Search for words containing *only* learned Kanji?

Did a bit of googling, and couldn’t find a thing like this, but maybe I just missed it?
Basically I’m looking for a way to search for vocab to learn that contain only kanji I already learned (and optional kana ofc). When I search for 大 in a regular dictionary I get all sorts of results, including ones with other kanji (duh). But I’d like to be able to put in a list of kanji (say, the JLPT N5 list), and then get all the words containing one or more of those, but not ones containing any other kanji.
Similar to what WaniKani is doing really, building on kanji you already know. Just yanno, even more words, or possibly in a different order.
Does anybody know of such a thing existing? A search setting in some dictionary maybe?

Cause if it doesn’t exist I might hire someone to build something like it. If anybody has any ideas as to which features would be useful, do say.
(Current ideas:
export to Anki/spreadsheet;
save kanji searches to include them as ‘allowed’ when searching for a new set, eg N5 kanji allowed to appear when searching for the N4 list;
‘only common words’ option/tag.
Currently unclear:
How to handle alternative writings, eg 吸う - 喫う )

So I wrote a (rather messy) python script that organized the kanji by levels. Then I used that with the anki api to set a ‘word level’ and ‘sentence level’ in my vocabulary lists. Right now, I keep all cards at a level > my WK level suspended and unsuspend cards after I have unlocked all the kanji of a specific level in WK (ie, at around the halfway level point when I’ve reviewed all the level’s kanji at least once). The cards internal order is still used for which new cards I’m shown, but I only get shown cards which are at or below my WK level.

I know Bunpro has a feature to turn furigana on/off based upon your WK level. I’m sure other tools do similar things with the api key, but I don’t know of any tool that does exactly what you’re looking for.

@prouleau you got this?

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Item Inspector does this kind of search but only for vocabulary items in Wanikani.

The procedure is as follows.

  • Select the All Wanikani Items table in the table selection dropdown.
  • Select the Global Search temporary filter in the temporary filter dropdown.
  • Type in the wanted kanji with an IME as a search term and click Save.

This will return all WK items with the searched kanji.

To search within JLPT N5 kanji you will need to manually add the JLPT Kani and vocab filter to the table to restrict the search to JLPT N5 WK items.

The Item Inspector export feature can be used to export the items to Anki.


In the beginning I used an Anki add-on that does that in a way. It lets you specify 2 decks; one vocab deck, one kanji deck. It then suspends all vocabulary items except the ones that exclusively use kanji that were already learned (“seen” cards in the kanji deck).

But that’s Anki specific and probably not what you’re looking for. I’m assuming what you mean is a website or something?
Considering this doesn’t sound like something that’d be that hard to do, I’d be a bit surprised if it didn’t exist. But then again I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that :sweat_smile:

That Anki add-on would actually technically work for my purposes I think… I’d just need to first create a deck with ALL THE WORDS OF THE WHOLE DICTIONARY xD
Same for @sporadic’s thing (if I understood correctly). Hm…
But yeah, was more thinking something to get a list of relevant vocab only (beyond Wanikani) in the first place. Be that a website or another tool. It does sound like a thing that should already exist, but I guess most people rather work by recommended vocab, and not random obscure words that happen to contain an easy kanji xD
Thanks anyway y’all :relaxed:

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(If it’s for learning purposes then I think a most-frequent-10k deck or something might just be enough :joy: )
Just in case you wanna try it out anyway, it’s this add-on.

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Thanks, I’ll have a look! :smiley:

Seeing the reddit thread is archived, do you know if the add-on sorts vocab/sentences specifically by the known kanji, or by the unknown kanji remaining in the deck? As in, if I were to create a new kanji deck and only manually add kanji to it as I learn them (so far I learned by JLPT, but want to try by Wanikani now, so the order is a bit nonsensical for a premade deck), how does it deal with the complete lack of ‘unlearned’ kanji? (I might just try it, but maybe you happen to know ^.^)

If I remember correctly (It’s been a while since I used it, so I’m not 100% sure), it just uses the known kanji in the deck. Everything that’s not a seen card in the kanji deck is automatically unknown (whether cards with the other kanji are still new or don’t exist at all doesn’t matter). So it should be fine in your situation, I think.

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Yup, it works :smiley: Made a new kanji deck with just 大 and 小 in it for now, applied it to a Core2000 deck that I already had installed (and only used like once or twice), and it unsuspended all the kana only words, all the cards I had already reviewed, and all the ones containing only 大 and/or 小 :smiley:
Thanks a lot! :bouquet: Might still go ahead with the kanji vocab list generator thing, but this is definitely useful if that doesn’t work out/for the time being.


So, yeah, you probably don’t want all the words in the dictionary. Many will be special purpose, rare, etc. You want to find a set of words based upon your goals. If you want to watch a lot of anime, the words you want to learn are very different from the words you need if you want to go into business, or pass the N5, or whatever. Context is important.

There are many, many word lists out there, though, so finding and picking one should probably be your first task. Ideally, the list should contain not just the words but their relative frequency. Then you can direct your studies based upon your kanji knowledge as well as how useful words are likely to be in context.

Edit Just wanted to add. If you’re using the core Nk, there are versions out there with WK level in there already, but if you’re up for fiddling with a custom kanji deck, that seems like a more granular approach.

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My goal is to learn Japanese in general haha. I’m still at a beginner/lower intermediate level, so probably any ‘essential words’ deck would be full of stuff to learn for now. I’d say I’d kick out any word that I don’t even know in English, but then I see Wanikani wanting me to learn what an ‘eddy’ is lol.

But also with this particular thing, to help me remember kanji. I find it a lot easier to remember them if I have some vocab context, even if it’s an obscure one that I’ll probably never use.

Mh, good to know about the premade decks! Currently not using a kanji deck on Anki at all, but I’ll have a look if there’s one that’d work, thanks! :slight_smile:

I get the desire. “Learn all the things!” But Japanese (any foreign language, really) is such a mountain, I recommend prioritizing. It’s much easier to branch out from a small core of solid knowledge than have a scattering where nothing connects. IMO, of course.

For just learning the kanji and their main readings, I think WK does a good job. You could also look at things like Kanji in Context, if you haven’t already. It tries to provide that broad overview of each kanji’s main uses in modern Japanese. I haven’t ever used it though, so I don’t know if filtering by WK level would “break” it, but it is sentence based, so it’s probably fine.

Oh, it definitely makes sense to get some base knowledge. I’d probably weed out things a bit myself, anything Archaic (unless I get into historical anime haha), or stuff I don’t even know in English. But if my high school language education is any indication it also doesn’t hurt to learn some funny words alongside the basic stuff. (Still waiting for the day I get to use/see someone use ‘to trundle’, but that song from 5th grade will be stuck in my head forever.)

Kanji in Context? The book series? Did I find the wrong thing or is it just a short list of words that each kanji is used in? Same as a quick #common jisho search would give me?
So far I’ve been using Japanese Kanji Study, which also provides plenty of examples, and pre-picked some recommended words. I just tend to run into the issue that when quizzing on those example words I don’t recognise the other kanji at all, since I’ve not learned it yet. Hence why, wanting to search for words with only learned kanji.

I could be thinking of the wrong product, tbh. I thought KIC gives you vocab for each kanji that are A. cover all the common readings of that kanji (though not all the words that use it obviously) and B. are reasonably useful in themselves (when possible). But that might be a different thing altogether. I do remember there was something like that out there. Hopefully someone who knows more than I can swoop in and fill us both in. :wink:

Well what I found does look like listing some common readings and some (presumably common/useful) example words, as well as stroke order. Same as presumably any other kanji learning resource does haha.
Oh wait, I just found there’s a workbook too. That seems to have sentences as well. So maybe that is what you were thinking of :slight_smile:

Don’t worry, I also find little reason to split it up like that. The most common words are the most common words. The above mentioned 10K is probably a good enough place to start. But I really wouldn’t worry about it too much, just picking something and using it is far better than overanalyzing what you’re going to use.

True, at the very beginning you’ll definitely learn the same words no matter what. Although if you do have a specific goal in mind it’s certainly not a bad idea to focus a bit on that, especially for short term results.
Most traditional textbooks will teach a lot of office vocabulary early on, presuming that most people work in an office. So that’s useful if you want to work in Japan, but also just for practicing talking about your daily life.
Meanwhile I have an interest in cooking, so I added a bunch of food vocabulary to my decks that are not marked as common, which helps me understand recipies even while I’m still low level in all other areas. I try and find a balance of ‘generally common & useful’ and ‘actually useful to me’ haha.
Although following the premade decks/textbooks is certainly easy :slight_smile:

I would say most are probably geared more towards student related vocab. But either way, how much office vocabulary isn’t really useful in real life anyway?

However, one thing I’d say is that I wouldn’t put too much stock in whether something is labeled as “common” or not, as those lists tend to be made from newspapers, and so you have words that may be common, but not in the news often that will then not be marked as "common.

Anyways, now that I’m done with that tangent, there’s nothing wrong with adding specific words to someone’s interest, but I think “focus” is a bit much. You’re still gonna get more bang for your buck reading a recipe. Like if we pull from this random ass recipe I have right here, even the hardest word there like 沸騰 is literally on this site. So that only really leaves us with 隠し味 of which I feel like someone could mostly understand in context anyway and by just looking at the word. (Side note: 茹でる is a word that really does belong on this site)

Okay, lecture over. 以上です.