Noob in need!

You think everyone is mean until you start hunting with the pack yourself :wink:


No, the radical itself has no given name. The kanji for one only features the radical 一 and that is one.
Second example: 工 as an old no longer in use kanji meant “craft”, similar to the word 術, but only in cases of things that produced physical results, yet the radical means work or labor.

I take it you didn’t bother to read the quote above. The COMMON USE KANJI is made up of only 114 radicals. There are other kanji.

Based on what exactly? The meaning of the radicals feeds the existence of the kanji. Why do you think they have names and meanings in the first place? For fun?

Which still do not describe at all why they do not allow you to skip ahead at the extremely slow start. Assuming the same competency level for people who are looking to learn kanji for no given reason is pretty stupid. Especially when you are interested in learning vocabulary and kanji, as advertised, usually months into your learning and definately not before you’ve mastered the other 2 alphabeths.

This is especially stupid when supposedly more experienced people even in this thread have said time and time again that you get flooded later on, so there is absolutely no reason for the arbitrary wait at the beginning. If you had even bothered to read what i had posted, i had 2 issues: Arbitrary renaming of the radicals and the first impression.

If there is a problem reported by new users repeatedly, perhaps the problem is genuine? :thinking:

Hi @Jetpenguin!

Your question was already answered, so I’ll just say -

Welcome to the community!

You’ve stumbled onto a place full of super helpful (and very cool) people. We’re a passionate bunch that are on this journey together and are a pretty close knit group. The reason that is possible is Wanikani, which is why you’ll see a lot of us staunchly defending it (besides the fact that it works and is awesome).

If you have any other questions feel free to ask (although do check the FAQ and Guide first)and you’re bound to get a response quickly.

Hope to see you around!


Yeah actually I had a whole reply typed up about the guide and the FAQ and the purpose of WK, same stuff I’ve seen a hundred million times or so, then I saw your post. Think I’ll take your advice.


@Jetpenguin Welcome to WaniKani! :sparkles::crabigator::sparkles:

I see your initial question was answered, but I had to point out that we have another penguin friend in the WK family, @FlyingPenguin97! I hope you find WK works well for you, and good luck in your studies! Hope to see you around the forums :blush:



This topic was resolved pretty quickly and has now been taken in a direction that the original creator doesn’t need to be pinged a thousand times on.

Perhaps closing it is justifiable.

@Kanakotka I apologize for the language in my post from above and I deleted it.


Perhaps things got a bit too heated, i owe you an apology in return.

1 Like

I wonder where you take your supreme confidence in the radicals are coming from. They were invented a few thousand years after the fact in order to organize a dictionary. (You do know that there is only one radical per kanji, and the composition in radicals as in jisho is only for lookups as well, right?)

For example 南 has radical 十, and from jisho you would find decomposition 并冂十干.

I would say it’s a hieroglyph of one of these suckers here:

So what does the radical mean?

I think i mentioned it prior in this thread, but i do reading of more historical texts, and i wish to read really, really old stuff at some point, something akin to this:

Knowledge of radicals and their meanings is more important then, because if you go far enough back, they are occasionally used (house on the hill being a good example) as if they were words.

… isn’t that the chinese bell instrument? Menacing with spikes of bronze, that is.

Everyone who’s been replying to you was level 1 once, and after a few levels knows that there is no problem. You’ve received an explanation on how WK works several times, both about SRS and radicals, and you’re repeatedly trying to prove your knowledge, intelligence or whatever in your replies without actually understanding what people are trying to tell you. For some of us this works, and obviously it’s not for you. :woman_shrugging:

I describe waiting 2-3 days for no reason being forced to repeat something you already know with no option to move ahead to be a problem, but each to their own.
My main problem is still the first impression, and the first impression is to just twiddle thumbs for up to 3 days.

@Jetpenguin Hello fellow penguin! :blush:

I hope you’re enjoying the WaniKani experience! If you need any help feel free to ask! You’ve met loads of helpful individuals in this thread already but I’m more than happy to step in to help, or to answer and penguin specific issues!

Have fun :smile:


Hey, @jetpenguin! :sparkles:

Gonna sneak this in before the thread closes because you still do deserve a welcome (despite the chaos at hand).

Welcome! In this realm, you will find life forms that seek to reach the point beyond kanji enlightenment (The Burning of Turtles). Worshippers of the Crabigator come in all forms - lovely humans, mythical creatures, the brightest and most colorful fruits, vegetables to feed your soul, a poll option you should always choose… and even bittersweet chocolate disguised as めっちゃウザイ little pods.

Now, here’s what you need to know:

  1. The WaniKani FAQ which gives you the 101 on
    a) Before You Join
    b) Common First-Level Problems
    c) The Basics
    d) Learning Method
    e) Account
    f) Sect Names Other :durtle_officer::durtle_stabby::durtle_officer:

  2. The WaniKani Guide (…also known as “how I learned to learn ~2,000 kanji.”)

  3. The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List! which is a long and thorough list of Japanese resources that the community has worked hard to gather together and is consistently being updated.

  4. The New And Improved List Of API and Third Party Apps that enhances your learning experience with WaniKani.

See you around! If you have any questions, just ask. We don’t bite much. :sparkles:

If you’ve come to play with us, head on over to the madness that is the poll thread.
Warning: Please proceed with utmost caution. There is no turning back.

Edit: @CyrusS, close the thread


I’m sorry but that’s a thing… you can’t just defend wanikani as the holy grail, naming radicals such as wolverine, sauron, the ship from star wars (i’ve never seen star wars), narwhal… i mean seriously? WK doesn’t know it all you know? Using charlie sheen as a mnemonic is at least insulting for me, using their staff to make example sentences, koichi subtly mentioning how great he is here and there… pffff… i’m sorry, at least for me there is a great amount of stuff here that are just plain absurd. I believe that if i wasn’t allowed to add my own research to the stuff im learning i would have left this site for good as enganging as it is.

I also really think that you guys feel affronted when someone critizes WK, i mean no disrespect but if so many people complains about this site being slow at first, maybe it’s something to take care about. maybe they are losing a great amount of audience, maybe there is a way to change the first levels speed without compromising the srs system. maybe i just need to shut up

What makes WK worth it for me is how they managed to order the kanji so you never feel you’re learning something without already knowing what are the components on it. That is beautiful enough, but maybe idk maybe it’s because im not from the us and i was raised differently, so im culturally blocked and so i need to add my own thoughts otherwise they wont stick.

So OP, this site is worth it, really it is, but it is structured to make you follow a path already constructed and as such you’ll find a lot of things you’d like to be different. It is up to you if you decide to give it a try, but you have the option to personalize stuff and the community is great, the amount of external resources you’ll find is numbing, you could make friends, but at the end it’s just another option. been here for a little less than four months i’ve made a mindblowing progress coming from pretty much zero

Hmm the radicals in their current form were fixed in 1716, how does this relate? You are basically saying that they were using more kanji back then, including what later became radicals. So to read it you need to know them as kanji.

But is it really relevant for learners of contemporary Japanese? From my experience the “real meanings” are 1/3 helpful, 1/3 obscure trivia but helpful if you are into this stuff (but more work to remember a la “why the hell am I reading this?” otherwise), and 1/3 irrelevant because shapes got simplified, replaced, etc.

Basically I would say that WK doesn’t have a problem, the radicals are optional knowledge in most cases, and it is easier to look them up than somehow trying to cram for example all the radicals that somehow signify hands into mnemonics.

Apparently a tribe named Nan was using it and it was used phonetically for south (or the Nan actually lived in the south). Not sure if it was exactly this, but it sure looks like it <<-- example of obscure trivia

I already laid out my position above, after the post you quoted, and the many times it’s come up before, so I won’t again.

i need a lot of time to put my ideas in english, so i lost like a lot of info while writing, also, you’re a really grumpy person, im sorry, sometimes you just make me angry, haha

I’m not trying to shrug you off, it’s just that it did literally already happen above, but for the sake of putting it succinctly

  1. The WaniKani radicals have a different purpose to the traditional radicals, hence their different names and total number.
  2. The traditional radicals names in English are sometimes just as arbitrary as WK’s, just with less pop culture. As such, that’s why I put quotations around “real radicals” above.
  3. While knowing a handful of them can be helpful in guessing kanji meanings (such as 木, 手, 心), the majority of kanji aren’t constructed in a way that knowing the meaning for each part actually helps much.

EDIT: Also, regarding the speed at first, it is one of the foundational principles of Koichi’s objective with the design of WK and therefore one of the least likely things to change, so perhaps knowing that means veteran users come at the discussion with a feeling of “why are you barking up this tree, Koichi is chained up there and he’s not coming down”.


More or less. Some radicals were made up back then as construction blocks (most of the 1 strokes, some of the 2 stroke ones) for the existing kanji, but as far as i have read, a lot of them came from previous use as either what would be described as offshoots of the language akin to slang, or general use. It helps me greatly that i can put in user synonyms and use their actual names, because, well, i already have learned a good bunch elsewhere, and muddying their existence with new constructs would make it difficult for me at least to be able to read more historical texts.

I brought house on the hill up because it’s… a lovely example of radicals. ⼚ is a hill or a cliff, ⼴ is a house on a hill, and 疒 is sickness. They were all relatively commonly used, and the last one, well, early japanese… hospitals, better described as places of quarantine were built on tall hills often with cliffs. The last was used to describe a place for the sick.

Maybe not for everyone? I have found it extremely helpful for my own needs, so long i don’t strive to describe a radical-based meaning for every single kanji out there. Mnemonics for kanji are just that, so long you can stuff the reading somewhere into your mind.

You will see that there is often more than one opinion what stuff actually represents. At least the Shuowen Jiezi disagrees with you on 疒 :wink: The left part (looking like 爿) often signifies a bed, I would rather buy person lying down as in here疒.