Puzzled on entering answers in kanji

Hello all,

I just started WaniKani this week and am enjoying myself greatly. The reviews go rather well, at least until this afternoon when I started my first kanji review.
As far as I understood from the guide and the FAQ I can type the English answer to the kanji shown, which miraculously gets translated into the right hiragana. Am I right?
I probably didn’t understand what to do exactly, because when I am presented with 七 and I type seven the romaji letters change to hiragana, but the answer is not right:ScreenClip

Please advice.

Warm regards,

Ton DaiKen

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Kanji have readings as well as meanings; in your screenshot WK is asking for the reading しち, not the meaning seven.


I’m not sure where you got the impression that English answers would be “miraculously translated into hiragana.” English is never written in hiragana. When English words are used in Japanese, they are usually written in katakana. The purpose of Wanikani is to teach you kanji, which is a twofold endeavor. You must not only learn the meaning of the kanji in English , but also the reading of the kanji, which is one of the ways to pronounce it in Japanese. Later, you will unlock vocabulary items, which are actual words. The readings of kanji represent the sounds that they often stand in for when representing words. I highly recommend that you learn hiragana and some basic understanding of how Japanese is written before continuing with your Wanikani studies. You won’t really get much out of Wanikani if you don’t understand what it is that you’re supposed to be learning.


Dear Kumirei,

Thank you for your prompt reply.
I noticed a lot of students making this mistake, meaning and reading.
So during the study of the kanji I need also remember the hiragana (on’yomi reading?) at the same time, shouldn’t I?
And how do I enter this in romaji? Or should I use the hiragana input box supplied?

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Dear phyro,

Thank you for your enlightening reply. I am studying hiragana as you suggest, but am indeed a novice. I do understand the English words I type are not ‘miraculously’ translated into Japanese, that’s what we have google translate for :wink:
Maybe I used the wrong words, but got a bit confused by this in the guide:

In WaniKani, you don’t have to turn on your computer’s Japanese IME. You can just leave it in English-mode. This should save a lot of shortcut key pressing and mouse clicking. If you’re being asked to type in a reading for an item, WaniKani will convert what you type into Japanese as you type it. It’s almost like magic.

So, for example, if you type…

a … you’ll get あ
ka … you’ll get か
nu … you’ll get ぬ
tsu … you’ll get つ


Ton DaiKen

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The English word “tough” means hard, or difficult. It is pronounced like “tuff”. When WK asks for the reading, it is asking for the pronunciation.

Hiragana represent sounds, so you denote the pronunciation of a kanji with a string of hiragana.


Seeing セゔぇん written like that gave me a good chuckle, so thank you.

As already said, WaniKani tests both your knowledge of Meaning (English Equivalent, written with the English Alphabet, “Seven”) and Reading (Japanese Pronunciation, written in Hiragana/Katakana, “しち”). Once you become more familiar with WaniKani, you’ll recognize pretty quickly which one it wants, and probably won’t even have to think about it at all.


For the kanji 七, WaniKani will ask two answers from you, one at a time:

Kanji reading, for which you will have to input shichi, which will be automatically converted to しち.

Kanji meaning, for which the answer is seven.

You must learn both the meaning and the reading (careful, it’s not always the on’yomi). The same logic applies to the vocabulary lessons you will start to get soon.


Nice, isn’t it? Se Ven :wink:
I’m starting to understand it all, thank you.

Thanks Rodrigo,
I am starting to understand the ‘mechanics’. I’ll give shichi a try during my next review.


I wanted to mention that there is a difference between English and romaji. Romaji can be used to represent the phonetics (sounds) of Japanese, just like hiragana and katakana (together known as kana). When WaniKani asks for the meaning it expects the actual English word (for example, “seven”). But when WaniKani asks for the reading it expects the kana, and WaniKani helpfully converts the romaji to kana (for example, “shichi” becomes しち). Both English and romaji use the latin alphabet, but they are not the same.

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Dear Sean,

Thank you for your contribution, I know they’re not the same, most Western languages use the latin alphabet, romaji. I just used the WaniKani guide ‘lingo’:

I suppose the next question for you is: do you understand how to type with an IME? A few characters can be tricky for beginners. If you do, awesome, and I’m sorry to bother you further.

WaniKani has a built-in IME when doing reviews.

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Hii AnimeCanuck,

Thanks for your contribution. I learned how type with an IME on the fly. I know about the built-in IME and sometimes use it, usually together with a hiragana sheet.

If you know the kana already, then you should be good to go. If not, you should take some time to fully learn the kana (it’s a pretty quick process). If you do already know the kana, make sure you’re familiar with the combination kana. A lot of new members will not realize there’s a difference between じや and じゃ for example and get confused when their answer is marked wrong.

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Just doing that, Borx, studying kana. I already noticed the ‘problems’ with the big and small versions, thanks.

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Take a look at kana.pro for kana reading practice. The first stages are multiple choice quizzes, but Stage 4 lets you complete prompts by entering the correct romaji. There’s an option at the bottom right to lock it to stage 4, if you want to skip the quizzes.

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Great suggestion, kana.pro. Thank, PurlePlatipus!

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