If is a problem if I know some Heisig mnemonics?

I have the three “Remembering the Kanji” books by Heisig and I have studied them on and off for several years, and I have a couple of Anki decks for them. Many, but not all of the mnemonics have stuck with me.

As I get into WaniKani I find a whole different set of radicals and mnemonics, and I like that there is some training for readings from the beginning. Will it mess with my kanji study to use Heisig mnemonics along with these?


Probably not. After all, they’re all still kanji, and chances are WK and Heisig are teaching you the same readings. Besides, I’ve heard once you get into the later levels the WK-made mnemonics tend to lose efficiency so if you already have mnemonics that work for you then you’re ahead of the game.

If you remember the names of the radicals, I do suggest putting the Heisig meanings as synonyms so you don’t get frustrated when you put the Heisig meaning instead of the WK meaning :wink:


Good idea on the synonyms, thanks.

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If you know a kanji from Heisig and just want to add readings, it’s not much of a problem. “Okay, the kanji Heisig called ‘utmost’ is just ‘most’ here, and is read ‘さい’, got it” is easier than learning it from square one.

But, if you’re trying to learn a kanji from radicals, there will be interference. The way WK and RTK break kanji down into radicals is different, and while they both fortunately share a lot of radical names based on traditional etymology, there are also plenty of whimsical radical names in each system that don’t line up at all with what the other calls a thing. There are even a few cases where WK and RTK use the same radical name for completely different sets of strokes (like “head” and “table”). So be careful if you try to mix and match at this level!


Also, be prepared to create your own mnemonics. Rather than making a dazzling story, I would start from making one exist first.