Missing Kanji used with basic words

I’m doing a 6000 vocab study using Iknow and I noticed that a couple of some basic words are missing in WaniKani.
茶碗 (rice bowl) for example, 碗 is not in the WK list.

Not a big deal but that simply surprised me… I thought that learning all the WK Kanji would include all Kanji for basic words like this one.

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There is a different kanji for bowl in level 48.

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Also there are different kanji for rice bowl in lesson 34

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I think WK only teaches some 2000 kanji.
While that is a very solid base covering a big percentage of what you may read, you still definitely will encounter a lot of kanji not in WK list.

There are various posts about kanji not in WK.
This one is particularly interesting (it aims to extend with several levels to cover extra kanji)


Japanese people don’t study 碗 in mandatory education either.


Different bowl, though. 丼 are bigger than 茶碗. A general rule of thumb described by one website I found is that 丼 are difficult to pick up one-handed when full - you start eating with the bowl on the table, and only pick it up to finish it off - whereas 茶碗 you can pick up from the get-go.


True, it was just an example, in the first 700 vocab of the basic 6000 vocab list I’m doing in Iknow I already found several Kanji not in wk.

Interesting, thanks :slight_smile:

That surprised me, that already basic words have Kanji not in wk. And I already saw quite some Kanji from lvl 50-60. I found that pretty cool, realizing I didn’t learn those Kanji only to encounter them once in a blue moon :slight_smile:

Which is, I’m guessing why they haven’t included them. + it’s been said before, but worth repeating, of all those that start using WK, only a small percentage manage to get to lv 60. To add even more kanji and vocab to that long journey could be detrimental to people ever finishing, so not a great product.

WK isn’t the complete set of kanji you need to know - it’s a good solid start to build upon. You both know some common kanji and words after finishing, but you’ve hopefully also developed methods for yourself to learn kanji going forward. That’s the main lesson of WK I think - how to learn kanji, not that you get to learn all useful kanji there is.


Though I confess I wouldn’t mind learning 碗. And/or 椀. I’ve encountered it at least a couple of times, and every time I do, I keep going “hmm, that’s 腕 with a different radical, what can it possibly mean?”.

Or perhaps I’m even thinking of 宛 which, haha, is in my WaniKani lesson queue waiting to be learnt…


Funny, as I learnt 碗 and 椀 first, my mnemonic for 腕 is “flesh bowl”…
( similarly, I mnemonice 飼 as “eat copper” as I knew 銅 first)

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i was doing iknow with wanikani but stopped doing iknow because i heard from someone that it was better to do just one SRI and do other study rather than two SRIs. I really liked iknow though and might go back to it at some point after wanikani. Iknow was very addictive for me and great for that reason. the way its been designed is very clever.

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茶碗 is often also spelled 茶わん, since it’s not taught.

Do you find it surprising you don’t learn 勿論 on WK either? :upside_down_face:

Whether Japanese people learn a kanji as part of mandatory education is neither here nor there since that applies only to the writing of kanji and loads of young people today suck at writing kanji. I’d be surprised if a native adult who regularly reads couldn’t read 茶碗 and definitely would be surprised if they couldn’t read 勿論. I have seen 茶碗 with furigana and without so perhaps it is a harder one but still… Educated natives can read and recognise plenty of kanji that aren’t part of mandatory education.

I think wanikani is best treated as a way to get familiar with kanji and not a way to exhaustively study them and there will always be arguments to be made for the inclusion of more and more kanji so I don’t think it is a fault of wanikani for having possibly “common” kanji missing. If anything wanikani might be a more useful tool if it were pared down to 1500-1800 kanji. I don’t use wanikani though so maybe I’m wrong on that.

No? They have to drill the readings as well. Readings and okurigana are a part of mandatory education. Something like a Kanken exam will have like 40% of the questions about only reading and not writing.

And obviously they can read it because they picked it up somewhere else, the same as how people who didn’t study it on WK can learn it as well. I never suggested they couldn’t read it.

The point was simply that it’s not “strange” that a site teaching kanji to non-natives wouldn’t teach a kanji that isn’t even in the jouyou list.


I don’t think we’re really disagreeing. I was rather just saying that whether a kanji is jouyou or not isn’t really relevant to foreigners learning to read kanji. As I said, I even think something like wanikani could be pared down. I think we are agreeing although for slightly different reasons.

As for natives drilling the readings of kanji, I can only speak for the high school I work at but they almost exclusively focus on writing kanji. They obviously do a gloss of the readings but their kanji writing homework and books are always a sentence or compound with the missing kanji written in hiragana and then they have to write the correct kanji, thus learning the reading via writing. Sometimes they do multiple choice where the options all have the same 音符 or 意符 and they have to choose the right one. Most students don’t sit the kanken and most who do try for 2級 end up failing it. Maybe it is different in different schools or for younger students. I can only speak from my experience. If you happen to know a lot about this topic then I’d be interested to know more about it though, especially if it conflicts with my experience - something to talk about with the kokugo teachers on Monday.

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Readings don’t take as long to learn, but they do study them and have to write readings on tests. The government dictates which readings they have to learn and which aren’t necessary to learn in school. They even break down which level things appear in.

Like for 上, which is introduced in elementary school first grade, they show where readings need to be introduced in junior high (marked by 中) and high school (marked by 高), and which ones are not taught in mandatory education at all (in black)


It just sounded like you were saying that they only study writing kanji.

I only taught at elementary schools and junior high, but it seemed to me that things got more and more general (not sure how to phrase it exactly, but less focused on very specific things like stroke order) the farther on they progress. It is normal to see 3 large diagrams of individual kanji on the board in elementary school at any given time, of course with readings listed. In elementary school class time they’re all focused on learning a small handful of kanji and their readings, whereas after that they presumably get more like a list of stuff to study and aren’t dragging down class time on it.

All the levels have plenty of people taking them. I have done most of my levels via computer testing, so I don’t encounter other test takers as much, but when I took the lower levels, like 5, I was in a sea of elementary school kids. And some parents taking it with them for support.


My brain just saw 茶碗 and assumed 碗 would have the same reading as 腕 and everything worked out in the end :smiley:

2 might be a bit too much, depending on the speed you’re doing WK. After finishing WK I now do 3 at the same time - Kanji Study, Bunpro and Iknow. But that’s perfectly doable since I already know a lot from WK.