I remember reading about kanji primarily meant for names (outside of common kanji) and while the list is, at first glance, massive (863 characters…lord), I wondered if any of them are included in wanikani, or if there are any plans to ever include some of the more common ones. I’m only level 7, so I have a ways to go, but I really am curious about it.
Dug around and found this old reply, wonder if it still applies maybe I’ll ask again when I’m near level 60.
There are already some jinmeiyou kanji in WK, but there is not really a system or reason how they are chosen.
By the way, the intention of the jinmeiyou is to restrict the permissible kanji used in names, if a Japanese name has more arcane kanji you need a good reason to keep it. It is not a “to learn” list.
As the name suggests the kanji are mainly for names (which Japanese people also struggle with because almost anything goes), they should not be considered known in words by publishers or newspapers the same way the jouyou kanji are.
Hmm. I was hoping to generate a list of exactly which Jinmeiyo kanji are taught by WaniKani, but for some reason spreadsheets on Google Docs are just showing completely blank for me…
As a guess, though, I’d be willing to hazard that the ones taught are used in common placenames or family names…
Edit: Ok, it works in Chrome. I’ve come up with a list, but it just occurred to me I’ve not updated my WaniKani lookup table in a while. Also Community Day has already started in Pokemon Go. Sooo… let me get back to you.
Alrighty, here we go. I’ve listed the kanji, and the level at which you learn it in WaniKani, and my best guess as to why it’s included - these are my personal opinions, and they could be wrong (maybe some of them are just there because Koichi likes how they look).
First set: Jinmeiyo kanji that aren’t Joyo kanji at all
|乃||52||Functions as posessive の in formal writing, especially on tombs, so you may encounter it|
|之||55||Functions as posessive の in place names (e.g. 中之条, onsen town in Gunma)|
|也||45||Often appears in male given names, read as や|
|亮||51||Appears in male given names, reading is りょう|
|伊||47||Appears in place names - for example 伊勢 (also a WK vocab) or 伊豆 or 伊賀, read as い (but very occasionally as だ, as in 伊達, which again is WK vocab). As WaniKani teaches, it’s also the kanji abbreviation for Italy (as in 伊太利)|
|凌||58||Jisho lists 凌ぐ (taught by WK) as a common-use word. It’s also a male given name, reading is りょう|
|凛||56||Female given name, reading is りん or りり|
|吾||46||Archaic way of saying “I” (吾輩は猫である by Natsume Soseki is a famous literary work), also appears often in place names and family names with the reading あ|
|哉||57||Appears in male given names with the reading や|
|嘉||56||Appears in more than a few place names and family names with the reading か. Also, several historical era names. Also, the card game karuta can be written in kanji as 嘉留多 (but as a foreign loanword, it’s usually not)|
|噌||35||It’s the そ in 味噌 (みそ). You’re going to see this, guaranteed.|
|堰||50||Means “dam”, a common thing around the place (though big ones usually use the English word, ダム)|
|嬉||40||New addition - it’s 嬉しい, 'nuff said.|
|庄||46||Reasonably common in place names. Aside from that, though, 荘 seems to be used more commonly in generic vocab (like 荘園 or 荘官, though 庄屋 is typically 庄)|
|斐||39||It’s the kanji used it 甲斐, as in 生き甲斐. 甲斐 is a place name in its own right, mind, but the vocab is often written 生きがい (due to 斐 not being Joyo)|
|昌||55||Fairly common in given names, where it’s read as まさ.|
|智||56||It’s the ち in 那智 (なち), Japan’s highest single-drop waterfall. I’m sure you’ve seen all the tourism photof it. It’ve been there. Also used in a few other place names.|
|曙||53||Could be a poetic term, maybe. It’s a place name, too. And a WWII destroyer.|
|杏||54||Well, it’s apricot - like most fruits, it’ll usually be written in kana, but most people will probably know the kanji. It’ll be written in places. Also a female first name, read as あん or あんず or occasionally きょう|
|柴||56||Shiba inu are famous even in the west. It also frequently appears in family names, and also there’s Shibata in Miyagi Prefecture.|
|栞||54||It’s a female given name, read as しおり or かんな. Not sure how common it is to use the kanji, though - it’s not on my list of common names at all.|
|梓||59||Girl’s given name - for example, Azu-nyan in K-On! spells her name with this kanji. Also, there’s an express train with this name.|
|楓||57||Girl’s given name, read as かえで, or sometikes just かえ|
|淀||50||I’m fairly sure WK teaches this purely because it wants to teach Yodogawa as vocab, but I don’t know the significance of that. 淀川区 is a ward in Osaka, for example, but there’s nothing on WK or Tofugu to explain why it excites them so much.|
|漣||58||Male given name, read as れん - there’s two footballers born in the nineties with this name, for example. Can also be a WWII destroyer, but it’s read as さざなみ in that case.|
|烏||57||Another common word with a non-Joyo kanji - it’s just からす, crow. Also used in a few names, like 烏丸 (からすま)|
|瑛||55||美瑛 is a place in Hokkaido, but I’m not sure that’s big enough to warrant a mention on WK. Also a girl’s given name, read as あおい, あき or あきら. WK has no vocab using this.|
|瑞||58||It’s used in a few place names, like 瑞穂. It’s also the kanji for Sweden - 瑞典|
|瓜||53||I’m actually kinda surprised this isn’t Joyo. It’s “melon” - you’ll see it in 西瓜 probably everywhere.|
|笠||44||I guess this is just a bit old-fashioned to be a Joyo kanji, but it’s occasionally used in names. Like Mikasa. (But not Mikasa from Attack on Titan, no - their names are all spelt in kana.)|
|綺||28||It’s the き in 綺麗. Too specialised to be Joyo, but still common enough that people will probably recognise it on sight. (Side note, the 麗 isn’t even Jinmeiyo.)|
|緋||53||Probably taught so that 緋鯉 can be covered.|
|綾||52||Used in proper nouns, mostly read as あや|
|翔||45||Jisho lists 翔る (taught by WK) as a common-use word.|
|聡||51||Used in given names, where it’s read as さと or さとし. Or, apparently, あきら|
|胡||53||It’s part of 胡瓜, which, like 瓜 above, is probably widely recognised.|
|茜||54||It’s a reasonably common girl’s given name|
|莉||53||It’s jasmine, but it’s also frequently used in girl’s given names. Like 茉莉 (まり)|
|菅||58||Common in surnames. 菅原 is the 97th-most-common surname in Japan|
|葵||53||Girl’s given name, read as あおい|
|蒼||57||Also a girl’s given name read as あおい|
|蒙||53||It’s the kanji for Mongolia (蒙古)|
|蓮||51||Well again, it’s the lotus flower, something probably everyone would know.|
|蟹||50||Crab. Not sure what they’re getting at, omitting the Crabigator from Joyo. 鰐 isn’t even Jinmeiyo.|
|諒||53||It’s a given name read as りょう, but I’m not too clear on why that’s so significant.|
|輔||52||Fairly common in male given names, read as すけ|
|遥||56||Fairly common girl’s given name, read as はるか|
|遼||55||Girl’s given name, read as りょう. And, interestingly, はるか.|
|阿||54||Quite common in place names, read as あ. Also represents Africa (阿弗利加). And of course there’s 阿保.|
|隼||52||Falcon. Also the name of the Hokuriku Shinkansen.|
|靖||56||Taught because of its use in 靖国神社, but it frequently appears in given names (still read as やす)|
|颯||52||Taught because it’s in 颯と, but that’s usually written in kana.|
|駿||53||Male given name, read as はやお. It’s Hayao Miyazaki’s given name. 宮崎駿.|
For the other set of Jinmeiyo kanji - the ones that are slight variants of kanji that exist as Joyo - near as I can tell, none of them are taught on WaniKani.
Whew, that took longer than I’d expected…
wow, awesome work! this goes above and beyond satisfying my curiosity thank you!
Wow I understand now why a common complain about Wanikani is too many jinmeiyou kanji already. I was expecting a dozen or something but 58 !? On the other hand… jeez the jouyou kanji list is really helpless… How is it possible that stuff like 嬉しい, 杏, 烏, 瓜, 綺麗, 鯉, 蝶, 蟹, 隼, or 鳩 are not jouyou ?
Also I always wonder if wanikani could have added those common given name as vocab somehow. I guess it’s technically a bit difficult, because they often overlap with actual words, but it seems a bit wasteful to teach all those jinmeiyou kanji and not the common name associated with it.
Edit : Forgot to say, thanks a lot Belthazar for that list. Many time when learning some kanji with WK I was a bit scratching my head at how those kanji were actually used, but it’s much clearer now !
I personally wouldn’t sweat the plants and animals too much. Even when they have joyo kanji, they’re often written in kana, so not much of a loss there.
Well, fifty-seven. But of those fifty-seven, only three are taught below level forty.
I confess I’m still perplexed by some of them. Like, what’s so important about Yodogawa that WaniKani makes a specific point of teaching it? Why not, like, 三鷹 (city in Tokyo where the Ghibli Museum is located - and hey, 鷹 means “hawk”), or 八幡 (the second-most common type of shrine in Japan, after Inari), or even 札幌 (the capital of Hokkaido).
Or, like, or 木曽 (a popular tourist area in Nagano Prefecture - they’re both Joyo kanji, and the 曽 is already taught as the radical “mask”) or 那覇 (the capital of Okinawa, and both are kanji that WK already teaches).
Actually, I’ve been struggling to remember any of the words that use 覇. Maybe I’ll manage better now that I’ve realised it’s in 那覇…
Yodogawa-ku in Osaka is the home to Nissin Foods, I’ll grant that, and yeah, this is a kanji website not a vocab website, but I feel like there’s several better choices that your average Japanese learner would actually encounter in the real world.
as an aside, Mitaka is so beautiful one of the calmest parts of Tokyo. Shame that it’s an absolute nightmare to get tickets to the Ghibli museum. Plan months in advance and make sure that you’re ready for when the ticket slots open.
Thanks for the amazing list! I know an 杏 that’s read アンジュ and always kinda wondered why her parents wanted the slightly different sound.
Thought of one possible reason why WaniKani teaches 淀 - because Yodobashi Camera, the fourth-largest electronics retailer in Japan (and second-largest online retailer after Amazon), is written in kanji as 淀橋. Except… since 1974, it’s pretty much invariably written in katakana. ヨドバシカメラ.
Same reason western mothers give their kids names odd spellings or pronuciations?
Any guesses why 或 is listed as jinmeiyou? I see "ある” used quite often but without character and came up for grammar point あるいは…little strange for a name through.
Yeah, just to be clear, this isn’t the verb ある, but the prenominal adjectival ある, as in ある日 (one day, a certain day). Not suggesting you didn’t know that, but just figured I’d clarify it.
I don’t see why it would be all that strange for a name, since it has readings that commonly appear in names and the meaning is not negative or anything.
The jinmeiyou list just extends the jouyou list to complete the kanji that can be, but of course are not necessarily, used in names.
EDIT: For example 或美 (あるみ), which I found on a name site, seems like a perfectly pleasant name.
Thx! I wasn’t aware. I’m horrible with names or even understanding how parents decide on kanji for their children. All I know is that if it’s too obscure, it’s annoying to explain all the time as they get older. For this instance, I’m find knowing kanji helps to understand the associated grammar points that use ある(even if the kanji is rarely used)
That is a very nice name!
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