Am I the only one who has this problem and if not how do I fix it?

so, I’m a 15 year old high school typical kid that wants to learn Japanese and loves the culture cars and etc so I started learning Japanese like 1 month ago and I have gotten down the hiragana and somewhat of the katakana and as of right now I’m trying to get to learn some kanji and at first level 1 was easy and stuff but when I got to actually learning my first kanji by reading the nemonics and stuff like that but its like right after I read them I tend to forget what I read and what the onyomi was and overall it ends up making me very frustrated and annoyed because I’m like I just read over it and still can remember it and blah blah blah. but what I really want to know is that is there any advice y’all can give me and is this normal for people who just started kanji or is it just me?


You’re very much flexing muscles here that didn’t even exist yet or you didn’t know that they were there. It will take a bit to get used to the whole thing of kanji and onyomi and kunyomi and funny lil characters and stuff. Especially if you’ve never in your life had the need to actually learn how you can learn, which at 15 is quite likely. Swallow the discomfort you are getting now and eventually it will be way easier.


Taking a look at vocabularies bearing the same Kanji, and it might be easier to realize what’s this is all about – the limitation of Kanji readings.

If there is Okurigana, or supposedly one, there might be issues.

Also, it might not be necessary to distinguish Kunyomi and Onyomi. In addition, some Kanji readings and meanings might not be listed. Just prioritize vocabularies first.

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Don’t try to especially learn which readings are on/kunyomi, it will come mostly naturally anyway. Keep going and work with the language, don’t just do SRS and in time things will just stick.
If you do a bit every day there is no way, you won’t learn, just depending on how much you do, you will be able to create the needed structures in your brain faster.

Also, listen a lot to easy content, your brain will pick it up and it will help. Language learning is such a long process that you won’t feel any difference from week to week, but subconsciously you will pick up a lot. Say goodbye to the notion that you have control over everything you learn and embrace the uncertainity! :smiley:


okay, thank you so much. this helped me realize that it takes time and I have to be willing to go over the road blocks and etc once again thank you a lot and this really motivated me to keep pushing no matter what gets in my way!!


what am I supposed to do then if im not supposed to try and learn on/kunyomi and what does srs mean?

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Your brain will get used to it soon, don’t worry about it. Don’t just quickly read through the lessons. Stop and really think about the mnemonic hint. Really, just like, 10-15 second is enough. Close your eyes and think about the often absurd or weird hint that is presented. Use the radicals to help you remember the mnemonic which helps you remember the reading.

I did “learn” a lot of kanjis with anki only through vocabulary and visual memory, but it just wasn’t effective. I’m only on level 4 now on wanikani but it is a gamechanger, some kanjis that blurred together before is easy to differentiate now thanks to the radicals taught and the mnemonics.

Ignore all the speed threads and go your own pace, you’ll get used to the language eventually and can speed up accordingly should you want to.


SRS stands for Spaced Repetition System.

Newly introduced and more difficult flashcards are shown more frequently, while older and less difficult flashcards are shown less frequently in order to exploit the psychological spacing effect.

WaniKani program is an implementation of SRS.

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I don’t know how to say this without sounding condescending, but I promise that I don’t mean it that way: slow your roll.

At 15, I barely knew the kana and only about a dozen kanji, and I was the nerd of my Japanese class. This isn’t your fault, but you’ve probably received a lot of fixed mindset messages: you’re either naturally good at something or you naturally suck at it. The fixed mindset is harmful bullshit. The sooner you discard those ideas and replace them with a growth mindset, the better.

Go slowly. Give yourself permission to suck. Play the long game. Talk to your teacher outside of class for extra practice, if you have one. Make mistakes around native speakers, get laughed at, and learn from it. You have a lot more time than you think. I know this all sounds trite, but it’s important at your age that you develop the ability to cope with failure, setbacks, and frustration.

Maybe I’m projecting, but I was a “smart kid” whose parents expected perfection (and moved the goalposts when I achieved it). I didn’t know what to do when the answers stopped coming naturally to me. I only got my degrees by changing everything about how I thought. The most rewarding thing you can do for yourself today is practice having the willpower to be OK with struggling.


Learn only the readings WK teaches you. You’ll learn more as you get vocab.
You only need to learn what helps you pass the SRS. Meanings and Readings.

The rest comes naturally over the next 1.5 to 3 years if you stick with it.

Don’t overthink it.


You shouldn’t concentrate if this specific reading for a Kanji is the onyomi or kunyomi, because you will very naturally start to get this through the vocab anyway, it’s just another associated information with a Kanji and the more you try to cram in at the same time, the harder it will be in the beginning. Of course you should learn the reading itself.

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On the topic of remembering which is onyomi and which is kunyomi, I couldn’t keep it straight at all until I came up with a silly sort-of-mnemonic for it.

If you’re learning Japanese, you’re probably at least vaguely familiar with honorifics like さん、ちゃん、くん、せんぱい, etc, right? Because kunyomi is the reading it uses if it’s a standalone word, I started pretending that the くん in くんよみ was an honorific - so, for a level 1 example, 口 was くちくん and I imagined a little mouth guy lol. Couldn’t remember which was which until around a year into WK when I came up with that - idk if it’ll help you but it’s worked for me!


In future you may want to include a brief mention of what the “problem” is in the post title. Better for folks doing searches or scanning posts in the future. Also means others do not have to go into the post to see if it is something they want to see/contribute to.

You are just starting. It is all new. As much as you will find lots (and lots) of complaints about WK and how they do things and how it works, in your case just starting off might be good to just let it do it’s thing and work the SRS magic. It will keep quizzing you, how often will depend on what you get right and what you get wrong and for those you are struggling with you see them more and more until all of sudden you realize you are not struggling with them anymore. Everyone learns at a different pace.