Skip radicals that have the same meaning as learned kanji

Browsing through radicals I noticed that there’s a few that are the exact same character (and same name/meaning) as kanji that are already learned. For example 兄 (“older brother”, kanji: lvl 5, radical: lvl 11) or 少 (“few”, kanji: lvl 3, radical: lvl 11). And of course a lot of radicals that are learned before the kanji of the same shape and meaning. I presume they’re taught seperately to hammer down the ‘radials aren’t the same as kanji’ thing, which, fair.
But like… time is precious. By the time I get to that level I should hopefully have memorised the meaning for the ‘shape’ (call it kanji or radical) from 5 levels before. So ‘learning’ them as ‘new’ radicals isn’t actually teaching me anything new. Just takes up time in reviews and lessons (even if just cheating/rushing through by ‘synonym A’ or marking them correct). (And also potentially messing with the SRS? Seeing you’re basically reviewing the same character before it should be due again?)
So… seeing there seems to be no way to suspend or mark items as burned manually, would it somehow be possible to tie radicals and kanji together? So if you managed to pass 兄 as a kanji, that also counts as 兄 passed as radical? (And preferably skip the radical lessons before identical kanji as well, and just go straight to learning it as the kanji.)
(Note this isn’t a ‘learning radicals is pointless’ post, more along the lines of ‘can I skip things I already learned plz’.)
Not sure whether this should be in Feedback or API or Help, also sorry if this has been brought up before, but all I could find is people complaining about kanji and radical meanings being different…


I think that as a rule WK should treat all learned kanji as radicals, and that if a kanji appears in another kanji that it should be used as the radical instead of multiple smaller radicals

also if its the actual ‘radical’, the phonetic one
gosh, that’s really noteworthy isn’t it?

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This has definitely been asked before. And it survived the overhaul of radicals from a few years ago, so it’s safe to say it’s intentional and it’s how they want the system to work.

The main argument that I would imagine them giving is that radicals in this system always have 1 specific name, whereas kanji, being abstract things, can have many meanings.

Radicals are used for the mnemonics, which always use just the one keyword, despite what the shape is called at other times, or what other meanings the kanji might have.

They presumably want to make sure you know specifically what keyword they are assigning to that shape, because they’re not going to be using any of the others in mnemonics. You might have passed that kanji using other synonyms that won’t be referred to in the mnemonics.

Whether you think that’s a good reason for having them go through the “learn” process again or not would be a different issue, and you’re welcome to ask them and see what they say.


Sorry, what do you mean by that?

Yeah, that does make sense… Could maybe be remedied by having one single lesson/review for the radical, if you can input the ‘correct’ meaning it gets passed?
Or (relating to another request people have had) require all the different meanings of a kanji (or at least the main ones) to make sure you definitely know the one used for memnonics.
Or or, just make the system optional, and put a huge disclaimer that it might mess up memnonics. Currently I just add all the different kanji meanings as synonyms to radicals (esp those that are completely different), so I’m messing with memnonics either way XD (And I’m sure I’m not the only one lol)
Edit Or or or, make one of the vocabulary learned before the radical use the wanted meaning. This miiight not work for all meanings (unless vocab with kana replacing not yet learned kanji would be acceptable), but probably most.

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google “phonetic semantic component kanji” or some combination of terms,
How to Look Up Kanji You Don't Know (ctrl+find phonetic, article covers myriad topics)
List of Phonetic Components – The Kanji Code

edit: come to think of it, someone even made a userscript just for this:

Ahhh right, so you mean, mark it properly as the phonetic radical, like the usescript does? That does indeed sound good! Might seem a bit overwhelming at first to juggle yet another ‘thing’, maybe that’s why it’s not a thing? But that userscript definitely seems useful, thanks for mentioning it :smiley:

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I mean, if you don’t need the lesson or the reviews then you’d be able to answer correctly each time. Lets say it takes you 3 seconds to recognize the radical and type the answer, times 9, thats about 27 seconds you’d save per radical in total, right? Spread out over 6 months. When you say “time is precious” what kind of margins are you operating on for this to be an issue? Unless you’re trying to speedrun Wanikani on a really tight schedule I don’t see how this could be an issue of time. Isn’t it just that you find it annoying, more than it being a problem with any kind of actual material consequences?


ね!i agree. Waste of time learning an already learned kanji as a radical

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Learning Japanese to any real degree of proficiency is a long, years long process. I think it’s important to have that as a mindset and not worry about shaving off minutes of time.

Take one of these easy radicals for instance. You already know it. But how much time is it going to take to do the reviews? You have I think 8 total reviews from first sight to burned. For a radical all you have is the meaning, no reading. If it takes ~4 seconds to type that out, times 8 reviews… this is going to take a whole thirty-some seconds out of your life.


That and always remember that wanikani is just another tool of many, reaching level 60 quick will not make someone fluent either :stuck_out_tongue:

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There are many ‘double radicals’, so while yes, maybe 27 seconds per radical (although I’m a slow typer lol), that’s times x radicals. Many a mickle makes a muckle, eh.

And sure, maybe ‘annoying’ is the more apt word. Or ‘frustrating’. I’m not particularly motivated to open an app for reviews if I know I just have to basically click through a list of stuff I already know. And well, motivation is a useful thing for self-studying a language eh :wink:

I’m well aware that learning a language takes lots of time, and I sure as hell am not here to speedrun WK (or anything else lol). I’m not impatient about the Japanese progress so much, I’m more concerned about like… life? I have stuff to do yanno? Take the level 11 radicals. As of now (at level 5) there’s 4 I already know as kanji with the same meaning. Say 30 seconds per radical, that’s 2 minutes total already, for just level 11, maybe it’ll be more by the time I actually get there. But for now that’d be 2 minutes to brush teeth for example. Which yes, isn’t a whole lot in the grand scheme, but at 5am before work? Any extra minute is precious lol.
Nevermind that revising the radicals again just feels genuinely pointless to me. It’s as if WK asked me to idk, clear an easy field of Minesweeper to progress. Also only takes a few seconds, but it’s so painfully pointless? Going back to the motivation thing.
Like, I’m really not concerned with the progress speed on WK. For all I care they could add a mandatory wait period for ‘skipping’ a radical, or making me pass the linked kanji to Master instead of Guru or something. It just feels like I’m wasting time pointlessly clicking on things. (And pointlessly getting frustrated cause I’ll probably read it as the kanji, input the reading, get it wrong but have clicked too fast to override lol)

I’d make the case that the total time spent on all these radicals is probably less than what you’ve already spent in this thread talking about them :slight_smile:


Possibly true haha. But venting feels less pointless, and if it did inspire a skip option it could lead to saving a lot of other people time as well, so more time saved overall :wink: Plus, I’m only writing this now cause I have spare time anyway lol. Could’ve watched a cute cat video instead, sure, but no big loss there. Meanwhile reviews and lessons I try to do whenever possible, even if I’m somewhat busy.

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Except sometimes the smaller components more logically contribute to the meaning of a kanji than a combined “radical” of them.

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Lol I don’t think you’re upset that those “2 minutes” could be used for washing your teeth or something else. You’re just frustrated because you have to do the same radicals and kanji twice. I don’t think you’re being honest about the whole “having stuff to do” :sweat_smile:.

And what would be wrong about being frustrated with having to do pointless busywork?
I’d presume a lot of people are fine with cleaning even if it’s not fun, cause hygiene is important and then things are nice and pretty again. But then having someone spill dirt all over the floor just so that it can be cleaned again for no other reason? No thanks.
And wild concept: People can have some chill free time one day, and be in a rush another day. Unfortunately by the nature of SRS WK requires attention on either day.

I don’t think you can really compare writing up a couple of radicals with cleaning your house, very different amount of time and effort

since radicals dont make reviews pile up for them (I guess) if I make mistakes with them I dont care actually.

One is lots of little things that add up, the other takes a bit more time on its own. But when I clean the house at least I have a clean house, when I repeat radicals I already ‘know’ as kanji I gain exactly nothing. Compare it to spam mail then. Sure, it doesn’t take a lot of time to delete one, or two, or three, yet they can be a major nuisance.

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It’s quite quick to delete them still and, same as radicals, doing so barely takes any time. Anyways, at the end of the day you do you and I have nothing to do with what you decide to do with your lessons, but all I’m saying is that shaving a minute here and there will not matter at all in your (hopefully, if that’s your end goal) long journey to fluency.