Confusing words in the same reviews cluster

There are a few pairs of words (sometime more than pairs) that I always confuse. For example:
比例 vs 対比
関心 vs 感心
光栄 vs 栄光

My problem with those, is that by now they always appear in the same reviews bunch. I (usually) make a mistake with the first, and then I am correct with the second because I know which one was the first one.
My solution for this so far was to always mark them as wrong, because then they keep coming back, but it just doesn’t seem to stick in my mind.

What do you guys think I should do about such things? Should I contiue mark them as mistakes to see them more even though it evidently doesn’t help, or should I just let them slowly progress to burned and hope that one day I’ll learn them through reading texts or something?

How did you deal with wirds that were confusing to you?


I take them a pair at a time… I open the individual items in two separate tabs and study what the kanji mean. I sometimes make up my own mnemonics (occasionally using songs) or trying to find some way to make them logical to me…

But also… I sometimes decide to move on and brute force them or do my best to focus on other words… with the understanding that sometimes WK isn’t the best source for certain items and that I should encounter them in sentences. Dictionaries and/or other resources can help…


Still have problems with 比例 vs 対比 and 光栄 vs 栄光. But you know what, reading made me really KNOW 関心 vs 感心.

So I would say just let them be. You will have more of these clusters in Wanikani the further you get. The only real thing to get them into my brain at least is to read a lot of material where the items appear. When I have the context, it makes it somehow easier to actually remember the words.


I just do them anyway, if I fail them I fail them. They will be cleared up in immersion eventually.

Or you could just make your own mnemonics for them, I simply didn’t have time.


It’s a mixture of reading example sentences / looking up for more examples, or explanations; revising mnemonics; and seeing from natural contexts.

Like, I probably won’t miss #2; and #3 is good by clear mental imagery (probably via auditory memory + mnemonics).

Nonetheless, remembering stronger via those three methods has time-energy cost; that it might be better to let the memory be weaker, and SRS (review interval) handles the job.

one thing I dont like during a batch of review is similar words with same meaning and then one word with slight different meaning

it makes hell for me!

some time ago this happened with words meaning frequency, frequency, frequency, and then… frequent

come on, you are asking for them to become leeches right away.

To this day I always confuse them in reviews :smiling_face_with_tear:

If you’ve noticed they’re starting to leech, mark them as correct and move on. You’re here to learn kanji, not vocabulary. You might never use those words in your life, or when you do use them the context will help you remember them far better than WK did (because you’ll be adding them to a more detailed Anki deck post-WK, right? :slight_smile:)

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Random thing I did for these:

光栄 starts with a k, but in English it’s honor.
栄光 starts with an e, but in English it’s glory.

So, if it starts with a consonant sound, the translation starts with a vowel sound and vice-versa.

Basically, try to find something easy to remember that you can use to differentiate them, but I guess that’s the idea all the time, huh? :sweat_smile:


I have problems with employment/occupation and rules/law. For some reason, I answer one word of those pairs, and it turns out, the correct answer is the other. I am unable to memorize when should I use which, but the Japanese readings I can answer correctly almost always.

At least for the rules/law pair, I think the pattern is that if at least one of the kanji means law, the whole word means law. If both mean rule it is a rule. This is because laws are more important than regular rules. (there is 規律 which doesn’t follow that rule, but it can mean either law or rule). This way you can reduce the problem to remembering which kanji means law and which kanji means rule.

I also struggle with the employment/occupation pair. There it does not help that the word for occupation uses the kanji for employment.


I think it’s good that pairs like this get introduced close to each other: that way I’m forced to figure out a key difference between them to keep them separate from each other.

I just recently encountered 栄光 vs 光栄 on WaniKani. My mnemonic is the catchphrase from NieR:Automata, 「人類二栄光あれ」, “Glory to mankind” — since I don’t have an equally strong mnemonic for the other way around, but I remember this is a part of a pair, I figure that must be the other part of the pair, 光栄.


Both rules and law are stuff you have to obey or else…, and employment/ occupation are both related to earning money. That is, I think, what makes those pairs confusing.

I have that problem with the kanjis too, not just the vocabulary

These problems for me are a direct result of trying to remember the meaning of a word based on the meaning of the kanji it is made of. This fails if the kanji are too close to each other in meaning.

So far I have had limited success getting around this issue by coming up with mnemonics based on the pronunciation of (part of) the word instead. This works better, because these are often further apart. These tend to work best if you come up with something yourself, but by keeping in line with the WK mnemonics of the ritz and socks, you could make a story about:

The high judges that write all the laws are very fancy people and only stay at the fanciest hotels, like the ritz.

If you don’t obey the rules and regulations of your household by folding your socks wrong, your mother will get angry with you and force you to do it all over again.