I'm confusing by visually similar Kanji stop or keep going?

Hello eveyrone. Thanks for reading my post.

I’m on level 20 now and I start to feel like I’m got confused by visually similar kanji. My progress is relatively quick I spend around 7.5-8 days per level. Should I slow myself down a bit to let my brain process things better? Or it’s fine just keep going?

I’d suggest to spend some time with the items you’ve already learned. But this does not mean you have to slow down.

Do you read Japanese material like books or articles? Seeing the items in the wild might help you to distinguish them better :slight_smile:


when i find myself confusing items, i take a moment to look at the items side-by-side. i figure out what the differences are, and update my mental mnemonics to take those differences into account.

i usually do that after reviews, by going over items i failed. but sometimes i’ll actually do it mid-review (after having already failed the item/s in question).

i think this is relatively normal. when we learn a kanji, we don’t yet know what future kanji might be similar to it, so we don’t yet know which parts of the kanji are essential for telling them apart. and brains, being brains, will take shortcuts and only remember enough of a kanji to recognise it. so sometimes we need to give our brains an update ^^

(going at a similar speed as you, don’t see a need to slow down)


Yes, I’m trying to read Japanese news article slowly every morning. It’s something I wouldn’t be able to do 5 levels ago. I’m so happy now. (with some grammar learning of course)


Thanks I will keep on going at this speed then. I wish I could finish Wanikani by May 2020.

Opps I mean 2022 lol

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you mean may 2022 :wink:

are you in the Tokyo Sky Tree thread? we’re all aiming for may 2022, and it’s cool to see everybody climbing up the levels together!

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Are you a time traveler??


cool! I will have a look on that forum

Like @Mrs_Diss said:

You have to figure out a way to deal with it now because the problem only gets worse the more Kanji you learn, because you will have a bigger library of Kanji you already know that are similar to it.

So much this. lol

What I do is pick a Kanji to be the root of what I use and then remember the others as differences.

For example, I just learned 某 and so I had to update my mental definitions for 謀 and 媒.


I spend around 12 days on the first level. I felt like it was too slow Wanikani might not be what I’m looking for. But now I feel like Yamete Wanikani-san please I can’t take these reviews anymore…

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i’ve been paying much closer attention to the radicals which make up a kanji than i did at the beginning, and making sure that i incorporate all of them in the mnemonics (and i’ve been getting better at making mnemonics which stick).

what’s also really helpful is the Keisei Semantic-Phonetic Composition script. it’s just that little bit of extra info with which to organise and sort kanji in my head.


I know the feeling. Just got done with my morning reviews and I just hit the dreaded 100 Apprentice level for failing 16 items this morning, which about 5 of them I know are master-level items that I have failed because of visual or similar definition hell.

For example, I’ve answered 真 = Truth enough to knock it down to apprentice level again. One of my biggest struggle is I’ve never been good at strict memorization. My brain works in “getting the gist” of things and often forgetting a word but bouncing around 5 synonyms of it. I could just add more synonyms, but then my brain starts thinking of synonyms for that synonym. Presque vu is a constant living nightmare for me.

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I think you will find it much more difficult later because the translation of Japanese to English is so vague. From times to times I need to look up on the meaning in my NL (Thai) and I’m like “ooooh that’s what it actually means” so many words that have the same meaning in English transation but actually they are sort of the same but different context and usage.

If you play enough video games or watch anime you will know what I mean. Sometimes the Japanese Dialouge is so long but the subtitle is like “yup that’s fine” or “I’m sorry” lol

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Agreed. It’s why I refuse to add synonyms a lot of the times since it’s not exactly the right meaning. For instance, I will not at “basically” as a synonym for 単に since it’s slightly dissimilar.

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