Kun-yumi and On-yomi reading

Hi Guys

I’m almost done with level 3 now, and I wanted to ask if I should learn on-yomi and kun-yomi reading from any kanji I’ve learned yet, or just one of the two readings. And how should I tackle this in the future?

Maybe someone can tell me from his own experience what is best for me now.

Kind regards

You can use the “depth” strategy, in that you learn all you can learn about all the kanji in your repository (onyomi, kunyomi, all vocabs with the kanji, etc). But if your aim is to learn as many vocabs as possible, then you’re better off just learning one or two of the most common readings of each kanji and then move on to the next one. I call this the “breadth” strategy.


Thank you plantron i will try the “breadth” strategy.

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Learn both the main kunyomi and onyomi of each kanji that WK presents.
WK does not state it explicitly but all (well 95%) of 2-or-more-kanjis vocabs use the onyomi pronunciation.
For the single-kanji words, as well as words which contain some hiragana (verbs-adjectives) you will need to use the kunyomi pronunciation.

In the first levels, the kanji are mostly pictograms (drawings, like hieroglyphs). No trick, you need to learn them all, on- and kunyomi.

But in later levels the kanji are very frequently phono-semantic compounds. In such case, at least one radical gives an indication on the meaning, while an other radical gives a hint of its onyomi pronunciation (with variation, because pronunciation may have shifted when it was imported from China).

It will be much easier to learn the on pronunciation of the phono-semantic compounds, and thats great because this category represents 90% of the Japanese kanji.

There is no strategy for the kunyomi, you just need to learn the mnemonics ( that is mostly verbs and adjectives).


I try to remember both the onyomi and the kunyomi, but I don’t really dwell on the onyomi too much. The kanji when used by itself will probably have the kunyomi reading, and the onyomi I end up remembering from the vocabulary… like, I know 写 is “sha” because 写真 (photo) is “sha-shin”. It’s not 100% reliable but I find it much easier to remember and not get confused.

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