Onyomi and kunyomi, not kanji and vocabulary

I’ve been using Wanikani for a little while and I have to say this is starting to get my goat.


“Kanji reading” doesn’t mean a thing to me. This kanji can be read as まち or チョウ.
The Kanji’s on’yomi is まち the kun’yomi is チョウ. (Someone pointed out that I got that the wrong way around, まち is KUN’yomi, チョウ is ON’yomi). They’re both yomi. They’re both readings of the kanji.

If you’re looking for the ony’omi, tell me that.
If you’re looking for the kun’yomi, tell me that.
If you don’t I’ll never actually learn the difference.


Wanikani picks (as far as I know) the most common reading for the kanji during the (kanji) lesson. That is the one it wants. Often you learn the other reading during vocab. I dont worry about if its kun or on.


It asks for the reading that it teaches you in the kanji lesson.

That said, there’s a userscript for what you want: New version of KunOn script: WK Custom Review Question (KunOn+)


It’s the opposite. Usually if you get the wrong type of yomi, WaniKani will warn you. If it doesn’t, report it.


Ok wait whaaaat, I thought the kanji readings being taught in the kanji lessons were consistent in on/kun? But they just flip flop about which one they teach? (Good thing I never actually tried to memorise them as one or the other then…) But then what’s the point in expecting just one reading in the kanji reviews? Why not accept any reading? oO

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Huh? Am I missing something I think it’s pretty clear for what kind of reading they’re asking and the purpose of this structure.

May be I’m not deep into the language enough to know what is OP talking about. (I’m not being sacarstic here)

No, the kanji card teaches what could be considered the most common reading. That’s usually on’yomi, but sometimes it’s kun’yomi.


i use this script to easily differentiate which one is which.

onyomi: appear as katakana
kunyomi: appear as hiragana

besides, you can check individual kanji page to check which reading is used by wanikani lessons


Consistent in which way? The only consistent thing is that they teach you the reading they think is the most useful. Sometimes they teach 2 readings, sometimes just 1. Depends on the item. If it teaches you the reading in the lesson, that’s exactly the reading it’ll want from you. It wants you to learn the readings it teaches you. But it won’t mark you wrong if you enter another reading, because it’s not technically wrong. It’ll shake and tell you it’s expecting the reading it taught you.


Idk, I just presumed it always taught the onyomi in the kanji lessons, since quite often in the vocab there’s a “this uses the onyomi, so you already know this”. So I just presumed it’s always onyomi. Like, if it was consistent in that way, and I actually memorised all the on and kun for each kanji it’d be easy to know which one they’re asking for in reviews. But like… I don’t put any additional brain juice into “ok, so during the WK lesson they taught ちょう so that’s what I need to type in when the kanji is pink”.
I mean, it’s not really an issue, as you say, the “wrong” reading isn’t a mistake, just a screen shake… still, kinda… surprised.

so it is. I think that kinda proves my point though.

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I’d be willing to bet that a fair share of this app’s userbase has had some experience with kanji before starting and knew what on and kun (and nanori and toon kan’on kan’yoon etc.) were before starting, but since this app is aimed at beginners, they simplify it a bit for you. Presumably they assume that the majority of new users don’t have (and don’t yet need) this level of detail, and so they leave it out. Nobody’s teaching yutoyomi or jubakoyomi at that point either, simply because it’s an unnecessary detail.

Anyway, this becomes a non-problem above the first few levels, where the most common vocab (and thus the most kun readings) are — after that it’s either no kun’yomi at all or only the verbs.

They repeat it many times throughout in vocab lessons — jukugo are generally read with on’yomi (which in the lower levels is more difficult to notice because the vocab are simpler and thus have a greater proportion of non-kango compounds), while verbs are practically always kun’yomi. Even at the higher levels they keep saying this. It’s not that they don’t teach the difference between them, they just ask for it in a different way.

Also, imho the kanji lessons and reviews aren’t really the ones that reinforce the readings in your head — that’s for the associated vocab to do. My view is that kanji-only items are just a stopgap before that, although others would probably contest that.


I read every comment and did a bit of research. I understand what’s going on now. I kinda noticed something like that a while ago when I learn vocab outside of Wanikani.

I think it’s ok as it is. It’s simplified things to be easier to understand for beginner.

If you want to learn more about them in details, then they’ve covered it very well in vocabs lessons.

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thanks, my brain is kinda old and slow and filled with rocks, so that script really is helpful for me. i’d made all the same mistakes mentioned. wait, they’re not teaching me one consistently? wait do i have the names backwards again? it’s nice to have one more way explicitly file things away, one more to quickly recall which reading i should be looking for.

(plus that hiragana = onyomi / katakana = kunyomi convention is used by a ton of dictionaries)

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Why not just ask for both though? Something like, [On’yomi] Kanji Reading. I just find the screen shakes aggravating. Kind of an “Ugh this again” feeling. What’s also annoying is if you look up the Kanji on Wanikani it doesn’t actually tell you which one it considers the ‘kanji’ reading outside of the lesson/review. Unless I’m missing it somewhere. So if you don’t know what on’yomi means you’ll be confused.

Anyway, this is more of a rant at this point.

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Having it show on’yomi or kun’yomi reading instead of just kanji reading isn’t really necessary because if you learn the vocab then you will learn both anyway and having Wanikani teach you the more common one first just makes the vocabulary learning process a lot easier. Also you will be able to tell the difference because with vocab Wanikani tells you which reading is used for that word and most of the time when there is kana attached to the kanji it uses kun’yomi and if there isn’t then it uses on’yomi (of course there are exceptions and many kanji have multiple kun’yomi and on’yomi readings).


Thanks I might get that then. When I know more than one reading it gets muddled in my head. Especially, if it has been a while since I’ve seen the card. The screen shakes are just an aggravation. Shaking my screen then saying, “Ooops, we wanted the on’yomi.” Really annoys me because I just think, “Well, why not ask for that then?” The hint being, ‘[On’yomi] Kanji Reading’ seems like the best way to me. It can reinforce on’yomi and kun’yomi before you make a mistake. Which would make it feel like my mistake in remembering the word properly, rather than a mistake from a frustrating interface.

But yeah. It’s not actually a huge issue just a bit of tedius. Like you say, you won’t get marked wrong.

It’s here:

The one with the most contrast is the primary reading. Anyway, apologies for being rude earlier — I overreacted. You can just use the script linked above, it’s not that important.

(also I think katakana madness has a setting for katakana-on/hiragana-kun as well.)


Yeah, the important reading is in clear font, the other “accepted but not quite what we want” ones are greyed out.

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Yeah, I saw that. My problem is that as far as I’m aware it doesn’t actually ‘say’ that it’s the kanji reading. So when you figure it out it’s fine, yeah. My problem that you have to figure it out.

I’d format it like this:

Readings (The one with the most contrast is the ‘kanji reading’)

Customer service 101: Never assume your customer can read and/or think. Because you’ll get people like me.

Anyway, you didn’t come across as rude. Maybe a bit detailed.