Have you noticed the Kanji / Vocab imbalance?

Your teacher’s question is ambiguous. It’s not clear whether the word or the kanji is intended. On WK that’s not the case.

EDIT: And yes I’m aware that there is a word where 骨 would be read こつ, but that word is typically written コツ.

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If it wasn’t ambiguous on WaniKani I never would have started this silly post. The only thing that makes it unambiguous here is that wanikani has a colored background.

It says Kanji Reading or Vocab Reading as well.


Then what’s the point of it giving me a second chance at all with one reading and not with the other.

In this case you get a second chance but in that case you don’t. I just don’t see an object reason to do so.

(THANK YOU for your replies by the way. I do appreciate sussing out the idea with all of you and apologize if exploring the idea comes across as antagonistic in any way. That’s not my intention.)

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The reason to give a second chance on kanji is because the first attempt wasn’t wrong.

The reason to not give a second chance on vocab is because the first attempt was wrong. Just like any other wrong reading for a word.


But if she asked you for the reading to 人口 and you said にんくち or ひとこう do you expect her to say that you’re correct? Because it’s not.

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If it helps, it’s not really giving you a “second chance.” You could put in all the readings it doesn’t want and it won’t mark you incorrect for putting it in a third time.
I think it wants you to put in the reading it taught you, because it’s the most common one

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A vocab reading is always a kanji reading as well, but a kanji reading is not always a vocab reading :slight_smile:


Kanji have multple readings, which is why it’s not wrong to answer one instead of the other one (in this case, WK is asking you to input the other one because that’s the one they find most useful but not because other readings are wrong).
Vocabulary usually have only one reading, so when you input a different “reading” that’s just incorrect. It gets trickier when it’s a one kanji vocab, and I get that it’s frustrating but I personally think that it is important that we learn the difference between one kanji vocab and kanji.


I 100% get what everyone here is explaining, but I also agree on how aggravating it can be especially when it’s with a single character kanji/vocab (ex: 女、人) and you just typed too quickly without paying attention to whether it wanted kanji or vocab :sob:
It’s honestly the worst feeling lol (Though I still understand why it’s made that way)


type something in kana in the definition field and it shakes, and in this case, it definitely is wrong.

WK is a great site, but consistency is not their hallmark. wouldn’t hurt to make the screen shake and display “sorry, we’re looking for the VOCAB reading”.

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If you make the behavior the same for both, the message sent is that the first one you entered was not wrong. That the first attempt was fine, but they want a different reading, just like the kanji ones. It’s not going to send your brain the message “you just made a mistake”.

I wouldn’t mind if they did this for the words that do have multiple readings, like 主 (おも) and 主 (ぬし). Right now they just mark you wrong for typing おも as an answer for 主. That would be the appropriate time to shake and ask for another reading.


But it already says “vocabulary reading” and the background is purple, unlike the pink background for kanji.

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and that’s a valid reason to be an ass about it?

sorry, this is existing code and doesn’t have to be written from scratch. not adding a check for this to the vocab entry field might be rectified in many ways, but not by showing the middle finger.

not that i’d personally care, i’m using override, but i do see the problem.

edit: that, plus leebo’s point

The answer for this thread is that the imbalance is there and intentional, the jury is still out if it’s because Koichi is a tease or because he tries to teach you something.

But WK can be nicely customized, join us on the dark side :metal:

[Userscript] Wanikani Override ("ignore answer button")
[Userscript]: Double-Check (Version 2.x)

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it’s a QoL feature mainly, and yes, i’m using scripts. WK would be pretty confusing without override.

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Right, this is a fair point – but I’d argue that typing kana in the meaning box is not really a harmful association, since they come in pairs and it’s an easily detectable goof (and Meaning vs. Reading is less emphasised than having both that and the kanji vs. vocab cues). Plus, WK isn’t testing for anything that would be compromised by that.

But if your brain internalises that reading the word wrong is that kind of goof, it’s probably harmful to learning in the long run. And, these threads come up pretty frequently because people aren’t totally sure about how Japanese words work, so I think wanting to maintain that distinction is better, even if the inconsistency introduced by marking it as wrong also confuses those people.


I think the problem is that people often confuse “kanji reading” AS “vocabulary meaning”. The “reading” of a Kanji is not what it means, it’s how you say it, it’s pronunciation. The kanji 人 has a few different readings (pronounciations): にん、じん、ひと、びと

But the word that 人 stands for when it is alone is person, ひと.

If I type にん in a computer, the computer will try to supply me with a word, so
にん becomes ’: obligation, duty, charge, responsibility
じん becomes : battle formation, camp, group, war, battle
びと becomes 美と: the kanji is the word “bi”, beauty, and it gave me hiragana “to” because there is no Japanese word that is “bito” (except for katakana ビット, which is computer bit, but even then it’s not written as “bito”(
BUT, ひと will always, automatically, become , because ひと is the word for person.

If thinking of it as pronounciation isn’t helpful, then think of kanji readings as puzzle pieces. You need to know the right puzzle piece that creates a word:

人工’s puzzle piece is じん. This word, jinkou, artificial, can only be represented with two kanji.
人間’s puzzle piece is にん. This word, ningen, human, can only be represented with two kanji.
村人’s puzzle piece is びと. This word, murabito, villager, can only be represented with two kanji.

EDIT:: TL;DR Kanji is just visual shorthand for real Japanese words, and represents the sound of Japanese words. Kanji is pretty much written emoji.

Yeah, don’t think of these as “warning shakes.” If you typed in the wrong reading, it’s actually still a right answer–just not the one they want to test you on.

If you type in the wrong kana for a vocabulary item, there’s nothing right about it. The word only has one reading (in most cases; there are some that WK will accept multiple readings for), and if you miss it, that’s it. WK never gives you “warning” shakes for wrong answers–only for correct ones that it isn’t testing for. Most kanji have multiple readings; most vocabulary items don’t.

I do agree with @Leebo about catching niche cases where a stand-alone kanji represents two different vocabulary items though. But that’s not the norm.


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