Anyone else forget the mnemonics?

For the vast majority of kanji I’ve learned I know just recognize it holistically, but for the ones that slip my memory I find myself not able to recall what the mnemonic story was or even what all the radical names are (some have changed in the years since I started but probably good to know). Is this a sign that it might be time to reset from 60 and really drive them home?


Your own mnemonics or WK’s?

If it’s WK’s, I would work on making your own since you’re already lvl 60. If it’s your own that you’re forgetting, I would maybe reset so that you have to re-burn them.

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My question is, do you need the mnemonics?
Especially if you’ve memorized the majority of kanji without them.
A reasonable potion of the time I’m not even looking at the mnemonics. Will this harm me long term? TBD. I’ve seen some arguments that although mnemonics can help, if you can you should try to memorize without them.

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I also rarely looked at the mnemonics the first time I did Wanikani. This time around, I thought I really better use them because I was having trouble with some of the readings (like if I needed to type something like 人気, I’d type hito or jin or maybe nin and then select 人 and ki and select 気, and the end result is correct but I didn’t type it correctly and even if I did, I didn’t even know if it was the correct reading or not). I thought I didn’t even really know kanji :open_mouth: So I reset.
But I’m still not reading them. I actually do remember a lot so I barely read the lessons this time around. Doing it a second time around is really helping a lot, I think because this time I know what I have difficulty with so I can really focus on those things and think about why I have trouble with them.

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I do this sometimes when I am trying to type something in the wild. Not for reviews. I take my wrong answers with those ones, but it is a good-enough real-world workaround.

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I definitely use the mnemonics when first learning the kanji, but I usually forget them and just recognize by sight after a while. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, really.


I think that’s what’s SUPPOSED to happen!


Yup, almost always. I really only have to try and remember the mnemonics for leeches.

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Yes, sometimes I do forget my pneumonics. There are some great medical textbooks to help with that though

This post was made before @saibaneko changed this thread’s title :sleepy:


Well, as most people have said, you don’t really have to remember them. I have though from time to time been able to recall them during a burn review when I got a bit confused, so they certainly exist there somewhere in a dusty corner of my brain. But, hopefully, I won’t have to use them at all.

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i remember lots of mnemonics but from what i’ve read it’s not quite normal. even if i recall the meaning/reading without the mnemonic, i often remember it or parts of it even on burn reviews

i wouldn’t reset just to relearn the mnemonics but i think i might reset one day and actually try to run through without so much dependence on mnemonics.

PS: i corrected a typ-o in your title. hope that’s OK. i thought it might not get clicked on as much otherwise.


The what? :eyes:

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No problem! btw it’s type-o

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I forget … burned items.
So, I guess the point is if we don’t put the things that we have learned into use,
or we don’t come into them here and there then we will forget.
I think it’s natural in language learning. We forget what’s not important (and remember new things too)
As long as we keep learning and using the language I think it’s fine.

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I forget all the mnemonics, I mean, they’re not what I’m trying to memorize. If I already know the reading of the word, or I can remember it through a visual way (ex. 半 and 判) then I don’t even look at them.

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In my experience, WaniKani has been incredible for teaching me mnemonics for readings, but ultimately I think it could really use more logical or useful meaning mnemonics, and have mostly abandoned their suggestions for whatever I can find on

You might be aware of it, but all the mnemonics on that site are user submitted, and some of them can be really immature, but I almost always find them more vivid and easier to remember. The problem is they generally expect you know the primitives introduced by Heisigs Remembering the Kanji, which you can probably find a list of online (and also there’s a bit of overlap with WaniKani).

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I think the purpose of mnemonics is as a tool while learning the kanji.

They’re learning “shortcuts” or scaffolding to help you remember each kanji. But like, once it’s in your mind or you’re reading a book it’s not like you’re going to go through the mnemonic process for every single kanji (at least I hope not? That sounds exhausting).

Once you understand the meaning, the mnemonic isn’t used so much. I use Wani Kani’s mnemonics to help me remember the kanji in the apprentice/guru stage or to tell apart similar looking kanji, but I know I’ve long-since forgotten the mnemonics for the first ten levels lol


yes I can only remember a few of them

I am still at the beginning of the WK journey, but Ms. Chou is going to be the stuff of my nightmares for years to come, along with the gangly spectre that is the farmhand Jourm, king of dirt.

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It’s fine - you’re supposed to forget the mnemonics after a while. If you can’t recall a kanji, its mnemonic or even its radicals, then I agree that you should probably do a touch-up.

For people ITT learning kanji without bothering with mnemonics at all (or radicals) - you’ll run into the same problems someone doing rote memorization does down the road.