Having a structured story

I just posted this on a beginner’s thread on r/LearnJapanese and thought might as well post it here.

Hi all! I started learning Japanese last month so that I’ll have something to do during the community lock down. I’m currently using wanikani since its mnemonics are really the best that I could find.

The only struggle that I’m having is differentiating the on and kun-readings. So I modified the stories to have a structure that would give me the meaning first, on-reading 2nd, then the kun’yomi last. I also figured that using the radicals in the story makes it easier for me to remember the mnemonics. It’s like having a visual cue for everything.

To illustrate:
Kanji: 体;
Radicals: 亻- leader; 本 - book;
Meaning: body;
On: たい; kun: からだ;

Modified wanikani story:

The leader has a book all about the human body.

While reading a book, he decided to put on a tie (たい) on his body. Leader likes to multi-task. :man_shrugging:

He then hears the sound of a car raider (からだ) outside. He had read in the book that it really messes up the body. So now he’s on the watch for the car raider too.

It’s crucial that the stories are all connected so that I don’t have to remember too many scenarios for a single kanji.

Unfortunately, some kun’yomi readings they have are in a completely different scenario. Like for example, 元 (origin). The on’yomi mnemonic is genji (げん) and the story talks about the tale of genji being an important origin story. The kun’yomi reading on the other hand, talks about trying to trace a random person back to a castle that’s surrounded by a moat (もと). What I do is that the random person becomes genji and I imagine that it’s part of his origin story just so everything is connected.

Tldr; Having a structured and connected story for the kanji mnemonics really helps me with remembering.

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Just giving you a heads-up that some kanji have 4, 5, 7 readings - that could make for a very complicated story.


Short and precise ones are working fine for me. I do have different ones for different on and kun readings.

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