Help for training yourself to focus on the kanji and not the tiny text?

Hey, all,

I’m currently reading/studying through Imabi in addition to the WaniKani vocab goodness, and I’d like to start reading real media with lower level/more simple kanji sooner rather than later. I know many kanji I’ll encounter while doing this will have that tiny text over top of it spelling out the reading for those who may not know the kanji as quickly as they’d know the reading. Imabi does both this and the romaji below. (I, personally, really hate the romaji being there at all, so I work really hard to ignore that.)

I’m wondering, though, if any of you have hints for keeping my eyes trained on the main row of words and actually forcing myself to take a good hard look at the kanji (even if it’s hard to make out in typical type size) before defaulting to reading the tiny top text which gives the reading of the kanji? I’m pretty good at recalling the readings when I encounter kanji without top text, but for some reason, my brain skips right from one hiragana to the next. I feel like I don’t even glance at the kanji sometimes… :confused:

Anybody else had this problem, and, if so, what did you do to make yourself ignore the tiny reading text? I always feel like I’ve cheated my chance to recognize and read a kanji when my brain just cruises through the kana… :sweat: Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Read text without furigana. :slightly_smiling_face:


That’s just how our brains work. The only way to get around this is to use other resources with only the kanji.


As everyone else has said, you need to get used to reading just the kanji, so finding resources without furigana will tremendously help. It’s natural to look for the easy root of course, even now my eyes dart to romaji if it’s there, despite finding it a million times easier reading the kana. The more practice you get, the more fluent it will feel reading the kanji with the kana, and the less urge you’ll get to read the furigana.

Some sites and reading apps have options to turn off the furigana, which I would recommend. It may limit your reading abilities for a while, but it will really help in the long run. Plus you will get used to seeing kanji you don’t know, which may help when you encounter them in WaniKani.

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Oh, I know the answer to this one! The trick to not relying on furigana where it’s present is to have bad eyesight! That way it’s quite troublesome to read so you’ll only rely on it if you’re desperate.



You could just hide them physically.

  • If it’s a book or a tablet, then get a piece of paper or card and cover up the furigana line.

  • If it’s a vertical screen, then get another window (I usually open a File Explorer window for this) and move it to cover up the furigana line.


Oh I’d love better solutions to this too. All the manga and graded readers I’ve bought have furigana, and to be honest I find it helpful for it to be there if I need to look up the kanji (plus stuff without furigana is usually too hard for me at the moment).

I use doncr’s method of sliding a piece of paper along, but because the furigana lead the line, it’s quite hard not to start looking at the furigana of the next line over while I’m moving it, and it’s a pretty awkward way to read (especially as it’s hard to get the paper in for the lines next to the spine!).

If you’re reading on your browser there’s an addon for Firefox and Chrome called “Furigana Toggle” which can do the job, if you’re reading manga or graded readers… I’m afraid there’s no solution to that :sweat:

Furigana is the bane of my existence, my eyes are immediately drawn to it like a mosquito to a light bulb even if I already know the kanji/reading, I just can’t practice my kanji reading skills with furigiana/romaji :weary: so I just tend to avoid it like the plague.


I really do not know if this is the most genius or the most dumb thing I ever heard.
I mean no offense! Let me explain:

If I would be in the same situation (Furigana on a website and I wanna hide it) I would like, look for a script to do that or for some other website which does this automatically or some program. I would have never, ever imagined using another virtual window as something physical to cover another window.

Yeah, I am amazed I guess. Really, humans together can achieve anything, this shows me yet again how different people and their approach and their creativity are and how one easily is stuck in ones own bubble.

Thank you for pulling me out of my box!


That has absolutely made my evening. Thanks!

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I just installed this extension. Looks like it’ll help a lot.
Thank you a whole ton!

And thanks to everybody else, too! This has all given me some great options and ideas.

I don’t have anything helpful to add, but I have the same problem. Also, I’ll just leave this here


Lol this is gold

I try really hard and make my eyes look only at the kanji. But then I just sit and read furigana in my peripheral vision. It’s awful. Only thing I really don’t like about NHK easy news.

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Are the kanji and furigana in different colours? If so, use a piece of plastic film of the colour of the furigana over the text. That will hide the furigana.

Rose-coloured glasses? :stuck_out_tongue:

Think it’s rare for furigana to be in a different colour, though.

I totally understand where you’re coming from. If there is furigana I can’t help myself. NHK easy has it over everything so even when it’s something as basic as 日本, my eyes still drift up to the furigana…that’s why I’m working really hard now to read more things without furigana

I… actually have the opposite problem. When I’m reading and I encounter new words, my brain can’t process the furigana. It just tries to figure out whether I know the kanji in the word, and whether I can guess it. It might sound like a good thing but was terrible during my time at university when you have to read thing out loud in front of the entire class :scream:

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A good solution to this is to use the NHK Easy News subreddit. The posts are bot-generated and without furigana. There are also some chrome extensions, which I haven’t tried, such as Furigana Toggle which I think you could use on any site. Be wary of turning it off completely though, as furigana does have a legitimate use in native material for specifying the reading of obscure Kanji or an obscure reading of a common Kanji.


There was a series of books that had this I recall and they came with a red filter. I thought it was brilliant and thus ought to be adopted by all Japanese language learning books. Alas, it wasn’t.