Recognising vocab

I’m not entirely sure I understand what you mean, but recall is much easier with context. Even native Japanese speakers struggle to recall individual kanji with no other context: it’s much easier when it’s used in a sentence, especially as part of a 熟語(じゅくご) compound word or with surrounding hiragana.

There is also a distinction between recall and production.

Recall means seeing written Japanese and knowing how to pronounce it and what it means.

Production means knowing what you want to say and then coming up with the appropriate Japanese words.

(These are my own words, I’m sure the linguists here have proper academic terms for these concepts.)

Wanikani is solely focused on recall and doesn’t really help with production (only indirectly). Others have created tools to focus on production (notably kamesame and kaniwani).

Recently, I’ve started using the “Vocabulary Meaning → Reading” checkbox with the self-study quiz to help me practice production for stage 1-2 items.

Also, the more ways you stimulate your neural pathways the better. You will remember items better if you practice both visual and audible recognition, and focus on both recognition and production. There are only 24 hours in a day, though. :slight_smile:

Finally, note that “meaning” does NOT mean the English words themselves. This is hard to express, but translating between two languages is much harder than speaking just one language or the other. It’s important to eventually “think in” the target language rather than constantly translating in your own head. Without getting too abstract, the concept of a newborn human is universal, but the English word and Japanese words differ: it’s better to go from “newborn concept” → 赤ちゃん than from “newborn concept” → “baby” → 赤ちゃん if that makes any sense.

It takes time and effort to get there, of course.