'See' Kanji in your Minds Eye?

Do any of you see kanji when you recall words? Other than classes in high school (I’m 26 now so you can draw conclusions :face_with_hand_over_mouth:) my knowledge is limited. Wanikani is my first effort at reintroducing daily learning before I muster courage to start Genki and Kitsun (10k)! Because my vocabulary is small I’m learning a lot of new stuff together, kanji + vocabulary. No way I can make sentences yet but I try to think of words I know when I come across them. I find when I have trouble recalling a word naturally that my brain sometimes ‘sees’ the kanji. I often recall the word as a result!

Kinda fun :slightly_smiling_face:


Doesn’t happen for me automatically, but I can imagine them if I know them really well. I did, however, once see a katakana word in a dream that doesn’t exist. :joy:


I don’t know of the threshold but I’d imagine but it’s a lot harder to imagine the kanji that one would think. But in my experience it doesn’t really matter if you can visualize it since it doesn’t seem to hinder your ability to recognize it when you see it. However even after reviewing different kanji almost 800k times I can really only visualize kana (when I first choose what one) and probably the easy kanji like 木 and 山.

IMO, it’s a guideline to show you really have the kanji burned in your mind if you can visualize but it won’t be a goal to reasonable achieve.


I also cant really visualize most of the kanji I have learned. But ive come to a point where if I see a word in hiragana that I might not recognize at first sight, I will try to convert it to kanji (based on meaning and reading) even if ive never seen it written before. Then I go on jisho and ive been right a few times, and that feels good!!

I cant write kanji but I would imagine someone who can will be able to do this!


Pray tell, what was the word?? :laughing:


Oh yeah, it’s definitely not a goal. Just something I’ve noticed happen, and not all the time of course. I wouldn’t be able to write them except for the simple one’s you noted :point_up:. I’m really visual though so the associated picture/kanji seems to jog my memory. Sometimes I ‘see’ it outright and other times I can’t remember a word but think about what the kanji looks like and that reminds me (if that makes sense, haha) :thinking:


That’s awesome!! I hope I can get to that point some day as well :grin:. When did you start noticing? I love when you learn something to a point where it starts to pop up naturally. I found Jisho after googling for kanji help, before I got on the forums, and really like it!

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Im sure you will, as you keep progressing, that is! I just started reading actual books around 2 months ago after studying to around N3 level, and I was around the 30’s on WK so when I picked up my first book I realized I had reached that kind of understanding with the kanji. Its always nice to see your hard work pay off, and especially with the kind of time commitment wanikani takes!

I assume, that everybody that is able to imagine pictures in their heads, will recall kanji or parts of them as pictures to an extend. How detailed though, might be a matter of training/inherent ability(?).

Personally, the kanjis I am able to recall correctly in my head are those I can write down on paper, too (so, not too many). If I can’t write it down I may recall a vague image that could overlap/be confused with other similar kanjis or contains wrong/similar radicals.

People who can’t imagine things mentally seem to be rarer though. A thread about kanji learners with “aphantasia” was posted some time ago:

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I can’t remember now. It began with ユ, had three characters. I searched for it in Jisho and there were no results.

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one thing i’ve found helps here is explicitly air-drawing the kanji with ones’ hand, 空書, (in order to memorize the strokes and appearance), as well as looking at the kanji and then explicitly trying to visualize it. i.e. practice seeing it with your mind’s eye in order to make it work better.

this even works to a degree with aphantasia (hi), though it takes practice

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