Many moons pronunciation: how to remember?

I can never for the life of me remember if THIS one with Moon in it is getsu, gatsu, or tsuki. Similar troubles with others like this (like Sun: rarely can I remember off-hand if THIS one is “[nin]jutsu”, “Nietzsche”, and so on) but for me this one’s the most desk-pound-inspiring. Aside from praying I get the vocab first (so I can cheat by looking at the pronunciation beforehand) or writing them down on a piece of paper (like “how many gatlings” and “sucky-sucky me”), how do you do it? What’s the trick?


I had a similar problem at first, but someone else mentioned a way to keep them separate that’s worked really well for me.

Gatsu is most often seen when referring to a specific month, so any of the month names. 三月 is さんがつ and 十月 is じゅうがつ and so on.

Getsu is more the general month concept, so talking about a few months ago or last month, it’s going to be that reading. 先月 and 先々月 are both げつ

And then つき is the noun ‘moon’ as in the thing you see in the sky, so anything to do with looking at it (月見) or such.

From my understanding, it’s not 100% accurate for all vocab ever, but it’s definitely helped me keep the pronunciations straight so far.

Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out a similar trick for 日 yet, so I’m still stumbling on those, too, beyond remembering that the number of days is the か reading.

Hope that helps!


I was going to say a similar thing as katvonbirb, so I won’t since they covered it, lol.

You could also search 月 or 日 in wanikani’s search bar and it will bring up all the words they teach it in. That could help you to group them to study easier.

Edit: Here is my generalization about 日

じつ is seen for things like non specific times or describing a kind of day like 近日 (soon), 先日(the other day) or 聖日(holy day)

ひ / び is typically things relating to the sun itself ひ(sun), 日焼け(sunburn), and a specific commemorative day like 金曜日(friday) or 誕生日(birthday)

にち / に / にっ is mostly things relating to Japan or general daily things like 日刊 (daily edition), 日常(daily life), 日本


I’ve just reviewed some of the vocab up to Level 5 where you are at to see where the problems may lie. I assume it’s any vocab with 月 in it.

I think this is a good example of learning Japanese via WK before knowing a lot of vocab which I am guessing is true in your case (apologies if not). When I first started learning Japanese I knew the words for the months, then the word for moon and had no idea they were related until I finally started looking at some kanji. That helps but it’s not the entire story.

There’s no foolproof way but for Lv5 it’s as simple as:

Month names eg 1月、2月 it’s always がつ, this includes 何月 for “what month”

For monthly periods by the way it’s げつ eg 3ヶ月 (さんかげつ)

This is the same for everything else in WK at Lv5. They allow 毎月 as both まいつき and まいげつ although I prefer the former.

The only exception and other word I can see is 月見(つきみ)for “moon viewing” which you can remember because 花見 (はなみ) is also the word for “cherry blossom viewing” which also uses the kunyomi for flower.

PS: My own personal bete noire is the prefixes of 斤 and 先 before day and year which mean different things. Annoying.


Oh man, thanks so much for the explanations about 日; that helps so much. Being able to understand a bit of the rhyme and reason behind which reading is used when helps me so much more than rote memorization. じつ has been pounded into my head more recently due to vocab like 休日 and 先日 but the others still come at me from left field, so this is great. Thank you!

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Glad it helped. Yeah I think in the beginning the readings are scattered all over. But after accumulating more words, you start to have a certain “feel” for what it should be.

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If you can’t distinguish multiple words from each other, I’ve found it helpful just to look up the words and then write them down next to each other. I’ve always had problems with:

先日「せんじつ」= The other day
前日「ぜんじつ」= The previous day

From there, it shouldn’t be too tricky to come up with a mnemonic for each one, like for example “Because I talked with my _sen_sei 「せんじつ」the other day, yesterday (the previous day) I felt zen「ぜんじつ」”.

Sankyuu! Hopefully I can get by without cheating now. :stuck_out_tongue:

O.o Why would you be cheating with vocabulary? Maybe you wouldn’t be asking this question in first place if you were using wanikani properly.


I’m not trying to give you a lecture or something but if you cheat on WK then you’re only cheating yourself.

Guys, he means that when the vocab comes first in the review pile, it can be easier to trigger your memory of the isolated readings when the kanji itself comes up. He’s not actually manipulating anything.

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Thank you.

Sounds more like OP is hitting the eyeball icon after getting the meaning right to peek at the reading. Probably best to avoid that practice, but the temptation is there.

Ah, guess he didn’t write what he meant.

I did, with the assumption that everyone would be smart enough to see my tongue firmly planted in my cheek…

Here’s my list. Note the opposite direction for 近年 and 近日.

年内 ねんない within the year
年中 ねんじゅう all year, year round, all year round
(5)年来 (5)ねんらい for some (5) years, for (5) years
去年 きょねん last year
先年 せんねん former years; formerly; a few years ago, past years

近年 きんねん recent years
近日 きんじつ soon; in a few days

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