Mnemonics combining readings and meanings

I find myself using the suggested mnemonics less and less for plain efficiency reasons. I don’t have the capacity to remember ~3 mnemonics per kanji or vocab to get the meaning and the readings.
What I do instead is to create one connected mnemonic that derives the meaning from the radicals and also contains the hints for the major readings. I find that way more efficient as I have less “items” to remember. Before that I often found myself remembering either a reading or a meaning mnemonic but not the other one. This does not happen anymore since I made the changes. But it also means that the mnemonic suggestions by WK became worthless for me. I would think a future version could incorporate those things, as the reading and meaning mnemonics often have little or nothing in common.
At times one can even combine the mnemonics of different words to condense many mnemonics into one, e.g.:
“This treasure is marked by two swords that my father put there. He got them from his wife Chichi (know Dragonball?) who lives in Toukyo and sells Katana swords there.”
One coherent story instead of several ones.

Do others approach it the same way? I primarily wonder why WK does not do it like that in the first place.


i do not like to link things. seperate mnemonics are fine, usually one for reading and one for meaning…

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User defined mnemonics are a very personal thing I believe. Everyone has his own approach.


They usually have a continuing story in meaning and reading. I just read them once and trust the SRS, good ones stay in memory from the beginning though.


While I also do this at times, those mnemonics I create are always very personal - as in built around my own knowledge and references I know and love. They wouldn’t be any good for anyone else I feel.

Besides, I mostly do this when either the reading or the meaning is known to me. Meaning, I can ignore one of the mnemonics already. For kanji where I don’t know either reading or meaning, I do want to keep things separate in the beginning as I learn them. Then, as time goes on, they’ll merge into just “knowing” and the mnemonics will have served and ended their purpose.

So, I don’t worry much about how many mnemonics I’ll learn during the course of this journey. Their role is just temporary anyways.


Like everyone has said, the mnemonics that WK uses are there as a basis. You can modify them or create your own. The only thing to keep in mind is that they do relate certain characters to certain sounds that come up often like Koichi for こう, Jourm for じょう, etc.

I’m glad it works for you but I can see it becoming pretty complex the more Kanji you learn.

My own system has evolved over the past year so many times that it barely resembles many of the things I tried in the beginning.

I’ve leaned more into WK’s mnemonics with just a bit of personal flavor to be memorable since it takes more mental effort for me to come up with new ones from scratch.

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