Flashcards from written media, should they use the most used writing or as written?

I’m playing through a game in Japanese that uses mostly kana, while making flashcards of any unknown words.

I’m unsure if the best approach would be to make the cards prioritizing the way the word is written in the game, or if I should prioritize the most common way of writing the word.

For example, the word 上った is written のぼった in the game.

In this case, should I make my cards prioritizing 上った, which is likely the most common way to write the word, or should I write it as it’s seen in the game?


I reckon I’d go with dictionary form for verbs rather than any conjugation, though that might just be personal preference. Whether you go with のぼる or 上る is down to whether or not you want to study the kanji at the same time.


Thanks for the input :slight_smile:

Good point about verbs, I reckon conjugations will come naturally over time.

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yeah, l like @Belthazar says, dictionary form is best.

It’s perhaps a preference, but there is actual use to learning it in this way, which is good to know.

By doing that, you’ll learn how to search correctly for more info in any dictionary. you also learn the form you’ll find the word in “vocab lists” that the various reading and listening clubs are using (using google exelsheets) - they also rely on dictionary form. :slight_smile:

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Like everyone else, I would say it’s preference. If the kanji usage is very uncommon I would skip it unless you already have a very fairly high level of kanji. If it’s not that uncommon but doesn’t appear in kanji form when you encounter it in the wild, I think it’s worthwhile to make it a kanji vocab card, with the kanji on one side, and the meaning and reading on the other.

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I asked this question on reddit as well, and someone there mentioned that unless you have enough knowledge to know which kanji form to use in cases where a word can have several meanings, it may be better to just use kana for the flashcards (where kana is used in the game of course) so as not to learn the wrong meaning-kanji relationship by mistake.

Well, I was assuming you knew the meaning of a word and the kanji it uses. If you don’t know either of those, try a brief search because if the word uses kanji taught in common education, it will likely appear as a first-page web search result. If you can’t find it or are still uncertain, just use the kana.

It gets unnecessarily confusing when you’re using a resource like Pokemon for instance that dumbs down the kanji even where it is present. That’s why unless the kanji version of a vocab word is less common than the kana version, the kanji version should be used when possible, because it actually eliminates a lot of confusion.

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