I am little confused


I have been studying Japanese for 6-7 months but I only study grammar and vocabulary. I thought it was a good time to start learning Kanji. I have been here before actually but that’s a long story so it does not matter but in the end I knew this was a good place to learn Kanji.

I know around 1000 Japanese words and if you ask me how to say “Under/Below” in Japanese I would say “Shita”. Because I have used at least 5 different apps and they all teached me the same thing. I guess most of the time Japanese people use “Shita” too but when I looked at some Kanji here, it seems WaniKani teaches “か, げ” as readings first. I know what on’yomi and kun’yomi and I read the article about it but I am still little bit confused.

I understand, for example in " 廊下 Corridor" you use “Ka” so is that the reason for learning more “uncommon” readings? Can’t we just learn the vocabulary? Why do we need to learn reading of this Kanji by itself? Obviously I am not trying to say “WaniKani does this wrong” I am just trying to understand the logic. Hopefully it makes sense.


した is the noun

か and げ are the kanji readings

You have to know the kanji readings in order to understand compound kanji (Jukugo),

in the beginning I was confused as well but I understood the importance and knowing the kanji reading.

but of course, later you will see that some vocab will use that reading reading for example 下着


You learn the onyomi reading, because you will learn the vocabulary word later, so this way you learn both readings. The kanji readings are more common (because there are more words using them) so it’s important to know them well.


You need to know the readings so that when you come across a word that you don’t know (or remember) how to read, you can figure it out. That is not as easy when you only know how words are read and not individual kanji


So for example, let’s say there is a word like “kanji + か” as I already know the how to read the Kanji, I add “か” and I know how to spell it?

I’m not entirely sure I understand what you’re asking here.


Yeah, that’s why title is like that.

So we have a Kanji about “Under/Below” and same Kanji is actually a word and it is pronounced as “Shita”. Why should I learn the on’yomi reading of this Kanji? Where would that information helps.

They choose one possible reading so as to not overwhelm the user. You happened to already know one of the other readings, so I suppose it felt jarring. But there isn’t any super deep meaning to picking one over the other as the initial reading to teach. It just keeps things simpler and builds up knowledge at a pace most beginners find more manageable.


out of curiosity, for those 6-7 months, what material did you use to study Japanese?


Whenever the word comes up in a compound. Wanikani shows this, just go to the page of the kanji itself:

If you scroll down, you see a bunch of words using the kanji. A lot of them are the onyomi readings.

I use a website called Bunpro for grammar and Anki for vocabulary.

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But if I know those words, do I even need to learn how to read every Kanji by itself? For example I know “くつした” means socks. Why do I need to know reading of every Kanji in this word of 靴下?

Ah, I probably don’t make much sense. I am just confused.

There are several tens thousands of words, an uncountable amount. There are less kanji, even if there are a lot of that as well. If you know the reading for a kanji, even if you don’t know the word itself, you will be able to make an educated guess. I certainly had moments where I didn’t know a word, but could look it up, because I could guess the reading of it.


If building up with one reading first and then other readings through vocab isn’t for you then it isn’t for you.

Though I would recommend giving it a shot with kanji that are completely new to you before deciding how you feel about it.


I don’t get to decide anything here, don’t get me wrong. People have been using this website for years and it works so I will use it too. I am just trying to understand the logic as I am waiting for my next reviews.

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Over time, kanji readings will be way more in words than kunyomi readings. And even then, for some words you’ll only learn the latter, because of the fact that there aren’t any useful words using the onyomi reading.

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so with anki you have been learning only words in hiragana?


this is my main gripe against WK. No. For that, use a core deck on anki.

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Yes, that’s correct.

That sounds like a bad idea, ngl.