Suggestions for remembering vocab with 近

I’m up to level 11 now and despite my best efforts I continue to really struggle with any vocab which includes 近. I simply cannot remember any of the vocab using this kanji that I’ve been taught so far. It’s extremely frustrating. And for whatever reason, I also get it mixed up with vocab using 辺.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help me learn/memorise the vocab introduced so far (up to level 11) which use 近.


it means near right, your family is near to you, your kin.
This is how I remember.


Look at it this way… the scooter that looks like an i with a train… and the other part is supposed to be an axe

The axe is near your head.


I’m fine with the kanji but it’s the use in vocab which I get confused about. For example, 近く、近い、etc.


Sometimes there are words that just need to be hammered in. Happens all the time.

My advice might be an old fashioned one but maybe you could write those words down and keep looking at them at intervals. WaniKani’s SRS should do the trick eventually tho…

Have you tried Quizlet? I make word sets with it all the time and find that it really helps. :blush:

Immersion is important as well. Maybe you just need to hear those words in action in order for them to sink in.

Others may disagree, and there are exceptions, but , look at it this way:

Kanji + Kanji = On’yomi

Kanji + hiragana = Kun’yomi.

And going off the ones you used as an example, with the above rule in mind:

Chikaku and Chikai.

The readings aren’t the real problem either. For these it’s the meanings. I think it’s the only vocab meanings that I consistently struggle with.

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What do you write instead of the correct meaning? Do you just completely guess incorrectly or do you do something like me “close / near” and come up wrong because you use the wrong word? I have problems with this one too. I know how it is pronounced, but I always seem to type a word that doesn’t match the definition that they have, but has a similar meaning. I know it, I just keep getting it wrong haha

It is also included in 最近、近日 and other annoying things I know the meaning, but just always write something differently haha

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I have been aware of trouble with this one too… I wish I had some help to offer. I have had trouble with understanding 近々and I think I might have gotten a handle on it by thinking about it as modifying itself - like “near to near” and that makes me more likely to think about it as “before long” …


…rather than promptly or right away …

I find I just randomly guess close, near, soon, to get close etc. I honestly have no idea what the meaning of for these.

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I’m still struggling with some of the associated vocab. Specifically because the temporal vocab do not consistently reflect the same side of time. I guess that’s fair since the kanji means near/close, so you can be close/near to now in either direction. I don’t have great advice as I’m just going through this via brute force


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Yeahhhhh this is the same problem that I am starting to have… :sweat_smile:
I tried to think of it in a helpful way but it’s tough and maybe brute forcing it is all that will work for me.

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They’re both “near” but words ending with く are usually adverbs while words ending with い are usually adjectives. So if you’re able to hammer the reading of one word in (the ちか part), you should be able to get both right c:

I’ve definitely had some problems with this kanji’s vocab (especially 近日 and 近々), so I feel you. Some tips:

  • 近い --> ends in い, probably an adjective --> same as kanji
  • 近年 --> years that are close to now, but “close” is before “year” --> recent years
    -最近 --> “the most close” is also recent (think recent past) --> recently
    -近づく --> this is the important one, b/c it will help you remember the others better. This is the verb (use the づ to remember that it’s related to “to do”), so it means “to get close to”
    -近く --> this might look like the verb, but because we know that 近づく is a verb, we can assume that this is the adverb, since many adverbs in Japanese end in く. I’ve often answered “close” or “nearby” to this one, but it’s better as “near”. Ask yourself this question: Would you say that you’re “closely home” or “nearbyly home”? How about “nearly home”? That’s the one you want. (It can also mean “neighborhood”, but honestly there are at least 3 words for that and WaniKani doesn’t explain the differences in usage, so idk when to use them)
    -近々 --> according to WK, Japanese treats this like a noun. We already have “recent/recently” from 最近, so we can rule that out. Think of it as something getting closer and closer, closer and closer, sooner and sooner, until… BAM! it’s here before long.
    -近日 --> this one I’m going to use a pop culture reference for; X-Men’s “Days of Future Past”. Even though it looks like it should be the past, it’s actually the future (as in, soon) But this is one I still struggle with a bit, so good luck!

Thank you so much. This is exactly what I’ve been struggling with. I will certainly use what you’ve suggested to help me remember the meanings.

Thanks again for the time you took to reply.


近年 vs 近日 is a good example of a candidate for what i call the “what the heck, japanese?!” learning system. it works roughly like this:

  1. are you serious. “near year” is “recent years”, but “near day” is “COMING DAYS”? talk about evil shenanigans. this is almost as bad as 先月・先週・去年 (and not 先年)
  2. get mad about it. make a post on your favorite social media about how silly this is. make a joke about it. japanese sure is inconsistent.
  3. make sure to think about it often. in the next day or two, see how many times you can remind yourself throughout the day about these two silly words.
  4. hopefully at this point, it’ll be burned into your neurons. you win!

Maybe 近 meaning is like “approaching” or “passed” ? in 近日 it will come and in 近年 it has been passed.

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