My experience

I’m just beating a dead horse now, but when I learned more kanji in 3 weeks with WK than I did in 6 months without WK (and with better retention rates), I was an instant believer in radicals. Could it be improved? Probably, but as it is it still worked significantly better for me than anything else I had tried…


TL;DR The OP is willing to throw out one of the most efficient ways of learning kanji because they don’t want to learn some simple names for radicals that are based on full kanji.


Just do what I do and cheat on the radicals (I am a native Chinese speaker and the radical names actually hinder my learning). They get fewer and fewer the higher up in levels you go. I think past level 15 you get whittled down to 5 or 6 radicals per level. Isn’t there a script that auto-answers the radicals for you?

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I’d say that if you rely on the mnemonics, you should try to learn the radical names. But at the same time I see no problem with overriding them if you get them wrong, as I do it myself.

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At least he won’t have to deal with finding a part of a plate at a lantern festival. Silver lining, I guess.’

Also, Im of fan of the 180 degree Chiya personally.


I feel like that is the way to go. You don’t need to actually know them as well as the kanji, so ignoring is fine, but it’s not like they’re useless.

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Hey, one less person’s who’s gonna go on to complain about typo answer acceptance, synonyms, “useless vocabulary”, “WK doesn’t teach X important Kanji”, and on and on…

So many pointless complaint threads these days with the same age-old complains and same age-old answers :stuck_out_tongue:

What actually surprises me is how much some of you guys are willing to keep answering the same question… Tiring to just read the same complaint over and over…


I always felt like the radicals were freebies – so easy to remember and quick to answer – so, I never really paid much attention to them.

But after finishing WK, I spent some time actually drawing radicals, and found that it give me a lot better ability to write kanji. Before that, I could read, but was totally unable to write. And I find myself actually remembering kanji more by their radical components than by overall shape, which makes it harder to forget details (for when you want to write).

So, I would actually like to see more emphasis on radicals, though perhaps on a separate optional track that is focused on writing.


I think practicing writing radicals is a great idea, just piecing together kanji is a much easier way of writing than actually trying to remember the whole thing. I do this with the few kanji i know how to write, but not really by radical more by a few strokes at a time. I’m gonna try this when it comes time to focus on writing kanji (which is least of my priorities right now)

I agree with you, but I can see how wanikani could seem pointless if it’s the first thing someone tries.
If you don’t know about the similar looking kanjis and how often you will be seeing these radicals it might seem just time consuming.
I would like to know how many people leve wk for reasons like these and then end up coming back after a year or two. I think people don’t realise at first that learning kanji wiill be a lot of work no matter what method you choose, thus at the beginning, for lack of better understanding of kanji, it’s easier to blame it on the method (whatever it is).

That been said, I would prefer radicals that are the same as kanjis to have the same names and use those in mnemonics.


Why, I’m working towards maintaining my regular status, of course. This thing takes a lot of work.


Usually, the kanji stick pretty well for me with the SRS where I only need to use the mnemonics the first time or two, but just today I had one come up after a while that for the life of me I couldn’t remeber the reading of (直). The fact that I was able to back up and say “Okay, so if you stab a lion… tiger? … in the eye with a cross, you have to fix it because… why do you have to fix it… OH! Because it’s Mike Tyson’s tiger, and he’ll choke you if you don’t! ちょく、じき!” SO helpful. I’m so much better at kanji even at just level 10 than I ever have been before.


I can never remember those convoluted stories for more than a few weeks, and often not even for that long.


I mean I think thats the point, the first time you remember the whole stupid story, the next time just some key points, and less and less as time goes on. But that memory is replaced by just the Kanji. I’m always amazed on how much i reply on the mnemonics and then all of a sudden… don’t.


Yeah, of course. Unfortunately I don’t always remember the kanji even after i forget the mnemonics. :sweat_smile:


Absolutely! Of course you’re not going to notice the people who do search and therefore don’t make a new post, because, well… So don’t give up hope @LucasDesu! It’s possible that every time you answer one of these, ten other people find the thread and don’t make a new topic as a result :slight_smile:

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i’m the same. the radicals are useful… when they are useful. I don’t feel bad about cheating to burn them. They served a purpose at the time of learning, but 4 months later… not so much. If the mnemonic worked for you, you remember the radical - if it didn’t, it’s useless.

… but most radicals are previous kanji, so it’s not an issue in the grand scheme of things, it think.


the idea behind the radicals is that we are going to break down the kanji into parts and make a story about of it. A story is easier to remember than blindly staring at some strokes.

I agree with you when you say

But I think you also have to take into account that the perfect way to teach kanji to the masses has not been invented yet. The ideal is if you create your own unique mnemonic for every kanji and every vocab. But chances are you won’t. So wanikani provides that crutch. It is too harsh to dismiss wanikani because the radicals are not identical to the kanji. But as you will find later (if you don’t quit), indeed, most radicals are.

For all the folks talking about why we have a feedback section… little blurbs like this is why it exists ↑.

That, and so all the people asking for the same things over and over have a place to throw everything… but sometimes there’s gems in the haystack (is that how the saying goes?)

An ebook, or worksheets, that teach you how to write all the radicals well, and then have you combine them to write more complicated radicals / kanji would be a great way to develop good handwriting that also works well with WaniKani, at least for those at the later levels. I think that’d be pretty splendid. We’ve been talking a lot about creating WaniKani-level-appropriate practice lately, and something like this would be a great addition, I think.

I agree with this too - education around how to do things, as well as why they’re doing all these strange things… that’s going to be a big part of redesigns going forward. Nobody reads tooltips or guide pages, though, so getting information to people via the UI, as well as at just the right times… that’s the challenging part. But, I think we have a good idea on how to do it well.

to reply to OP, we do have some improvements to radicals we’re working on - a decent handful of the ones that don’t already are going to switch to take their kanji meanings in the future, as long as they don’t have names that are detrimental to making mnemonics, so that should help a bit. But, there’s still going to be plenty that don’t share the same name, because they have dumb names that are difficult to imagine, or they’re like the sequels to radicals and are just named like “heart radical 2.”


Oh, this will be wonderful. I get it when it’s detrimental to making mnemonics, but I’m not gonna lie, when Master came around for “ground”, I definitely typed “one”. I may or may not have yelled at my computer for a minute or two… :face_with_hand_over_mouth: