Differentiate Reading & Meaning

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.

Thank you that is helpful even though it’s not a full solution.

thank you! You’ve described my situation perfectly!

To everyone that is asking if I am trolling, or why the middle strip colour aint enough, or why I cannot read the text telling me what to do.

I identify meaning through colour in less than a second.
But it sometimes takes up to 10 seconds to figure out if it’s asking me for meaning or reading.

I don’t know why I am like this but that’s how it is with me.

I get where you’re coming from. Especially at the beginning I run into this problem a lot. Since back then I knew the kanji / vocabs already I had some of them internalized pretty well. So when I typed onna for 女 I was pretty confused why on earth this should be wrong :sweat_smile:

Maybe it is especially since WK is doing a great job differentiating radical / kanji / vocab by distinct colors. This sometimes can trick my brain into “i got it, its a […] that is requested”.

But part of the whole idea behind how the app is structured is to not get your brain into some kind of auto-mode. So I always (try to) remind myself to double check before hitting enter… or live with the results.

Apart from this, I totally agree with what many others mentioned already. After using WK on a regular basis I figured out strategies to (somehow) pay more attention whether it is reading or meaning that is requested. Just be patient with yourself :slight_smile:

I don’t think the main app will be (nor should be) changed. But maybe you can ask in the scripts section if someone would like to help you out with a user script doing some additional color changes.

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I’m happy that so many people find the differences obvious - I’m one of the people that do not. If you’re a word-shape reader like me, Reading and Meaning look exactly the same. One of them is white on black and the other is black on white. Without looking at the screenshots above I’d not be able to tell you which is which. Yes, when put side by side the difference between the two is obvious, but the reviews never give them side by side. You only see one of the two. I’ve made it to level 51 and I still mess up.

Here are your options for distinguishing them:

  1. Slow down. Take time to manually spellcheck your answer, as the difference between English and hiragana in the answer box is fairly obvious. Downside: doesn’t work when you’re in a hurry or when the answer is something like three letters - you’re likely to hit enter too quickly
  2. Accustom yourself to starting every item by saying out loud which of the two it wants. This takes less getting used to than you might think. Downside: sometimes you still mess up
  3. Install the double check script - it has an option to shake the box if you switch meaning and reading. Downside: almost none - double check is meant to give you the option to push through items. Only is a downside If you don’t like having that option or if you don’t want to install scripts.
  4. Install reorder ultimate - it has an option to always give reading first then meaning, which takes away confusion. Downside: debatable (and debated on this forum if you search for it). Some people indicate only being reminded of a review item once (reading-meaning in succession) reduces your recall compared to being reminded of it twice (when the two come by separately). Not an issue for everyone
  5. Install a custom CSS for the review page. You can give one of the two boxes a dashed background or different colors or… Downside: depends on whether your issue is with similar layout or with the similarity of the words. See also 6
  6. Ask for a script that changes the words Reading and Meaning to f.i. Japanese and English (which don’t have the same shape). Downside: depends on whether your issue is with similar layout or with the similarity of the words See also 5

Thanks for your replies guys, I put in a request in the proper section: https://community.wanikani.com/t/different-colour-for-meaning-reading/49196

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