Remembering vocab, but not the kanji

So, as I’ve fumbled ineptly through the later levels of Wanakani, I’ve noticed that increasingly I know what a vocab means, and how it reads - without remembering fully one of the Kanji.

For instance today -就職 came up for burn review. I straight away knew what it meant, and I knew the reading - however i couldn’t remember what the first Kanji was.

This has happened more and more the longer I’ve been learning - has anyone else found this happens?

There have been other instances where i don’t fully recall both kanji in a vocab (like i know roughly what they mean, but exactly), but I still know the vocab meaning.

Just thought it was vaguely interesting :slight_smile:



This happens to me a lot.

I’ve also had times when I have memorised some vocab (using Anki) without “learning” one of the kanji first, only to learn the kanji in Wanikani and recognise it in the original word.

I think if anything it’s a good sign - when you are reading fluently you don’t need to think about the meaning of individual kanji.


Yes, this happens all the time for me. I’m failing kanji burns because I can’t remember them, while I still can read and understand most of the vocab.

I think it’s fine though. You’d only need to know the exact meaning and reading for kanji if you were to take a test.

Btw, I also didn’t really remember the first kanji in 就職 until it came up while reading as a verb on its own. However, WK didn’t teach that verb and reading.


Same here. I also believe its overall a good thing. It basically means that your eyes start to see words with multiple kanjis as their own ‘shape’, the same way you recognize most english words not by reading every letter, but by simply seeing the word shape. It makes reading a lot faster.

Although I also find it frustrating when you fail a kanji that you should know :slight_smile:


This happens to me too. Mostly for words that I have learned in the wild through the years, but only learned the actual kanji meaning through wk. Many of the prefecture names are good examples of this, among others.

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This sometimes happens to me, but it’s a lot more common that I can remember the reading without remembering the kanji, presumably due to subconscious absorption of phono-semantic compounds. Similar looking kanji often have the same reading, so I can get the reading right without noticing the specific kanji in question. Then I get the meaning wrong because I was thinking of the wrong kanji.

I also often confuse kanji with the same meaning, even if they don’t look similar or have the same reading, leading to messing up the reading review.


Not really the same thing, but I watched My Neighbors the Yamadas the other day and saw the grandmother putting up a sigh which said 大会. I knew it was convention, but could not for the life of me remember what the reading for the 会 was. To make matters worse, I kept saying to myself, “it is the 会 from 会社,” but was convinced it used a reading I couldn’t recall.

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i saw 就職 and knew “it’s something with employment, しょく”. dunno if i even had either of these kanji on wk, my highest level was 31.

what it means is, it’s a half-learned artifact. i wouldn’t call that “good”, but certainly “better than nothing”.

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wb kelth, long time no see

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Those are definitely kanji you’ve seen on Wanikani. In fact, I’ve really been struggling with all the 就, 職, and 業 words on WK lately. It’s hard to remember which combinations are “business”, “occupation”, or “employment”, so I keep missing them over and over.


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