Same kanji but wrong meaning

I’m just starting out and this app seems to be the best way to staying dedicated in learning kanji however i am getting very annoyed when it comes to same kanji. i end up getting a wrong answer when the english or japanese translation comes up such as fire either meaning ‘hi’ or ‘ka’ but then i get them mixed up and get the wrong answer even though both are the same. There are times when it allows me to re try as i choose the non on’yomi reading, but that’s about it.
is there a reason why i should keep going on past level 3? i find that it might be easier just looking up certain kanji and studying that rather than testing it but im not sure i need a community opinion :frowning:

No reason to keep going on past level 3 :wink: We are all here for no reason :wink:

But seriously - of course it makes sense, if you like the SRS system. And you will get the different readings over time.


Hi, welcome to WaniKani! :sparkles: :crabigator: :sparkles:

you’re probably not going to get a very unbiased opinion here ^^

So, I think what’s actually happening here is that you’re getting muddled up between the kanji reviews and the vocab reviews. When you get a review come up which is purple, it means that it’s asking you about a specific word. Sometimes this word will only be one kanji long, but it’s still asking about the word rather than the kanji, so there is a correct way to read it.

Let’s take your example of ‘fire’.

The kanji 火 can be read ひ or か. If you get a pink review, it’s asking about the kanji. If you put in the reading it isn’t looking for, it will shake and ask you to try again.

The word 火 is read ひ. There’s no wriggle room here; the word for ‘fire’ is read ひ. If you get a purple review, it’s asking about the word ひ and you’ll be marked wrong if you input か.

So I’d try paying attention to the colours; you’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes intuitive! It’s free until Level 3, so why not just keep having a go and see how you find it be then? :blush:


か is not a valid reading for the word 火, even though it is a valid reading for that kanji when it appears in other words at times.

So, I guess maybe just take a bit more time before answering and that will solve the issue.


Radish8 explains it very well. ^^

There are multiple ways to read a kanji in Japanese. If you read the mnemonics and the meaning/reading text provided, they point out which reading is which. The kun’yomi and the on’yomi, if it would help you to look up those terms and read about it.

Keep a close eye on the background colours. Pink means they are teaching you the on’yomi - the building blocks of “jukugo” words.

Purple background means they are asking for a vocab word, which may use a different reading.

It can seem complex to get your head around at first, but if you keep with it, you’ll see the differences. Good luck!

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I’m sure you will get excellent results self-studying without WK if you won’t even bother to figure out why it’s marked as wrong.


This isn’t always the case, you will be taught whichever reading WK staff thought was the most common one for that kanji, it could be kun or on reading. But you can be certain that if the background is pink it’s a kanji lesson/review.


Ack! [Smacks forehead] You’re very right, of course! Thanks for pointing that out. ^^

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