Kanji in the wild

Hi there! I’m new to WaniKani, just reached level 4 today. So first and foremost I’d like to introduce myself! I’m normally just a lurker on forums and trying to change that. I’m Becca, I’ve been learning Japanese for about three months now, and I’m planning on applying for the JET program in the fall.

My question might seem silly or a bit redundant, but what are some tips for reading kanji in the wild? I’m able to recognize kanji I know easily, but what I find most difficult is knowing exactly which meaning and reading is being used. I can guess, but of course there’s no definitive “answer key” for kanji I just happen to stumble upon. I know the most important way to learn is to just keep reading, but how do you know you’re reading correctly?

Thanks and it’s nice to meet you all!

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Hey, I’ll be the first to say welcome to Wanikani (although I mostly just lurk on the forums myself). I think the further you get into Wanikani, the better your ability to “guess” which readings a kanji will likely have when you see it. There are patterns, such as two-kanji words often having onyomi readings, or certain sounds turning つ into a double consonant, etc. Since Wanikani teaches several readings for each character and usually a decent amount of vocab words in which the kanji is used, you can really get a good feel for how all the rules work if you just stick with the program for a while.

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but there is an anwser key here :hugs:



Also, get on Google Maps, plonk the street view man down in the middle of some commercial street somewhere in Tokyo or Osaka, and read the signage. Practice makes perfect. :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s nice to meet you, fellow lurker. :slight_smile: I figured a decent amount of guesswork would inevitably be involved. I’m just worried about guessing wrong and continuing to read something wrong in every sentence I see… I think these are mostly beginner anxieties though!

That’s a great idea, thank you!

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