My problem with mnemonics...(thoughts please?)


Very few kanji are composed of elements that “tell a story” with the components. This is just something we do to make them easier for us to remember. The most common structure is that one component categorizes the kanji (and sometimes the categories are very broad or vague) and another component provides the reading, the onyomi. Since that second element is just used for how to say the kanji, it is rare for it to have any connection to the meaning.


Wait, that’s not the official mnemonic? Weird, that’s what I use too!


Not to be rude, but why use WaniKani then? You could pick any arbitrary list of Kanji, maybe from a JLPT guide or something, pop those suckers into Jisho to get example sentences and use Anki to get the SRS. And it’s free! It sounds to me like you’re going about kanji learning in a less efficient way, in the long term.


That’s a handy thing to keep in mind.


In my experience, you spend WAYYYYY too long configuring and making an anki deck than actually using it. The 50 levels here are structured into a nice curriculum. It’s good if you’re not very disciplined. I believe there’s a WK anki deck that behaves similarity to the actual WK if you want to look it up


I kinda hate Anki, actually. I like the mnemonic approach, and it helps a lot that WK provides them, instead of making you come up with your own for every single one, like Heisig does. Sometimes I come up with something that works better for me, but by and large I use what WK provides.


Nope, the official one is about trying to rub his head then him backing away saying “I’m hot, okay” or something along those lines.


Do you keep reminding yourself of the mnemonics every time you review the kanji (or maybe only the first few times) or is it enough for you to just read it once? I’m afraid that by only reading the mnemonic once (especially since I recognize all the kanji up until now), I won’t be able to recall the individual radicals later, which means not being able to distinguish it from similar kanji and so on.


You don’t really need to memorize the radicals, unless you’re also using them to learn how to hand write kanji… and still, there might be more efficient solutions out there.

The mnemonics should include the reading, meaning and radicals in its story (or at least, enough radicals for you to be able to identify the kanji). After 2 days I already forgot most the mnemonics and I can recall the kanji immediately. Mnemonics are really just to reinforce the first impression. Remember how everyone says that your first impression is important? It’s the same with kanji. Mnemonics are a way to deconstruct an unfamiliar image and turn it into something familiar. Once it’s familiar, you can identify the kanji as a whole. The better for your first impression, the less probable it will be for you to forget it, at least that’s how I felt until now.

Just my 2c :slight_smile:


For me the hardest part is that even with mnemonics I keep confusing very similar kanjis…expecially mixing up readings