Personal expanded mnemonics

So I like the mnemonics in here, but I often like to expand them to reinforce the words. Here are some examples, and how they play in my mind.

自 - self (じ)
"When we need to remember じ we use the word “Jesus.”

Who said you should always look at your self before tossing stones (or whatever) at others? Jesus (じ) did. So, make sure you look at your own self before being a jerk."
I imagine myself throwing the stone, but then notice Jesus looking behind me with a disapproving look. So, instead, I throw the stone at myself as penance, dropping to the ground.

近い - close (ちかい)
“You have to remember the ちか portion to be able to read this word. Imagine someone close to you… Too close. They are so close to you that they’re touching their cheek (ちか) to your cheek. Feel the cheek on yours, it’s getting awkward.”
I imagine that this guy is wrestler Scott Hall, talking about all the chicas he’s been with. You can smell the Cuban rum in his breath too. (Hey, we have Hard Gay, might as well throw the original Razor Ramon in there too.)

麦 - wheat (むぎ)
"You found your wheat. Thank God. You’ll survive. You have to take the wheat back to your house, though. On your way, you get mugged (むぎ).

Imagine the disappointment. You go from finding life to losing it all… now you have no hope for the winter :frowning: Also, keep in mind that むぎ and mug aren’t super-alike, so you’ll have to use it to get close enough to remember the actual reading, むぎ."
To make the reading closer I imagine that I am getting mugged by a Moogle (from Final Fantasy).

理 - reason (り)
You don’t have reason without re (り).
This mnemonic is pretty weak so I nabbed the Reese’s Pieces mnemonic from other kanji. Since the mnemonic is about a king, I imagine his subjects showering them with Reese’s pieces. He also feeds them to his sunflower, so it will grow bigger.

What have you guys done with the mnemonics in here?


I LOVE making my own mnemonics. Especially if I’m struggling with something, I will throw out WK’s mnemonic in favor of something that I’m more likely to personally remember. Often though mine are really, really specific to my interests so I don’t think they’d be relevant to a lot of people?

For instance, I was really struggling with the verb 賄う, so I changed my mnemonic to: When travelling to Japan, Viktor paid a lot of money to avoid animal quarantine so he could bring Makka now (まかなう)

So it only really works if you’re a Yuri on Ice fan but ¯_(ツ)_/¯ it works for me.

Or for 弱 : The plot on Jaku was very weak. (Yeah I know the Star Wars planet is actually Jakku, but I don’t include the double k in my mnemonic because i don’t want to confuse myself)

My most recent change actually isn’t a movie or anime reference though: I just hit level 45 and got the kanji 鐘 (meaning: bell, pronunciation: しょう) but the mnemonic for it that WK gives for remembering the pronunciation is: “This fancy bell is a part of a fancy bell show (しょう). For some reason you’re standing on the stage where it’s being shown off, too, during this show.” Now, most other mnemonics using “show” are for kanji with the pronunciation of しょ, so this was constantly tripping me up. SO, I changed it to the Shogun mnemonic (since that’s usually しょう). My new mnemonic is: Who could need a bell this fancy? Why the Shogun, of course. He rings it to summon his dinner.


I think the super-specific mnemonics you come up with on your own are always the easiest to remember, because there’s that much extra mental significance in them. That’s how it is for me, anyway. It also means they probably wouldn’t be much good for anyone else, though.

It can be really tough to come up with mnemonics that are general enough to be understandable/relatable to most people, but still unique enough to be memorable. Now do it a few thousand times and you’ll see what Kristen and Koichi have to go through. :wink:

That said, I’m really interested to see what kind of mnemonics people come up with!


I just recently came up with 2 of my own. I always had trouble with 乾く and 渇く in differentiating the meaning between them. I sat down and thought about it and realized something. With 乾く it has the same radical on the left as 朝. In summer mornings it’s so hot that it can dry things.
With 渇く it has the 3 drops which is usually in kanji that have to do with liquid so this one means thirsty.


Oh wow, that’s actually really helpful for me–thank you for those!

Star Trek fans can also reference the supporting character Moogie which is a solid match for むぎ

For myself, sometimes I’ll adlib on the existing mnemonics like 又(また)which uses maternity along with the following disclaimer:

I know “mata” and “maternity” are a bit of a stretch,

So I thought the original mnemomic was strong, just needed some bolstering and I added:

“mata” and “maternity” are a bit of a stretch, as in stretch marks? After maternity she’ll be a proud new mata. If you don’t like this mnemonic it doesn’t ma ta!


I think about that all the time. It’s quite a feat!

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Talking about specific mnemonic huh? Let me share some of my mnemonic here. It’s related to my background as Indonesian of course.

It’s common for Indonesian to have one or more tribal languages before we have Indonesian as our national language. Depends on which island we were born. Let’s say if I were born in Bali, my first language would be Balinese, but if my father actually came from a place in Java and my mother came from West Java, so I also can speak Javanese and Sundanese either actively or passively. If my aunt lives in Sumatera and got married to her husband that comes from North Sumatera, I can speak or at least understand Padang and Batak languages. Then it’s normal for me to be able to speak Indonesian. So 6 languages from one country, Indonesia, and other languages from foreign countries. Enough about my background. Let’s talk about my mnemonic.

I use combination of languages I know.

失う to false :point_right: to lose. “ushinau" sounds like “ushi” cow that can learn to me. Because “sinau” means learn in Javanese. Learn from what. Learn from mistakes/faults, therefore do not false :point_right: lose. Why did that cow lose my wedding ring? Didn’t he learn from what we talked that if he lost my ring I would eat him?

Ghost for Anti mnemonic. 反 Han. Because in Indonesian “hantu” means “ghost” and hantu is an anti social. Hantu’s job is nothing but to scare people. Hantu is read something like han (same han, like Japanese, but with n, not the nasal one), and “too”, but not drooping like English, it’s short/abrupt like Japanese. hantoo :point_right: hantu. I did this because I had difficulties remembering Han Solo and those things from Star Wars. Hantu/ghost is shocking to most Indonesian. Famous Hantu in Indonesian could be scary for Indonesian, but interestingly, not scary even funny to a Japanese guy, and I didn’t say my ghost version in stories/films are funny, it’s from Japanese YouTuber who said that :sweat_smile::joy::joy: I sometimes found Japanese ghost not scary, but more often scary of course.

Disclaimer: The Indonesian guy background I talked about above is not me and of course it’s fiction so that I can exaggerate of how many language an Indonesian could learn natively. I’m not revealing my true identity in the internet. Too shy. All I can say here is that I have 4 languages before foreign languages (English, French, Japanese, Malay, Arabic) that I mostly acquire badly.


I forgot this one.

水 - water (みず)
"Since this word is made up of a single kanji, it should use the kun’yomi reading. When learning the kanji, you didn’t learn that reading, so here’s a mnemonic to help you with this word:

You take a look at some water. It jumps out and takes the form of a woman. “Hello, my name is miss (みず) Mizu,” she says."

I think the mnemonic works better if the water takes the form of the wrestler The Miz… and then he gives you a Skull Crushing Finale.

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I usually make them shorter, so that when I see a kanji I can look at the radicals and remember the one line story I made with them.
For example, the kanji for special (特), using the radicals cow and temple. The COW at the TEMPLE is SPECIAL because it can talk/とく.

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Some more I came up with after making it to level 7…

直る - to be fixed (なおる)
You have to learn the なお part. Think of it this way. Something needs to be fixed. It’s urgent! You have to fix it now! (なお). This will also work with the similar word, 直す, which you’ll learn soon if you haven’t already.

I tried to expand this to differentiate this from 直す by expanding the mnemonic.

The phosphate mining machine in Nauru (なおる) needs to be fixed now (なお), or the economy of the island will be ruined! But nobody is doing anything to fix it, and nobody’s coming all the way to a tiny island to help. That last fact is how you know that the verb is passive/intranstive.

And likewise…

直る - to fix (なおす)
You have to learn the なお part. Think of it this way. You need to fix something! It’s urgent! You have to fix it now! (なお). This will also work with the similar word, 直る, which you’ll learn soon if you haven’t already.

“You have to fix it now! If you don’t, I will now sue you!”

店 - shop (みせ)
Think of your favorite shop. Okay, now imagine yourself going to it. When you arrive, the entire shop is totally missing (みせ). Feel the shock and awe of this. It’s as if it picked up and left overnight. No building, no anything. Just missing.

I don’t feel “missing” is close enough to “mise” (みせ) by itself, so I came up with a similar scenario.

A shop with almost every item in it missing, and the shop owner looking bored and miserable. If you’ve heard anecdotes about people going to shops in Cuba like I have, you will be familiar with this scenario.


Ceremony Radical

The Ceremony of the Sacred Dog. You have to cut off your leg, it sucks, but you’re a pirate so you’ll get a peg leg. Wait if you’re a pirate, why do you have a dog on your shoulder, not a parrot. Arrrr - It’s the only one they had left and I’m not one to stand on ceremony, especially with only one leg.

Some new ones…

路 - road (ろ)
If you’ve been walking all day, nobody is going to want to kiss your foot if you’ve been walking barefoot down a dirt road. Your feet are filthy, sweaty, and stinky. Nobody is going to want to kiss those feet.
What was this person walking down again? Oh, that’s right – a road (ろ). They were walking down a dirt road.
Who is that walking on the dirt road? It is Jerry Lawler! Remember when he intentionally walked on dirty surfaces so Bret Hart would have to kiss his filthy foot? Good thing that plan didn’t backfire, right?

船体 - hull (せんたい)
A boat’s body is called the hull.
This word always makes me think of the Power Rangers. You know? The Super Sentai?

羊毛 - wool (ようもう)
A sheep’s fur is wool.
I always kept coming back to Puerto Rican rapper Yomo and imagined a flock of sheep shaking their wool to his hit song “Déjale Caer To’ El Peso.”

工場 - factory (こうじょう)
This is a jukugo word, which usually means on’yomi readings from the kanji. Unfortunately, you didn’t learn the on’yomi reading for 場, so let’s do that now!
The factory you’re building is one that builds people named Joe (じょう). It’s a well kept secret that no person named “Joe” is a real person.
I continue the Joseph Stalin clue from other mnemonics and imagine this factory building Joseph Stalin-bots. They do the Russian squat dance once they are built.

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