I just started WaniKani and I don(idn(on))'t get it (until (not) while writing this)

I get that I have to memorize these radicals. I’m good at hiragana and katakana and also grammar, I don’t know everything though and I’m not good at translating things (like songs, and some sentences) and I didn’t study the regular formality. Anyways, WaniKani is weird. The stories are super weird and I don’t get how the heck they make these kanji. One I saw was a rice paddy + a street and that made a town wtf, I got it, but there were these other weird combinations that I absolutely didn’t get.
Honestly when they put the radical toe + ground to mean above, it made sense and then there was this weird ass explanation. Then I realized that you’re supposed to look at the placement of the kanji (which I still don’t trust by the way.), so then I looked at another Kanji radical and somehow it just now didn’t make sense. It was the kanji radical for front which was horns, a moon, a knife and the ground. The knife doesn’t make sense to me. It just doesn’t. Why? I feel like this entire experience will make no sense to me whatsoever so bye

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Now we know.


I feel as if the stories don’t make sense and I’m not taught the meaning for the radicals at the beginning. Also, the readings are very hidden so I have to open some other tab to research them and I have a bajillion tabs open for studying.
I guess it’s actually not supposed to make sense but a hidden way of memorizing that somehow gives (an illusion of) learning better?

I’m confused, it is it a complain about the people who invented kanji thousand of years ago? Very few kanji have pictorial easy meaning like 上 or 町, most of them are like 前 with different component that don’t immediately make sense.


no, the wanikani radicals. because when I try to make up the definition it doesn’t make any sense. I try to make it make sense in my head but it just doesn’t.

Regarding the radicals you just have to create meaning. The radicals doesn’t mean much on it’s own, it has no inherent meaning most of the time, WK just creates a system so that you yourself can create a meaning from a concept. The explainations aren’t exact or always good, but they are good enough. I’d say that you just need to get used to it, and you will. The first three levels are free anyway, nothing to lose really.


The definition of 前 is “front” in Wanikani. Maybe you are talking about the mnemonic? They are just little story to remember the kanji, yes. They can be hit or miss. 前 is particularly tricky because coming up with a nice story for “front” with horn/ground/moon/knife radical is just quite hard.

When it doesn’t work for you, you can try to come up with your own mnemonic. Or just don’t use the mnemonic at all and memorizing the kanji shape directly is also fine.


I think you’re missing the point. The radicals often times have arbitrary meanings (keywords) that are created to help you memorize them. These “meanings” often aren’t literal, and most of the time aren’t supposed to add up to anything relevant to the meaning of the kanji they’re part of. They’re only there to help you memorize them so that constructing and identifying kanji can become more intuitive.

I suggest reading this helpful article: http://www.kanjidamage.com/kanji_facts

Edit: There are exceptions, such as the radicals that are also kanji themselves, e.g. 口 (mouth), 木 (tree), 日 (sun/day) etc… Still, the meanings of these are sometimes obscure when constructed into certain kanji, e.g. the 日 radical in 映 (reflect, projection)


Yes, whew. I was burning to know what that one person who joined 44 mins ago thought of WaniKani (and the whole concept of Kanji, which WaniKani invented and controls) and would have puzzled over their disappearance to my dying day.


Could you explain it? I don’t understand his response of “now we know” and I don’t understand your response either :sob:

See also, Urban Dictionary: Cool story, bro


Mnemonic learning isn’t for everyone. Perhaps just learning the kanji as it is, and the actual legit radicals would be better for you? There are plenty of core Anki decks to study from that don’t rely on this kind of system, and are just simple word/kanji/pronunciation/sentence.


… 前 isn’t even weird because of WaniKani. Moon and knife are the actual radical names.


Just realizing this all doesn’t make sense and I’ve learned nothing


Did you read the weird ass explanation? There’s a weird ass explanation.


I did. So many of them. What was I thinking


So I’ve been having a little fun with your post, @Idontpaybrogimme , but seriously though:

It will make sense, but don’t try to make too much sense of it right away. Just literally learn what they tell you to learn and do the reviews when they come up. Trust that it will all make sense eventually. You’ll surprise yourself. Kanji is actually a very efficient, information-dense way to write and millions of people use it daily. You can too.

Can I ask why you want to learn Japanese?


And to think that the kanji for 荒らし was just taught to me by Wanikani at my current level …

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(I/you/he/she/they/we/we all) w(ill)/o/d(o/id)(n’t) ha(s/ve) (some/any)thing to add (t)here.


The readings are hidden? News to me.

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