Radical Review Too Long

I’m really enjoying learning kanji with Wanikani but these radical reviews seem too long. I like that Wanikani teaches radicals, kanji, and vocabulary in that order but I feel that once I reach guru level of the corresponding kanji then the radical is not needed. For example Wanikani teaches 母 in radical form as drawer (so odd btw especially since father taught “correctly up front) then kanji is introduced as mother. I don’t understand why after reaching guru on this kanji it continues to test me the weird drawer reading which if I understand correctly is just used to get you to the correct meaning of mother. Anyways I’m enjoying Wanikani overall besides my impatienciness because I am not a beginner. Also I wish they would stick to traditional radical English meaning.


The radicals don’t go away once you’re done with that level. They’re reused throughout different ones.

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In the case of that radical, it is never used again.

Presumably they felt that the jump straight to “mother” as a meaning was too abstract.

Plenty of people disagree.

They should really overhaul the radicals or something.


I know that is my issue. I feel like they are not need once you learn the corresponding Kanji.

This is an exception to the general rule of how radicals are used. Generally they appear in many different kanji.

Yes I agree I learned this radical as mother many years ago without confusion.

I mean, in all honesty I don’t think it’s worth the work. You rehaul radicals you gotta rehaul the entire course pretty much.

Okay, that’s a legit criticism then. If it only appears once that’s a little weak.

Well, they’re already doing it, so there’s not much to discuss. We just have to continue to endure these topics until they make the changes take effect.


Oh ok I see what you mean. When you put it this way I see the need for the enforcement for those further compound kanji’s.

Weird follow up - are the radical names “universal”? I was looking through my White Rabbit flashcards and some of the kanji’s radicals use almost identical radical names to those used on WK, but some were different, so I didn’t know if there was an accepted radical name for each or what. If there was, that would certainly help people learn them across different learning sites.

The word “radical” is used loosely here, essentially to mean “kanji part.” They are chosen by WK for the purposes of making English mnemonics out of them. For this reason, sometimes they give the parts outrageous or weird names, because those will allow for more memorable mnemonics.

There is no “official” way to break kanji into their constituent parts, so trying to coordinate with competitor platforms probably won’t happen.

Yes I’m used quiet a few different methods for studying Kanji and for the most part the radicals have been consistent except Wanikani which is no problem if a person has no prior exposure but a bit annoying for me because I feel like I have unnecessaryly relearn them.

You can give any item your own personal name if you want. If giving them names from other sites is what you want to do, WK makes that possible.

I considered that but then I feel like I would have trouble with future mnemonic. I wish I found Wanikani a lot soon. :frowning_face:

It looks like nobody’s mentioned this yet - if you haven’t already, just add ‘mother’ as a synonym.

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If you want to add synonyms to other radicals, you can check on the radical info page in WK to see which kanji it is used in.

I would but I’m worried the drawer reading is going to be used in future mnemonic instead of mother. The mnemonic are very helpful which is what I love most about Wanikani. :slight_smile:

You can see which kanji 母 appears in. Only one is listed. What are you worried about?

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Drawer in only used in one kanji. If you already know the kanji for mother, then adding a synonym for the radical won’t be a problem.

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Not only is there no single correct way to break down kanji into radicals, there’s no single correct way to remember a kanji via a mnemonic. You should get into the habit of 1) actually visualizing the mnemonic (instead of just thinking, “oh yeah, that makes sense”; literally try to see the image in your head, even if you have to pause for a few extra seconds), and 2) creating your own mnemonic if the WaniKani one doesn’t do anything for you. Right now, the mnemonics may all work fine, but eventually you’ll get to mnemonics that just don’t make any sense or don’t do anything for you. You’ll be far more successful if you get into the habit of creating your own mnemonics (and even your own radical names) if needed.

Also, it’s worth noting that basically everyone who uses mnemonics in memory competitions says that you should ALWAYS create your own mnemonics. If you use mnemonics other people made, they usually won’t help you that much because they won’t mean anything to you. WaniKani’s system only works if you MAKE it mean something to you (e.g. by visualizing) or just make your own.

(Personally, I know I’d probably learn a bit quicker if I made my own mnemonics from scratch, but I figure that, since I’ll be reading, writing, etc. using the kanji as I move forward, the mnemonics only need to get me to the point where I can start recognizing the kanji in practice, and thus it’s not necessarily worth the extra time/energy to make all my own kanji to, say, go 20% faster when I could use that time on grammar or other aspects of the language instead.)