Question about Onyomi and Kunyomi

Good evening,

I don’t know why but I feel that ask question can be problematic, maybe for a old experience with other language website… :no_mouth:
So let me explain my questions (: currently I’m just level two but I learned a lot of kanjis with the mean behind each one, I would like to know which is the best focus I should have when learn kanjis and if I should create a flash card with every sigle onyomi and kunyomi, or just with the onyomi or in some case the kunyomi wanikani explain and wait to unlock new vocal to learn the other onyomi and kunyomi that kanji could has. My main focus is reading btw and for that reason I would like to know which in your opinion is the best advice when somebody want read japanese like light novels or videogames.

Thank you for your time!

Why hello there, my goal is to be able to read light novels and visual novels so we are in a pretty similar boat.

Luckily, when learning kanji everyone has the same end goal in mind more or less, and thats learning vocab. Also luckily, some kanji have readings that aren’t found in common vocab, so its ok to skip those readings. As such, I would advise against learning every single on/kun for now.

Take 入 for example. はい, い, and にゅう are readings for that kanji that you are sure to see when you read, but じゅ is another reading of that kanji that you may never see. Might as well not bother to learn it unless you actually do come across it.

However, to answer your question on what I think is the best advice, it would go something like this: I would work through wanikani while studying grammar until you have a solid foundation. Then, once you get to level 25 ish(or even earlier, if you wish), start picking up reading material and learning words from there as well. This will expose you to those kanji that you have yet to learn (or arent included) on wk, and teach you new and useful readings for kanji you already know for the most part. All this while applying and reinforcing what you’ve learned here on WK for the levels you have completed, as well as giving you reading practice which will be very important going forward.

You are level 1, however, and this advice assumes that you will want to use WK, which may not end up being the case. All i’ll say is that I highly recommend wanikani as a way to learn kanji and their useful readings efficiently and it is very structured which will help you out greatly if you’re a new learner.


I think WaniKani will suit your goals well! My advice would be to follow along with WK’s teachings and let them tell you which readings are important and learn vocab as you go along. Even at a low level you can pick up reading material that suits you and work your way up to more difficult ones. That’s as far as kanji goes, but then of course you need other resources for grammar too :blush:

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Thank you for your answer, I also love visual novel and without a doubt I would love to read only-japanese vn. I know I’m new with this about kanjis and vocab with kanjis and on and kun, but is for that reason that I want to do the best job or try to do in the beginning. I also start in a japanese academy but also try to do more thing by myselft like I did when learn english.

Good to know, Wanki is a nice website in order to improve and learn kanjis and new vocab, without a doubt I will continue with this method, I will follow your advise about the reading.

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Kanji is the reason why I quit Japanese 10 years ago after 2 years of study. I just became so overwhelmed when I discovered all the different readings. I started studying again 5 years ago after my first visit to Japan. My advice if you want us WK is to focus on the reading that they teach you. For learning kanji outside of WK I focus on learning kanji reading though vocabulary words and not learning all the different readings associated with each kanji. I found that I retain information best through this type of association and I don’t feel overwhelmed. I hope this makes sense. :slight_smile:


Even I want to read light novels, so I got this advice from a reddit user who used WaniKani. According to him, kanji stops being the problem once you reach around level 35-40. The main problem is vocabulary, so what he recommended was to start from easy manga’s like Yotsubato! and Karakai Jyouzu no Takagi-san, add all new words you see in Anki or any other SRS application (although I’ll recommend Anki only). Then slowly move onto more difficult manga’s, do the same thing. After you’ve learnt around 3k-4k words by doing this, you can transition to light novels. This will allow for a relatively smooth transition to reading to light novels.

Now, you can always straight up get into light novels without going through these steps, but this could be very frustrating as you’ll have to constantly look up words, which also a viable option if you don’t mind.

All this is assuming you’re studying grammar side by side too.


Interesting, I actually learn a lot with the WK vocab because they fuse some kanjis with only onyomi reeading and also with kun, so it’s a good method to learn at least two type of pronunciation, but I suppose it’s like any other language when you already know the word the pronuciation just come naturally.

Wow that is great, I know that learn more than 2k kanjis can be a overwhelmed work, but I thought the same about a level between 30-40 is a solid base. I’m with grammar as well and with other vocab outside wanikani.


At first, kanji is super overwhelming! However, rest assured that you will get to that point where you know the reading for vocabulary before you officially “learn” it in Wanikani, especially if you do a lot of reading in addition to doing your reviews


Yeah, already have new vocab with old kanjis that I know but with another kun reading like: 上手, 上げる, 上る so now I remember better than before the onyomi “jyou” and at the moment the kunyomi: “a and nobo”

Unless you want to be able to write, Wanikani combined with consistent reading practice should be plenty of kanji study. I don’t think you need to do any extra SRS. Just doing the Wanikani curriculum along with grammar study and lots of reading practice was enough for me. I still have trouble with “real” material but most video games and light novels are not a problem anymore, although I am personally not a huge light novel fan. I was able to play some video games in Japanese as early as the 20s.

To add to what @rhet said, I’m level 22 (I think… I forget. I am but the forums haven’t reflected it yet…) and I can play Stardew Valley in Japanese and know ~85% of the kanji and at least recognise another 5%. I also know ~95% of the kanji used in Yotsuba, which is a good manga for beginners :smile:, so in the 20s is when you’ll really notice progress I think. I started playing Stardew Valley at ~level 15, and Yotsuba at ~level 19 so it’s really up to you when you want to start exposing yourself to natural material.

@rhet That is a great news, I actually want focus more when my japanese level go up in play videogames and of course start first with easy mangas or kid story books to imrpove my reading. I’m very happy with wanikani and already can understand a little bit more how the kanjis works.

@xarde So the level 20 is the key! haha, thank you for your advice and reply! I’m a visual novel fan and maybe it also can help to improve my reading.

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Can you tell about your experience with light novels? When did you first read one, which one was it?

I don’t remember when I first read a light novel. It honestly might have been after I hit level 60. I started trying to read serious works basically as soon as I finished learning the kana and basic grammar, though, before I even started Wanikani. It was a grind and I understood almost nothing but I found it to be an extremely helpful learning experience.

I think the first book I read that I actually felt comfortable with was 秋の牢獄 with the JBC. I’m not sure what level I was at the time, maybe in the 30s? It’s not a light novel but the language is more or less equivalent to what I’ve found in actual light novels.

If you’re interested in light novels I say just give it a shot. I think you’re at the right level to start trying to read one. If you can find an e-book version that helps a lot since you can copy and paste vocab, but most light novels have a lot of furigana so kanji knowledge isn’t essential. In fact, I’ve always found the most important skill for reading to be grammar. If your grammar is solid it’s not too much trouble to look up vocabulary, or even guess it from context. It depends on your patience though. If you want to read a book you really have to be willing to look things up. Recently I’ve been reading ゴブリンスレヤー and despite my level I still have to look up words nearly every page.

One thing I will say is, even if the first few pages are a struggle try not to give up too soon. Authors have specific styles, and certain genres use certain terminology. Once you get used to the grammar and vocabulary peculiar to that work it becomes much easier.

What a coincidence! I wanna read this too! (The first episode was amazing, I like dark stuff like this). There are a few more which I wanna read like 転生したらスライムだった件 and オーバーロード. Well, if you had to look up words almost every page, I’ll probably have to look up many words every single page.

I don’t really mind that tho. Recently, I was reading this Shoujo manga 先生、好きです. I was looking up some words every few pages and that was fine with me.

P.S. Hope I can trouble you with questions I’ll have while reading ゴブリンスレヤー :stuck_out_tongue:

P.S. Hope I can trouble you with questions I’ll have while reading ゴブリンスレヤー

Sure, just make a thread for it or tag me in the PM thread. :blush:

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