Life without mnemonics... How do I start?

Heya guys!!
I hope you are all well! thanks for all the help recently, it has been great to hear from so many people!

I have another question for you all! Recently I was recommended Torii and other Vocab SRS systems, however when I started using it, I found myself not remembering anything from the first lesson! I am unsure if it’s just because it is teaching Vocab I have never encountered, or if its the lack of Mnemonics which through WK i have become accustom to, and in a way reliant on!

anyone else ran into this issue and have a great solution for me? or maybe some great advice to start that outside of WK vocab war!!

lemme know! thanks again for all the help!!

have a great night my friends!


Well, you can work on developing your own mnemonics if you are not able to find any other way of connecting a meaning to a new word. The most popular type of mnemonic for learning foreign language vocabulary is the Keyword Mnemonic. (You can google that if you want to learn more. Here is also a description of what it is: Keyword Mnemonic Explained with Examples | It is going to be a slow process at first so don’t be disheartened, it’s normal and will improve over time (and it will take time) so don’t get discouraged.

Note: this method is rather difficult with Japanese due to the number of homonyms so that’s something to keep in mind.


Hi travissmith,

You might consider reading the post in the open forum on Rorschach mnemonics. In it you’ll find a web link to a mnemonic slideshow that might help you. It is definitely not word-based the way WK is, it’s illustration-based.

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I used Torii for a while. Something to note is that in most SRS systems, you are expected to fail a large portion of the reviews for newly learnt items. This is especially true in programs like Anki, where the default minimum interval for that is 1d. Thus you probably don’t need to worry about getting them wrong — in this case, getting things wrong is literally part of the learning process.

Other people have given examples of mnemonic techniques, so I’ll add to the pool: if you use a Japanese keyboard of some kind, you can try memorizing the pattern that you use for typing it in (kind of like the patterns for the unlock screen on some Android phones). I find that this helps in the early stages of some words.


I use Torii, and it is definitely harder to make mnemonics for words in just kana so I don’t bother.

Over time your brain still learns them, it just takes a little longer than Kanji.

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You need to find context or sample sentence for those vocabs. They will work the same way as mnemonics. That’s why I think 10k deck on kitsun is an excellent deck to learn basic vocabs.

I know this is a bit too early for you. I add new vocabs to anki deck from anime or series that I’ve been watching (or even from video games and LN). Then when the lesson comes up I will try to recall the scene that relate to the vocabs. I think it’s even better than mnemonics this way.

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I’d recommend trying creating your own mnemonics.
I haven’t tried Torii, but even with WaniKani I often create my own mnemonics.
For example:

黄 – Blackjack is the reason that the fins turned yellow.
受 – Cleat, forhead, stoolaccept, you, fool!
浮 – Tsunami, cleat and child are floating in the wild.

Anyway, best of luck with your studies!