Any alternative mnemonic for 光 Kunyomi reading?

I have a really hard time remembering ひかり; this is, as I understand it, a US brand that is unknown in Europe and either I totally forget it, or I am doing it wrong.

I am also unable to come up with a good mnemonic on my self, so thus the question: Do you have any better idea to remember ひかり?It is just that reading; no problem remembering the meaning or the Onyomi reading.

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My mind is too tired for creativity, but I wanted to say that this is such a common word, that you will learn ひかり, no doubt about it.

I many cases, getting more exposure to Japanese in the wild, is the answer to remembering a reading I find. And this word, you’ll defo encounter if you start reading or watching something. :slight_smile:


Watching Slayers made me remember 光 way before I knew the kanji. The show is now quite cringe, but maybe it will work? :sweat_smile:

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I always have this song in mind for this:


Gotta say, the first song that sprang to mind was:

Though, as I was typing this post, I thought of another one:


I also use a song:


He (Pi 兀), carry a triceratops ⺌ for shining above. Damn, I made up a lame mnemonic.

Or, in Japanese version, borrowing of the Sun (り).


I used Icarus personally (sun → light). Works better for 光る which is also on wanikani!

Of course you may say that it’s wrong because it’s ひかり and not いかり but I’m French and therefore unconsciously drop all H sounds everywhere all the time anyway so it works perfectly for me!

I really like that! Is it the real etymology?


Personally, I’ve always associated 光 (and, more specifically, 光る) with Hikaru Sulu. Of course, that only works if you’re into Star Trek enough that you think about HIkaru Sulu several times a day (and to be truly effective as a mnemonic, I guess you’d need to associate him with light).

Personally, I sneeze when I look at a bright light, but perhaps there are people out there who hiccough.

According to Wiktionary, the ひか part of 光 is connected to the ピカ in ピカピカ (glitter, sparkle).

This could potentially help as a mnemonic; imagine following a strange light through the forest. When you finally catch up to it, it turns out to be a Pikachu.

(This mnemonic does have the flaw that you have to convert か to か. It might help to remember that exceedingly few kun’yomi words begin in kana with dakuten (◌゙ / ◌゚ ) … but that might take a while to internalize if you’re still a new learner.

It also requires you to remember the り part. It might help to remember that り is a very common ending for Japanese nouns, as it is the ending of nominalized verbs ending in る … but that’s not very specific to this word, and thus not a very good mnemonic.)


I made that one up on the spot.


If you watched the Pokemon anime back in the day, the character Dawn is “Hikari” in Japanese. That’s how I remember it but y’know, YMMV on that one

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Pokemon is how I remember that かすみ is “mist”.

Now I just gotta remember that 霞 is かすみ. :stuck_out_tongue:


My go to technique would be to play way too much kingdom hearts. All of those games have basically a 光 and 闇 quota per cutscene.


How about something based on the nursery rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock? Or just hickory in general?

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Andrew Jackson’s nickname was Old Hickory. When you find money with Old Hickory’s face on it, your eyes light up.

Eh that’s all I got

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So many generation gap.

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If you’re more into Digimon than Pokémon, you might recall that Kari was the DigiDestined with the Crest of Light.

If you see a shining light and hear the dramatic tunes of 「BRAVE HEART」 (or the significantly less dramatic tunes of Hey Digimon!), you can turn toward it and shout “Hi, Kari!”.

Back in my day, we didn’t have no fancy Dawn!

We had Ash, Brock, Misty and Tracey, but you know what? We were happy!
(Well, except for when we had Tracey.)

I didn’t see Dawn until I was already a man; by then they had changed the voice actors and it made me grumpy.

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Whose name, like Dawn’s, was Hikari in the Japanese version. :stuck_out_tongue:


I think starting a community topic for the reading alone will give your brain a lot of reinforcement, you’re probably good now :smiley: At least that’s how my brain works.


Wow, so many replies and most of them in a really short time - this was really helpful to me, thank you all so very much.

Unfortunately I hadn’t had the time yet to listen to the songs, but I will listen to all of them. Maybe they’ll further strengthen the connections in my brain, or maybe not, but I’ll listen to something I like? I’m excited for them, in any way :slight_smile:

Unfortunately I’ve never seen it, but I’ll write it down into my list of Japanese things I’ll need to check out :smiley:

Well, actually I like it, and this one helps me a lot. I made the “He” guy Koichi, because that’s the other reading, so it’ll stick even better. And i somehow mixed it with this one:

Because I was already using the idea of Icarus for the 羽 part, and had him glue his feathers to his arms not by wax, but honey.

So I am now thinking about that Koichi guy with a slightly french accent that he is messing up (believing that french add an H to the I sound) and trying to carry that Triceratops into the sun. That’s doing it for me. Thank you soo much :slight_smile:

That’s beautiful as well. I am a huge Star Trek fan; still the above one is already stuck in my head. But this would have worked equally well, I guess :smiley: Although - I have to admit that his first name didn’t come into mind…

(Un)fortunately I somehow missed the Pokemon/Digimon/etc. hype just by a year or two… I know Pikachu, Raichu and Mewto… and that’s about it. I know there is a dragon and a tank turtle - and a lot of strange stuff :smiley:

I also never played Kingdom Hearts (actually don’t even know if that is a computer game, or something else? :smiley: ).

In Germany we don’t have nursery rhymes, and hardly anyone knows of their existance. I have relatives in Canada and as a kid we where there often during summer vacations, so I partly grew up with Barney & Friends - and if I remember correctly, they featured a lot of nursery rhymes - so I know things like Humptey Dumptey, or the Cow that jumps over the moon, or Twinkle twinkle… but Hickory Dickory doesn’t ring a bell. If it had, I probably didn’t have a hard time remembering ひかり :wink: In German, there is not anything that hardly resembles “Hickory” (or I cannot associate it with anything). It’s totally alien to me :smiley: This also applies to Andrew Jackson (don’t know who that even is :smiley: ).

Yes, for sure! Just make something a topic and things will magically work out. Not by my own though - I was fighting with 光 probably for weeks not getting it out of apprentice; as soon as I started reading the suggestions here, it catapulted itself out of there without me even doing anything :smiley:

Again thanks to all of you, who participated! This was really fun reading, and though in the end you end up with just one answer that will stick, I had real fun to read all of your different approaches, and feel that I have broadened my horizon in a lot of different directions; I have songs to listen to, names that I already started looking up, and some random miscellaneous fun facts that I can drop at the next party. I had real fun and inspiration here, I hope you had some fun, too. Need to ask these questions here more often :slight_smile: