Please change the mnemonic for 重


#1

It’s offensive, and the fact that it sheepishly acknowledges its own offensiveness, supposedly an effort to make it more memorable. I’ve read the other (locked) thread on this same topic, and don’t agree with the other posters that if something says it’s trying to be offensive, that indemnifies it from any responsibility.

Additionally, “offensiveness” is not a blanket notion when the target of that offensiveness is a group of people who have suffered the effects of targeted hate for thousands of years. Other mnemonics might be shocking or disturbing in an effort to make them memorable (though I personally debate the utility of that as well) but there is a difference when, as the other thread mentioned, the mnemonic relies on cultural history that has led to the suffering of real people.

Furthermore, the mnemonic works against its stated purpose in that it’s offensive enough to disrupt learning by removing you from the context of what you’re doing entirely.

I don’t believe that this is the limit of the imagination of the authors of the mnemonics, so I’m asking you to please come up with an alternative. There is no compelling reason not to. I’m obviously not the first person to have strong enough feelings about this to bring it up, and I doubt I’ll be the last.


#3

Rather than trying to change the world to accommodate your sensitivity, it would be better to work on your own self and work toward not becoming offended so easily. You’ll find that you become much, much happier in life.


#4

I know where this thread is going to go so here’s my alternative and I would be very happy if staff would take it because it would save a lot of blood, sweat and tears to just change it, so I did the work already of coming up with the mnemonic:

“ten (じゅう) thousand tons of sunflowers (or anything really) would be very heavy.”

here’s my two cents as well: “because it makes a good mnemonic” is a poor justification because it can be used to justify theoretically anything. Also whether or not something is a ‘good mnemonic’ is highly subjective.

there’s been a disturbing rise of antisemitic sentiment in the world within the past couple of years and within the past several months especially. “you should know it’s wrong” is also a faulty justification due to the high numbers of antisemites that are actually out there who don’t care, and would feel validated by such a ‘joke’.

Also, this thread is searcheable via search engine, so please refrain from saying anything that would reflect poorly on yourself and this website.

My work here is done.

ETA: It is worth noting that the myth that jews are rich and powerful and obsessed with money has been used to justify violent hatred against the jewish people throughout history. Jews have constantly been used as a scapegoat throughout history to offset blame from the real oppressors (kings, government, etc) towards a disposable populace, by putting them in disposable buffer roles such as tax collectors. antisemitism is a unique form of oppression in the fact that it can make its victim look powerful. An understanding of the nature and history of antisemitism is essential to understanding exactly why the stereotype is so upsetting and why a mnemonic based on an antisemitic stereotype is so needless.


#5

Is it really necessary to get offended by a mnemonic for a Japanese character?


#6

Is it really necessary for the mnemonic to be offensive?


#7

Did anyone actually read the mnemonic hint? “Obviously, this is a nasty stereotype and if you believed in it you should be ashamed of yourself.” This in itself should be enough to prevent any antisemites from feeling validated. Anyone else with some common sense obviously understands that this stereotype is not true.


#8

Mnemonics that evoke strong emotions are the best, since they are most easily remembered. This is a prime example: you will easily forget tons of mnemonics for other kanji, but I guarantee that you will always remember that the reading for 重 is じゅう, specially because you had such strong emotions towards this mnemonic.


#9

I haven’t had trouble remembering several other mnemonics that weren’t purposefully offensive, so I’m not sure why it’s necessary or justified specifically in this case.


#10

Again, just because something disclaims itself as offensive doesn’t justify its presence. There has to be a boundary somewhere that delineates what is too offensive to warrant using it in a mnemonic, even if you say that you know it’s offensive, and I put forth that this mnemonic crosses over that boundary.


#11

If you continue like this, this thread will be suspended, again.

When @viet is needed, the WaniKani Community activate a searchlight with a viet-shaped insignia over the lens called the Viet-Signal, which shines into the night sky, creating a viet-symbol on a passing cloud which can be seen from any point in WaniKani.


#13

Allowing antisemitic sentiments or stereotypes to persist, even when they’re put forth as “jokes” or “obviously wrong” is how antisemitism and other forms of hate becomes normalized. That’s something I can’t chill about, and I agree, nobody should.


#15

What form would justified social backlash take, if not someone saying “I don’t care if you call this a joke, I don’t think it’s funny and it has to stop?”

And in the end, it is WaniKani’s problem, because they’re the ones who wrote the mnemonic in the first place. It didn’t come from the ether. It doesn’t have anything at all to do with the kanji it’s presented with. It was a conscious choice by the person who wrote the mnemonic to invoke that stereotype, and it’s a conscious choice by the WaniKani team to leave it in place when they could easily change it and avoid this discussion entirely. There is literally no reason for them not to.


#17

What is offensive to you is not in the slightest offensive to someone else. I mean cmon, maybe I find something that I find offensive in a mnemonic that many other people don’t. Soon we have 1000s of people that is offended by x amounts of mnemonics. People get offended too easily nowadays is what I’m trying to say, let me guess you are not even a jew yourself?

I’m sorry if it sounds like I come off as rough, but wouldn’t it be better if you just made your own mnemonic for that particular Kanji and moved on with your day? I get you, if you don’t like something you are free to share your voice about it. I’m pretty sure that Koichi and the staff is not antisemetic so I cant see the problem. And stereotypes will ALWAYS exist, rather you like it or not.


#18

I would really appreciate this being changed. It is offensive. I am suffering from antisemitism everyday and I don’t want to see more of it on Wanikani even as a joke. cause when the joke is on your behalf- it’s not funny. =_= so if any wanikai admin see this- please.


#19

I like how comedians like Louis CK come across as so inoffensive while casually using racist slurs. Some people can joke about these things and not offend, and others can’t. If you’re unsure… don’t. OP, if they don’t change it, ask them for a refund.


#20

I don’t mean to start something with this so let’s not start an argument about it, but let me just ask you. Just because you are a jew does that mean that is all you are? Since the joke is on YOUR behalf exclusively?

Edit: Thought I would edit this, because I forgot to say that I’m sorry you have to go through that in your life. I wish things could be different, not just for Jewish people but for a whole. It saddens me :cry:


#21

Please change the name of 云. Its Highly degrading to woman, acting like they’re just objects.
And what about 幺. Disgusting. Is @koichi really that immature and childish?
I’m offended. (not really)


#22

There are lots of offensive mnemonics on WK to be honest. Some are so bad that I’ve stopped reading them. As I’ve said before, it would be very appropriate if there was also a level of maturity for the site. I honestly wonder if this is a cultural thing…both internet culture and specific countries.


#23

In my opinion, people choose to take offense. No one can offend you unless you let them. This has been discussed before (as everyone is aware) and there were several people here that said they are Jewish and still do not take offense to the mnemonic. That right there is enough reason for the staff to choose to not alter the mnemonic. If it’s so offensive, then all Jews would be taking offense.

If you don’t appreciate the mnemonic, don’t use it. Alternatives have been suggested if that’s the case for you. It has helped plenty of people the way it is. It’s explicitly stated that it’s not meant to offend - it’s meant to solidify memory, and guess what, it works…

We’re adults here. If you get that upset over a mnemonic that’s simply meant to help you memorize a reading, I genuinely wonder how you make it through daily life with all the evil people in the world. Toughen up and move on with your studies. That’s what we’re all here for.


#24

of course there’s more to me than being Jewish, but being one is a major part of my life. when this concerns my safety and daily life I would rather people just not use these types of stereotypes to remember anything. why not use ‘Jew’ in a nicer way? like how our history is thousands of years old, or our cool holidays. there are many ways to change this and not offend anyone. I’m not saying “don’t use the word Jew”. and if Koichi and co need any help with this- I can give a hand and I’m sure I’m not the only Jewish person using WK that would be more than happy to give a hand to change this.