How are you dealing with these type of kanji/words

Hi guys

Recently I find more and more this type of kanji and words and I am thinking how are you dealing with them.

Some levels contain words or kanjis that I remember just because they are different than others in current lesson.
I mean I see a word and I know the answer just because it ends on える and no other words currently ends on える。The same with kanji, only one has 4 radicals and I know the answer becuase there is no other 4-radical kanji.

And then in few next levels this word comes back and starts to haunt me because other える bastard are coming in.

I see 2 solutions:

  1. Even if your brain takes the simplest elimination-way to memorize a word, try to beat it and use the proper way. I find it very difficult If I am tired after work or doing review number 100.
  2. Don’t care about it becuase it will return to you in future, slap you face few times and stays in your head anyway.

Do you have such situations? How are you dealing with them?


Can totally relate, it’s annoying that our brains tend to pay such a metagame. I caught myself quite a few times remembering words by their connections to another word I have learned in the same batch instead of proper recognition.

I believe the only workaround here is to meet these words in a context to allow a better pattern to be constructed. I haven’t found a proper way to incorporate more context in the reviews though.

There are userscripts that target this problem, but I honestly cannot force myself to read a whole sentence for every item during a review. I mean I already glazed over the needed word and kinda recognized it, so reading a sentence feels a real drag.

P.S. I mean reading a lot and waiting for a word to occur in a natural material is also a possibility, but my impressions are – it’s quite hard to match the pure amount wanikani pours on me. Also taking into account the thing that wanikani sometimes have a peculiar vocab that can be hard to find in a beginners’ material (but there are always plenty equally weird words though, just not from wanikani), yeah that kinda makes me feel hopeless.


I usually memorize words phonetically. If I pronounce the kanji and it’s clearly not a sound I remember and it doesn’t match too well with the characters, likely my answer will be wrong.

In regards to verbs, I have a way easier time with verbs with overlapping readings, because I differentiate them by kanji.

But to answer your question better, could you provide some examples? :slight_smile:
The える える doesn’t tell us much.

I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the number of radicals and reading. What’s I think more important are the phonetic components which let you group kanji easily.


It’s very natural. Our brains take such shortcuts all the time, and often there’s no way to stop them. When I started Wanikani, I already knew about a hundred kanji or so. I could recognize them confidently, knew readings and meanings, everything. When they came up in lessons, I barely paid any attention, just clicked next and proceeded. Meanwhile, my brain did a lot of remapping in the background to fit all those new kanji, and the ones I thought I knew somehow got left out. It’s crazy, but they are now the ones I consistently get wrong whenever they return for review. You see, I recognized them by general shape, which is easy to do when you know only a few. But now it’s harder to readily tell them apart from all the similar looking kanji without putting some extra work in. Which I should have done from the start, but it’s never too late. Repeated reviews and a little time spent on checking where I went wrong fix the issue soon enough.

I also notice that I remember words in batches as I’ve learned them. So when a new batch returns for burning, I may struggle to remember the first few words that come up. But then I sort of time travel to the time I was doing that particular level, and the rest of that batch flow easily. Insert a few apprentice ones in there, and my mind gets stuck again. My brain shouldn’t be learning kanji by level of course, but it does so all the same. It’s often the only context it has, you see, and it needs context.

The actual solution is reading. I mean manga, books, anything you enjoy, not random example sentences. The more times you come across a word in a meaningful way, the more connections it forms in the brain. In the end, it’s not that verb ending in eru, not that kanji with four radicals, not that radical from level 17, but a familiar word you instantly recognize because so many different paths now lead to it. And of course some items will get forgotten, even burned items. But if you don’t come across them often enough, then that’s okay, they weren’t really essential to you in terms of the content you’re reading. And if you do eventually come across them, you do have the tools to analyze them now. It all works out in the end.


I wanted to post a general issue that our brain promotes short-time performance for a remembering word. We pay cost of that shortage in long-term performance.
And that pay-attention solution does not work actually for me.

える was only an example it might be 数える which later is confused with 整える or confused at with anything else because our brain remembers it as complex-kanji-える word.

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I was afraid that a lot of reading might be the best solution :slight_smile:

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Oh, I also forgot to mention one minor thing. To shuffle vocab lessons. The wanikani orders them in such a way that there are a lot of words with the same kanji consecutively, sometimes straight-up bearing the identical definition (by the means of wanikani). I believe shuffling makes difficulty more spread out, and lessons less monotonous.


Right, yes, that’s totally true, I feel. I often over-rely on “knowing” which levels hold which kanji and vocab to kind of cheat the system. Even when WaniKani tries for variation, it still happens, because we do lessons and reviews in batches with sinusoidal spacing.

It’s way harder to cheat in Anki like this.

Are those confused, though? For me they’re different, because the kanji is different, the sounds are different, etc. 数 is also かず (number of something) so perhaps that’s easier to distinguish that way :slight_smile:

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Thanks for your replies. Just to have evidence that I am not alone on this brain-battle makes a small relief :slight_smile:


When I first started learning vocab, my brain made a box for 3-mora verbs ending in る. It lasted about 3 days before it overflowed. I think I read somewhere on this forum that when one of those boxes bursts, your review accuracy will take a hit for a few days while the brain desperately tries to recategorize all the blown items into new and separate boxes. After that you’ll find that you’ve suddenly improved.


I’m pretty sure that such exploding box is located in my rear end.


Yup, that’s exactly what happened to me in the last half of WK. I got used to recategorizing and even changing radicals and mnemonics.

The latter happened a lot as I learned Kanji that previous kanji were similar to except for a single radical or two. The new kanji became the base.



Yup, started happening to me as well at some point. Mostly had to do with phonetics and relying too much on phonetic components in kanji. Now I have to fight dem leeches, but writing things down and identifying those little different bits helps.


when that happens, i.e. when my brain used some characteristic of a kanji or word to distinguish it from others, and suddenly a new item shares that characteristic, i take a moment to look at both items side by side, and figure out new distinguishing characteristics. i think it’s pretty normal that that happens, and is probably similar to the reshufling items into new boxes referred to above.

for context sentences, i really like the anime context sentences script. it uses text from a whole bunch of anime, and you can select which ones to pull from. so it shows me context sentences from anime i have already seen, which i find super helpful.

the keisei thingy semantic-phonetic script is also really useful, it gives me another option for remembering how kanji are put together besides the WK radicals, which i also find very useful.

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