Mnemonics appreciation thread

There are many threads recently about how certain mnemonics suck or are in some way “offensive”.

What people don’t usually realize is that it’s not easy coming up with thousands of mnemonics for kanji. Consider:

  1. the sheer number of them (2000+ kanji plus thousands more vocabs that use a reading not previously learned)
  2. the English phonology is very different from the Japanese one, and so sometimes a Japanese pronunciation of a certain word cannot be satisfactorily mimicked by (an) English phoneme(s).
  3. the mnemonics have to paint a story in your brain; sometimes an absurd one, but the story has to be somewhat coherent nonetheless
  4. the mnemonics have to be somewhat comprehensible to people all over the world, even those whose first language and background is not American English; there is no perfect solution for this because there are always people would complain that they don’t know Charlie Sheen or Wolverine, but then there are no references that everybody understands
  5. the mnemonics cannot be offensive, e.g. using racial slurs, words that are used to denigrate minorities, words that would be bleeped on American TV (Cf. George Carlin)
  6. the mnemonics have to be memorable

WaniKani’s mnemonics are certainly not perfect, but nobody can make an application to learn 2000+ kanji and 6000+ vocabs with 100% perfect mnemonics. Even they admit this by giving us the possibility to create our own user notes. They are also planning to overhaul the mnemonics system by creating better ones, although that cannot be an easy task because of all the interconnections with radical names.

Still, it takes a lot of group effort to come up with all these mnemonics. And many people like me who are too lazy to come up with their own just use them to learn this odd language with squiggly worms who each has multiple meanings and multiple readings. That is no ordinary feat, and we shouldn’t let this go unappreciated.

So props to the WaniKani mnemonics crack team, thank you for all the sleepless meetings deep into the night in Portland, Oregon, powered by caffeine and lots of chocolate cookies and potato chips. Thank you for all the shower-inspired ideas and endless brainstorming sessions. Them 'monics didn’t write themselves!


Agreed! We love you Wanikani team!
We appreciate all your hard work.


I quite enjoy the meaning and reading mnemonics for 尻, among others.


That doesn’t even cover the number they already had done… WK ~<3


They get appreciation when you pay them…






1 Like

In the spirit of the thread, here’s my favourite mnemonic so far, it actually made me laugh and works so well.


You’re trying not to say it directly, and trying to figure out how to express that you are a wuss (あらわす). Sorry, had to be expressed.[/quote]
Most mnemonics I forget as soon as I start to associate words and kanji with the visual aspect or meaning, but this one always comes back to me “expressing that you are a wuss”.


Mnemonics here are quite good and all of them make some sense. Like memrise mnemonics are mostly so bad that often i have absolutely no idea how they are supposed to help remember things so i have learned never to push that mnemonic button. It’s bloody horror show.


ketchup, charlie sheen, mrs. chou, coyotes, what more could anyone ask for?
Love you wanikani :heart: Aaooooooooooooo!


こういち! How in the world could you forget this one!?


oh god! don’t look at me.


Sometimes you do have to see a bad one to appreciate a good one.


Reading mnemonic for fragrance is burned into my brain. Cannot unsee :relaxed:


Did you know that こういち was born topless?

1 Like

The 2 mnemonics for 孔 are also very good.
Except now I get anxious every time I see a kid and a umbrella in the same room.

1 Like

1 Like

The mnemonic for the kanji is quite good as well. In my mind あらわす is like a continuation to the story. First you get kicked in the pants (where you keep your kintama, I suppose). Everybody goes “Heyo!!”. And to make matters worse, while enduring the pain they express that you are a wuss.

Btw I’m the same about not remembering the mnemonics. I just remember the meanings/readings. If I at a later date forget the meaning/reading, well then I sure don’t remember the mnemonic either. But until I’ve learned the kanji/vocab, they are very useful to me.

1 Like

Something similar to あらわす is あやまる which is also great because that is indeed how you apologize

This thread came to mind when I read this reading explanation :

“き from ひき kind of just gets stuffed into the 引き and hidden away like that strange collection of fingernails you have hidden in your closet drawer inside of a 35mm film container.”

Just… yeah… @Koichi, is there something you need to tell us? (・・ ) ?