Share your funny personal mnemonics!

You know how it goes. Sometimes the WK mnemonic doesn’t cut it for you. Other times it’s good, but you know instantly that you have a better one that’s gonna guarantee you never forget the item. Whatever the case, mnemonics can be really weird and great, and while we’re all able to enjoy WK’s preset mnemonics*, others are missing out on our personal ones!

*The current WK mnemonics. (While looking for similar threads, I found out that the 广 radical used to be called “mullet”, and now I’m lowkey mad because that’s so much better. But probably less helpful for later kanji. But still better.)

Anyway, since the WK team probably doesn’t have time (and/or access? :thinking:) to sift through our personal notes and compile the weirdness and hilarity, I thought we should do it ourselves! I’ve only been doing WK for about a month, but so far my most memorable (and really effective!) mnemonics are:

  • – “clearly Zuko gearing up for battle” (and with a bit of mental fiddling I can make into Katara)
  • for the reading of – “the machines are about to become our overlords and what are they gonna do? they’re gonna die us!”
  • (in a similar vein, just looks like a headstone and a cross, and guess who (mostly) dies? old people)
  • – I had a bit of trouble settling on an effective mnemonic for this one – I could see like five different things in the strokes – so in the end I ended up going with the “an X below shoulderpads” visual which led me to “Martian Manhunter being M’gann’s father figure in Young Justice

And saving the best for last:

  • (because it looks like the heaven radical with a thing)heavenly Legolas with all the arrows in his side-of-the-head quiver.”
    And then for the reading I ask myself “would I hit that?” and the answer is “hell :sunglasses:

What about you?


I just came up with this one for 店

Wanikani’s mnemonic: A long time ago, someone put up a canopy over their fortune telling booth and created the first shop. This store was fortune-based, but since then lots of different stores have popped up!

My mnemonic: You spend your fortunes under a roof in a shop.

Shorter, but uses the different meaning of “fortune” meaning wealth/money instead of luck so not sure if it will work as well once I get into other vocabulary, but for now it works really well.


I have one that only works for french people 川 (kawa) and kawa is slang for coffee in french, so a river of coffee :slight_smile: also works with TMNT cry “kawabunga!”


It turns out that John F. Kennedy was an artificial person (人工) which is why he was assassinated. In fact, there is an entire population (人口) of JFK robots running around.

I found the “bito” part of villager hard to remember, so I decided that villagers (村人) live in villages because they are superstitious and scared of Beaters (from Sword Art Online).


Oh, that reminds me, for 子 the kanji readings are し and す, which together (and in that order) sound like the Latvian word “šis”, which means “this”. so i just think of “this particular child”, and boom, both readings recalled.

Today’s new custom mnemonic is for 市 (city): the reading is し, and as a European 90s kid, the mnemonic was instantly obvious: Sheep in the Big City.

My last one is for 北 (north, ほく). I’m a big Legally Blonde fan so my notes for the reading literally just say “when HOKU sang “Perfect Day” her moral compass was really pointing NORTH because that is a great song”.

for the 同 ( same ) i visualize a doughnut is looking at a mirror in a room shaped like a doughnut.
they are same in shape :slight_smile:


別れる, わか

I just think of how Shakira’s WakaWaka separates dancers from no dancers.
giphy (2)


他 - ほか - other

There’s a car out back full of hoes (yes that kind of hoe). They’re like clowns in there, and you can’t let OTHER people know because you’d probably go to jail

Edit; whoops, that wasn’t supposed to be a reply


just remember another one 命, いのち

my life was never compleate until Ino–Shika–Chō arrived in Naruto <3
It don’t fit perfectly, but i have not had any problem with this one after adding that mnemonic


Yessss Avatar mnemonics

Speaking of which when I first started learning Japanese, I remembered「六」because of Roku, since he’s the sixth Avatar known to the audience (at least within ATLA), and 六 looks just like a little guy who I could imagine as Roku. Idk, nerdy mnemonic but it worked like a charm for me.


I’m gonna have to use that, 矢 is one of the lookalike kanji that I keep getting mixed up.


GUYS. I need help with a mnemonic.

Who is someone who would think a lot about kangaroos? The mnemonic for 考える is conga but I think KANGA works better so I want to associate it with kangaroos.

Maybe Winnie the Pooh? LOL.

1 Like

When I think kangroos, I think Australia. Maybe Steve Irwin? Or some other Australian you have a strong association with.

Winnie the Pooh was gonna be my second suggestion. I haven’t encountered the 考 kanji yet, but I could buy it looking like a tiger claw scrratch, and who does Tigger hang out with a lot? Roo!

(That or you could visualize it as a cactus that is native to Australia.)


Two of mine off the top of my head:

Meaning: A beast that really is someone is a boar. Because boars are awesome and powerful.
Reading: A boar has two tusks, so it can kill two people at the same time. This technique is called 死死(しし), thus boars often proudly boast “I know 死死”(いのしし)

叶う(かなう) to come true (of a wish):
Meaning: If you use your mouth to speak your wish at a cross, it’ll come true!
Reading: OK, you must also write it down in kana(かな)but then it’ll totally come true!


I couldn’t quite get the provided mnemonic for 毛 (もう) in my head, but then it hit me- my husband and I often joke about our cat singing “Ma ma me ma mou!” when she wants her dinner. And if there’s anyone who should represent the fur kanji, it should be her.


I went with Steve Irwin! LOL. I can hear it in his voice even though he’s more of a croc guy. The bend of the legs kind of looks like a kangaroo’s legs bent ready to jump.

1 Like

When remembering じょう for 上, I always think Yhorm the Giant. It’s more of a よう than じょう, but whatever works.

不器用 (ぶきよう) Clumsy
The reading gave me trouble for a while, but then I realized that somebody was so clumsy they put the rendaku on the wrong kana.


浅 pronounced あさ meaning “shallow”. I can’t remember the mnemonic, but it’s made of the radical for tidal wave and bar, so I imagine a tidal wave hitting the bar and knocking me on my あさ into shallow water.


I could not remember the meaning for 予想 no matter how hard I tried. After I got 30 failed tries while it was stil in apprentice 1-2 I finally got my perfect mnemonic.
I expect to get beforehand consept wrong.

1 Like