Mnemonic effectiveness

I was wondering how many of you actually remember the mnemonics for kanji and vocab?
For me, they help get the meanings and readings into my long term memory but after a while i usually forget them. I think this is making it harder for me to burn items.


At some point you want to be able to recognize the kanji and vocab without going over the whole story every time


The further along I go, especially when just learning a new kanji, the more necessary I find the mnemonics. Eventually you’re supposed to recognise kanji on sight, but before that you need to learn how to recognise it at all.


Yes of course, I often manage to still remember the readings but for the ones I’m forgetting, I wish the mnemonic would still be in my head to help me out.

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I usually end up forgetting most of them, some of them stick, and some of them I just remember the phonetic/semantic information. There are lots of Shouguns, Mrs Chous and KOUichis on my notes :smile:


Ye I find them really useful when first learning the kanji but buy the time they’re at master I’ve usually forgotten the mnemonic completely. I have so many leaches at that stage.

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It gets better! We all have leeches bouncing around different categories (mine go from enlightened to guru, or guru 2 to apprentice 4), and that’s just a natural part of learning. If you find you have too many reviews than you’re comfortable with, just cut down on the amount of lessons you do.

Edit: if you’re not familiar with it, there’s a script that works on pc browsers and firefox android that shows the phonetic component for kanji. It’s super helpful for readings.


I find them very useful at the start when learning a new thing. And also sometimes later on to distinguish between similar looking kanji.


At the point I’m at, unless they are a leech or newer words, I can type everything in without the mnemonic. You’ll get to that point with a lot of words. There are some that will give you trouble forever!

Sometimes I do not remember any mnemonics but “gut feeling” tells me it’s this. And sometimes it’s even correct. Other times, I’m digging thru my memory for quite a time and unveil the original story.

The more you see kanji/vocal in natural setting like a book, the better you will go, and to heck with mnemonics. They are training wheels after all.

The idea is to forget/not need them after a while, as reading becomes automatic. You’ll need to do outside reading, especially at higher levels, for this to work though. That’s the whole point of learning kanji in the first place!

For ones you see less often, where the memory-jog of the mnemonic is still useful, it helps me to really visualize myself in whatever odd scene is being described. Smell the smells, imagine reacting to the sights, etc. It’ll stick.

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