Confused about 八 - four fish / eight fins?

Hi everyone. I started WanaKani only a few days ago and I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far. The Kanji however frequently trips me up.

I understand that it looks similar to the fins radical. I’ve no problem remembering the fins radical either. But for some reason, I’m not seeing eight fins belonging to four fish in that image.

How have you remembered this one? Is there an alternative way of reading it?

Thanks :slight_smile:


Hello and welcome!

You’re not expected to see eight fins, it’s just the mnemonic / story you say to yourself so that you remember it means eight, not two or fin or something else. If this mnemonic isn’t working for you, go ahead and make your own; I’ve done that loads of times.


Yeah, I don’t think 4 fish is supposed to be depicted in the visuals of it… it’s just that you repeat the story of catching 4 fish to yourself (I guess maybe because it’s alliterative it can work for some people) and that’s how you remember that fins = 8.

I’m not really sure what this means.

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Thanks. I’ll have to remember to give myself the permission to make my own when necessary :slight_smile:

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Thanks. I think repeating the story to myself until it sticks is what I’ve been missing. I’ve been too focused on the visual triggers and sometimes that doesn’t work.

I don’t want to confuse you, but it’s probably helpful to look at how this kanji is handwritten as well when you are learning it. Wanikani shows you the standard computer font version of this kanji, but it’s one of the ones where the handwritten version looks rather different.

If you look on the Jisho page for this kanji (八 #kanji - you can see the handwritten version, which actually looks a lot more like the fins radical than the computer font version does.


Ah! That is very helpful, thanks. I’ll add Jisho to the bookmarks :slight_smile:

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