No longer think this site is great

Kanji don’t have pronunciations for there to be recordings for. The readings are given in hiragana, but an audio recording wouldn’t contain any additional information, unlike a recording for a word, which contains pitch accent information.


still wish there was an option to hide meanings on a per kanji basis.

You could use browser add ons like Stylish to define css to hide the meaning, or create a user script if you want some features like hiding/unhiding during the lessons.

You could also move the reading around with a script.

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This might sound stupid but if you want a simpler solution you could cover the meaning with your finger or a piece of paper.

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If you don’t mind using user scripts, there is one that will hide the meaning during lessons at first.

You can also customize that script to only hide the meaning for kanji (and not vocab) if you prefer. For example, here’s my edited version that only hides for vocab. You can probably replace vocabulary everywhere with kanji to get that effect.

// ==UserScript==
// @name        Wanikani Lesson Spoiler Removal
// @namespace   Mempo
// @description Hides the meaning below kanji and vocab on lesson pages
// @include
// @version     4
// @run-at      document-end
// @grant       none
// ==/UserScript==

(function() {
    'use strict';


    var css = '#main-info #meaning {visibility:visible;} #main-info.vocabulary #meaning {visibility:hidden;} #main-info.vocabulary:hover #meaning {visibility:visible !important;}';
    $('head').append('<style type="text/css">' + css + '</style>');


    $('body').click(function(e) {
        $('#main-info #meaning').css('visibility', '');

        if ($('#supplement-nav ul').text() === 'meaning' || $('#supplement-nav ul').text() === 'Meaning') {
            $('#main-info.vocabulary #meaning').css('visibility', 'visible');
        } else {
            $('#main-info.vocabulary #meaning').css('visibility', 'hidden');


Hi @layarion, welcome to Wanikani :grinning:

I’d say most of us find it a little more difficult to memorise (and then to recall) the reading rather than the meaning of the kanji. You’re not alone! It’s understandable as the sounds of the Japanese language are very different from those in the English language; it takes some practice to get used to them.

I would suggest really taking your time with the reading mnemonics - they’re your best friends when trying to memorise something as abstract as a random sound. Some of the mnemonics are pretty wacky but the more ridiculous you find them, the easier it will be for you to remember them. Channel that rage and disbelief!

Finally, forgive me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you might want to do some more hiragana practice outside of Wanikani. Deciphering (and consequently memorising) the reading of the kanji becomes a lot less painful when you don’t stumble on a foreign script that is supposed be your crutch. Have you tried realkana? Also, you can refer to this Tofugu article for the correct pronunciation of each kana.

Good luck, and hang in there - there is a bit of a learning curve to all this, but it does get easier with practice :slight_smile:


i’ve memed the symbols and sounds of hiragana, but i don’t know any words or vocab to go with the hiragana. essentially i can can sound out hiragana but have no clue the meaning of what i’m sounding out.


this is why you should continue here.
hiragana & katakana are 100% phonetic.
they are used to tell you how to pronounce kanji words (there’s a bit more to how they’re used, but when you look up words in the dictionary, they write them in hiragana & katakana to tell you how to say them)

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The hiragana themselves have no meaning. That’s like asking what the “c” in Candy means. It’s quite literally just a sound.

It would also be difficult to give a sound recording for the letter C, as it makes multiple different sounds. It can sound like a K, like an S, or it can be silent. And many kanji have far more than just 3 pronunciations, which is why recordings are only provided when the kanji are in the context of a word.


I have a really hard time remembering things too, but that’s more because I’m dumb, not that WaniKani is bad. :crazy_face:


me no smart to. here here.

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That’s great! Can I ask if you’ve begun any grammar study? Wanikani will only teach you kanji (plus some vocab as a side-effect, but it’s not really beginner-friendly vocab for the most part). I’m not sure if most people will agree with me, but I’d say kanji is not the most pressing part of the Japanese language study for the absolute beginner.

If you haven’t already, I’d suggest you start learning some basic phrases and expressions so that you can practice sounding out real Japanese rather than just disconnected kana.

Personally, I began by learning some basic vocab & phrases while completely ignoring the associated kanji (i.e. I only learnt the hiragana and the meaning), keeping in mind that I will learn the kanji eventually on Wanikani. I literally went through the Genki textbook without spending a second on the kanji lessons because I knew I’d learn them on WK later on anyway.


The best mnemonics are your own mnemonics. If you spend some time trying to create one for yourself you’re more likely to recall it. But personally, I have an easier time using the vocab to remember the kanji readings than the intended using the kanji to remember the vocab.

For example, I can’t remember 名 is めい just like that. From reading about Shogi on Wikipedia I know the champion is called the Meijin, written 名人. Now it’s fairly easy. If you want a list of vocab for your kanji, you can copy-paste your kanji in an online dictionary like, and see if anything seems familiar from anime or whatever.

If you have trouble with numbers though, you won’t get much useful vocab there as they’re usually other numbers anyway. You could try counting from 1 to 99 in your head instead. You only need the numbers 1 to 10 for that, and how to combine them to create the larger numbers.


i bought “japanese, the manga way”

i’m having trouble finding hiragana/katagana only resources that don’t depend on the user already having a basic kids vocabulary.

which is why i started learning kanji, so that I might get to reading something.


Don’t think this has been mentioned yet, but I do think it’s important to note: have patience.

You’re learning, not only an entirely different language, but an entirely new writing system on top of that. There are going to be struggles, difficulties, frustrations, and the like, and that’s going to continue even after level 60. The thing to hold on to is the enjoyment and your reasons for learning the language. Take your time, don’t feel rushed, and try to have some fun with it.

You might understand very little now, but each new thing learned is another new thing, and that’s fantastic! Be sure to celebrate even the smallest of victories. Just imagine where you’ll be in a month, a year, or five years from now :slight_smile:

Best of luck!


Out of curiosity, how is your hiragana reading level? The kana pretty much always make the same sounds with some variation only in words/sentences. You can review these with youtube videos. If you’re having a hard time turning your hiragana reading into sounds, you might need more time with that before advancing through kanji. In college, we didn’t even bother with kanji until about halfway through second semester and were grilled with kana early. I can’t count how many times I had to listen to a recording of a native speaker going “a i u e o ka ki ku ke ko sa shi su se so…” :laughing:

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I mean, I’d say that what you need in order to start reading IS basic vocab (and some basic grammar) under your belt. Most beginner-friendly resources use furigana, so not knowing kanji is probably not that big of a hindrance if your goal is to start reading as soon as possible.

If you’re interested, there’s a group of WK users (myself included) who will soon start reading an easy children’s book together. It has furigana, so not knowing many kanji shouldn’t be an issue. It might be a good way to acquire some basic vocabulary in a fun, engaging way.


It’s okay to not remember things, just enter your best guess and if it is wrong, re-read the mnemonic. You will get it eventually.

Otherwise, try to workout why you are having trouble with readings. Clearly mnemonics work for you as you are remembering the meanings.

Typically the reading mnemonic is linked directly to an English word, which contains the phonetic reading (some times with a bit of a leap).

Are you able to remember the English word tied to the reading? If yes, then maybe you need to study Hiragana/Katakana some more to help you connect the dots. If not, then think about why this could be. Why are you able to use the mnemonic to remember the English phrase for a meaning and not the reading. What is different?

How many items are you having difficulty with, which percentage? Many WK users limit the number of lessons they do per day or per week, maybe that is worth a try?

Lastly, I strongly suggest reading into mnemonics and how they work. The mental image needs to be vivid. The more ridiculous, the better. If you are having difficulty with the WK mnemonics, try making your own.

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Honestly I didn’t really like WaniKani much until I got to level 3. Once I got to that point I realized how helpful this system was for me. I change some of the mnemonics to things I remember better, I do about 15 lessons a day (more if its radicals), and as of now doing my reviews twice a day; when I get up and before I go to bed. I have a Japanese meet up every week or so where we, very slowly, go over the Genki textbook. I very much recommend getting Genki. I also have Japanese the Manga Way, which I use as an extra source for grammar. I used to have JapanesePod101 and I liked that too.


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