Misremembered Mnemonics

Anyone else here remember the mnemonics for the readings in a completely garbled way? Like I remember the entire story correctly, but have no idea how that relates to the reading…

Please share your embarrassing and infuriating misremembered mnemonics…

I’ll go first:

竹 = bamboo
“OK, there’s a little bamboo shrub and it has a lollipop and I’m trying to take it away from them…then the bamboo shrub cries…so the reading must be waaaahhh because the shrub is crying…so …or is it わあ?”

or sometimes I’ll mix up 2 connected mnemonics…

写 = copy
“I decide to copy the beggar, so I hire a shaman, and arrives and gets out of his car, I’m surprised and impressed by how cool the shaman is…so the reading must be related to car…so …?”

Just me? :sweat:


Definitely not just you. :slight_smile:

I constantly mix up mnemonics that include words I’ve associated with common readings. For example, I always want to put か as a reading for anything with “car” in the mnemonic, even if the car isn’t really part of it.

Sometimes I accidentally reword the mnemonics in my head and eliminate the most important word :laughing: One that I did that with recently is “ride” (乗) - my reading mnemonic was “just say ‘no’ (の) to rides from strangers.” I was like “ok, so don’t accept rides from strangers…we definitely don’t want to do that…but what the heck reading would that be??” *facepalm *

I can’t prove it, but I swear that some words get used interchangeably in the mnemonics for long and short vowels, or even just different ending vowels (i.e. “shoe” for both しゅ and しゅう, “coat” for both こと and こた). It drives me nuts, because I always mix them up even if I remember the mnemonic. Has anyone else noticed/had trouble with this, or am I just going crazy?

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I haven’t really had this happen. Either I remember the mnemonic and it helps me remember the reading, I remember the mnemonic and get absolutely nothing from it and can’t remember the reading, or I can’t remember the mnemonic.

During lessons I always read the associated vocab. If I already know a word that includes the kanji, that really solidifies it and makes it almost impossible for me to get the reading wrong. If I don’t know a word, it still might be helpful if the associated reading is used in most of the vocab, but sometimes it isn’t.


Words do get used interchangeably, there was another thread about that which popped up when I made this one, but it was archived.

Just today I’ve had the foot mnemonic as both ふと and ふた

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That’s something that’s really going to hold me back and I need to start on. I know how to read and write kana and then I went on to wanikani, but I’ve never studied japanese at all, so I don’t know any vocab (unless it’s something that can be found on a japanese menu).

Ah, I see. WK probably should not be your first (or primary) Japanese learning resource. But there are hundreds of topics on that.

Yeah, I always do things arse about face. I wasn’t really intending on learning Japanese at all, I just wanted to learn to read phonetically, but when I realised that there are so many kanji used I ended up finding wanikani accidentally.

Funnily enough that’s exactly how I started learning Korean, and 4 years later I speak Korean pretty well and have lived there, so I guess you never know where arse about face learning will get you (obviously I studied Korean properly after learning to read and write).

This is lame example but I struggle with mnemonic for 入, which is something like, when you enter the teepee you are given a new (にゅう) car! As car is used elsewhere as mnemonic for か, I can’t stop misremembering the reading as being か instead of にゅう。

Couldn’t it have been something like “inside, the teepee is all new (にゅう)!”


I’m interested in Korean too, because it’s nearby (I live in Japan) and I know there are some grammatical and etymological similarities with Japanese. Obviously very different phonology and the shared etymology is from hundreds of years ago. But still.

Can’t imagine starting it until I’ve at least passed N1 though, and that is a ways off.

I used to live in Busan, which is just a boat ride away from Fukuoka, but I was working so much that I never managed to get time to go to Japan - I’m planning to go to Korea and Japan on honeymoon later this year though, that’s why I started trying to learn to read phonetically.

You’ll find the shared etymology in the on’yomi readings, but yeah, the phonology is slightly different. Korean uses hanja (kanji) for “Chinese” words, but doesn’t use them at all for native Korean readings, which makes things much more straightforward than Japanese, but maybe that’s just the angle that I’m coming at it from.

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Ok, I’m not crazy :laughing: Good to know.

The days/things counters really get me mixed up. At least two of the mnemonics involve yogurt, and one involves cows (perhaps the ones producing all that yogurt?!?), and I still squeak by with guessing (except when 立つ comes up, and then I get so confused trying to figure out the mnemonic for six that I neglect to notice that 立 isn’t a number)

I think I need to just whip up my own, in order mnemonics for those and drill separately, like I did for days of the week

Every. single. effing. time. with 立つ…ugh!

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Just now I failed burning the kanji 被. I did remember that the mnemonics used a heat ray, so I entered れい、when I should have entered ひ。。。

Oh, that’s just cruel

I have remembered the “taco” mnemonic for 足りる and ended up writing たこりる.


Just make your own mnemonic and use new with something that you will emotionally (etc) relate to, Its much more easier to remember if you come up with something yourself when you find out that the one provided to you wont. I also had trouble with にゅう at the start, mixing it up with below: か because the mnemonic there is that instead of the toe you find a car (with the toe inside) while digging. :smiley:

I don’t need it any more. WK works really well for me because at some point I stop thinking about mnemonics, I just know the answer.
But as the topic is misremembered mnemonics this was one that applied for me. :slight_smile:

I noticed the same problem, so I started shortening the mnemonics and taking anything unnecessary out. Not going according to Koichi’s plans, but… :stuck_out_tongue:

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I confuse the readings for 下 with 土 simply because their mnemonics are associated with downwards…