My eyes avoid kanji… TT

I don’t know if everybody is like this, but whenever I encounter a text un japanese, my eyes refuse to look at it xD Unless it is writen in hiragana… It makes it reeeaaally hard to focus on a text, even on a traffic sign, even if kanji are basic and I burned them long ago TT

Does someone else experience this? And does it improve with time/practice?


I’m experiencing the same thing, but the more familiar I am with a kanji, the more I am willing to look at it and comprehend it.
I think it’s just a matter of not being able to read it instantly and will get better with time and practice.

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I feel like that when I read texts with furigana. I have to make a real conscious effort to ignore it on words/kanji I already know.

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I’m the same with Katakana. I think it’s just familiarity and repetition.


It definitely improves with time and practice, since you’re aware of how your brain ignores kanji, now you can make a point to force yourself to read them! I’ve been studying Japanese for like 4 years and I’m still guilty of doing this though…

When I was in Japan and saw Japanese on street signs I would make a point to say them in my head though. I took the same train every single day and I would say the station names in my head every time so they’re really burned in there. And just by doing that, I started to learn some kanji by osmosis. I learned that 丁目 meant something similar to “ward” before I even learned the word formally just because I thought about the kanji in context :sunglasses:

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Naturally when reading, your brain will look for the easiest way through the text that requires the least amount of actual thinking. Even now my eyes still dart to romaji if there’s some there, and I have an easier time reading kana than romaji Japanese. It’s just something you (have to) get used to. With more practice you’ll find it much easier to recall kanji on the spot and you’ll be less inclined to skipping over it.

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I definitely still feel overwhelmed when I see larger amounts of texts in Japanese, like on websites, or if I encounter kanji written with more of a brush-stroke look rather than the typed formats we’re used to seeing here. I’m finally reaching the point where I’m recognizing more and more kanji, so I’ll tend to focus on those and try to piece together the rest. My trouble is that I still don’t have enough of a grammar foundation to do much reading yet. I can do it, but I’m very slow and I can’t take very much at a time before I feel burned out. I do feel like it’s getting better little by little, though.


Thank you all for sharing your experiences! It feels good knowing I’m not alone :’)

I’ll have more patience and focus!! I will also try this “deducing kanji by context” approach!

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You just have to train yourself out of it. It’s natural. If you can find Japanese material appropriate for (or just harder than appropriate for) your learning level, as far as grammar and vocabulary, read it, and force yourself to look that the kanji. It’s okay if it feels like it takes conscious effort for the time being. And force yourself to actually read the kanji you know in your head, too, so that you’re connecting them with sound as well as meaning. If you can start to make them feel like actual letters to be read, it’ll go a long way toward making them seem more approachable when encountered in text.

It can and will change, though. Even at my sub-elementary school level of kanji knowledge, and with only an overall intermediate level of language knowledge, I already tend to gravitate toward kanji over kana while reading, since it offers much better footing. The more Japanese you force yourself to read, the more you realize that a bunch of kana grouped together is just a big mess. As you accumulate more kanji just from doing WK and other study, too, you’ll also start to have enough so that the ones you don’t know will stick out rather than the ones you do, and that makes training yourself to read-kanji first and deduce unknown kanji through context much easier.

This didn’t change for me until I started reading Japanese regularly though–both through living in the country and through study material/attempts at reading manga, prose, etc.–and I’m not sure I know another way around it. You just have to start on the process of getting your brain to treat them like letters instead of a sudden trivia pop quiz (which is what a lot of them will be as you learn them on WK, until you see them in context), and the only way through that is reading.

So, yeah. Time and practice. : )


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