Petition to make context sentences more understandable

The context sentence for 「蒸気」 steam is:


I was burned by the steam from a coffee machine.

First of all 「珈琲」seems to be a rare way of writing コーヒー, why make it more complicated than it needs to be to show off the context use of 「蒸気」 ? What’s even worse is that neither kanji in 「珈琲」is even in WaniKani??

Something else that I would LOVE would be to have the english translation censored until I click it or something so that I can guess the meaning before revealing it.

EDIT: Y’all have any other examples of weird example sentences that seem excessively complicated / hard to understand so we can collect them here?


They added two simpler sentences in levels 1-20, which is why all the words from those levels have three sentences. Hopefully they’ll go back and add two more sentences to higher levels eventually. Obviously I have no idea if that’s a priority for them though.

I feel like that’s the majority of level 21-60 sentences. :sweat_smile: Though to be honest, I didn’t think the one you posted was that bad. (But that’s just because I know 珈琲 and the sentence was easy grammatically.)

There’s a script for that if you’re interested.


Thank you! Haven’t installed a script faster in my life :grin:

Yes I’ve noticed that there’s a drop in example sentence quality :expressionless: I know the one I posted wasn’t that bad, but I was frustrated that I couldn’t understand the sentence, looked at the english translation and was like ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… why??? I would have been able to understand it if it wasn’t for the arbitrary over-complication , that’s what frustrated me the most.


Yeah, that makes sense. Personally, I rarely read the example sentences when I went through WaniKani because the sentences were unnecessarily complicated. Instead, I just skimmed the English sentence to make sure I understood the English meaning correctly (rather than learning a wrong homonym). And I skimmed the Japanese sentence to make sure I understood how the word was used grammatically in Japanese. That was it for me. (They didn’t have the two easier sentences in levels 1-20 back when I went through those levels!!)


I’m not really sure how they choose the kanji for each level. I have a feeling that neither kanji is used much outside of the transliteration of コーヒー to begin with.

However, just for your information, I don’t think the kanji form is that rare in the official names of businesses. There’s a place called Hoshino Coffee that also has a few branches outside of Japan, like in Singapore, and its name in Japanese is 星乃珈琲店. They write it that way on signage as well. I understand that it’s frustrating that the kanji were used without being taught in WK though.

I wonder what the rationale behind this is… perhaps they’re hoping that users won’t mind looking up a few words? Or perhaps there’s an assumption that users have other resources with which they’re learning Japanese (say, a dictionary like Jisho, at the least)?

Anyway, if you’re looking for another example, there’s this one from level 46 for 稲穂:


Rice is our staple food, but that doesn’t mean all Japanese people have seen beautiful, golden ears of rice bowing in the breeze.

The reason I know about this one: I learnt 靡く just a few days ago (I put it on my mnemonics thread here), and I wanted to see if it was on WK. I wasn’t expecting to find it on a context sentence like that.


I assure you no such thought went into it. The original sentences are basically whatever @koichi wrote on a whim. Many of them are memes, in-jokes, bizarre situations, etc. This was all before my time on WaniKani, but I think everything was a lot less professional back then. (No offense Koichi :stuck_out_tongue:)

How’d you find it in just an example sentence. Is there an advanced search somewhere?


No, actually, Google can access most of the content directly. I just type ‘[word I’m curious about] wanikani’ and something will come up if the word is somewhere on a WK kanji or vocab page. I was surprised that it was freely available like that, but I figured that what you really pay for in WK is the SRS and how the kanji are organised.


Oh, he’s gonna be offended. Offended you’re suggesting things have gotten professional on his bizarro, crabigator worshipping creation.


First, @Jonapedia already mentioned brands, but I’d like to add that it’s not rare at all. It’s everywhere that involves coffee and if, like me, you’re a heavy coffee drinker, you’re bound to see that word 15 times a day.
Random picture from the coffee beans bag I’m using right now:

Second, I agree that it doesn’t really help as an example sentence though :sweat_smile: As @seanblue mentioned, they are making some efforts on the new example sentences, but those come with a different problem: all kanji that you haven’t learned at that point are replaced by kana, with strange results (words half kanji half kana, …). Plus, I think they haven’t made new sentences in a while…

Overall, example sentences aren’t a great experience on WK, sadly :sweat_smile:


I think Leebo once said that this is what native speakers do when they’re growing up, so perhaps it’s not that strange after all… I mean, I personally was shocked to hear that because I feel the kana-kanji split is so useful for identifying words in a sentence, but I did start to notice examples after that, like あだ名 instead of 渾名 or 綽名.

I mean, I agree that in most texts, pure kanji or pure kana for each word (okurigana aside) seem to be the most common choices, but half-kana stuff does seem to exist. (By the way, have you seen katakana and kanji mixes before? I feel like I’ve seen at least one, but I can’t think of a specific example.)

Searching Google for 珈琲メーカー and 0 of the top results actually include 珈琲.

It does! In literature aimed at kids. You’ll see things like かの女 instead of 彼女. But I’ve never seen it outside of that context. WK is explicitly not aimed at kids which makes it jarring. ETA: I feel like I have seen あだ名 before, but I don’t remember the context. I’ve seen あだな as well.

ビー玉 at the top of my head. It’s on WK too.

Uh yeah, as a single word, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. I was talking about your comment that 珈琲 is rare (it is not), not that it’s particularly appropriate here (especially since it’s not even taught on WK).


I think example sentences are probably the worst feature by far. Unnecessarily complicated, English translation shown unless a script is installed (not always possible) and in general just seem like an afterthought, hidden at the end of lessons and probably ignored by most users.


Context sentense for 抑圧


The problem here is that “Suppression” is not listed as a meaning for 抑圧 (even though it is listed as one at

In other words, 抑圧 is used in this sentence in the meaning that isn’t listed on WaniKani.
I’ve added “Suppression” as a synonym, but still… Either list that meaning as one of the meanings or don’t use it in the context sentence for that item :sweat_smile:


Well, I think sometimes, Wanikani just assumes we’ll pick up on similar meanings :sweat_smile: But, it is strange that it’s not already a synonym on wanikani, especially because it’s the only context sentence.

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I could have sworn it was on the whitelist when I did a review for that.

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I think it’s perfectly fine for natives speakers growing up, because they are already fluent in the language so it probably doesn’t trip them up, but it’s a real shame for beginner learners that already struggle to parse basic Japanese… :sweat_smile:

When they introduced the easy example sentences, I thought they would do the obvious : only use vocab or at least kanji from the previous levels. It would have been such a nice morale boost to always be able to read the example sentences and slowly see theirs complexity growing up with levels. Oh well.


I’m not so sure about ‘already fluent’, but yeah, at the very least, natives usually have someone else to ask while they’re growing up, and they might even be given the pure kana or half-kana form to begin with, so they’re aware of it. I remember being confused by と中 a few months ago, only to realise that it was just 途中. The stuff that we usually see in print isn’t the full set of forms that natives have seen at various points in their lives, and so yes, that can make things more challenging for us learners. Still, while it makes things harder, perhaps it’s a good thing to be made aware of this early? Plus, we’ll pick up a skill that native speakers have. I guess the main thing to look out for is cases where the reading of the kanji that’s been swapped out might be confused with a particle (like in my example).

Yeah, I thought this would happen too. I mean, maybe it’s impossible for the first few levels because there just aren’t enough kanji in there for meaningful sentences, but once there’s a certain ‘critical mass’, it should be possible. As was mentioned above though (I think), the context sentences were probably made without accounting for the kanji already learnt.

Though we all approach studying differently, perhaps I am not alone in that while I want to study the model sentences, I don’t because I focus on getting thru the kanji reviews and new lessons.

For awhile I cut and pasted them, but it ended up a disorganized mess. So, while I support better sentences, we also need sensible access to the sentences.

I was about to buy 4500 Japanese sentences for $40 at the Tofugu store, but stopped - thinking, I’ve got all these WaniKani sentences.

It’s a waste and the sentences are part of the package, and the quality and access should be handled with the same care given to the kanji lessons.

At least allow us to 1 click access to Level 1 sentences … on so on.

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I see this a lot in Coffee Shop names in Japan, such as 猿田彦珈琲. So I would recommend remembering this one if you like coffee!