Struggling a bit at level 15

I have been mostly breezing through the levels, but I am at a point now where there are multiple kanji readings that have the same vocabulary or similar meanings and I’m having hard time keeping them straight. For weeks now I have a lot of same vocab showing up everyday that just are’t sticking. I think part of it now is there are lot of abstract meanings. Here are some groups of words that I always end up mixing up:


Anyone have any tips I can use to drill these into my brain?


I felt the same way when I was around that level. Unfortunately, the only tip I can give you is to brute force your way through it. I just powered through it despite the frustration. I still have some remnants of them sticking around as leeches but I think the sheer number of exposures have moved majority of them forward.
Sorry I haven’t been as much help on the tips department…
You can do it though! And I am rooting for you to get over this!


So, the bad news is that you’re going to get even more Kanji with similar meanings at later levels so it’s best to figure out how to deal with them now. For example, there’s another 5 for plan at level 20/21.

One tip I have to is to spend some time really thinking about what the word means and the connotations and also the nuance of any Kanji that’s reused. Let’s take plan/hypothesis, 予定 and 想定, as an example.

They both use 定, which WK says is determine. It’s easy to see how beforehand-determine 予定 could be plan and concept-determine 想定 could be hypothesis when first coming across these. But there’s a nuance to 定 in that it’s really the concept of something that’s fixed, like it’s been determined already. So 予定 is really the concept of something that’s been determined beforehand, it’s a fixed plan.

想定 includes the Kanji for concept, so it’s a concept that’s been determined. It’s a fixed concept, like a hypothesis. And even “concept” is very close but doesn’t cover the nuances of 想. If you look at the Kanji it’s used in, you can see that it’s more of a mental conception of an idea or state of mind.

So, here are some tips:

  1. Give yourself some extra time for each of these. Think about the nuances and deeper meanings.
  2. Look at other words that the Kanji is used for. You’ll get a better idea of how it’s used and how the meaning is derived.
  3. Brute force.

I’ll be honest, I try to do 1. and 2. as much as I can but I really end up doing 3. more often than not. :wink:


I know exactly what you´re talking about. Just now i had a review session where i failed miserably on one of those samey level 15 words.
Reading them through context in actual japanese literature seems like a good way, though i haven´t seen them show up yet in the books i´m working through right now.

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yeah, hard times. every word needs its own space. example sentences, more detailed mnemonics or sound differences can help.
good luck to us :slight_smile:


I’ve started using Kaniwani, and I find that doing the reviews in reverse really helps me with the similar vocabs.


Yup those are definitely killer :sweat_smile: I feel the struggle there for real… all I can say is eventually they will click more and more. I had to really look at the kanji and make sure I could see the differences and remember the mnemonics and it helped me. I still slip up on them sometimes though

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My problem with KW is that I never know which word it’s looking for a lot of the time. Sure, there are some modifiers there to differentiate, but trying to remember which “plan” they want kinda put me off on it.


Right, I tried wanikani and it did make it really easy for my next kaniwani review, but I too could not stand the fact you don’t know what version of the reading they are looking for.

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Hehe, yeah, I think the worst one Girl versus Girl/Young Woman. Technically, 女子 and 女の子 are valid for both. If it had fuzzy matching I think it would work a lot better.

For me I use the kanji’s meanings to conceptualize a quick mental image and thus hopefully disambiguate them in the process.

計画:Plan [Measure + Drawing]
Picture a man, measuring and drawing out his heist plans on paper.

想定:Hypothesis [Concept + Determine]
Determining a concept (based on limited evidence), thus a hypothesis.

期待:Expectation [Period of Time + Wait]
Waiting for a period of time, expecting something to happen.

支度:(Preparation [Support + Occurrence]
I also need help with his one, it hurts my head!!

感想:Impression [Feeling + Concept]
A concept which leaves you feeling something, an impression.

都合:Circumstance [Metropolis + Suit]
I moved to the metropolis that suited my circumstances.

人情:Humanity [Persons + Feelings]
Feelings which all people have, compassion and humanity.

本能:Instinct [Original + Ability]
The original ability is one we are born with, thats our instincts.

人格:Character [Persons + Status]
A persons status or position in the world, can effect their very character

As you can see some of these take quite a bit of mental gymnastics to reach their conclusions. It has helped me plenty of times though :slight_smile:


I actually still have some of those words coming up, because, as you said, the meanings can be easily mistaken. And you will probably have more of those along the way. I would just ‘ignore’ them and keep going. Do not worry if you don’t remember them, eventually, they will stay!

Or I guess you could make your own mnemonic for them which might help you memorize them. I had a long history with the vocabulary 支度, after I while I just recognized it. Or when I didn’t, I would think of the reading… しど… sounds off… ahh, it must be したく, preparations.

I don’t have any good general advice but for the specific case of 計画, I really struggled with that one until one morning when I suddenly realized that it is the same “keikaku” as the old internet meme “Just according to keikaku! Translator’s note: keikaku means plan.” After making that connection, I’ll never forget it again.


支度(したく) preperation [support + occurrence]
Support for any occurrence is good preparation


Omg, thank you kindly! You wouldn’t also know how to differentiate it from 用意 and 準備 would you?

I would second those above who suggest adding KW to your studies. Not just because the extra work reinforces the memorization process, but mainly because wading through KW has forced me to make a whole extra set of mnemonics to get some kanji to stick. That has really helped both my retention and understanding some fine differences over time. KW is more than just reverse WK, it sometimes seems like a whole different process.

I totally understand and share the frustration with synonyms in KW, but once you come to peace with that and learn to add synonyms, it becomes at least tolerable.

My other process that helps is writing down those kanji that are similar in meaning or sound, or just look almost the same. I have found that writing them down next to each other helps the differentiation. I now have a whole notebook dedicated to these, and it’s got a lot more in it than I thought it would at this point.

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As someone who usually does their reviews once or twice a day, whenever I find that the readings are not sticking I visit the site multiple times a day (as the creators originally intended), read the mnemonics (I also use KanjiDamage script) or create my own, listen to how the word is said every single time it pops up in the reviews, and repeat the reading while looking at the Kanji. If I get it wrong then the items will keep showing up in the reviews and I find that first barrier to be the hardest but after putting in a little extra effort the readings begin to stick. Also don’t stress about the level up times. Information began to stick more for me when I let go of the stats game. You can’t find success without failure. Wish you the best of luck.

a TASK combined with IDEAS is good preparation for the day.
The STANDARD is PROVIDED to complete preparations


Your awesome, thank you!!

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