I am little confused

That’s terrible. If you’re gonna brute force words into your head with anki, just burn the kanji too. Almost no extra effort, and you’re not illiterate anymore

1 Like


I think you could be included in this thread


I actually use that deck in Anki.

There are many core decks. Do you use 2/6k? 10k? 40k? 2.3k?
Whatever it is, if it doesn’t have kanji, please stop lol

I wasn’t studying for reading so I didn’t need Kanji at all. I can speak little bit Japanese thanks to vocabulary and grammar so that’s nice.


I use 10k. I don’t think spending 15 minutes a day to learn words without reading them was a waste at all.


No need to pile on the methods they used before… they’re here learning kanji now, aren’t they?


There are multiple ways of learning kanji. The way Wanikani have chosen is to teach the kanji first, instead of learning the words first; the kanji’s meaning and 1-2 important/common readings. And here the kanji isn’t a word. It is the building block of words, even single kanji words. Think of the pink kanji lessons/reviews more like you are being taught letters, the alphabet. Not words in themselves.

After you get a bit of a handle on the kanji you’ve been learning (when you’ve answered correctly the reviews of that kanji), then vocabulary that uses that kanji unlocks. And it is through the vocabulary lessons you will learn more readings.

It is a way of organizing the information to make it more easily digestible. It is not the only way.

Are you also wondering about 下 in particular? There are 26 vocabulary items associated with that kanji. 9/26 uses した, the other 17 use other kunyomi and the onyomi. WK has a policy of more often teaching onyomi readings first, and that is probably why the onyomi is picked in this case for this kanji.


I am so used to it, you can’t even imagine.

For reinforcement of the readings you’ve learnt. And because someday when you’re reading real Japanese material, you’ll probably need to know how to read the word as well as know what it means.

If you want to read 地下鉄 or 廊下 or 下駄 or 下痢, to give some specific examples.

1 Like

or you could learn the words first and then learn how they are written so you don’t have to learn multiple on’yomi and then guess which one it is. you know… how Japanese people do it. It’s slower tho. But you won’t be asking yourself if 人 is にん or じん

1 Like

Thanks for the help to everyone. I gotta go know but I will read the answers after I came back. I know my question does not make much sense but I guess I will be able to understand after I use WaniKani after a while. First 3 levels are free so there is no reason to do them at least.


Some of these things have already been covered in previous answers, but you may find the Tofugu article On’yomi And Kun’yomi in Kanji: What’s the Difference? helpful!

1 Like

To illustrate why the げ reading is worth knowing here are a few of the many words that use it:

下車(げしゃ) - Getting off, getting out

下痢(げり) - Diarrhea

下宿(げしゅく) - Room and board

下駄(げた) - Geta sandals

下水(げすい) - Drainage, ditch, gutter, sewage

下旬(げじゅん) - Last thrid of a month

下品(げひん) - Vulgar, crude

下水道(げすいどう) - Sewer system

下落(げらく) - Depreciation, decline, fall

下山(げざん) - Decending a mountian


Same goes for the other readings, so as you can tell, just knowing (した) wont get you very far :sweat_smile:


In my experience, it is better to know both Kanji and vocabularies, but knowing some vocabularies in advance can be helpful. That is, some vocab => Kanji => more vocab.

Radicals and building up of Kanji, is yet another topic, that can only be understood by studying Kanji (and radicals) themselves.

Another part of Kanji is about word roots, especially as in readings, so it can be easier to know more vocabularies.

1 Like

To put it simply, it’s a “chicken-egg problem”. Do I learn how the kanji/vocab sounds before learning how it’s supposed to look like, or the other way around? To me, there’s not really a right or wrong answer. For jukugo words, knowing onyomi beforehand makes it so much easier to breeze through the reading…but for words with “weird reading”, knowing the words beforehand makes it easier to accept the fact that the reading is indeed supposed to be “weird” instead of typical jukugo.

Ultimately we still need to learn the whole package to get a complete experience. There are many examples of words with completely different meaning but using same hiragana spelling, which can be awfully confusing. Knowing the kanji helps us to make an educated guess for the meaning and/or reading of a particular vocab that we just newly encounter.


The answer in my view is “no, you don’t necessarily need to learn readings as an individual thing”. I learnt by learning words (i.e. not with WK), and if you do it that way then you gradually get kanji readings for free, to the extent you need to know them as separate things at all, which is not much.

However, there are multiple routes up the mountain which is “Japanese literacy”, and the WK route clearly works for a lot of people. Maybe it’ll work for you too. If you don’t get on with some of its basic ideas then you can always try a different route, or even striking out on your own trail, though this may be more effort than staying on one of the more well-marked paths…

(I am like most people in that I am always tempted to recommend the approaches that worked for me, even though I have no idea whether the things I didn’t try might have worked better…)


Exactly. There isn’t actually a need to learn kanji readings by themselves and I don’t think anyone in the thread actually addressed that (although it does look like some people provided the opposite opinion). Learning kanji readings in isolation is one way to go about it, and absolutely not necessary.


The reason you must learn kanji first off, is because you can’t read anything without it. Do you think every text you will encounter has furigana? Native text is not that kind. It wasn’t really a waste to learn the vocabulary you learned, but don’t think you can skip kanji, if you skip kanji then you must be content with forever never knowing how to read. Japanese is structed around kanji, you may know what ばか means, but what if you see it like 馬鹿 ? Yep that also says “Baka” and both are used.

If you encounter a word you haven’t seen, and with 1000 words under your belt, you will, not to mention, obscure words and made up terms, not knowing how to read the kanji separately, in isolation will make you unable to grasp those words.

There’s no shortcut, there’s no “Can I just skip this” if you want to actually learn Japanese. I don’t mean to sound harsh, I just wanted to make what I said clear, but you need to decide what are your goals with Japanese, you can’t go into it half-baked if you want to be good at it.

1 Like

I very much did. It got 0 likes tho.

1 Like