Should i memorize if the reading i learned is kun or onyomi?

I know onyomi is the old chinese reading and is used for the kanji itself and usually for kanji combinations without okurigana like 大切 (たいせつ).
and kunyomi is usually used for kanji + hiragana (okurigana) like 大きい (おおきい).
And then there are exceptions like 大人 (おとな).

But WK is not consistent in which reading it wants from me, because it prioritises the more common reading.
For 大 WK wants onyomi: たい/だい
For 犬 WK wants kunyomi: いぬ

WK doesn’t emphasize which reading i just learned for the kanji, but i can only guess readings if i know if i learned kun- or onyomi. So my actual question is:
Should i make an effort to learn what reading i just associated with the kanji or does it not matter and i should just let my brain do it later naturally by intuition?


From experience, it seems WK tend to teach Onyomi when its a Kanji. When a character is a standalone as a Vocab, it is usually the Kunyomi.

Its probably easier to just remember readings with the vocab then derive the onyomi and kunyomi from there. Youre already aware of the compound vs. okurigana rule of themb. The exceptions you mention are usually from Japanese applying Chinese characters to facilitate written representation for a word they already had.

Imo theres no need to spend too much time drilling the readings of the standalone Kanjis on WK. Theyve already curated a specific set of vocab to reinforce the readings.


Actually, when you are doing lessons, if you look closely it actually does show if it is an on’yomi or a kun’yomi. In addition, when you are doing vocab, if you get an exception word (like おとな) it will generally tell you in the reading section that it is an exception and to watch out for it.

That said, I think it is good to be aware of on’yomi and kun’yomi readings, but I wouldn’t put a ton of effort into trying to memorize them in that way. There is already enough to learn on WK with kanji, and I personally feel that trying to add this extra element would be a bit much.

EDIT: sorry for typos and grammar errors, it’s early and I didn’t get enough sleep xD

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Yeah i know it is displayed in the details, but it’s not really emphasized more like background info. i feel like WK doesn’t care if i know if it’s kun or onyomi reading.

But then it references it in vocab like i SHOULD know.


I think that part of the recent overhaul was about making the lessons more consistent on this point.
So if I understood correctly, now most the time it will teach you the onyomi when first learning a kanji, except when it’s really not necessary.

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hmm, maybe it’s because I came into WK with Japanese experience already but I guess I never felt that way. Maybe others can chime in; does it not feel obvious that vocab with okurigana want different readings than vocab without okurigana?

I know the exceptions are tough, but there are exceptions to everything and rolling with the punches is just part of the game so to speak.

Just out of curiosity, did you come into WK already knowing about on’yomi and kun’yomi, or was that something you learned by necessity?

I knew about different readings but didn’t read up on specifics until i started WK.

I don’t have a huge problem remembering readings, but I actually don’t know if I just put in on- or kunyomi. At least not without taking some seconds checking if the vocab is jokugo or okurigana and then inferring what the reading “should” be, but then i worry about if that reading is an exception or not and it might be kunyomi even if it should be onyomi.

This worries me a bit (not being able to confidently answer what reading is kun or on), since the vocab reading explanation references the on/kunyomi as well.

I have just let my intuition handle this, once you know a couple of words with the kanji in them, the on’yomi readings will feel more natural as part of compound words and putting okurigana after an on’yomi reading will sound strange.

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Certain types of readings can’t possibly be onyomi (because of the restrictions on onyomi). And those restrictions on onyomi make them pretty recognizable. After a while, you won’t need to guess most of the time, unless it’s something like か or し, which could be either and you can’t know without checking.


That is a valid concern for sure, but in the grand scheme I’m not sure it is super important for your kanji learning. Knowing whether a particular reading is an on’yomi or a kun’yomi likely won’t affect whether you can read the kanji or understand the meaning. As other have said, the more time you spend in WK (and Japanese in general) the more comfortable you will become with the patterns related to on’yomi and kun’yomi. As long as it isn’t significantly hurting your lessons and/or reviews, I wouldn’t worry about it, at least early on in your kanji learning.


I just wanna give a :+1: to this thread because it’s genuinely been very helpful. I’ve been unsure about how much I know what the on’yomi reading is for a kanji versus what its kun’yomi is, and when to use it, to the extent that for a bit I was thinking about going back through them all and writing new mnemonics. I figure I reckoned that was unfeasible not too long after, but after reading this thread it’s cleared a lot of my worry here.

Looking over the thread again to make sure I’m not unnecessarily repeating, what I’ve been attempting lately whenever I come across a new vocab is that I take the rules around jukugo, okurigana, and kanji on their own, and then try to guess how it will be read before I check based on those and previous vocab I’ve learned. It’s hard to say how well it’s working so far, but I do still reckon I’m learning all the time. Not sure that I still don’t/won’t want to go back and look over all the kanji and vocab I’ve done so far, because to an extent I feel like I’m constantly relearning everything piece by piece, but hey, these things take practice, and I’m not too worried. :slightly_smiling_face:

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