Differentiate Reading & Meaning

Following up on a similar thread: Better differentiate between "reading" and "meaning"
I find myself making this mistake over and over.

Why oh why is the background colour the same for reading & meaning.
Isn’t there any way I can differentiate them?

They look pretty distinct to me. The cues for which is which are enough for me not to mix them up. The background color indicates the type of review it is: purple for vocab, pink for kanji, blue for radical. I think it’s just a case of getting used to it. All the visual cues you need are there. The thread you linked also has plenty of helpful advice and information.

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Yes, the area above the input field for the answer will be white for the meaning and black for the reading.

(Sorry, can’t take a screenshot atm as I don’t have reviews…)


Vocabulary Meaning should be black letters on a light background
The answer field is white with “Your Response” until you start typing

Vocabulary Reading should be white letters on a dark background
The answer field is white with “答え” until you start typing

That’s how it should look without any scripts. If you’re not seeing this, then there’s probably something wrong on your end. I know at least one person in that thread you linked had the issue because of an outdated browser. Try making sure your browser is up to date and check to see if you have the issue on another browser.

(I also don’t have any reviews to screenshot right now)


This. And most important: once you’ve written the thing, say ‘answer’, it says either ‘answer’ (for vocab) or ‘あんすぇr’ (for reading). Or, with ‘kotae’: ‘kotae’ (for vocab, so wrong) or ‘こたえ’ (for reading).

I am very used to seeing the black background now, but if dark mode throws me off, I can always fall back on hiragana vs roman letters.

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But hey, you’re just trolling us, right? :upside_down_face: Because there is an excelent entry about this in the Wanikani Knowledge guide, with screenshots and all!


As the others said, “答え” vs. “your response” and the black/white behind the reading/meaning title are the way to differentiate them.

In the beginning I confused them too but trust me, you will know them apart subconsciously after a few review sessions.

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I use the flaming durtles app, and there’s a setting to make readings prompt a japanese keyboard, and meanings english. Basically completely eliminates the issue, and no clunky switching back and forth.

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Please allow me elaborate.

The main background colour behind the character is exactly the same.
You may say “oh but the bottom bar is clearly distinct” but it just doesn’t work for me.
I am repeatedly failing at inputting the meaning because I associate the meaning with that purple and nothing else.

Please do not suggest to me to “just get used to it” because this caused me to stop last time and I really want to use WaniKani.

You knew the answer to this question was yes when you asked it?

What else would you expect people to respond with?


Clearly true, since I can’t say I’ve noticed the difference in color (black and white) all this time! :rofl: I just look for the the Japanese 答え. Not to mention, my answer is being converted to hiragana while I write. ^^;


Been a while since I used WK and I started fresh with no scripts, however I remember there’s a Reorder lessons & reviews script. It has an option to make every item you see, to ask you reading first + meaning second (or the other way around) (or random). Don’t torture yourself with distinguishing some UI bars and try getting the script :relieved:


If you don’t want to slow down a bit to look at what you just typed, you’re going to have a hard time in Wanikani anyway, so maybe stopping now might be the right choice.

So you were trolling. We’re trying to be friendly and helpful here. Please don’t waste people’s time.

Trying to be friendly again: I know you don’t want to hear “just get used to it”, but I really think that is the way. It will pay off in the long run, Wanikani is a nice app once you get it :slight_smile:


I do agree with the OP that it is hard to distinguish the reading and meaning sections of the review. All I can say is that you’ll get used to it and 90% of times you’ll be able to distinguish them almost subconsciously. The other 10% of times you’ll start typing a meaning and realize it’s coming out in Hiragana, and viceversa, so you really won’t make any mistakes.

This being said, I think your point is valid. Many people here will defend WK no matter what, but you have the right to point out the things you think could be improved.


So uh, you’re asking for a different background color for meaning and reading instead of just reading the words onscreen and answer accordingly? I think it’s easier to just notice if the letters you’re typing is in kana. If so, it’s looking for the reading. If it shows a roman alphabet letter, it’s for the meaning.

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It literally tells you what it wants.

Left image:
“Kanji meaning” is written right below

Right image:
“Kanji reading” is also written right below.

How can you not know what the system wants?

If you’re typing out the meaning but the screen shows your input in hiragana then it would be asking for the reading instead right?
On the flip side, if you’re typing out the reading but it’s not changing into hiragana then it would be asking for the meaning.
If the screen isn’t showing what you are intending to write then it’s asking for the opposite.

i do get where the OP is coming from, i very often start typing the wrong reply first (reading instead of meaning and vice verso).

i know there’s the colour difference (black vs. white), but i could not tell you which asks for which answer. sometimes my brain will register what WK is asking for, but often not.

when i type a reading instead of a meaning, i notice quickly. my brain expects to see kana, and clearly regognises that romaji aren’t kana. the other way round is more tricky, my brain seems to think that kana look like letters, and i’ve found myself taking a sec to notice what’s off with my answer.

in any case, i don’t really have an answer for you, sorry. i’ve just learned to double-check before hitting enter.

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I’m not trying to come off as obtuse or rude, but are you having difficulty actually reading the prompt? It precisely says “Kanji Meaning” and “Kanji Reading”, so if you’re getting them wrong, maybe take more time to read what the application is asking you to provide? If you want them to always occur in a strict order, there is a userscript that can make that happen. I like doing reading first, meaning second. It doesn’t order the lessons though, so you’ll still have to pay attention there.

The stripe in the middle is black for meaning, white for reading. Another way to tell is if it’s reading it’ll put your answers in hiragana, so that ought to tip you off unless you’re going really fast. It sounds a little too subtle and easy to forget in the beginning, but eventually it becomes second nature. I don’t check or think about it at all, I think my brain just automatically recognizes it. Give it time.