Drawings proposal and confusion about kanji vs. vocab readings

I don’t know, my studying method is quite different from what I assume is how most of you folks do. I do reviews at least once a day, lessons at a slower pace since I can’t remember too many concepts at once. Anyway I am really taking my time with this with no deadlines planned whatsoever, since I’m learning on my own and WK is really my only tool for kanji learning. So I’m not sure I want to do things the way you suggest.

What would you recommend using beside WK? Of course, always in the freeware side of things, since I have yet to decide if I’ll buy WK’s premium package.



Not Free


I would do wanikani up to level 10 just to get a good base and then switch completely to kamesame, and jpdb, which is what I’m doing myself. Also you need a good dictionary, I like Takoboto (free) the best.

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Let’s take an example:

  1. 見 - standalone kanji, meaning “view”, “outlook”
  2. 見物 - kanji compound: “sightseeing”, “watching”, etc.
  3. 見る - kanji + okurigana: “to see”, “to look”, etc.

Number 1 on it’s own is not a word. You can’t for example say 見【けん】です and expect to be understood.

I think this is a bit of backwards thinking. First, there is no hard rule they are supposed to use the kun reading. 大した is read たいした not because how 大 is “supposed” to be read, but because たいした is a word and おおした isn’t. Remember that the spoken language came (mostly; simplifying here but you get the gist) first.


That sounds fairly normal to me, judging by what I read here on the forums. Some people speed-run but mostly people try to find and stick to a manageable pace.

My point is really that especially if you’re going slowly with WK, if you do nothing but WK then that could be years of nothing but SRS reviews, and a lot of it will either be of no use for a long time or else you’ll forget it because you don’t ever use it. More variety is more interesting, and usually people want to learn Japanese for some other reason than because they like doing flashcard reviews, so it’s more motivating to order your studies so you’re making progress towards doing a little bit of whatever you want to do with the language sooner. There is a lot to the language that is not kanji.


This this this! Whenever there is a rule, there is usually some kind of exception (or a bunch of them!) to be learnt alongside it :slight_smile:

And, as @pm215 said, WK often teaches you exceptions almost immediately after the common or standard readings, because it wants you to acquire a good sense of how that kanji might appear in the wild.

@Achilleus : Something that might be helpful is to download the userscript that tells you whether the review is asking you to give the kun or on reading (link below). I LOVE this userscript, because as well as removing any frustration or guesswork during reviews, it has also really helped my brain to distinguish kun’yomi and on’yomi over time and to better understand what functions they serve.


I am using this userscript to add image based mnemonics:

Hey, I did WK by itself for a while and it worked out perfectly fine, just took more time obviously, and there were a lot of things that didn’t click properly until later when I had all the pieces.

That said, I don’t remember asking myself too many questions, I was just a memorizing machine for weird symbols, and it was fun.

Then when I got into the grammar is when I worried about what something being intransitive meant, which word is more common, etc.


There is a thread here that addresses that topic.


Just like most other languages as well. In English we learn that we make something plural by adding an “s”. One apple, two apples. One dog, two dogs. One day, two days. Hey, I got this!. One bus, two buss. Nope, that would be two buses. One goose, two gooses. Nope that would be two geese. One moose, two mooses… wait you are not going to trick me this time, two meese. Nope, that would be two moose. Ox/oxen. Phenomenon/phenomena. What was the “rule” again? My head hurts.

Which makes me remember this old routine.


A TL:DR of this is that natural languages are not programming languages. There are rules, but those rules are not ironclad.


Here is a more up to date version:

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There are exceptions to this so it is not always true. WK will tell you when they use the on readings. Some even has the kun reading for one kanji and the on reading for another…makes it very confusing sometimes.

Thanks! ^>^

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Unfortunately I cannot install those add-ons since I’m using Chrome on mobile… If I ever find myself using WK on my desktop I’ll think about it.

As for the rest, thanks very much to y’all for the precious explanations, insight and tips. I think I have a deeper understanding now about how the whole thing goes. I think it’s just a matter of keeping focused while studying and do not ever assume anything.

I’m considering the idea… Guess I’ll check how things look after level 2 and have a start at grammar too. Do you advise Tofugu’s grammar or maybe some other option?


Tofugu’s grammar articles are generally really good but AIUI they don’t form a coherent course or progression, so I feel they’re more useful as reference or a second take on something you don’t understand in your textbook.

Where to start depends a bit on your preferences. Personally I went the textbook route – after all they’re designed as an all-in-one curated path to teach you basic Japanese. The Tofugu roundup of beginner Japanese textbooks is a decent summary of your options there. If you don’t get on with textbooks there are some more SRS-style apps like Bunpro or MaruMori. I have no experience with those but if you use the forum search feature I think you should be able to find some discussion of those. There is also a “dive into native material super-early with an e-reader set up to do hover-over dictionary lookups and one click creation of SRS vocab cards” path that some people like (but which is a bit ‘hard-core’ as a learning system). If cost is an issue there are also free resources, but you’re likely to find the trade-off is having to do more research to find them and look in more places to find information to fill in gaps.


I still like Tae Kim as a free comprehensive introduction to Japanese grammar.


Which is what makes natural languages so beautiful! They are like the relationships with people. Imagine if our relationships were robotic, we would be so insufferable and boring. That’s why I love studying Japanese or any language, it is the core of a people, and shows little parts of how that people function relationally!