My hesitation to subcribe

Hello there,

As I got serious about learning more kanji and vocab I’ve been trying out WK and the SRS do works with me.
But I’ve been experiencing quite some frustration while doing my reviews because I can never tell when I’m suposed to answer the onyomi or kunyomi reading. As WK doesn’t have that “net” on both of them, telling you “we’re not looking for this reading, but he other one” I might get the wrong one even if I know the answer. I’m having some real trouble assimilating the colors with the different readings, it’s mostly my brain’s fault but sometimes I’m struggling for the easiest things, like really.

It greatly slows down my progress and my motivation to go on WK. Sure I have been considering subscribing but I don’t want to pay 9$/month, which is A lot for me, And have to deal with this. I understand that learning is far from beeing smooth and easy but I think the kind of frustration I should feel here is “how I am gonna make more space in my brain to learn all those new kanjis?”.
So what I am asking is, is there is other people that have/had the same kind of issue and found a way to get past it?

Sorry for how silly my problem is, hope you are all safe.


I’m that person who’s often messing up with answer despite knowing correct one. Goes to meanings too (sometimes I write something what pretty much describes the meaning but isn’t written in meanings/synonyms and so here we are with a “mistake”) or my brain just bugs and I do typo in a word that doesn’t count as typo.

For such cases I use this script, it prevents A LOT of mistakes that weren’t mistakes for me:

[Userscript]: Double-Check (Version 2.x)


Welcome to WaniKani; I hope you’d like it here and stay with us!
As for your problem, well, in my case, I usually think not so much in terms of on’yomi / kun’yomi, but in terms of specific readings for the current vocabulary items or kanji. With kanji it’s usually on’yomi, but sometimes it can be kun’yomi if it’s more common. With vocab items - depends on the items although compound words often use on’yomi. Still, in my opinion, the best approach here is to just memorise the reading that comes with the item.

Anyway, even if you decide not to subscribe, I highly recommend you use this forum. The campfire section is more for chilling out, but the Japanese Language section is full of useful information. If you have any language-related question - there are quite a lot of very knowledgeble people here who would help.

Anyway, best of luck with your studies!


Thank you so much for your reply! I will try this script, I also make typos quite often so it will be a huge help on this part too.


Really what it comes down to is the difference between the kanji reading (the most common one) and the reading in any particular vocabulary word. Sometimes your brain starts to figure this subtlety out after three levels, sometimes not.

I think there may be some users with very good advice on how to over come this hurdle. One idea (which would cost you no more than a little extra time) would be to reset to level two, and do level three again, trying to recognize what is going on.

In essence, the kanji reading given when learning the kanji is going to be the most common reading of that kanji. But in Japanese the kanji may be pronounced different ways in different words. Unfortunately, some of the most common kanji that need to be learned very early have several voicings. Think にん and じん. Or 大人 (おとな) and 大した (たいした). It looks like the たい reading is taught initially. Even then, it is just as likely to be だい. In the end, you will learn words as words, just like any other language.

Welcome to Wanikani! I hope that you find this to be a really great and helpful community. Hundreds of other people here have faced the same hurdles, and are glad to help you to succeed!

Also, you are not alone in this being a difficult expense. You are welcome to stick around and participate in the community in any case. There are users here who have paid for a level or two, then taken a break, and managed to get to the end that way.

Also I am a pretty slow learner. I use the self study quiz to quiz my apprentices each day. It is extra work, but I remember them much better when they get to guru and higher.


Thank you!
I think you are right, I don’t think on terms of kun/on’yomi too when doing me reviews, actually I’m having an hard time telling them appart but I do understand when to use which one when reading an actual sentence so this is fine with me. but not for the crabigator lol
I thought of doing that but for now it’s not always possible because I already know some items that I haven’t got through on WK yet so i mix them up. Maybe in the future It will be easier.

Yeah I have been reading some post already and this community is so helpfull and nice I am definetly going to check this forum often!
And Good luck to you too!


Thank you for your reply !

I never thought of resetting, it might be a good solution sometimes but I’m not sure in my case it would works that well, I actually managed to learn all of the words so far. It is more that I am having difficutly understanding what answer I am expected to give during reviews (It’s not 100% a WK issue, I struggle with this all the time, everywhere)

and thanks for this breakon it’s very clear, I’ll keep it in mind !

Thank you again!! From what I’ve seen so far this community seems incredible and it feels good to have people that have been through the same things :pray: Also it amaze me that it’s okay for non-paying people to stil get this precious help I love it.
I will probably do this thanks for the tips!

I wish you good luck in your studies!


I used to have that problem more near the beginning, and I do still have that problem now and then, but honestly it ends up easing up a bit – and in the cases where it still gets switched on me my intuition has me believing that it’s because I’ve not really “gotten” the readings ironed in as well as I thought that I did. With that in mind, it feels good to have a few extra drill opportunities. Honestly, as I’ve started having the steady cascade of burns coming at me, I’m literally grateful for each item I miss because it’s insurance for getting it ironed in before it’s burned. I feel like sometimes items get “burned” (removed from the queue of reviews) before I feel super secure in them. :sweat_smile:

All the same, definitely make the decision according to your comfort level! :cherry_blossom:


Yes! The WK forums are an absolute goldmine!! <3


Thanks for taking time to reply !
Well,I never saw it that way! I guess It is not that bad I actually don’t have much of a good memory so having more oportunity to work on certains items is nice, I only wish it wouldn’t slow me on stuff I’m pretty confident on I guess lol.

That is pretty wise I will keep it in mind!


Eventually that’s the sort of thing you just get a feel for. Just remember that if it’s a kanji, it’ll be asking for the on’yomi reading, and if it’s a vocab, it’s asking for whichever reading you use for that kanji by itself (generally kun’yomi). In real life, if you ever see these kanji by themselves, you’ll use the reading from the vocab. The on’yomi reading in and of itself isn’t really a word-- it’s kind of like a root or prefix/suffix in English. It’s used in many words that are similar, but it itself is not a word.

I’m not sure if I’m making any sense, or if this helps at all, but that’s how I see it. There’s also generally a difference in how the different readings sound, the on’yomi readings for kanji tend to be a lot of the same king (kou, jou, ka, shi, kaku etc are the first that come to mind I see everywhere). Kun’yomi tend to not have quite so many similarities, seeing as they’re actually words and need to be differentiated.

Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s something that you’ll gradually get the hang of over time, along with getting better at guessing readings for vocab and getting faster at memorizing kanji. It’s all practice :relaxed: Good luck!


(The thrill of zooming along is great! It’s a significant motivator for me too, moving up the levels at a certain pace, so I completely understand wanting and needing to minimize the obstacles you’re encountering to your swift progress! :grin: (I’m too chicken and not crab enough to try them, but apparently there’s an entire universe of awesome and useful scripts to help avoid getting needlessly held back by little typos and such.))


Just to clarify, this does cover the broad strokes, but the kanji reading asked for in the review could be either the onyomi or the kunyomi, but onyomi readings are more commonly used in the lessons.

Also, plenty of beginner words do use the onyomi as well, such as 点, 天, 本, 円, 文, 肉, 字, 図, 金, 会, 死, numbers, etc…

Basically remembering how the word is read just comes with experience, which is what you were saying.


Yep, as with just about everything having to do with Kanji, there are exceptions everywhere… Annoying but hey you get used to it. Over time it even gets easier to predict the exceptions, sometimes when I see a new vocab word it just feels like it’s going to use the kun’yomi or have rendaku, and more often than not I’m right. It helps to say the answers out loud if possible so that the right answer will feel more familiar than the wrong ones. Doesn’t always work but it seems to help for me


Hiya! I was also in the exact same position as you a while back. I am not sure of your financial situation but I also took some time (1-2 months deliberation / budget prep) before subscribing to WK. Regardless if you subscribe or not, I hope you can continue your japanese language journey!

As for on/kunyomi readings, this article helped me a ton. I also used this article as a guide to formulate a study plan while on the WK trial. It took me forever to figure out my learning pace but having a schedule and parameters really helped me fight off frustration and made me retain information better.

When I run into bad days / feel demotivated, I often look outside of WK, such as making my own mnemonics, learning to write the kanji I just learned, learn grammar, learn new kanji / vocab outside of WK lessons. Anything to make learning japanese fun again.

I hope that helps!


I thought WaniKani forgives you if you enter a different reading for a kanji and just makes you enter it again?

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Only if you give the vocab reading for the kanji, not the other way around.


Ah, I thought OP was just talking about kanji cards. Isn’t it normal to expect giving the wrong reading for a vocab card to be marked as wrong?

Edit: Oh I think I misunderstood OP’s post to be a critisism of WK for not having the “net”, when it’s probably not that. Nevermind me.

I’d recommend getting a lifetime subscription - there are usually discounts at the end of the year. You’ll save more money that way.

If you don’t think WaniKani is for you, have a look at the Kodansha Kanji Learner’s course book along with the Memrise deck (which is free).

Good luck with your decision :slight_smile:


Some good suggestions already, but this Tofugu (from the wanikani folks) article may also help you to pin down some of the concepts a bit more solidly in your mind. Good luck!