Having Trouble With Mnemonic Names

I’m not a fan of the way WaniKani uses mnemonics that relate to names as I start out. I am terrible at remembering people’s names in general and now I’m memorizing imaginary peoples names. I ended up making up my own story to memorize Kanji pronounciations. I know I can continue to create my own ways to remember them if these peoples names come up again, but does anyone foresee any huge problems with doing this?


There’s nothing wrong with creating your own mnemonics if it’ll help you better remember the kanji. Lots of people do this if there’s one that doesn’t particularly resonate with them.

Out of curiosity, which name-based mnemonics are bothering you? If it’s こういち, it may help to just actually learn who he is since he comes up a lot and there really are some great mnemonics with him. (Also he’s a WK god :wink: )

1 Like

For me, in the long term, I actually appreciate the strangeness of some of the mnemonics, as their uniqueness makes it easier to remember what the mnemonic is for.

It might give you solace that for the same readings, the same words associations are used. Kyo is almost always little Kyoto, Sei is almost always saber, Kei is almost always cake.

Because of this, after a few levels, the mnemonics don’t seem as strange anymore and are easier to remember, as for example cake gives you an immediate link to Kei

I felt that way too when I started out. But you may end up surprising yourself like I did. Ms. Chou and her street was silly to me at first and I shrugged it off. But later I realized I was actually remembering the reading by the Ms. Chou mnemonic.


This is really useful for some of the mnemonics, like ‘shu’ and ‘shuu’, which are ‘chute’ and ‘shoe’ respectively.

Some of the names used to be a lot worse (so if you have an old account, you might be running across, say, Hard Gay for ‘sei’ instead of the easier-to-remember ‘saber’). I think in the first ten levels, there’s just Koichi, who turns up a lot because there’s a lot of ‘kou’ readings and having this one weird guy who keeps turning up is useful, and Mrs. Chou, who doesn’t turn up as much but having her mnemonics be weirdly sinister does actually help with recall, because I attach a weirdly sinister feeling to those characters that lets me know immediately it’s read as ‘chou’.

But I definitely make up my own mnemonics - sometimes they’re really stretching, sometimes the two readings have such different mnemonics that making up my own means I only have to remember one mnemonic, and sometimes there’s a video game or TV series that I know uses the word so I try and associate the reading with that. (I do this with 転, revolve, for instance - the given mnemonic is something like ‘you drive your car and make a cloud, and it revolves, ten times’ or something, but for me it’s easier to go, 'oh, that’s the fourth character in the name Shin Megami Tensei, so it must be ‘ten’. Ask me how I remembered the reading for ‘eastward’.)


Yup, at first it may seem weird. I am not an English native and some mnemonics and some names just make me more confused. And sometimes the way I pronounce the words is weird and I can’t remember some mnemonics because I know the wrong way of saying words and no way i can remember it. So I decided to change some things. Like Kei for cake. I found it hard to remember it so I changed it with a native word that sounds just like this.
Every human is different and we all memorize in different ways. If you find a mnemonic weird just change it with something you understand. Make a joke of a word you know. Make your own story. As long as you remember the kanji, it doesn’t matter. No problems with that.
Just enjoy the feeling of knowing a new kanji and have fun with it. Your mind/ learning skills, your rules!


That was the one. The other was Ricky. I created my own story to remember the pronunciation but it seems I should try to learn the name as well. I will connect it to my made up story somehow. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Koichi is the creator of the site and comes up in mnemonics all the time, so over time it is pretty easy to remember.


Let’s just say that I completely blanked on the 音読み for 上 recently because I hadn’t thought one bit about “Jourm the farmhand” and his missing toe for six levels.

(Happily, I think I still got it just by trusting that 上手 used the standard reading.)

じょう is still Joseph Stalin for me. I find it more memorable to consider a historically monstrous dictator doing all kinds of strange things, rather than a random farmhand with a name that I have never, ever heard before. Is Jourm a real name? No offence to any Jourms out there - I’ve just never run into it in several decades of exposure to English and English names.

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.