Learning the reading with its pronunciation

Hi all, apologies if this has been asked before; I could not find a similar thread by searching.

I am on level 3 with Wanikani now and I love it so far. I am wondering how important it is for a learner of the language to understand if it is important to know which reading (on-yomi/kun-yomi) corresponds to the pronunciation of each kanji?

For example, 木(もく on-yomi)(き kun-yomi)

I ask because I am flying through the vocab and wondering if I should slow down and take my time to also create an association between the pronunciation and its reading. When I learned French vocabulary over 10 years ago, I didn’t focus as much on the association with a noun and its gender (le/la), and that was a huge rookie mistake! I would like to avoid making a similar mistake in Japanese.


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This is a little confusingly worded, but I assume you mean “an association between the pronunciation and which category of reading it is.”

I wouldn’t worry about it too much at first. Over time you’ll begin to get a feel for what kind of things can’t be onyomi readings, and what kind of things seem to fit together naturally.

Acknowledging that it’s info that you’ll want to keep in mind is sufficient for now.


Good question! @latortue09 I was just wondering this last night as I was trying to figure out the difference between on’yomi/kun-yomi and if I needed to know which was which when I was memorizing the pronunciation for each.

I read on a tofugu article while I was researching that if the word is two kanjis together without any hiragana with it, then it’s likely going to use the on-yomi, or chinese, reading. The way I remember this is that chinese words are all straight kanji, and so that makes sense. I imagine it’s helpful for that reason to know which is which pronounciation so you can remember which pronunciation to use if you happen to forget, but I also read that it’s not always the case. So confusing. :woman_shrugging:

This is the article I was reading, by the way: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/onyomi-kunyomi/

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Yes, that is what I was meaning to write! You said it better than I.

Thank you for the response!

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