Mnemonics for Verbs

I’m working my way through Level 1’s vocabulary so I’m new to verbs. I haven’t yet learned any of the grammar surrounding verbs as I’m just starting Genki alongside WaniKani.

I’ve noticed that the mnemonics WaniKani provides for the verb vocabulary words often are just for the reading of the kanji before the okurigana. For example, with 「入げる」the mnemonic given is an eagle 「い」flying out every time you insert your hand into something.

That mnemonic doesn’t help me remember that the kanji is followed by the okurigana 「げる」for the vocab tests, so I started making my own to incorporate the okurigana as well as the kanji.

The problem that I’m encountering now that I’m seeing the verbs in context sentences is that I’m not sure if this is actually a helpful way of learning these verbs or whether I should just stick to the mnemonics for the kanji and just remember the okurigana by rote memorisation, as I know that the verbs won’t be in the same format in different sentences depending on conjugation.

Uh, help?

Get a mnemonic whenever you need one. Test it in apprentice stages because guru and up level intervals are quite long compared to apprentice levels.

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Wanikani is rather one-directional. You learn to read japanese, not to translate from english to japanese (where you would need mnemonics for the verb complete with okurigana). In the direction japanese to english, you don’t need to memorize the okurigana as you are seeing it.


Aye, the thing about WaniKani is that it’s purely a kanji-learning system - vocabulary is included only as a means of helping you remember the kanji readings.

You’re free to come up with your own mnemonics. Sometimes your own mnemonic is the best mnemonic. Don’t be too discouraged by their usages in the example sentences - sometimes they can be a bit… over-casual with the translations of those.

What is 入げる?

It’s the reason we need okurigana mnemonics too, is what it is. :stuck_out_tongue:

入れる, presumably.


If you just want to be able to recognise a word, I’d say don’t worry about memorising the okurigana too much. You’ll almost always be able to recognise which verb you’re looking at since conjugation doesn’t change the verb half as much as it does in European languages—or at least there are so few irregular verbs (you can count them on one hand even after a very unfortunate accident with a chain saw) that you’ll almost always be able to deduce what verb a word comes from.

That being said, in Japanese verbs very often come in pairs (transitive/intransitive) which share a kanji but are different only in the okurigana (入れる ‘to put in’ vs. 入る ‘to go in’). They share the idea of entering (入), but who’s undergoing the entering (the subject or the object) can be seen only in the okurigana. You’ll have to remember that… somehow.

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Later on they incorporate some of the okurigana into the mnemonic. I actually prefer the ones that don’t include the okurigana since, as you mentioned, the verb endings can change. However, the meaning for verbs does change depending on the okurigana as does the reading, 入れる vs 入る, so it’s probably good for most people that they do.

Though, I guess to throw a wrench in it, 入る can be はいる or いる depending on the context.


You learn something new every day. Interesting that lists はいる as N5, but いる as N1. Any idea what might make it so different?

Haha, yeah, it’s a good thing いる is mostly used in compounds or it would trip me up forever.


It mostly appears in set phrases and whatnot. 気に入る and 立ち入る are the most common things that include it.


As soon as @alo mentioned it, I realized 気に入る exists. So I suppose maybe it’s not commonly written by itself, since it would probably be read as はいる in that case. That would make sense.

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射るいる is N1.
要るいる and 居るいる are N3, although the latter is going to be written in kana the majority of the time.
入るいる is N5

Welcome to 日本語 :smiley:

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I’m just happy that I know all the kanji you listed, other than 射.

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Ah, I see! So by creating mnemonics now for the verb including the okurigana, I’ll be helping myself in the long run with producing Japanese. Thanks!

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Belthazar is right! It was supposed to be 「入れる」. That’s why the eagle mnemonic didn’t work for me :crazy_face:

Is there a common tactic to remember whether a verb is transitive or intransitive, or is it just down to rote memorisation and exposure to them in context?

I find this video terribly annoying to watch, but it does a good job in providing some general rules of thumb:


Thank you!