Minor annoyance with ~人

Hi there, first post!

Don’t know if this has been asked before, but I just had a review wrong thanks to ~人. I am taking a course on nihongo at my university, so I learned this item in this form as “a person of nationality”, and so thats what I wrote in the meaning quiz (opposed to number of people), I messed up the meaning but it easily could have been the reading (じん instead of にん) , it was extra confusing as in the same lesson, you also learn French and American person. Could there something be done to add some context to the vocab so it can be differentiated, or is there a reason it can’t and I’m just only confusing things?

Thanks in advance and sorry for the english, not my native language and its getting late here


You can always add a user synonym, but WK is pretty clear in the lesson that it’s the counter version they are teaching.

It’s a valid point, but since you already know the difference it’s just the irritation of having it pop up more than it should due to not getting it. Eventually the correct wanikani response will stick and you’ll burn that puppy…er, turtle.

I know, it’s just I’m learning from the book and WK at the same time and it gets confusing, and other than that its on WK there is no difference between the two versions. The user synonym migt help with the meaning, but it would go against the reading part, as it would just interweave the meanings and readings even more in my head.

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I’m sure, and it really is just a minor annoyance rather than anything, I just thought maybe someone has a solution to this. I can only think of adding NO in front of the kanji, but that a, would spoil the meaning and b, would look freaking weird :smiley:

Oh and thanks for the replies!

Yeah you’ll have to find a way to deal with it now since the にん versus じん readings will come up constantly for that Kanji. Numbers and nationality are one of the few places where there’s a consistent pattern so this is the easy part. :wink:


I mean yes, but I hope they will have context (i.e. other kanji, furigana) so I can differentiate between the two of them. I know the difference so I’d never (hopefully lol) use にん for アメリカ人.


Aside from the obvious “nationality-じん”, "number of people -にん " difference, this character can be infuriating to remember which pronunciation is used. I’ve learned not to worry about it, and accept that until I’ve drilled the word into my head, I’ll mispronounce words like hermit (仙人: せんにん) and hunter (狩人: かりゅうど). Eventually they stick…usually. Like weird pronunciation rules in English, eventually you learn them through exposure.

I agree with you 1000%. Due to being both the nationality suffix AND the person counter, ~人 is flat-out ambiguous and should accept both readings, imo. There is no user-side solution to this except to use some sort of override or double-check script, which is excessive and can be a danger/temptation in other places.

To other responders saying “you’ll have to get used to readings being different for this kanji all the time”: every other use of this kanji is with other kanji, and therefore are actual, non-ambiguous readings. In this case, it really could be either trying to clue the counter OR the nationality suffix, and so this is not one of those just-get-used-to-it uses, but instead a learn-what-WK-wants, which is an artificial and unhelpful use of brain space.


Thank you very much for understanding me, I was wondering what I was doing wrong that I wasn’t getting throught to everyone others.

I still don’t know if accepting both would work, becouse then it would accept nationality meaning + nin reading and reinforce a wrong “pair”. I don’t know if it could effectively be solved.

And yeah, the worst thing about this is that it is really app specific (and maybe unnecesserily, unlike the radical names).


They did it with ついたち and いちにち as well, include both readings and meanings for 一日, I mean. I think they could include both readings and meanings. They have the counter and nationalities vocab to help differentiate them, as well.

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Gasp! You know not of エロ仙人? You need to go watch some Naruto.


Wrote a hopefully respectful email inquiring about their thoughts, i’ll see if they get back to me.


There’s actually a userscript called WaniKani Context that changes the vocab reviews to show the example sentences during reviews, which adds the context you would be looking for. Maybe it can be helpful to you until our kanji overlords respond?

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That may be a bit too much of a cheating for me, but thanks for your kind suggestion!

So I got a reply(suprisingly fast even), gotta paste it here if anyone else is curious and mark it as solution like the egotistical jerk I am :smiley: (Please do tell me if this is against the forum etiquette).

"Thanks for letting us know! I see how it could be confusing if you’ve learned it as a suffix for nationality first. We won’t be making any changes to this right now because the people counter is also an important one to learn, but maybe it’ll help you if you know that we don’t ask for any counters related to nationality? We only have nationalities in vocabs that specify the actual country, like American person or French person.

I hope the reading explanation also helps you remember that the answer here we’re looking for is number of people, people, people counter or counter for people!

Sorry if this doesn’t really fix your problem though, I understand it’s confusing!!"