Script for "meanings only"

Hello, I am looking for a script that will force Wanikani to test me ONLY on the meaning of the Kanji and not the reading. In short, I only want to recognize the meaning of kanji and am not interested in how they are sounded out or written in hiragana.

Now, before you say that it is important, etc. I have my reasons. I will never need to produce the language: I am looking to improve my passive reading skills. The learning of hiragana is important, but simply not my goal.

Thank in advance


I could be wrong, but I don’t believe such an ask is possible. Userscripts can alter the way the site behaves to an extent such as allowing users to undo an incorrect answer or have lessons show up in a specific order, but I think what you’re asking for goes beyond that.

A userscript could probably be created to hide the readings of the words and show you only the meanings while testing you only on those meanings, but based on how wanikani is coded, you would never be able to level up. Even if it was possible to create a userscript to do this, I feel like it would be going against the site’s TOS, similar to a userscript that would eliminate the wait time between SRS stages.

Removing those “obstacles” would mean you could level up much faster than intended, which would in turn mean you would only need to use the site for a fraction of the time. Doing what you’re asking would still take just as long, but would be less work as you’d only have to answer half of the review for kanji and vocab.

That aside, I’m not sure you’re thinking critically about what you’re asking. How are you going to understand grammar if you aren’t interested in learning hiragana? How are you going to understand vocabulary words that are more than just the kanji itself? How are you going to look up a kanji if you don’t know or recognize the radical if you don’t know how to read it?


As already pointed out, there is no such script at the moment (or likely ever).
Also, you might have your reasons, maybe you have a really special case and already know a lot of what you need to know, but if not… you will never be able to “passively read” with only learning the most useless information for each Kanji on here; the meaning.
It simply gives you something to hang on to when seeing the Kanji, the reading gives it its “real place” in the language.
Only because you know which meaning 成 and 績 might have for each item (or rather which meaning WK gives those 2), you probably wont know what 成績 both means or is spelled like, hence you still can’t read, neither actively, nor passively (whatever passive reading means in your case).


I’d like to echo what others have said about thinking critically about this. At first I was of your opinion: I’m only here to learn the kanji, I don’t want to actually learn to read! I found it annoying that the site forces me to learn not only kanji pronunciations, but even vocabulary words based on them.

But the more I learn, the more I understand that this is the right approach.

First, a single kanji can mean many different things, ofren very vaguely related! And it’s only in context that you can actually understand it. And for this you need to know not just the kanji, but the words that comprise them.

Second, you will never be able to understand a single Japanese sentence without the glue between the kanji, which is the grammar, and to make sense of the meaning you need to be able to pronounce the sentence as a whole and parse it in your head, just like your brain is parsing this complex sentence that I’ve written by hearing it in your mind and dividing it into parts. This is a language understanding process, not a visual process.

And third, I keep recognising words I’d known before and now I finally know the kanji they are composed of, and this is awesome. Just now, on level 4, I got the word 花火, flower + fire = fireworks. And then I got to the reading, and it was an immense “aha” moment, because なた + ひ = はなび, and Hanabi is a popular card game dealing with fireworks. MIND BLOWN!


You may very well have your reasons but I also want to add that even though you may never need to “produce” japanese, that doesnt mean you won’t need to know the readings. Let’s say you see the character 牛 in a piece of text somewhere but you can’t remember what it means? How do you look it up? Well you could copy and paste it if thats possible, but what if you can’t. How do you type 牛 into a search bar? There is no kanji keyboard out there with 2,000+ keys. The only way to type it is to know one of its readings like うし and type that into a japanese IDE.

It’s kind of like saying you want to learn the alphabet but you only want to learn what the letters “mean”. You may have some crazy method but I can’t imagine that being an easier way to learn to read.


I think you might be happier trying Remembering The Kanji by James W. Heisig instead of WaniKani. You could probably find an Anki deck or an app that is adapted to work with RTK which would teach you solely the kanji meanings and nothing else. You’re looking for an experience that WK is not designed to give you, and you would have to fight the system the entire way to get it to do what you want.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend learning kanji meanings without readings, because the reading is actually the most important part! Kanji meanings often roughly correspond to vocab meanings, but not always. You will need to learn the readings in order to actually read Japanese. If you’re only choosing one, you’d be better off skipping the meanings and learning just the readings, imo.

That said, many people have achieved success with RTK, so it’s possible to start with a meanings-only approach and eventually become literate. But even RTK expects you to eventually learn the readings for all of the kanji you learn.


TBH it would probably be a lot quicker and not much worse to test yourself for meanings on kanji only BUT learn both meaning and reading for the vocab.

Being able to “maybe guess” the reading for a vocab with the kanji readings you already know has almost no upside.


I’m not sure I understand your point? Even if we discount the utility of being able to understand spoken Japanese (no kanji there!), you still need to know the readings of kanji because there will be times where you will see the words written out entirely in kana. Knowing kanji meanings alone won’t save you here.

It’s actually super helpful because it’s way easier to look up an unknown word if you’re able to guess the reading.

Other people have made this point already, but it’s the vocab that matters, not the kanji. Kanji is just one way to write the word. What matters is you understand the word, which you can’t reliably do from the kanji alone.


It is pretty helpful, but my experience is that you get that ability even if you don’t explicitly study kanji readings, because as you learn vocab you pick up the patterns of what the kanji is typically read as “for free”, as long as you’re learning the readings of the vocab.


What I’m saying is, you don’t need to know the readings of kanji. At least not in the sense of being tested for readings for individual kanji out of context. As soon as you add context (sentences, etc.), they become vocab. You most definitely need to know both reading and meaning of the vocab.

There is no point quizzing yourself on kanji readings because most kanji have multiple readings.

The kanji readings only matter in context, and then they become vocab.

For an extreme case 上 has 3 on readings (じょう、しょう、シャン) and 6+ kun readings (うえ、うわ、かみ、あ、のぼ、たてまつ…) according to Jisho. Once you encounter a word in a sentence knowing 1,2, or 5 readings doesn’t really matter, if you don’t know the specific vocab you are reading. The vocab is the only thing that matters.

Knowing the kanji meaning definitely helps you piece together the vocab meaning a lot of the time. Knowing the kanji reading in isolation is almost never helpful.

The only thing that matters is kanji meaning and then one step further vocab meaning + reading.

Plus, once you learn enough vocab you see the patterns between the kanji readings as well. E.g. a lot of the kanji including the 白(はく)radical will also have that as a reading, a lot of the kanji including 章 (しょう) will also have that as a reading.


Ah, I think I see where I misunderstood!

I thought by this, you were arguing for WK teaching both readings and meanings, but TESTING for kanji meanings only (so, posting in agreement with OP).


Honestly, I think there’s an argument for both approaches? Yours is what RTK favors, which obviously has worked for many people. And pm215’s approach (learning vocab readings as needed without explicitly studying kanji readings) also works.

I’ve personally benefited heavily from learning readings alongside kanji, but a huge part of that is because of the semantic-phonetic composition userscript. Thanks to that script, WK basically gave me a crash course in semantic-phonetic composition. Is this necessary to explicitly study? No, not at all. You’ll pick up a lot of this on your own with exposure. But I found it really interesting and helpful, personally.

What are you trying to read?

Honestly, the idea that its universally helpful in that regard is pretty outdated anyways. For essentially my entire studies, the ability to look up words was irrelevant because I used popup dictionaries for 99.9% of my input. And nowadays, living in japan and texting japanese people every day I occasionally get a word I don’t know, but I never actually guess the reading when I look it up. When my girlfriend sent me 積立 the other day, I’m not gonna sit there being like “HMM SEKIRITSU??? TSUMIDACHI???” like I’m detective weaboo holmes. I just type 積む backspace 立つ backspace and search.

Beginners might not have a pool of words to pull from like that, but regardless they will still be learning the readings just by learning vocab words as you say.

I think the idea of learning kanji separately at the start isn’t a terrible one, but the “look up benefits” argument supporting it has always been so weird to me. Like if an umbrella salesman came up to me and was like “BY THE WAY YOU CAN USE THIS TO WARD OFF ATTACKERS”. Like sure if I had an umbrella and was being attacked I would probably wack the shit out of them with it, but like is that really a big enough reason to be included in your sales pitch?


It’s a bit more helpful if a good chunk of what you want to read exclusively exists in print books or magazines… I wouldn’t have been able to tackle 週刊プロレス as a beginner at all without WK, probably. Or rather, I’d be able to read it, but only very slowly and painstakingly, which kind of defeats the point, because it’s a magazine where the info very quickly becomes less relevant (often in a manner of days or weeks).

But I recognize that my specific use case might not be very common :sweat_smile:.


This is exactly how I do it. Recognize the kanji, type a word that includes that kanji into imiwa, repeat and piece the new vocab together that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think WK is bad. I just think the approach isn’t perfect and if there was an option to skip the kanji reading quiz portion I would take it to save time.


I guess to me, the reading quiz is either kind of a freebie (because the phonetic component is super straightforward or you have the reading reinforced enough through vocab that it’s not a problem to remember), or it trips me up because I’m either getting the kanji confused with something else, or I’m forgetting that it’s a kanji with a reading that doesn’t come from its phonetic component. The latter two cases are both cases where I think it’s worth reviewing the kanji a little more because that’ll affect my ability to read it if I see it in the wild.

But overall, I’d rather look at a kanji in an unknown word and have a reading immediately jump into my brain than look at a kanji and have a meaning immediately jump into my brain. If you know at least one reading for the kanji, you can type, say, 積む backspace 立つ backspace and search for 積立. If you know just the meanings, you’ll get stuck trying to piece together the concepts of “accumulate” + “stand”, which isn’t super helpful.

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thank you for all the responses. In short: 1) not recommended; 2) technically not possible; 3) other methods – Remembering The Kanji by James W. Heisig.

I am already working with Heisig’s book.

While I appreciate the many good points made about the importance of learning both – and for the most part agree with much of what was said – i am not entirely convinced that everyone learns languages in the same way…

But in the end, it seems it is not technically possible – so I will treat the reading as I did gender of the noun in French and German – simply make it part of the word – I found a script that allows me too link meaning to reading so the associations will be just part of the word … it will take longer, but it is what it is…

thanks for your time…



I mean you could just use an anki script and press correct on the readings but if you’re going to that level just use anki in the first, would have saved you a few quid

There’s no such script as far as I know (although it wouldn’t be hard to make a script that auto-passes the readings). Using the Smouldering Durtles Android app you can set the readings to “anki mode” which will just require you to press a button to pass them while still getting the usual prompt for meanings. I don’t know if the web anki scripts allow this.

Also I understand where you’re coming from because I too am mostly interested in being able to read Japanese over everything else, but keep in mind that in the wild you’ll very often encounter words spelled in full kana for all sorts of reasons, especially in less formal settings.

One of the big issues I had when I started playing games and reading manga was dealing with this. I would very often encounter words that I actually knew with kanji that I couldn’t recognize because the game decided to spell it in kana for one reason or an other. One common thing for instance is to spell a word normally using kanji with katakana to denote a strong emphasis or weird articulation. I’ve encountered instances where an alien or demonic entity would speak fully in katakana for instance, probably to convey an otherworldly speech pattern.

Another thing I often encounter is a kanji word spelled in hiragana with syllable stretching to convey a teasing tone, like “秘密だ!” (it’s a secret) spelled like ひ〜み〜つだ! or something like that.

In other words I think that even if you only ever want to be able to read Japanese, not knowing the reading of most words will prove frustrating, unless maybe you only read formal/literary Japanese that’s very kanji-heavy.


At my current level (which is much lower than yours) I actually do the opposite at this point: I don’t really pay a lot of attention to the meaning of kanji or even vocab on WK because it is often of dubious value as we know, but being able to know/guess the reading of kanji is extremely useful to me.

Admittedly my situation may be a bit unusual in that my main hobby is playing “retro” games, and the Super Nintendo doesn’t support popup dictionaries so if I have to look something up I either have to guess the reading of the word or, if I’m unable to, search the kanji by components or use OCR which is always rather cumbersome and sometimes error-prone.

Yeah I do that too, but of course that assumes that you know how to input 積む and 立つ. That’s why I also don’t worry too much about remembering all the weird rendaku and other phonetic quirks and reading exceptions, but I absolutely want to memorize that 積む is つむ for instance, and 積 is セキ.

Basically I want to be in a position where, given any Japanese word using familiar kanji, I’m able to guess the reading in one or two tries with reasonable accuracy, or failing that be able to rebuild the word piecemeal to look it up on jisho.