I don't like shocking mnemnonics. Should I continue?

Hello guys, I am currently seeing my first kanji in this system and I was a bit annoyed by the mnemnonic for ‘‘one’’ describing a situation with blood and gore.

I used a few Anki decks for a while for a kanji book where most of the mnemnonics offered by users (from koohii forums I think) were shocking, violent and very sexual and I didn’t like it at all.

I see now that Wanikani also wants to give you ‘‘shocking’’ mnemonics in general and I would like to know from staff or experienced users how common these ‘‘shocking’’ things are. I don’t want to be shocked, thanks. I just want to learn kanji and I don’t care whether ‘‘shocks’’ help me remember something better, I just don’t want to read such material.


Please post something constructive instead of just flaming


They’re supposed to be shocking. You remembered it, didn’t you?


Thanks for the reply, I understand what you mean but I just wanted to know how common this is. (see my OP)

1 Like

Moderately common.
Not nearly so much as the user generated koohii ones. Most wanikani mnemonics are just silly, imo. But there a fair amount of ‘inappropriate’ stuff.
Well, that’s based on my recollection anyway, and gore and sex don’t bother me, so I may underestimate it a bit.


I don’t think they’re too common (they’re certainly not the majority), and I certainly don’t think I’ve seen anything of an explicitly sexual nature, but I don’t think I read the mnemonics as carefully as most users.

It’s a tricky balance, I guess, since we keep being told that ridiculous, or unexpected situations are the ones that are the easiest to remember.


Personally, I don’t find Wanikani shocking in anyway, but there are references to “adult themes” because it is a service for adults. I don’t think it’s the main theme for mnemonics, but having something that is a bit surprising is what makes for a good mnemonic, so it sticks in your mind. It makes pedagogical sense.

It’s fully possible to make up your own mnemonics, however, so if one mnemonic doesn’t suit you, you can just trade it for you own, and the system will keep track of all your notes for readings and meanings. So, you don’t have to be reliant on the stuff you don’t like or you feel shocked by.


Yes, there are some “shocking” mnemonics from time to time, because the whole point of mnemonics is to make them memorable, and shock-value is one way to do it.

It would maybe help prime people better to answer your question if you didn’t basically call people childish for using and being OK with these menemonics. Violent and sexual things being childish is news to me as well…


I remember the mnemonic for 跡 bothered some people, but I can’t actually go check because I don’t remember my wanikani password and am only on the forum because it remembers me : D

1 Like

I edited it out, but I was referring to koohii and not to wanikani, and I do think koohii mnemnonics have this whole vibe of puberty humor which I found annoying even when I had that age. For example it’s full of seriously messed up misogynistic stuff. I should be allowed to criticize that


Well, if that’s your worry, worry no longer. There is no puberty humor, just good humor in WaniKani.

I’d go so far as to commend WaniKani for being open-minded and inclusive.


You don’t have to read the mnemonics if you don’t want to. From what I’ve seen so far, the mnemonics are definitely not as bad as Koohii, but I suppose if you’re very faint-hearted, it could be an issue? I haven’t seen anything I would consider to be offensive though. Because you don’t actually see anything, it’s up to your imagination to make the scenes super bloody and gory or not. For example, the mnemonic for 算 has you getting stabbed in the eye with bamboo twenty times; you could imagine that as gory and violent or as a slapstick scene from a kids’ cartoon. As I said before, you could just skip past them and make your own, but I feel like the mnemonics are kind of an integral part of the service. Again, because these mnemonics are made by staff and not user-made like Koohii, there’s definitely more quality and no offensive jokes. I haven’t seen anyone complain about the Wanikani mems really, either.


Just a little heads up, but you don’t need to use the default mnemonics to memorize.
You can add reading or meaning notes as well as user synonyms.

So far however, I haven’t seen anything that I would deem overly shocking or edgy. The community itself is really pleasant and people seem to respect each other.

Either way, try out the service. You can go up to level 4 for free if I’m not mistaken. If it really is a nuisance for you, you could just use a different one.

I hope this helps!


Yeah, Koichi is of the school of thought that feels that mnemonics should engage the senses and/or emotions to really be effective. He accomplishes that by being almost over-the-top ridiculous or outrageous. If that sort of thing is not really for you, then yeah, probably neither is WaniKani.

Still, it’s better than it was. One of the recurring characters in mnemonics used to be a Japanese commedian who operates under the name Hard Gay, and if you’ve ever seen his whole schtick… I’ve usually wanted to reach for the brain bleach.

As others have said, you can ignore the mnemonics and come up with your own, but they’re impossible to avoid completely, considering he’s literally named one of the radicals “poop” (real name is “short thread”, because it’s the top half of the “thread” radical).


Shocking is relative, although to me, personally, I find WK mnemonics more on the ‘silly’ side than shocking.


I think this is a fair question to raise, of course ‘shocking’ is subjective, but if you feel that the content is unpalatable to you then it makes a lot of sense to find out more. The fact that you can do that (and not get trolled) on the forums is one of the big plus points for Wanikani, to my way of thinking.

I would also say that, as someone who has been learning Japanese for 10+ years, Wanikani is the first thing I’ve found that actually makes the kanji stick. I’ve been really (pleasantly) surprised by my improvement in reading over the past two years.

TL;DR: I think it’s worth gritting your teeth and sticking to it, the system works :+1:


Hard Gay was not a high moment in Japanese comedy. It was super popular while I was on 留学 and the guys that thought it was hilarious were a real chore to be around.


Honestly you dont even need them IMHO. I’ve reset my account now but got to a good lvl 14 or so before and I never used them very often unless I was really struggling to remember specific words. Definitely at your lvl you shouldnt even have to worry about them tbh. Seeing as it uses the SRS system you see it enough till it should click. They’re only aids in helping you learn faster if you need them. You dont need them hell you dont even need to look at them tbh. Just see kanji see meaning/reading remember as best as you can. Tho I’d like to point out wanikani is very tame for the most part so I don’t know what to tell you lmao


Yeah I’m glad that most of the replies are actually helpful and I expected my question to be taken seriously because of the threads I’ve read before here (before using wanikani)


just saying i feel similarly, i don’t really want to read that either nor do ‘shocking’ mnemonics actually help me remember.

also, it doesn’t really help for people to just behave like schoolchildren and start flexing how unfazed and ‘adult’ they think they are and flaming you for having different taste.