Should I really focus on knowing to differentiate the two different reading for a certain kanji?

I start WaniKani not too long ago and I haven’t really focused on differentiating the two different meaning on Kanji. When I sometimes get some kanji I sometimes get confused on what reading to use. If I should focus on it, what is a good way to differentiate the two readings?

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You mean when a kanji card gives two different readings, like じん and にん for 人? The different readings will be showing up in vocab lessons soon enough, so you’ll learn when to use one over the other. For now it’s fine if you just remember one for the kanji reviews. There will be a prompt to remind you there are other readings, too. You can choose to have a look at those in review, but especially for low level kanji you’ll see the different readings a lot in vocabulary. So no need to really worry initially.


Yeah like 人 and both of these pronunciations じん and にん. Would it be better if I developed a habit of diffreciating between On’yomi and Kun’yomi reading when I’m learning new kanji. Since it will help me remember vocab words better and improve my reading by a little bit.
I know that when a kanji is by itself or with hiragana attached then it is a kun reading otherwise it will be a on reading.

Well, you haven’t gotten the kun’yomi yet for this one. Usually kun’yomi gets introduced with vocab lessons. In my opinion you don’t need to learn those right away.

My bad, I didn’t even both to check what reading you really put. Sometimes I struggling to put

にん, じん


ひと, と

One of those readings.
I know how to use 人 on’yomi pronunciation and what context it fits. But I struggle to see what type of reading (on or kun)
to use depending on the context.

I’d say you can try to differentiate kun’yomi and on’yomi first. For that, you should check which sort the readings you’re being taught are. You can look at for that. General rules:

  • Kun’yomi are usually used when a kanji is alone. On’yomi are usually used in kanji compounds
  • Kun’yomi are often longer. On’yomi tend to be 1-2 kana long.

There are of course exceptions to these rules, but they are useful general trends.

For any other sort of differentiation, especially between two kun’yomi or two on’yomi, you should generally try to learn them with vocabulary. Sometimes, readings are meaning-specific, in which case you can differentiate them based on the relevant meaning. Otherwise though, readings are sometimes different only because of the other words or kanji with which the kanji appears, and in those cases, you just have to learn the series of readings as a block.


Thanks for the help! I’m kind of debating on resetting my progress and relearning the kanji and vocab I learned by focusing on the readings more. Should I?

Probably not. You won’t know which of the readings will apply to new vocab until you learn the vocab anyway. It’s more of a “don’t be surprised if you see this variation” kind of thing.


I agree with @Ryosuke. Honestly, even with SRS, I think things will only stick if you see them and use them in real life. It’s better to learn to diffrentiate them gradually while simply being aware of various readings for now.


Thanks guys! I really appreciate the help!

You can also see that on the kanji page.

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