Confusion with Core Vocabulary decks

As the title says I am a bit stuck with using core japanese vocabulary deck anki cards atm.

To give a understanding of my situation, I have been living in japan on a US base for almost two years now. I have recently enrolled to attend a local Japanese university so I can get my Student Visa and stay here as I have fallen in love with it and have many connections I am not prepared to leave (My fathers retiring so I will have to leave if I don’t get a VISA status.) This college is also perfect for the career path I want.

The school has a preparation program that is full school days 5 days a week from november to april, and although this course is created to get you to an N3 level or near that by then, I want to be prepared as well as possible so I am not overwhelmed in a classroom.

I’ve always had a great interest in Japanese, but I never knew how to start, I just learned by ear and conversation. But now I am dedicated to studying and have taken up WaniKani and a few other applications/books. I planned on doing this until I could get to a basic level and just fully immerse properly (I live in japan and all my friends, co-workers, and partner are Japanese. Its a literal language learning gold mine.)

Though the problem I am having is I am trying to use Anki decks along side wanikani, but a large portion of every deck i’ve seen is Kanji. While I do I understand Kanji is included in it, I want to learn my Kanji from WaniKani rather than pure memorization as the process is clearly different here.

Are there just not any strictly Romanji decks or am I being blind?? I was curious on what everyones takes are on this as I could definitely use some help… Maybe my studying process should be changed?

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It’s romaji, no N (as in Roma, the Italian name for Rome, rather than anything to do with the Roman empire). However, you want to rely on romaji as little as you can manage - kana decks are a better choice.

But… relying entirely on kana is hard. Without kanji, it’s impossible to tell the difference between, say, じんこう and じんこう. My suggestion is, if you want to rely only on WaniKani for the kanji, leave the Anki decks until you’ve passed at least a few levels.


In this case you need to keep on doing WaniKani until like level 10-20 to get a grasp of the most essential kanji. Yes, you need them :smiley: .

If you want something with kana, I recommend either articles on NHK Web Easy which have furigana above all words with kanji + dictionary look-ups and/or shounen manga which has furigana so you can read the words even if you don’t know many kanji. If you’re reading on a PC, I recommend Yomichan (a browser plugin) which gives you dictionary look-ups in English (f.e. via Jisho) so you can learn kanji from vocabulary, a little more organically.

As @Belthazar mentioned, you don’t want romaji. While Japanese romanization is quite accurate, that’s just a crutch.

Tango N5 Anki deck is a good place to start as it has furigana in the answers and also you get to hear the word and context sentences. I am currently doing this and enjoying it and plan to move on to N4 deck when completed.

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What you can do with a vocab deck using kanji is look up any new kanji on Wanikani as they’re introduced in the Anki deck and use the mnemonics from WK and the SRS of Anki to remember them. Then you’ll experience a sprinkling of already learned kanji as you move up through the WK levels. It feels pretty neat:)


Sounds like you really need a deck with furigana included. Since you’re in Japan you might consider picking up some of those flash cards the native use. Like the ones elementary school kids use to learn English. You might be surprised to hear this but it’s possible to learn Japanese without the Internet or Apps. That’s how we did it in the old days. :slightly_smiling_face:


Given how many kanji/words share readings in Japanese, I honestly can’t imagine doing a core vocabulary deck with absolutely no kanji. It’s pretty much the only way to distinguish words in written Japanese (that I know of, at least.) It’s already been said here, but I would recommend waiting until you’ve gotten at least a few levels into WK and then try using a core deck that uses kanji. You’re going to need to know kanji in order to read many common words in native media.

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I really appreciate this reply, and sorry for the spelling mistake :sweat_smile:. I also realized I miss typed what I meant. I wasn’t looking for a deck with strictly the english spelling of the word, but I was looking for one with Hiragana and Katakana. Though I will definitely hold off until I have a basic grasp of kanji and then dive into the Anki decks. This seems like the best course of action, as the Kanji atm is pretty overwhelming for me to learn through decks, while it’s much easier here. Thank you very much!

I’ll see if I can find some of these around, I already got some kids books for grammar so this is something I can definitely see being helpful, many thanks!


As an avid lover of sumikko, this might actually make me study more often lol

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To OP, have you tried Torii? It has furigana so you can learn the words through kana and just have exposure to the kanji without being required to memorize it.

Also as someone who also lived in Japan for a few years before enrolling in a proper language school, be prepared to be disciplined. There may come a time when you feel like you are hitting a wall, and studying a language you previously enjoyed feels like an absolute slog. This is normal. Go easy on yourself in times like that and remember it’s ok to do less, or even take a break. Trying to force your way through at max effort can suck the joy out of the process. Of course everyone’s language learning journey is different, but it’s not uncommon to hit a period like that at some point. Just a small tip :slight_smile:

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