Resources for gauging how "popular" a given reading is?

As the list of readings I’ve learned for any given kanji gets longer, I’ve found myself struggling a lot more with mixing up readings:

"Let’s see, did 毎日 end in じつ or にち? Let’s go with… じつ! …crap :upside_down_face: "

While the long-term goal is to “just know” the right reading by way of knowing vocabulary, I imagine there are things I can do to help bridge that gap. Knowing the rules of thumb for choosing on-yomi vs kun-yomi helps a ton, but…



Does anyone know of a resource for statistics on the popularity of various kanjis’ readings, across say the N most common Japanese words? This could help me know when to mark a given reading in my brain as the “default”, letting me focus more on learning the exceptions.

Or even better, how about one that takes a kanji’s most common words, and groups them by reading? Not just by on-yomi or kun-yomi, but by individual readings like にち and じつ. That way, even if there isn’t a clear “default”, maybe I can get a sense of which kinds of words tend to use a given reading for a kanji.

Don’t worry, I’m not looking for a silver bullet; but there’s got to be some value in those statistics よね?


This is exactly not what you’re looking for but I just wanted to mention additional mnemonics can go a long way towards eliminating these issues until the word just sticks.

For example 同日 is じつ because for them to be the same there has two be “two” of them …

I believe for 毎日 I thought well if I have it every day it must be “mine.”

and so on

Also I’m not sure where you are in your overall studies but this stuff will stick much better when you’re using the language. Rather than trying to learn the most common readings for kanji in a vacuum … if you’re learning grammar etc. and the word is right there in the sentence, well, it’s probably pretty common :stuck_out_tongue: and in any case it’s going to stick because you’re practicing it.

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Thanks for those!

It’s always interesting to hear other people’s mnemonics - plus I’ll probably remember those a lot better now since I got it through human interaction and not just a text blurb.

And yep, I’ve definitely seen actual usage make memories stickier than learning in a vacuum; although I am still struggling a bit to find resources that feel appropriate to my level +1. I’m only a few chapters in to げんき so far, so my grammar skills and non-WaniKani based vocabulary are both pretty sparse, but I’m thinking that’ll change as I approach level 10 and get through more of げんき.

(Early on I spent way too much time manually translating all the WaniKani example sentences myself before learning Koichi’s +1 rule and realizing I wasn’t absorbing anywhere near in-proportion to the effort required. :sweat_smile: )

The big question I’ve been pondering lately is – do I implement an additional SRS for the vocabulary / grammar points I’m picking up in げんき now, or do I play it more loose with those items to avoid the risk of burnout by doubling up on SRS this early in my education? :hot_face:

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For Genki, I usually use the memrise set that corresponds to the book to learn the vocab, it’s seperated into the chapters and let’s you ignore words so you can choose which words you want to review which is useful, and for the grammar points you could use the questions set in the workbook if you have it? Or just practice writing example sentences using the new grammar/vocab from that chapter.

Hope this helps somewhat :blush:


Genki will teach you essential vocab that WaniKani will not, which is why we’re always telling people WaniKani isn’t a vocab resource (strictly speaking), and why those “how much Japanese will I know at level 60?” threads always have a lot of “none” responses.

To give you a rough idea, I have an Anki deck containing all of the vocab, collectively, from Genki I and LingoDeer I. It’s about 900 cards. Of those 900, 450 are buried because they’re in my WaniKani deck also. So there’s about 450 “Japanese 101” words alone there not taught in WaniKani. For such a low level, that’s a lot. Plenty of them are super simple nouns (hamburger), but many of them are words you need to actually use the language: だから (therefore) and such.

So in my opinion it’s totally worth SRSing alongside WaniKani. Just make sure to moderate yourself and evaluate how things are working for you on a regular basis.

As for using what you’re learning, if you can afford them I think the level 0 and 1 graded readers would be great for you. They’ll be a struggle right now, and easy to read by the time you’re done with Genki I (with the help of WaniKani for that kanji of course). They’re great motivators.


I haven’t really looked into memrise yet, that’s great to know there’s a corresponding a Genki set – I’ll definitely check that out, thanks!


Unfortunately with some kanji like 日 the multiple readings are all used pretty commonly (you can also look forward to learning ひ/び in the future). I don’t know if you can really intuit them so much as you just memorize the words through sheer repetition (fortunately they’re words that you would typically come across a lot). When it can, I think WK already tries to teach the most common reading with the kanji then less common readings with vocab, but there’s no perfect system around it.

The other thing is that the most basic kanji tend to have the largest variety of readings to learn so it’s a problem that’s worst in the very beginning but eventually evens out. I think it’s part of what makes kanji learning so intimidating when starting out.


Yeah, I’ve definitely started to notice the dissonance when I can easily recognize the word for a complex concept like 活用形, and yet find myself looking up から for the 3rd time in that same sentence. :sweat_smile:

Thanks for the recommendation, I hadn’t heard of these before – I’ll definitely check them out!

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*Looks ahead*… oooohhhhh noooooooooooo.

Destroys my vision of the future, only to bring me right back up moments later.

Haha, but really, thanks that’s very reassuring!


To remember 毎日 this scene helped me a lot.


My approach is to burn the word in my head using the reading. I know that every day is まいにち and I have he kanji 毎日 associated with that, so when trying to recall I try to match the kanji with the words I already have memorized as hiragana in my head. :man_shrugging: Not sure it’s the most efficient thing, but it’s something.

Apologies if this is too obvious or someone has mentioned it but I’ve come to realise that wanikani itself is the best resource for these questions. Search for and click on the kanji and then you get a list of all the associated vocab words which you can then study and figure out your own patterns of the various readings.

Yep, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing so far! Pull up the kanji and start manually grouping the vocab words by reading until a pattern appears, or I decide it’s hopeless. :sweat_smile:

But of course, the web developer in me can’t help but think “someone has to have automated this by now, right?”

Maybe that just means I should take it on myself!

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