Better retention on mnemonics

Hi everyone!

I would like to get some suggestions from the community. What I currently do when studying is just simply go on through my review pile. I am now at level 11 and there are mnemonics from enlightened or guru that I can’t remember. Is that normal? Because of that, I am planning to try some things but would also like to get feedback.

First is to try creating a comic for the mnemonic. I’m more of a visual learner. Although I’m not sure how hard it will be as I get to higher levels. I’m also not good at drawing so it can be a reason to slow me down, but I think it will help me remember more.

Another is to use the “Memory Palace” technique. I have used this before but not in learning Mnemonic. I know only the basic. My problem here is that I need to create many palace for all the mnemonics. I think this is also slow but a little bit faster than drawing since I’m just using my imagination.

I appreciate any suggestions or feedback that might be able to help me in learning. :slight_smile:


Do you still remember the reading and meaning, though? Because the mnemonics are just a crutch to help you remember, and there is no value in retaining them once you‘ve internalized reading and meaning.

If you forgot reading and/or meaning of some of the higher-level items: That’s pretty much normal and just means you need to memorize them a bit better :slight_smile: The techniques you described can help you. The forums also contain threads on alternate mnemonics (maybe those stick better for you?) and memorizing techniques.


I remember things best from habit/routine.

Here’s how my brain would have broken it down: 犬, which is いぬ, is dog. The kanji has the radicals ‘big’ and ‘drop’. The word kinda sounds like ‘a new’, so a new dog I see every morning when I walk to work could have a big drop of [redacted]. And so… every dog I run into I’ll mentally slap the kanji over the doggo’s head.

I feel like there’s maybe some official name to how I did this memory retention method, but it could just be me.

As a bigger heads up, I’m also an ultra newbie (like holy heck I’m still Level 1 newbie), so I’m not experiencing the same difficulties you’re experiencing. I thought sharing this could help though

1 Like

forgetting the mnemonics is normal and expected.

the mnemonics are training wheels to help you write the meanings and readings of new kanji into your brain. but you really don’t want to hang on to those training wheels any longer than necessary. after all you’re here to learn a language, words and their meanings. you’re not here to learn thousands of little stories about Mrs Chou and Jourm the Farmhand etc.

when i’m doing reviews and i can’t remember a reading, or remember a reading wrong, then i go back to the mnemonic and work on it some more. that includes changing it to make it more memorable. for me that usually means making them have a bit more impact. for example: 上 i didn’t just find Jourm’s toe lying on the ground, (spoilered because it’s a little violent) it’s lying on the ground because i hacked it off with a hoe (and the hoe appears in various other mnemonics, and is memorable because i inflicted bloody violence with it). this works for me because high-impact kinetic stuff makes it easy to remember for me, for you it’ll probably be some other spects of poor Jourm’s toe lying on the ground which you want to enhance.

the trick is to create context for you to hook the things you’re learning on to. that’s what you’re doing when you’re creating a comic about a new kanji, or when you’re building a memory palace. and it’s what the mnemonics help us do. so both of your proposed methods probably work quite well. but as you said, they might be more work than necessary, and have diminishing returns on the time invested ^^


Yeah. There are some that I do forget the reading and meaning along with the mnemonic. Most of them are those already in Guru or Enlightened so when I make mistakes, they get a level down again. Maybe it’s also because of the default mnemonics so I’ll check and give the alternate mnemonics a try.

I also noticed that, that there are some of the vocab/kanji that I don’t actually use mnemonics anymore and just remembers them instantly when I see them :slight_smile:

I’m a bit worried that I’m still in level 11 and already forgets the old vocab/kanji.

1 Like

Not sure if it will stick on me with just tagging the kanji to the object as visuals. :slight_smile: There are also some of the words that are not actually object but are actions or event so I don’t know how I can manage to tag that. Maybe I’m not good at imagining things :sweat_smile:

Yeah. I think I need to change some of the mnemonics to make it stick more in my memory. I actually just use the default mnemonics and some of them doesn’t make sense to me, I mean I cannot imagine. Since I’m not good at constructing new mnemonics, like @NicoleIsEnough said, maybe I’ll try to find new alternate mnemonics here in the forums.

i only change the mnemonics if i need to (i.e. i get reviews wrong). and do stick to the re-appearing motivs/characters, because that will help when new kanji with the same readings appear.

what i mean is always use Jourm for じょう, and always hurt your shins for しん ^^

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.