Remembering the Reading of 人

So, my question pertains to words that end with the character 人: 殺人、悪人、住人、etc. These vocab use either the にん or the じん reading. My problem is that I keep getting these readings mixed up, to the point that I’ve now brought one vocabulary term down from almost Enlightened back to the second layer of Apprentice. Is there any good way to distinguish between the にん and じん readings in these type of words, or do you just kind of have to memorize it?

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I recommend searching for にん じん 人 etc, it’s been covered pretty extensively.

Forgive the double-post; I didn’t see the topic in my quick search of the forums. Got it now.

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Generally you have to memorize it. People have made explanations that give you a decent guess, but there are a lot of exceptions. I’ll just paste my old reply because a lot of people seemed to like it


Do you sleep?

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I do this after seeing your original post and it’s really helpful, so thank you ^^

I also make up stories about genies (jinn/djinn) for the jin readings. It doesn’t even have to be a particularly good story - I just find it fairly easy to remember whether I associated a word with ninjas or genies.

I once read advice here that said “jin” is usually something that doesn’t change, and “nin” changes, at the end of words.

料理人 - a cook/chef. Not a permanent thing!
宇宙人 - an alien. You’ll always be an alien.

As to the beginnings of words… IDK, you just memorize it over time. It’s a pain but you can do it! I don’t really use the story aspect of wanikani very much. Wanikani is mostly just flash cards to me.


Oddly I find that if I know the reading of the other Kanji I usually know which reading of 人 it is. Also oddly, I can’t really explain why I do, I just do.


Every other day, yeah.


Don’t know if anyone else mentioned this, and I am too lazy to read, but some times I make up mnemonic type things when I have a hard time remembering which one to use.

For example, if it is a jin reading, then I imagine the person or persons that are being described as drinking lots of gin


But I’m not over 21 yet :frowning: I’m not allowed to think about alcohol or ill be arrested and my mom will get mad.


oh whoops…should I not be mentioning alcohol on the forums??? Sorry I did not mean to make your mom arrest you. Also, I read the amazon reviews for gin in Japanese, and I think they pulled me up to a self-assessed JLPT N0 Level…

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These are super helpful ways of thinking about it. Thank you both for answering!

Aren’t two of these “jin”?

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And then you have 求人… which is じん.

民人 is jin
and 両人 is not…whoops…

人口 is jin though…so yeah you are right.

The other two are はんにん and りょうにん. But Vanilla’s point still stands, I think, even if he made a mistake. It is helpful to use mnemonics for the readings.

Edit-@Vanilla you made an amateur mistake…HAHAHA now no one will think you are Leebo…

the jin readings have mnemonics associated with people not being ninjas to my understanding

人口 - no census for ninjas, so the people in the calculated population would be jin
民人 - commoners can’t be ninjas, so they must be jin
両人 - both are ninjas so reading is nin
犯人 - ninja killed so many people so reading is nin

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What, how did I make a mistake. Read carefully @EveNi, if they aren’t ninjas in the mnemonic, it uses jin.

人口 (There is no census for the population of ninjas)

両人(both of those people are ninjas)

犯人(That ninja just killed 67 innocent people in cold blood. What a criminal.)

民人(Common people arent ninjas. Ninjas are high class.)

So the people that arent ninjas are 民人 and the people in the 人口. These both use the jin reading. No issue here.


OH shoot. Did not catch the negatives. So sentences with negatives are ones without nin…fair enough… you still may be leebo…

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Wowwwww DiD yOu EvEn ReAd My PoSt. Also how am I leebo lol. I’ll take it thats a good thing, but I’ve definitely made mistakes here on the forums before. Its just no one has found them yet :smirk: