Personal stories to help remember readings

When I can, I like to borrow from either personal experiences or my imagination to help me remember the characters and readings of radicals, kanji, and vocabulary words. For the most part this just means I make my own mental imagery and try to fit it into the kanji, but other times I have something a bit more fun and memorable.

One of my favorites is when I was in Japan and I met a guy named Chikara. He was very drunk after a night in Kyoto. He picked up a rock, walked with it for awhile, and then accidentally threw his phone at full force into the river instead of the rock. So when I see 力 I think “power” then “Chikara powerfully throwing his phone into the river.”

What are your stories or tricks to help memorization?


I love your approach to memorizing the characters! I like to visualize the stories I create, and even sketch out or write them. It’s not the best if you’re trying to save time, but for certain hard to remember kanji I’ll use this method.

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Instead of the りょく. I don’t have any personal mnemonic stories, sorry! But yours is a great one!


sometimes i have to make my own mnemonics, too. especially when i don’t know the english suggestions from wk.


出 exit (シュツ)

“shutsu is the soft ninja way (it sounds like jutsu, just softer). soft ninjas have to exit, no place for them in this cruel world.”

内 inside (うち)

“you can’t get inside the uchiha clan because you are a loser ninja.”

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I always remember the みぎ reading for 右 thanks to the anime “Parasyte” since one of the characters who is literally a right hand is called みぎ.

Also some friend always texted :ant::cat: to say thanks.
:ant: reads as あり
:cat: “cat” in spanish is gato

So ありがとう, and that’s how I know how to say ant in japanese.


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