I tried making a video about balance in flashcards


I wanted to organize my own thoughts about effective flashcards, and I thought others might get something from it too.

Everyone here has probably thought more about flashcards than the average person, so maybe it will just sound like I’m stating the obvious, but maybe some will find it helpful.

In making the video, I ended up having ideas for other concepts that would be related, so I might make more as well.


I’ve come across the same problem with my flashcards (massive lists of right answers), but I never thought about how to effectively narrow those down (I’ve been using 1s and 2s). I really like your idea to use different situations for the different meanings, and I also really liked the collocation idea. I’m definitely going to try to use those ideas for my cards from now on.

Personally, for things like 自転車 that are easy to find, I like using pictures. It’s considerably more work than using a quick translation, but by searching Japanese results sometimes I find out unexpected nuances. That and I’m thinking more in Japanese and avoiding English when I study the card (which may be a moot point since I use WK, but as much as possible I guess).

Great video! Looking forward to the next one.


Yeah, that’s a good point. Definitely something that works well for those kinds of words that I didn’t mention.


My takeaway:

  1. try to have 1 word - 1 meaning
  2. if there are more than one meaning, split and use hint.
  3. try to develop and learn word with collocations


Nice video. :slight_smile:

I have put much thought into good card design too. One of things that frustrated me with Wanikani when I first started is that I can’t just make a bunch of new cards when I feel that I have interference from other similar words. I really needed to step back and rethink my SRS process.

I still refer to the Supermemo rules on a regular basis.


I don’t use flashcards yet, but I found your ideas quite insightful.

Also, I’m sure there’s people who join WK at the very start of their journey and who may not have much experience with flashcards, so I’m sure this video will be particularly useful for beginners as well as others struggling with them.

Thanks for sharing.


That’s a pretty nice video. I do have some memory of these 12-foot long definition and just randomly name two definitions then tell myself I got it and copy-paste then answer. I do like the idea of collocations I will think about it. I don’t know why but I imagined a much deeper voice.(笑)

Btw what do you think about how to efficiently learn with flashcard? Like every day at the same hour, SRS, writing them, make a game with them(they have some on some app like the one you used). Personally, I’m SRS through and through.


I’ve been meaning to ask whether you have any advice on a related issue. One problem I come across is that I want to (and do) split up the meanings as you suggest, but I worry that the differentiating hint is actually also giving me a massive clue to the meaning of the word.

To take your example of a bright room, I might not remember that あかるい means bright, but may be very confident in the word へや. If there are no / few other cards with the hint へや, it’s quite likely that I’ll just end up seeing へや and making the connection via that rather than actually remembering the meaning of あかるい independently. “Oh yeah, the word about describing a room… as being bright”

So… any tips? :sweat_smile: is it just about picking good words to use for hints? If the different meanings are used as different parts of speech I try to use that information as my hint, but that’s not often the case.


I suppose you could try to make sure you use the word へや in other flashcards as well. Sorry I don’t have time at the moment to give an answer that makes it sound like I thought about this for more than a minute…


Haha, that is quite alright. I just thought I’d ask as you’d obviously put thought into good flashcards.

My only idea was basically that - trying to find words which are good for differentiating many of your vocabulary terms.