Leech Squashing

Recreating this topic because the Original Thread got archived.

LEECH: An item in language learning that just won’t stick, and ends up wasting massive amounts of your time.

蛭 - ひる - Leech

Leech-tachi: That group of very similar items that you constantly confuse
Leech-kun: That weird long random kunyomi that is only used for the vocab or verb version of a kanji.
Leech-人: That rendaku’d-ass last kanji that you answer wrong 1 out of 7 times (is it leech-nin? leech-jin? leech-BITO??)
Leech-chan: The kanji you always miss because WK’s mnemonic uses 5 different radicals instead of combining 4 into a kanji you already know or (worse) don’t realize that you are just about to learn.

WKer Klaoth pointed out in another thread that it’s actually helpful to bitch about your leeches – complaining about them out loud helps you process what’s going on and maybe even gives you a chance to organize a way to fix it. Also, complaining is fun!

Because these complaints never seem appropriate for the “complaining is a must” thread, this thread can serve as a place to:

  • bitch about that item you can’t ever, ever remember

  • bitch about those sets of items you constantly confuse

  • bitch about leeches caused by the way WK’s radicals are organized (I know, I know, we love WK in every other way)

  • screenshot your craziest leech. Right now I have over 100 attempts at 仲間. WHY?

  • share squashing strategies

  • make a PSA to the WK community about an item with the potential to turn into a leech because of the way it is presented in WK.

Leechy Resources

Let us all thank the great @StellaTerra for creating a Leech Identifier script:

and @smrq for creating a forked version with some additional features and improvements:

@hitechbunny has created a duo of fantastic leech tools:

see a count of leeches for each of the 8 SRS levels on your WK dashboard:

And never ever miss a leech again because you force them into your brain via a leech screensaver:


Never forget: the first step to squashing your leeches is REALIZING THEY EXIST.



Things I wish I noticed 18 months worth of Wanikani reviews ago…

Also, they have different pronunciations!


This guy wrote a good article about strategies for dealing with leeches:

I’m curious how other people deal with them? My current thinking is that I’m gonna get some kind of whiteboard and put it somewhere I see every day (perhaps that spot by my desk where I stare blankly), and fill it with leeches as I find them.

One thing I will say is that I would love it if WK would add a feature for dealing with leeches, similar to the way that Anki does – flag them, suspend them, most importantly point them out to you.


Just being able to suspend then would be great. They waste so much time that could be spent reviewing vocab you’ll actually remember.

For me, the verbs with long kunyomi on the kanji are most of my leeches. I have so much trouble remembering them.


Recently I discovered that when Anki leeches, and suspends, cards, it doesn’t auto-bring them back at a later time. Went through and unleeched everything and boom, nearly 400 cards back in the mix. :scream:


The “complain about them” part REALLY works for me. After I miss it for the 100th time, I complain. Lo and behold, I get it right the following times.


正直 honesty, has been on an endless loop between apprentice and guru for months now. I even made up my own pronunciation pneumonic (しょうじき the shogun was so honest, jesus gave them a key to his apartment), which is useless, because I can’t remember that 正直 means honesty in the first place.


For Anki, more than un-suspend, you can also create filtered deck using tag:marked. I am not sure if is:suspended works. And then I drill with something like 1 1 1 10 240 480

WaniKani can’t do that.


Whoa that is a fantastic idea I had no idea that was possible


Just recently I took a close look at

予想 , and also

because I kept confusing the first two. I noticed that 定 seems to indicate intent.
(I had previously thought of determine as “find out” rather than “decide”.)
Never got them wrong since then.

I should have done that earlier.

I will look for more leeches this month.


黄. Yellow. Why. I burned 黄色 (with 100% accuracy…) long ago because it has a built in hint but I failed to burn the radical again the other day.


Nice, good advice.
Any idea if there’s a way to filter based on part of a cards content? I can’t seem to get it to work. Have a WaniKani Burned items deck, but would like to split it into radical/kanji/vocab decks. Would like to filter on ‘type’



Something like -type:"vocabulary", (, ) or OR also works


Ha, my fault. Also had ‘is:due’ and apparently I didn’t have any vocab due. changed to radical and got 8 results. :disappointed:
Hmm, works for radical, but not kanji or vocabulary. I’ll keep playing
Edit: AnkiDroid apparently just had issues. Would edit over and over, and eventually, for no apparent reason, it would magically work, even though I had entered the same thing time and time again.


I still get that one wrong!



I always get the radicals and kanji for spicy 辛 and happiness 幸 wrong. Now that I’m taking a moment to look at them: Spicy has a little drop/thorn at the top, and Happiness is (has) a plus.

困 and 因 wtf (╯ರ ~ ರ)╯︵ ┻━┻
Tree is Troubled
Cause is Big

化ける to transform
化かす to bewitch
変わる to be transformed (???)


you should just buy 7 of these shirts, then you can wear one everyday and just look down, and see if it’s happiness or not. (I have two of these, one in yellow, one in white)


I have lots of problems with close-looking kanji along the lines of what several of you have posted here. If there is such a resource, could one of you point me to a collection of ‘don’t confuse these two with each other’ examples?
(For the longest time, I would drive past this ramen place and wondered why they advertised ‘happy ramen’… I finally twigged to the fact that it was shin and not kou) (thinking about that, I now get that the English packaging for ‘Shin Ramen’ isn’t ‘new’, but ‘spicy’. Gah, I’m a doofus.)


I can never remember if I do or don’t ~ける about the word in question.