Do you only learn vocab words of kanji you know?

So I’m in a bit of a situation right now. I started reading to build up my vocab. I would read something, and when I find an unknown word I add it to anki together with an example sentence. If I have not yet studied the kanji yet (as with most words for now) I usually include the word with furigana attached. But I’ve found that it’s really difficult to understand a word for kanji I have not yet studied, since I have no clue as to what they might mean (for eg; I had a hard time with the word 業界 until I learnt both the kanji, and now it’s pretty easy). But on the other hand, studying words of only the kanji you know sounds limiting.

What do you guys do? Study the words of kanji you know? Or words you don’t know too?


I study kanji I know and I don’t. I use anki only when I found leeches.


If I find a word I’m going to study that I know the kanji for, or at least recognise it from other words, then I add it in the kanji. If the word is simple kanji then I learn it in kanji. If I don’t know/recognise the kanji then I learn just the hiragana but then if I see the word come up multiple times in kanji I change the word to kanji in my flashcards so I can learn to use the word in that context. When I look a word up on Jisho and there are multiple common words with the same readings I’ll put the word in Kanji so I can’t mix it up. I always include the reading in my flashcards too and test myself on that as well as the English.

Sorry if that doesn’t make sense, I can clarify anything if you need :slight_smile:

Short answer: No. While reading, if I find a word I think would be useful to remember, I put it in my notes document even if I need to add furigana to one or more of the kanji.

Long answer: No. In addition to finding words in the wild, I also use JLPT vocab material and iKnow, which introduce useful vocab without regard for the kanji involved.

It is indeed too limiting to only learn vocab you already know the kanji for. Get out there and remember all the vocab you can; don’t worry if you can’t read the kanji right now. You definitely remember words more easily if you also know the kanji in them, but it’s still good to write down and try to remember words where that’s not yet the case.


I study words regardless of if I know their kanji. I just try and make a quick mnemonic then and there for the kanji and it’s reading.

This really only applies to words I come across from reading, though. I never learned words from a list that had kanji I didn’t know.


I study kanji I don’t know whenever i see it. Usually I’ll spend like 3 minutes making a mnemonic for it using Wanikani’s radicals


Well I usually check if and when I’ll learn it in WK and if it’s pretty soon, then I don’t bother to put it in anki, but otherwise, whether I know the kanji or not, I’ll study it. I also take a particular sense of pride in studying words with kanji that aren’t taught here at all XP

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Oh, yeah. Mnemonics are definitely the way to go, whether it has unknown kanji or not. Here’s an example from my notes a few weeks back:

ふさわしい – Appropriate (to a setting, requirements, or level of formality). (Who saw what she wore? It was not appropriate.)


Even after WK, in Anki I always study unknown kanji in isolation before I study the words that contain them. That’s just the way I find easiest to learn.


While it’s much better to learn when you already know all kanjis in a particular word, I go with exposure for getting extra vocab from reading and watching shows. You don’t get the context that the kanji provide, but you get the context of the phrase or just the memory of where that vocab came from.

The problem with it was that I kept furigana of the word until I already knew the kanji, and then one be one I was erasing furigana of the word as I became aware of those kanjis. Boring and time consuming task … :sweat:

I came across an Anki deck with a script that shows furigana on hovering hover words!!! That has been one of the greatest improvements on my Anki routine thus far.

Here is a sample card (you can use the sript on it :wink:)

I sometimes find kanji trip me up and that it’s easier to learn what the word looks like along with its reading. For example, in WK reviews I often tripped up with 大した despite knowing the word conversationally because I used to look at it and think “something big…”. Whereas ignoring the kanji and learning to recognise the whole thing (like you do with any word) meant that I could read it more naturally.

Hopefully this makes sense… my brain is elsewhere today.

Edit: I also think that learning in this way applies a context to the word, which is useful for getting it to stick

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I usually learn words with kanji I don’t know :slight_smile: I usually check to see what the kanji means and if it’s not on Wanikani I’ll learn it. It works for me because by the time I get to the ones on Wanikani I’ve already seen them and have gotten used to them.


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