Chart of Frequency of Kana used in WK Kanji readings

@rfindley, sorry to bother you, but have you ever thought about making a list of kanji readings that WK accepts, ordered by frequency? I think something like this would be very useful for people that don’t use WK mnemonics/want to always associate the same reading with just 1 concept (example: こう => Kouichi).

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Ordered by which frequency?

  1. Frequency of a reading (in general) on Wanikani?
  2. Frequency of a reading (in general) in the wild?
  3. Frequency of a reading for that kanji in the wild?

I suppose if the purpose is to make your own mnemonic system with an emphasis on reusing associations, I’d go with (1) above.

If I were building my own system from scratch (i.e. the “accepted readings” aren’t determined yet), I think I’d go with (3) above if there’s one specific reading that’s much more common, and (2) if there are several common readings to choose from.

Either way, any of the above would need a data source. The data source for (1) is this thread. I don’t know of a good data source for (2) or (3). Are you (or anyone) aware of one?

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This is what I’m looking for, but only from kanji. Because of this:

The idea is to have a list available of all onyomi and kunyomi readings that WK has as available answers for kanji reviews, in a decrease order of frequency. This way, people can just decide what to associate to each reading while they progress with Wanikani. Wanikani does this, but when applied to their own mnemonics. If the user wanted to use their own word to associate with the reading, they’ll have nowhere to “organize” it.

How so? This is about moras, which is different than readings. I want せま for 狭, not せ + ま. Or am I not getting something? :thinking:

Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough with my first post.

Ahh, right you are.

So, here are the readings sorted by number of occurrences in kanji. (It’s not so easy to do the same for readings in vocab):

click to view






か, かん












い, しん, せん, ちょう


きょう, さい


けい, ほう, ぼう


じょう, てい, はん, ひ


こ, りょう


かい, しゅう, ふ


きゅう, たい


かく, ゆう, よう




さ, せき, たん, は


げん, そ


えん, ぎ, しゃ, すい, と, どう, はい, れい


えい, きょ, きん, こん, さん, しゅ, じゅう, じゅん, ぞう, りゅう, ろう


お, がい, しょ, す, せつ, だん, ち, ちゅう, はく, ひょう, へい, よ


う, こく, さつ, しょく, じん, そく, たく, ふく, ふん, ぶ, ゆ


いん, おう, く, さく, しつ, じょ, た, つ, てん, ほ, もう, や, り, りん, れん


がん, けつ, だ, だい, てき, とく, ねん, ばい, へん, ぼ, めい, やく, ろ


あ, え, えき, かた, かつ, が, ぎょう, ごう, ざい, しゃく, しゅく, ぜん, そん, ぞく, ちん, てつ, ど, な, にん, のう, ばく, ばん, びょう, ぼく, み, もん


あい, おん, がく, け, ざん, しき, しゅん, じゅ, なん, に, の, ば, ひん, び, びん, ふう, ま, まい, まつ, まん, みょう, む, めん, も, よく, らい, らく, らん, りょ, るい, れつ, わ


あつ, あん, えつ, おく, かわ, きゃく, きょく, くつ, くん, ぐん, げ, げい, げき, こま, すう, ちく, とつ, にゅう, ね, はち, ばつ, ひつ, ぶん, べん, ほん, ぼん, め, もく, りつ, る


あく, あさ, あま, いく, いつ, うら, かさ, かな, かみ, きつ, ぎゃく, ぎょ, ぎん, くさ, くも, ぐ, ぐう, こた, ごく, ごん, さと, しか, しち, しば, じつ, じゃく, じゅく, じゅつ, じょく, すみ, すん, ずい, せ, ぜい, そつ, だく, ちつ, ちょ, つい, つう, でん, とん, どく, どん, ない, なつ, はし, はじ, はな, はる, ひめ, ひろ, べつ, まく, みつ, みん, ら, れき, ろく, わく


あおい, あか, あかつき, あかね, あき, あけぼの, あこが, あずさ, あせ, あそ, あたい, あたま, あつか, あな, あに, あめ, あら, あらし, あんず, いき, いけ, いし, いそが, いだ, いち, いと, いな, いぬ, いね, いばら, いも, いろ, いわ, うかが, うた, うつ, うで, うば, うめ, うやうや, うわ, うん, えり, おか, おき, おつ, おど, およ, おれ, おろ, おろし, かえ, かお, かか, かがみ, かき, かぎ, かけ, かたまり, かに, かの, かぶ, かべ, かま, かめ, からす, かる, かれ, かろ, かんが, がつ, がら, がわ, きく, きち, きつね, きり, ぎゅう, くう, くき, くせ, くちびる, くび, くま, くわ, げつ, こい, こえ, こおり, こし, こつ, こと, これ, ころ, ごろ, さか, さき, さくら, さま, さむ, さむらい, さら, さる, さわ, ざ, ざつ, しお, しおり, した, しの, しま, しも, しゅつ, しり, しるし, しろ, じき, じく, じゃ, すが, すき, すぎ, すく, すけ, ず, せば, せま, ぜ, ぜつ, そこ, そば, ぞん, たき, たけ, たつ, たて, たな, たに, たま, たまご, たましい, だつ, だれ, ちが, ちち, ちゃ, ちゃん, ちゅ, ちょく, つか, つくえ, つた, つて, つな, つぼ, つま, つめ, つる, づ, て, てら, で, でい, とうげ, とお, とち, とど, とら, なか, なし, なぞ, なに, なべ, なや, なり, にく, にしき, にじ, にち, にょう, ぬ, ぬま, ねい, ねこ, ねつ, のま, のろ, はこ, はさ, はた, はたけ, はだ, はつ, はと, はね, はは, はば, はま, はやし, はやぶさ, はら, はり, ひか, ひき, ひさ, ひだり, ひゃく, ひる, ふくろ, ふじ, ふつ, ふな, ふね, ふゆ, ぶた, ぶつ, へび, べい, ほく, ほし, ほそ, ほたる, ほり, ぼつ, まくら, ます, また, まつり, まど, まる, みが, みぎ, みさき, みず, みどり, みな, みみ, みゃく, みや, みんな, むかし, むぎ, むこ, むし, むすめ, むね, むら, めす, めつ, もつ, もど, もの, もも, もり, やす, やみ, やや, ゆい, ゆき, ゆび, ゆる, ようや, よこ, よど, よめ, よろ, よろこ, よん, りき, りく, りゃく, りょく, れふ, ろん, わい, わか, わが, わき, わた, わに, わら, わり, わん


Yes, thank you so much! I wanted to write something about mnemonics on the Guide I’m writing for people starting WK and I thought that a list like this could be very useful, mainly for people not using WK mnemonics. Can I add the list to it? (Of course, I’ll tag you as the one that collected the info).

Yeah, I think doing this for vocab is completely unnecessary :sweat_smile: It would be caos.

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Sure, feel free to use it. No need to tag me, though.

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…and this is why I’m using my mora method, so I don’t have to come up with nearly 300 different mnemonics for readings that only occur once!

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Thanks from me too for this list; it reinforces what I’m doing by showing that all 47 of the 3+ mora readings only occur once, so I am being efficient by doing 1 & 2 mora mnemonics instead of reading mnemonics.

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And how do you do mora mnemonics? Could you give me an example?


Belthazar’s on top of things! That’s a good example, especially as WK uses both ‘rack’ and ‘luck’ for らく.


Thanks @Belthazar :v:

@Rowena ,

Are you choosing not to do mnemonics for these readings?

As I wrote somewhere else in this thread, looking at the first 10 levels, I knew all 6 of the 3-mora readings as previously-ingrained vocabulary, so I am imagining that there will continue to be a strong overlap with the vocab for those readings.

I’m not suggesting my method is perfect, as vocab will still be a challenge, but it does strike me as more effective for the kanji, which will perhaps lead to me having more time and energy to devote to vocab… :woman_shrugging:

Don’t worry, I don’t intend at all to “criticize” your strategy, just understand it :smiling_face: Of course, making mnemonics for all the readings that only appear once is a waste of energy. For those, the user would just do a mnemonic in case they end up having problems with the kanji. What I’m trying to understand is which is the best method: moras vs readings. To be honest, I’m feeling like at the end of the day, this would depend on the user preferences :thinking: Well, thanks for helping out :smiling_face:

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The chinese scholars that created kanji originally created it with built in mnemonics to make it easier for themselves, so just look up characters in and you’ll get all the information you need, specifically the glyph origin section. It shows you the history of the character, and breaks it down to the semantic and phonetic sections and what each of those means!
For instance,the butcher radical actually means city (when it’s on the right side), so characters like 都, 郡, 邸 are more are self-explanatory. The other half of the character is the phonetic side, so 君, and 氐 show you how to pronounce it.

Another example, why does moon mean body part (胸, 脳, 腕, 胃, 腹, 脚 etc)? If you go to Wiktionary you’ll see that it’s actually the character for meat, not moon! It just got mixed up cuz of how similar it looks. But it being meat makes so much sense, that you don’t even need a mnemonic to tell you that it’s a body part anymore. The other half here again is just the phonetic component. So what’s a body part (⺼) that’s pronounced ふく () called? 腹 (stomach)! You just have to know that 复 is fuku, but that’s easy, and you can even do it without realizing it. After your first character that employs it (level 27) you’re set for the rest of your kanji journey (e.g. 服複復馥覆 etc), so you only have to learn it once for it to auto-mnemonic for the rest of time.
There’s a neat script that shows you the phonetic composition just in case you missed it!

Another thing that I only discovered recently that I wish I knew before is: 礻(示) means god/altar which is why 神 is composed of it. But 衤 actually means 衣 (clothes)! Which explains why 複 means clothes. This is why Wiktionary is so essential to actually intuitively understading kanji!

All in all, make wiktionary your friend and you won’t really need mnemonics anymore! (I still use mnemonics tho cuz they are helpful sometimes, but a lot of times it’s much easier and faster to just see the semantic-phonetic composition and be on my way to the next kanji)

EDIT: An easy way to see what a character is composed of without the need to check wiktionary is to add some seal or oracle script fonts to your Jitai. I did it and it is absolutely amazing! (Recommended fonts: A hanko seal script font, A handwritten seal script font, and an oracle bone font.) It WILL be confusing in the beginning, but after a bit you’ll get used to it!

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Sorry for taking so long to answer properly - I’ve been a bit under the weather. Until you asked for this data (thanks for doing so :blush:), I didn’t really know where I stood with the 3+ mora readings, so I hadn’t had a chance to think about it.

It would be simple enough to extrapolate the mora method and use either (person/person/object) or (person/object/object) for these items. It becomes a bit clumsier for the 4 mora ones, but there are only a handful.

I wasn’t at all worried of criticism from you - you’re one of the most affable people here - I was concerned that I may have come off as sounding like I had the solution to WK mnemonics from what I’d written previously :flushed:, and just wanted to set things straight.

Thanks so much for all this info!

I do have both a kanji dictionary and Henshall’s Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters with etymological info for each character - I will be resetting soon with the intention of doing fewer lessons (12 instead of 21) more intensively each day, and what you have written has reinforced my intention to refer to these books while doing my lessons.

I do think I have the phonetic script you mentioned, and I will do my best to add the fonts you mentioned to Jitai (I may be back to ask questions!).

no problem :+1:

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