How to remember new Kanji?

Finally, I got all these radicals into guru and am getting new kanji. I rarely know some immediately, and will remember them forever, others are quite easy to remember after repeating them a couple of times.
But then there are those pesky kanji that I have to repeat thousands of times before I remember them, and still mix them up sometimes!

I’m only level 4, so this will probably become a major issue for me later on. I basically do nothing but repeat it until I remember, and forget until next time.

So, what’s a good way to remember the tougher to remember kanji you get?
Writing down? Putting them into Anki so you can study them more often? What would be the best way?

Im in bed on tablet. Theres a leech script on this form that really helpful, especially for readings. if you dont find it, or someone doesnt post ill edit this post tomorrow, when im on computer.

youll be able to recongnise kanji more easy as you progress, or least it feels that way. its the vocab readings with different/unique readings that will get you…

Edit: @gwenvis @lavendera I use Shin Wanikani Leech Trainer, though this in based on Self-study. The self study one be more advance and can do a lot more overall. The leech filter probably does the same thing? [though seanbean guide, that also looks more customisable). I haven’t yet used self-study but i am planning on getting it later on. I might even try changing to self study quiz and leech filter. :slight_smile:

Came across from: [Unsupported] Leech training script - #249 by CollateralGroove / and user script downloaed from Shin WaniKani Leech Trainer

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That’s my method. I enjoy it and it helps me immensely and in various ways beyond only SRS, though, I am often met with hostility about it seemingly going against WK learning system.


is it self-study quiz with the leech filter?


No hostility from me. The only reason I don’t do it is because I’m lazy as hell.


why hostility? whatever works to get em into your head is good :slight_smile:
personally, i don’t enjoy writing, but i think muscle memory helps. i know it does for my wife.

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One of my most liked topics is one focused on how to practice writing outside of WK.


I’m sorry to hear that, because I’m also a proponent of writing down kanji. Also, if you…really want to learn Japanese in all aspects (or live in Japan at any point), you need to be able to write kanji in the correct stroke order. I’m not sure why anyone would be hostile about that, since all it really does for me is reinforce the WK SRS system.

I use a method similar to Leebo’s, but I use kanji notebooks meant for Japanese elementary school kids alongside a regular notebook for jotting down meaning(s) and reading(s). Find what works best for you and stick with it!


Writing definitely helps, if you want to take the time to develop a system for doing it consistently.

Actually read and try to identify with the mnemonics Wanikani gives you, especially if they include sensory details. Or make your own.

Read vocab items out loud during reviews (to help memorize both them and the kanji readings they contain).

Read! Nothing sticks vocab and readings better than having something to associate the word or kanji with out in the wild. The more you interact with actual Japanese, the more vocab and readings will stick. We remember language through connections.

I’ve been writing down new and hard to remember kanji for awhile now (probably for at least 15 months I imagine) and it’s definitely helped. For me, it has helped in more abstract ways like helping me remember the parts of WK radicals (real or not) and where they often go. Radicals like remembering oh yeah geoduck is on the right side there go a long way of helping me complete a kanji correctly without mistakes. It might not be worth it to go overboard with writing, but a certain amount has absolutely made a difference for me. Experiment and see what works best for you :slight_smile:

Another thing is that while the WK mnemonics are helpful to a lot of people, don’t be afraid to check if the main radical in a kanji has a meaning that will help you distinguish it from other things.

For instance, the 貝 radical does literally mean something close to what WK uses, but it is often related to money (due to seashells being used as ornaments and currency back when kanji were being developed), so if you see it, keeping that in mind might give you more of a hint to the meaning than just the mere clam meaning.


Oh, yeah, this too!

Knowing that 月 on the right side relates to the body, and that the radical WK identifies as “fishstick” is actually a mutation of 心 are other helpful ones. I often start out trying to remember new kanji with some combination of the WK radical and meanings like that if they’re relevant. Helps break up a lot of similar-looking kanji down the line too.

You don’t really need to write here in Japan. Sometimes your name and address, but then people are lenient and will praise you even if your characters are incomprehensible.

It sure is nice to have the skill, for the muscle memory, for taking quick notes for someone else, or for relaxation. There’s something calming about writing kanji.


Yeah, I love writing, but I hardly ever have to write in Japan. And since my bank made it possible to do international transfers through online banking I basically don’t write ever except for studying.

And if you do have to write for some reason, stroke order isn’t really critical. If someone judges you for it, it just means they’re a lousy person.


I think the mnemonics are very good (mostly, and those I don’t like I just make my own), and try to visualise them as hard as I can. I also draw the mnemonics in a notebook because I find that really helps me get them solidified in my memory.
I also try to slow down in my review sessions and repeat the mnemonics in my head as I go, reinforcing their readings.

Me too. At a certain point, the meanings and readings become automatic.

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Maybe it’s just me then, lol, but I feel like those are kind of blanket statements. Most of the time you can usually get away with word processing something if you do have to write, but for my job I have to fill out forms and such in Japanese aside from the usual address/personal information/etc. so it’s incredibly useful that I can write pretty well. Stroke order is mostly personal opinion, but there are times when it comes in handy to know correctly. I’ve also found that it helps me memorize better if I memorize the correct stroke order with the kanji I’m learning, but again that could just be me since I’ve only known a handful of other people whom it’s worked for.

that’s your job though, not “being in japan”.

Well, the way you framed it was that anyone who wants to live in Japan needs to know writing and stroke order, but for many people it basically doesn’t come up.

I will say it definitely feels like shit when you can’t write stuff. It feels like you don’t actually know anything…


No need to be defensive. I only offered it as a differing viewpoint for anyone who might run into a situation where writing is useful. After all, the world is a very wide place, so no one’s situation will ever be entirely the same. Anyhow, we’ve gotten off topic, so I’m going to cut off my replies here.