Mnemonic for 会社 makes learning 社会 harder

The mnemonic for 社会 is “correct”; " When a company meets together, … That is a society.". It has “company” first, then “meets”, reflecting the order of the kanji.

However, the mnemonic for 会社 is “wrong”; “The place where your company meets is your company.” Here the order is reversed; “company” first, then “meets”. This is the same order as society, which means that both mnemonics are remembered and get confused; which one do I use for which?, I ask myself.

I do have my own mnemonics*, but the damage has been done. Now I need to actually unlearn this harmful mnemonic. Not just useless, but actually harmful.

(*Companies that meet form a society
*Meetings held within a company are for that company alone

I am not good at mnemonics.)


Hi Risa san :wave:

It is okay to be confused between Shakai and kaisha. Do not worry too much about the mnemonics. Once you get accustomed to the kanji (through multiple repetitions), you will get it right.

If you watch My Hero Academia, think of Stain. He says “Kono Tadashiki shakai no tame ni” (for the sake of a rightful society) - forgive my literal translation. There might be better words to use.

When I think of society, I think of Stain. (It is a pretty memorable line in the series).

Good luck :four_leaf_clover:


I don’t watch that, sorry. And don’t plan to.


This happens a lot, unfortunately. I’ve learned to sometimes use my own mnemonics and/or just brute-force memorise them :sweat_smile:


No worries Risa san. Then you can use the other tip.

Think of how the kanji starts.

Shakai - S - Society (starts with Sha sound)
Kaisha - K/C - Company (Starts with Ka sound)

S for Society
K for Company

Hope that helps.


Oh yea, I remember those …

I think I would have had lots of trouble with that vocab pair if it weren’t for this bank that was right next to my house called ‘CaixaBank’. Caixa is read as kaisha so I just used that! :joy:

Who knows maybe that will help ¯_༼ ಥ ‿ ಥ ༽_/¯ but if it doesn’t, you can always make your own mnemonics…


I used the same mnemonic too, lmao. So it definitely helps.


A lot of the mnemonics for these kinds of reversible pairs (and vocab) are quite bad imo. I still have trouble with this one sometimes. However, I would say it is worth reading every mnemonic, because having multiple mnemonics in mind (at least for me) makes it easier to cross-validate my answers.

For example, the kanji 替 and 賛 — I keep mixing them up. I came up with two mnemonics which I use in conjunction with the WK ones to get them right. Some might say that this kind of method seems overly convoluted; I don’t disagree that it’s convoluted, but eventually you come to recognize them instantaneously anyway.

And that’s one of the main points of the SRS system that wanikani uses, in my opinion — they give you mnemonics you can build off of or replace or use in conjuction with your own for most items in the system, and you use them for the first few SRS stages. By the time they get to Guru or Master, you should start being able to recognize them more or less by shape or sound, thus making the mnemonics obsolete.

One thing about 会社 in particular, though: there are a bunch of compound word with “会社” in them, such as “株式会社” and “貿易会社”, which have related meanings. This will help bolster your memory of the sound and shape of the word, if you haven’t memorized it completely by then.

(I’d also like to support KyokaJiro’s second mnemonic recommendation; I use this kind of binary differentiation in many of my simpler mnemonics. You don’t need to have a full-fledged story for every mnemonics you make!)


Don’t worry too much about hundred percent cementing all of the mnemonics, there are some bad ones, some just happen to not stick and that can’t be helped. If you manage to create one that works for you that’s great, but if you can’t – welp, just use what you have. You will forget some regardless, that’s why there is srs in the first place. Later on you will encounter kanji in the wild, would see/hear them in sentence and infer the right meaning from context. Even from my own low beginner level I can assure you I’ve seen 会社 a lot of times and will distinguish these two just from not sounding right.


The whole deal with being fluent in listening and reading is trying to predict the next word. When you skim over a word or mishear one, you should be able to recover missing information from incomplete information you gathered and from context based on your previous experience with language. And it’s done involuntarily not that you actually have to stop and think.
At least that’s how it was working for me with my English studies and it’s the thing I want to achieve in Japanese.

So yeah just pump more hours into practice.

More advanced learners may correct me but that’s what i believe at the moment,


I totally agree with you.
As you get more fluent in a language the easier it gets to fill in missing information from context. I remember when I started studying English and ohh boy, it was a pain. Whenever someone had a particularly thick accent I would struggle trying to understand each word separately. Thankfully, it naturally got easier and easier until the point that I don’t really think about it anymore.
Hopefully I’ll get to this point in Japanese as well, specially because it has tons of words with similar pronunciation compared to English and they always give me a headache.
That being said, I believe that as 会社・社会 get consolidated in your long term memory, you won’t even need to worry about mnemonics. Remember, mnemonics are useful, but they are just a bridge/tools to bring words and kanjis into your long term memory faster, they are not the end goal. When you really “acquire” the language you won’t be thinking the about mnemonics sentence order. Therefore, don’t beat yourself too much about some bumps along the way, I know that getting confused by them can seem like a big problem, but rest assure that it won’t impact you in the long run.


This might sound more like a workaround than a solution, but for this I would recommend ditching the mnemonic entirely. Also, think of longer compounds to cement the difference in meaning when you pronounce them, for instance:
株式会社「かぶしきがいしゃ」 - corporation
旅行会社「りょこうがいしゃ」 - travel agency

社会のルール - rules of society (something one of the characters from Seto no Hanayome keeps repeating)
In general also 社会 is one of the most common words I hear when talking about “society” so you might come across this term when getting more exposition to Japanese :slight_smile: .

1 Like

You’re a flipping genius, KyokaJiro! I will always remember that now.

(and you’re a calm polite one too)


Wow, thank you for this! I think I can distinguish them from now on :slight_smile:

1 Like

This happens a lot, but there’s no other way than to create your own mnemonics.
I’ve encountered a lot of trouble with flipped kanji with abstract and similar meaning like
光栄 栄光
理論 論理
And still, have to use mnemonics to distinguish between the two.

I don’t know, 会社 is such a common word, you’ll know really fast that it means company.

1 Like

Why did you say he is a calm and polite one too? Does his username mean that?

Realistically you will forget the majority of mnemonics over time anyway - some of them work better as learning tools than others, don’t sweat the small stuff (imo).

My distinction between 会社 and 社会 is that

社会 starts with the letter S, and so does Society.

会社 starts with a K, and I guess that is close enough in pronounciation to the letter C, aka the first letter of Company.

I did almost the same thing for 理論 and 論理 as well.

論理 (ろんり)'s second letter in Romaji is O, and so is Logic.

理論 (りろん)'s fourth letter in Romaji is O, and so is Theory.


Lol :joy: serious!? Haha, what a coincidence… Who knows… Maybe we’re neighbors xD