Something I wish WaniKani did... (Readings)

Now, this may be my personal style, and I don’t know if this would be beneficial as a whole, but learning all relevant on’yomi and kun’yomi readings of kanji at the start, and being made to remember which is which. eg. If there is one relevant on’yomi reading and two relevant kun’yomi ones for individual kanji, have it ask for, in a row, On’yomi Reading, Kun’yomi Reading, Kun’yomi Reading. I feel like learning the whole “use on’yomi with jukugo words and kun’yomi when there’s a hiragana in there” stuff would be way easier if I actually memorized what readings even WERE on’yomi and kun’yomi.

“Since there’s hiragana in here, you can bet that these kanji will use the kun’yomi readings.”
“This is a jukugo word, which usually means on’yomi readings from the kanji.”

Wow that would sure be useful to know if I could memorize which one is on’yomi and which one is kun’yomi! At one point I thought it just generally taught on’yomi first, then kun’yomi in the vocab? But that’s not true either, so I’ve got no way to remember, making me just wing it with the reading on most vocab that just tells me “You should know which one is on’yomi and kun’yomi, so you don’t need a mnemonic! Moving on!”

How am I supposed to know that when I’m not (really) taught? They don’t even stress whether the reading you’re learning is on’yomi or kun’yomi in the Kanji section, you have to look and find some way to remember it. I can’t be the only one frustrated by this, right? If which reading is which was stressed more, than it’d be way easier to just remember which one to use rather than trying to memorize what specific vocab uses what specific reading… right?

Eventually you will be able to recognize onyomi because of their restrictions. They are limited to certain lengths and sound combinations. It’s possible to have ambiguous ones, but they are in the minority overall.


Using the most common one is much easier to do, probably for the best since this is a subscription service

It was confusing for me at the beginning, too. But don’t worry, you’ll get to a point where you will tell them apart without much effort. You know, as you do your reviews and see more vocab with each kanji and as you progress on WaniKani.

It sounds good in theory but I tried that with another SRS app before wanikani and I couldn’t keep all the readings for (for example) 生 in my head at the same time. Learning the various readings through vocab gives some context, and it does seem to be slowly starting to work.

I do forget which is which sometimes, and it’s nice that WK forgives me if I put the wrong reading in a kanji review… I feel like it should be similarly lenient if I give the wrong reading in a single-kanji vocab review, but never mind!

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We’re at the same level - so maybe this will also help you out:
DEFINITELY take some time everyday to physically write out your known Kanji, and do Furigana for every reading with a K and O label. (Add as many labels as you need.) Graph paper helps a lot. Use 2x2-4x4 squares for the Kanji and just singles for the furi.

Also, if you can resist the urge to cheat with it - Rikaichamp is a really fantastic browser plugin that displays all of the readings on hover.

The difference is a kanji is ambiguous, depending on where it is, so Wanikani isn’t really being lenient. With a single kanji vocab word it is a specific word and not really just a kanji, so it is (mostly) only pronounced one way.


Well, for the kanji reviews it always wants a reading it initially taught for that kanji, which tends to be (or is always) on’yomi. If I mistakenly give it a kun’yomi reading instead it doesn’t accept it but it doesn’t fail me either, it just wobbles a bit and waits. That’s what I mean by lenient. It might be a valid reading but it’s nevertheless a wrong answer.

For Kanji, the first thing you are taught are either the on’yomi reading or a really prevalent kun’yomi reading.

For example, the kanji for ball 玉 teaches the kun’yomi reading of たま since there aren’t any vocabulary words in WK that use the on’yomi pronounciation. (At least that I could find, please correct me if I’m wrong)

You only really start to get the structure of WK once you get to level 3/4 so keep at it. I promise it will become easier. :slight_smile:

If you haven’t noticed they do say on the kanji lesson whether the reading you are learning is on’yomi or kun’yomi. For new readings for vocabulary they also mention what the reading is that you are missing, but you’ll have to read all the text on the reading page.

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The reason is that technically you have given a valid answer for a reading for the kanji - however, the vocabulary (i.e. how the kanji would actually be used in a real sentence) will only have one reading (usually). If it was lenient about that you wouldn’t learn it properly and then it would invite confusion when actually reading Japanese. Besides, vocabulary doesn’t prevent you from levelling up, so in that way it is less harsh.

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I feel like they explained their reasoning pretty well in this article
If you’re too lazy to read 700’ish words, you could sum it up with “it’s more effective”. If that’s true for you is something you’ll have to figure out :stuck_out_tongue:

At first I care too much about onyomi and kunyomi reading. It was fun to know which one to use. But at higher level I don’t even care anymore since there’s too much exception to the rule for vocabulary words. It was so frustrating to even think about what reading should be those kanji :sweat_smile:

Just remember based on the color and abuse the mnemonics.
If red then it’s kanji reading, otherwise it’s vocab, throw the rule out of the window and just accept the reading as it is :joy:

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