Kanji reading selections and vocabulary


First of all, I like the tool very much. Despite all the things I don’t like, I feel it’s very useful if I tweak it for what I want.

What I want to bring up is the selection of the reading shown for each kanji. My opinion is that it’s just very poor. In more than one instances the reading Wanikani is trying to get me to learn is not even used in the example vocabulary shown a bit later.

Two very recent examples, first, and yet, the three words shown as examples use a different reading.

Same thing with , all the three examples don’t contain the shown reading (とう).

I have to go all the way to jisho to find a word (本当) with that reading that can actually help the reading stick. Funny thing is 本当 is actually taught in level 5 a little bit later.

Hopefully, someone from the team read this and improve the readings selection.


Just because there aren’t any example of those readings in the small preview you get during the lesson, it doesn’t mean WaniKani won’t teach you any other vocab with those readings

These are all items in Wanikani, it’s just that they won’t show you all of them then. Because it’s just a kanji lesson so far, you get to the vocab lessons later on.


This is the whole point. It’s easier to learn the kanji reading when you know how it’s going to be used. It’s like teaching a kid, this crayon paints yellow, see it here in this blue sky. This kanji is read this way, see it here in this vocabulary where its read in a completely different way I didn’t even tell you about.

It’s even worse once you realize learning kanji for the sake of it makes very little sense if any. The whole point is to learn vocabulary, how is read and what it means.

And this reinforces my point, given that there’s other vocabulary they will teach me with the actual reading, why wouldn’t you (they) pick those instead?


I think the point of the example section is to make the meaning range clearer and is actually the more common words of the lot. Otherwise there would be readings mentioned for those words. The reason かんが isn’t the reading taught for that kanji is because they usually try to teach you the onyomi readings, unless almost no words use it, but still, you will most commonly meet it in these words.


With most kanji, they teach you one reading, either on’yomi or kun’yomi, and then when you unlock vocab for that kanji, you’ll learn at least some of the others then (some kanji have a lot of readings, and WK only teaches you the most common ones, the idea being that those few will get you the most mileage and you’ll be able to pick up the others as you come across them outside of WK)

The vocab examples are just there to give you an idea of what kinds of words you’ll learn on here that use that kanji and to give you an idea of how the kanji meaning(s) translate into the words you’ll see it in. That examples page isn’t meant to reinforce anything just yet, just give you an idea of what’s to come.

And for the most part, you’re not just learning kanji for the sake of it on here. WK has a system where they teach you components (radicals, although not all of them are actual radicals, for ease of teaching kanji with their mnemonics system), then when you’re familiar with them teach you the kanji that use those radicals, then when you’re familiar with those teach you some vocab with those kanji to help reinforce both meaning and reading for them.

WK is not a vocab-learning site. It’s a kanji-learning site. Their goal is to make the hurdle of kanji surmountable, which makes it easier to pick up vocab. When you come across a new word, if you know the kanji that make it up, you can often guess both its meaning and reading. Same thing, to some extent, with kanji and their radicals.


I think you bring up a good point. At least one word in the Examples section should definitely use the reading being taught in the kanji lesson.


It’s a sneak peek at what you’re gonna see the kanji later in. You don’t need to know how to read it at that point, just know it’s there and it’s coming.

The reinforcement comes later when the kanji is guru’d and you get the vocabulary unlocked. That said the selection might need to be refreshed, so you can see a compound and a verb for example.

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Agreed. It probably doesn’t happen with many items, but it’s a bit confusing to teach a reading and then give completely different examples.


This topic is somehow always discussed but it usually boils down to the same answer. WK uses the vocab for a reason, it’s well thought out, they didn’t just take some random vocab and threw it in there.

Did you actually read the OP? This isn’t about the vocab selection in general, just the ones that are shown in the Examples tab.


I haven’t run into this since restarting Wani Kani back in January (from about level 21 ish), but I think it’d be very frustrating. I agree that the vocab words are likely chosen to show you the semantic range in the kanji, but seeing how it’s read in a word definitely helps the reading stick for me when I learn it.


I kind of like that the example vocab often has different reading for the kanji.

I don’t use them as a memory hint, I use them as a preview of what I’m not learning at this exact moment.

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OP, I strongly recommend you use Kanji Review Vocabulary list for review sessions

with that, it becomes way easier to remember the reading based on a word. I never know by heart all readings of a kanji, but seeing them in the examples make me remember right away.

afaik, all reading appear soon or later for vocab, I haven’t seen any without use.


Agreed. Unfortunately, the example sentences have always been WK’s weak point IMO.

Not the example sentences. The example words during lessons.


I think you make a good point. I’m actually surprised this is a thing, because the last time I was doing WaniKani the sneakpeek of later vocab items showed a range of possible readings. For 当 it’s especially strange since 本当 is a very common word.

But bearing the other points you mentioned, it may make some sense to consider Anki if you feel vocabulary should be a higher priority :slight_smile: .


Oh. :man_facepalming: Although, in that case I still agree.

Yeah, I don’t see any particular reason to not include at least one word that uses the learned reading among the 3 that get displayed. They were probably ordered automatically or something, and it would just take someone combing through and reorganizing a bit.


Well, I think one could certainly argue about how well thought out it actually is. Regardless it’s not the point of the thread.

If they’re gonna show you vocab during the kanji lesson, there’s no reason at least one of those vocab words shouldn’t use the reading they’re teaching you.


I’ve thought about Anki, I even tried for 10 minutes. There are two things I don’t like; one, it is just ugly, and the UX is subpar; two, I don’t like the fact that I have to evaluate how well I remembered; I rather let the system tell me, bias and all.
I might be wrong, but I’m not completely fed up with Wanikani just yet.

I just found something else that doesn’t make sense. For , the primary meaning is Axe, and then below, the only three words using the kanji use the secondary meaning.

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