Found out that the word "Insect" doesn't exist in Wanikani?

HI there! Just started learning with Wanikani almost 2 months ago and I’m also watching the new Digimon anime, so it’s entertaining for me to pause the episode when some kanji appears on screen and try to see if I can understand something with my little (but constantly growing) vocabulary.
A few minutes ago I read the title of the new episode which is translated to “The kings of the insects clash”:

I saw the kanji that according to Wanikani is Insect, but didn’t recognize the one on its left and I also noticed that it was being read as “chuu” instead of “mushi”, so I decided to look for it in Wanikani:

For my surprise, there was nothing else aside those 3 results. After some Wanikani research I found that the other kanji was described as “Descendants”, but no clue regarding that “konchuu” word.

So I decided to google it and discovered that it’s supposed to be a common word for “insect” (, and that “mushi” is actually “bug” and not “insect”.

So, my question is: shouldn’t this vocabulary be in Wanikani? I know there must be a lot of things that are not in here, but assuming this one seems like a common word, I thought it could be here.
Also with the kanji, it’s in here as “Descendants” but there is no explanation about its meaning for “Insect”, is there a lot of cases like this?

Did you ever noticed any other vocabulary or kanji that wasn’t in Wanikani? Where do you usually go look for this words?


Update: I wrote to the Wanikani team telling them about the missing word and reading. Will update again as soon as I have an answer.

Update 2: The development team answered me and said that they were going to take a closer look at my suggestion and add it to their review list for the next round of updates. Hope we can see more vocabulary added in the near future!


I don’t think anyone would argue against adding this word. That being said, the primary goal of the creators of WaniKani is to teach people how to read kanji, not teach every common word you could come across. If someone uses WaniKani, they can see the word 昆虫, guess with a very high degree of certainty that it is read こんちゅう, and then look that word up quite quickly. Quicker than someone who doesn’t know how to read the kanji. (Edit: Forgot they inexplicably don’t teach ちゅう) They can also take a broad guess at what the word relates to.

Of course. There are only about 6000 vocab items on WaniKani, and “common” vocabulary is probably somewhere in the range of 20,000 words or so. Depending on your definitions.

Most people, after they get the foundation of being able to read the kanji from WaniKani, can start to read books and other things, allowing them to absorb things organically.

But if you wanted to email them to recommend the word, I don’ think anyone would argue against it.


Unfortunately, only the kunyomi of 虫 is taught. Missed opportunity, too, since it kind of makes the kanji-vocab distinction redundant in this case…


Ah, forgot about that. That definitely makes no sense. Not sure how they didn’t catch that.

Either way, @MikeArrondo I would recommend emailing them about it (both the word 昆虫 and the lack of teaching ちゅう for 虫).


Yes, all the time. There are going to be thousands upon thousands of words that you will encounter that are not on WK.

A dictionary? Not trying to be flippant, but that seems fairly obvious, no?


Well, you almost described what I did before making this post, so you are right. I’m not saying Wanikani it’s not doing its job, not at all, but I thought I was “covered” regarding common words. I realize that if common words are over 20000, it’s not that simple haha. Also, someone already said it, but yeah, they only mention “mushi”, although “ちゅう” appears as an Onyomi reading if you go the Kanji’s description.

Of course. I’m just starting with this and realizing I don’t know the word for “Insect” when I thought I knew it made me feel pretty unconfident, but I guess it’s part of the journey.

I would be careful when conflating a word directly with another word in another language. Sure I agree with you that むし is my preferred pairing with ‘bug’ and 昆虫 with ‘insect’ but really at the end of the day either one can go with the other, you can’t just say it’s “not actually ‘insect’”. You should not have these set in stone and try to eventually see them as their own words. The only reason you do this is so you don’t have a headache remembering all these synonyms when first learning the word and get a better idea of what kind of nuance exists between similar words.


虫 refers to a pretty wide variety of all kinds of creepy-crawlies, including worms and centipedes and the like.

Apparently, in the past, people classified animals into furry beasts 獣, birds 鳥, fishes 魚, and everything else 虫. This last category included things like frogs 蛙, snakes 蛇 and leeches 蛭, which is why you still see the radical in their kanji.


seems like 昆虫 would be a useful addition just for the different reading of 虫


Me, when reading the title:

I also think you should write to the WaniKani team :slight_smile:

Just a question, taking the opportunity to learn a little more… How does 者 (someone) work here? Is it combined as 王者 to form the single word “king”? Could it be 王 used alone in this sentence?


it’s just another word for king, with its own nuances. i personally don’t know how it is different from 王 alone, but i’m sure if i ran across it in the wild a couple times i’d start to pick up on it. from the example sentences, it seems to be used more in a metaphorical sense, rather than a literal king.王者


I actually did after posting this! Will update if I have an answer.

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I would think one consideration for inclusion in WaniKani is: how many common words use 虫 pronounced ちゅう?

(But I don’t know if that gets consideration or not.)


ちゅう is usually used in words that are more technical or scientific, but a handful of these words are commonly known by normal people. Things like 昆虫, of course, but also 害虫 (がいちゅう, pest) or 寄生虫 (きせいちゅう, parasite). Words that might not show up in conversation everyday, but things you have to study in elementary school science class.


heh hundreds if not thousands at this point.
Off the top of my head 行儀。Don’t remember WK having this word or having the ぎょう reading for 行。

I use three dictionaries on a day to day basis, shinmeikai, daijirin and JMDict (what is based on) so I just look them up in those.

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行 as a counter for lines of text is also read as ぎょう, so I reckon that’s worth including alongside the sixteen entries for 台.


There’s 奉行(ぶぎょう) from lvl 57 :slight_smile:



Well hey, that’s the difference between British English and American English y’all


I’m having PTSD flashbacks from the 2019 December N1 Reading Section.

That entire paragraph about frogs and 寄生虫, with 寄生虫 being mentioned about every other sentence and having absolutely no footnote about what the heck it means. But I’m sure that was on purpose.