How to remember Kanji with multiple readings

So I’ve been using Wanikani for a while. I’m taking it slow but having fun. However, there’s one thing that always trips me up and that’s when a kanji has many common readings. Specifically, it’s remembering which reading is used for the vocabulary word.

The worst offender for me is 日. Sometimes the reading is にち, sometimes it’s か, sometimes it’s じつ, sometimes it’s shortened, and it’s always a problem for me. 月 is another bad one, trying to remember if it’s げつ or がつ. There are obviously mnemonics to help, but I’m still having a really tough time remembering which reading I’m supposed to use for each vocab word. I’m wondering what you all do to remember which reading to use for these kinds of Kanji when they appear.

I can’t really help with 日, since I have a tendency to mix those up myself. However for 月, there’s a pattern that might help you during your vocabulary reviews:

When 月, is preceded by a counter (like all months), then the reading is がつ, in all other cases the reading is げつ. What’s important to note is that for 何月, the 何 actually functions like a counter (of an unknown number of elements). I’ve found that this helps me get the readings for 月 right more often.

In general I think it comes down to learning the readings though, although if anyone has any more tips to help for some common kanji with multiple readings I would like to hear them too, I keep messing up にち and じつ often too.


\textcolor{pink}{\huge \textsf{WELCOME! ^-^}}

Even if you’ve been a member for a while, so aren’t really new hehe
welcome gif - crabigator

Take the time to check out the FAQ and GUIDE if you haven’t already…
…but you probably have, because you seem like you’re diligent and awesome like that ^-^

There’s also a lot of good stuff on the forum to help you…
…that you’ve likewise probably already seen, but it still worth mentiioning!

The Ultimate Guide for WK
The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!
The New And Improved List Of API and Third Party Apps

I hope that you continue to enjoy WaniKani that your worship of the Crabigator is eternal!

Unfortunately, understanding the readings of the kanji when you find them in vocab comes with time in the same way that reading some of the weird spellings and pronunciations in English comes with time. As unhelpful as it may sound, it just comes with practising them until a stick in the memory, which is kind of the point of using a space repetition system.

1 Like

月 is an easy one. がつ is used for specific months (including asking what month), New Years (正月), and pretty much nothing else.


I’m glad you’ve pointed that out, because I’ve never noticed that pattern *facepalm*

And thanks to @BIsTheAnswer who I just noticed said that too, hehe


Thanks, that makes a lot of sense!

1 Like

OH! thanks for that! I think patterns like those are what I was looking for when I made this thread, but just didn’t realize it.



Real answer: depends on how WK introduces it and what it is. Some different readings have reasons for the reading (for instance, げつ almost exclusively when you’re referring to a month as a proper noun, がつ when you’re referring to months in general and つき when you’re talking about the actual moon). For those, you just memorize the uses.

For alternate reading that exist “just cause” and rendaku, you just gotta memorize it. I prefer trial and error, using the most common reading by default if I’m ever unsure so I can just memorize the minority, exception phrases as being outliers. However you do it, it’s going to be one of the more difficult parts of learning kanji. It starts to piece itself together for you the longer you go on.

Now, if you’d like to help me with the seemingly millions of terms that use 義 and 議 with the same onyomi reading I’d be eternally grateful


何月 as well ^^


I said “including asking what month”. :stuck_out_tongue:


日 is most often read as ひ when it has to do with the sun

Ie: 日の入り, 日の出, 日差し, etc

There are exceptions to that of course, like the び in all of the days of the week, but in general if it is read as ひthere is a good chance of it relating to the sun.

Also, if the word has kana, or otherwise uses kunyomi readings, then it is almost certainly ひ.

日 usually has the reading of じつ when it is a holiday. It also seems to be almost always the reading used when it isn’t the first kanji in the word. There are only 3 words on jisho where じつ appears as the reading when it is the first kanji. Of course, this is an onyomi reading also so one would expect it to only appear with other onyomi readings.

か appears exclusively at the end of a word and is basically just used for kunyomi words. I don’t know if there are any examples other the 1st-10th, 14th, 20th, and 24th days of the month.

にち is used for everything else (usually expected onyomi readings where it doesn’t appear in the front of the word)


I’m blind don’t mind me


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