Incorrect Kanji Meanings

Alright just been going through Kanji that I am reviewing and checking with all my resources. What I keep finding is Kanji with incorrect meanings.

Example: Level 21 省 - Wanikani answer = Conserve.

Correct answer = Government Ministry or せい reflect (on oneself)

Words like:

Ministry of Education 文部省
Reflect, Reconsider 反省する

Back this up.

Is there a reason why the wanikani answer is totally different to the multiple textbooks and resources I have?

It can mean conserve, like in the word 省スペース, which means “space-saving.”

Feel free to add more synonyms or email them suggestions.

The thematically relevant words that WK teaches with this are 省く (to omit) and 省略 (abbreviation). They’re not exactly the same as “conserve” themselves, but that’s the relevant meaning for those words.


There are multiple meanings for each kanji. A quick search on shows that 省 can also mean conserve/saving as a prefix. For example, 省エネルギー (energy conservation).

I can only assume that your textbooks are only teaching one variation of the kanji.


As Leebo says, if you email them with such findings, they’re usually very amenable to making changes if they agree that the stated definition are incorrect or too niche. :+1:

And of course WK has never made the claim that they teach all possible meanings and readings for kanji. ^^ It’s what they deemed to be most common, and what you’d be most likely to run into as an average person interested in Japanese.

While most useful and most common can be subjective, depending on circumstance, but that there are missing meanings doesn’t make it incorrect, per se.

You can of course add alt meanings that are important to you to the user synonyms, so that you can still enter those meanings on your reviews and get the practice you’re looking for. :slight_smile:


There is a userscript that adds automatically other dictionary meanings to kanji. However, I would suggest on mastering first one meaning and then branching on to others. You will get better understanding of other meanings through associated vocab.


Alright, from my research Government Ministry seems to be the most common use for the Kanji, other uses may well be better placed in the vocabulary section. That said I have added Government Ministry as my own synonym for it.

I feel from the investigating I did that the Kanji should have had it listed as the primary meaning or at least as secondary meaning as it is fairly common.

At least I know my Kanji is improving when I can look at something and know there are other meanings to it not listed on the site.

Kanjipedia lists that as meaning #4.


I am now finding multiple and more Kanji lacking the correct meanings or meanings that should be listed or the first choice.

Next one is 関 かん the first meaning should be barrier. 関所 せきしょ meaning barrier/checkpoint.

留 る should also have - bring to a stop/fasten

単 たん should be “single” not simple (alone) 単線鉄道 single-track railway - of which I find quite surprising there is no vocabulary listed under it that includes single.

These are just a few of the many I have been finding out of what I already know and when reviews come around the meanings are not listed and need to be added as a user one.

Posting about them here won’t result in any change to the entries generally. They take suggestions by email.

There’s also a difference between “a meaning is missing” and “there are other ways you could word this meaning.” The meaning of “detain” is the same core meaning as is meant in “fasten” or “halt.” It’s just that English has plenty of words that mean similar things. Something like “entrance” or “gateway” for 関 would indeed be a completely new meaning to be added, not just a synonym of the current meaning.


I see the problem. It’s the classic ‘this is wrong because I learned it different somewhere else’.


No its wrong because its wrong, lacks basic established meanings and facts, omits common vocabulary and fails to deliver what it promised.

It makes no difference what the source of information is, it needs to be correct, concise and accurate and reflective of the language and meaning.

The only issue I am beginning to see is that to North Americans whose English could be considerably different to UK English poses problems. I go off UK English not American English. Even then the Kanji are still missing meanings that are meant to be there.

It never ends. This is becoming a total joke having to manually enter synonyms for every Kanji this website gets wrong or uses obscure translations for that no normal wired human brain that speaks English would bother using.

Up to level 23 presented with lesson.

停 てい translation is only “halt”

This is despite the fact that there are words like バス停 各駅停車 which clearly indicates the Kanji means “stop”, do they have it as a synonym? - No not at all. FFS.

Who has ever referred to a “Bus Halt”.

I would understand if the Kanji was obscure or the English translation was debatable depending on nation to nation but this one takes things to another level of lunacy.

Not going to bother saying the same thing again just because you want to. Look at the previous responses if you don’t have me on ignore.


As Leebo and the rest have said, the meanings aren’t wrong. In my mobile dictionary e.g. the first meaning for 停 is halt, too. It really depends on the source you’re using. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. At the end of the day, kanji are concepts that we’ve tried to define with English terms. Halt and stop have the same general idea, so there’s really no need to fret over details as long as you understand what the kanji means imo.


I just came upon this thread and I have to bring up the fact that 省 is used as ministry by WaniKani itself in the 〜務省 vocabulary, which being level 23 you should have learned 2 levels ago. Also in the case of 停, rikai-kun shows the meaning as halt and not stop. Even so, WaniKani cannot list ALL synonyms of every word and kanji… You can do that however, manually.


Halt is something yelled at you when you are marching in a military parade.

None the less given the vocabulary it should have automatically been in as a meaning.

I feel like I’ve seen the word halt used more in books in the phrase “brought … to a halt” more than I’ve seen it used in the yelling military way. However, this doesn’t make your example any less wrong, you just used a different but similar story to describe it. Weird.


That is one use, yes. It’s not the exclusive use.

the project halted for lack of funds

the strike halted subways and buses

The car came to a halt.

brought production to a halt


I have never in my life seen where it is appropriate to have a “Bus Halt” sign where a “Bus Stop” is the correct word. Therefore the Kanji should have had “stop” as a primary meaning or at least additional rather than the user discovering it and having to manually do it after getting a review marked as wrong when they were in fact correct.

Clearly any dictionary which lists halt as the first definition of 停 should be changed.