thing that did help me was making sure to say the correct word out loud at least few times every time I missed it, to get the sound of it into my brain.

If it’s any consolation, the things I’m now having trouble burning aren’t the 人 words, or anything I struggled with and got wrong the first time round, it’s the ones that I got correct each time past enlightened, and then my brain decides at the 6 month mark that it’s never seen this thing before :smile: Good luck!


I’ll have to look into those scripts soon, I think the only one I’m using now is a font randomizer. I also use the Flaming Durtles app which has a self-study option, and it’s helped a little. I like your idea for mnemonics aound 人, I haven’t figured out a good one yet for じん so I’ll try that out.

I’m working through Genki 1 slowly with a class, we’ll finish the first book during the next school quarter. Only 8 chapters in so nothing about these pairs yet, and the vocab is pretty light.

I don’t feel like I’ll need a reset for any reason other than these pairs, but it’s hard to know at this point. Maybe I should make an anki deck with nothing but these and just get to drilling. I wish there was a way to keep moving ahead with kanji and vocab without these words dragging me back.

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Which traits does make something -native content- if i may ask. I m still not sure what exactly this term says.

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I always speak the word out loud and have the audio set to autoplay for this reason! It’s helped a lot, especially with pitch accents I think. I can spend so much time staring at the word and wondering what the reading is that all I can remember the next time is the jumble. It sounds like it might be best to be more reflexive and go with whatever feels right. I really worry about the six month mark… will it just feel like a guess?

Also, does the woman’s voice sample sound much lower quality than than the male voice actor to anyone else? I usually listen to them both to learn the pronunciation but the female voice samples sound like they were recorded on a phone or something.

Interesting, I hadn’t noticed the difference in sound quality for the male and female voices.

I reckon your approach of practicing and then going with whatever reading ‘feels’ right after that practice is going to be the best way forward, trying to keep in mind that each mistake is an opportunity to get some more practice in, it’s a good part of the system and not something to worry about. I often have to remind myself that mistakes are good, they help me learn!

If you have to guess at the 6 month mark, and you get them wrong, then that’s ok too - overall there’s only abut 70 人 words read as にん or じん in Wanikani, and they don’t all come up for review at once, even if it feels like a lot of them are clustered around the level you’re on now! If you have to relearn most of them again in six months that’s not really an overwhelming workload at the pace you’re going and shouldn’t need a reset, you might need to take on new lessons slightly slower but that isn’t a disaster either.

All the best and hope it gets easier for you, I remember the early teen levels being a really sticky patch for me since that’s when first you get hit with a wave of things that are similar to other things you’ve learned already. The mid teens felt a bit easier by comparison, although everyone’s experience is different.

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Yeah, I do have to remind myself that failing is the point of SRS sometimes. It does help me learn to get immediate feedback after a mistake. Even when I make a typo, I try to think of it as another opportunity for practice. It just doesn’t seem to work as well for these pairs in particular.

I didn’t know that there were only around 70 人 words in WK! That’s reassuring, I feel way better about that now. I think I might just try to brute force memorize those words before the next quarter begins and figure out what the mnemonics should be. I can definitely see myself at the final level with a few dozen of those still stuck in Apprentice.

Thanks for your advice, I hope we both make it to level 60 eventually!


In case you’ve never seen it before, here’s a post I found helpful with figuring out if it’s にん or じん. Hopefully it helps you too.


Content that is in… Japanese? I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.

I had never seen that thread but it’s brilliant! I’m excited to get these reviews again so I can try out that advice. I didn’t even know there was a consistent rule for these readings.

I second that video about transitivity. 下がる and 下げる used to be leeches for me too (along w/ other transitive/intransitive pairs, but I remember being particularly annoyed with those two), but seeing the patterns broken down like that really helped. I still haven’t burned 下がる but now I’m 100% confident I’ll get it right when it comes up :slight_smile:

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Native content is reading (or video) material produced for the Japanese market. Video games, books, manga, news, etc. The idea is that this material meets the standards of spelling and grammar that a Japanese person would expect and understand.

This is as opposed to, say, a WK learner putting together a sentence in Japanese. Who knows if their spelling and grammar is correct. I read a lot of material translated by amateurs from Asian languages into English, and the grammar is pretty bad at times.


Hello, I don’t think you need to reset over a few words you don’t remember. But if you have trouble with the same words over and over again you indeed need to do something.
For じん and にん I have some advice that may seem very stupid but anyway. You should try pronouncing these kind of word out loud. And you will quickly notice that one of them sounds better, more naturel, easier to say. For example : じゅうじん sounds super weird. Like, not comfortable with all those j sounds. So じゅうにん sounds more soft. This is the technique I use and the results aren’t so bad. It doesn’t always work, but in most cases I make it.


I try to use Nintendo in my mnemonics for にん, and then Barry Bluejeans from The Adventure Zone for じん, haha! Despite reading about the patterns for these readings, I’ve yet to be able to internalize them, so I still rely pretty heavily on mnemonics to remember them.


I use Ninjas and Geniuses for my mnemonics :laughing:

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