Sunflower - - 里

It has been indicated many times WaniKani is undergoing a radical review, but the sheer amount of content to be changed for that means it will be a long time coming, so you’d better get used to it :wink:

Is that a review of radicals, or a review that is radical?

Or both? A radical radical review.


It actually does to me though… ^^;




You’re going to have to learn a lot of Kanji, a LOT and many look so alike you have to grow a keen sense. It’s better off to get into the habit of embracing these problems and learning ways to take on as many as you physically can. The “don’t want to know two things instead of one” will probably be an overall detriment to the mindset of learning Japanese.

But no petals!

Yeah I guess it kind of does. But what if my home town has a central square with two intersecting streets and two other streets farther away?

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Not disagreeing with you here, just wanted to add that for me it really looks like a sunflower and people’s perceptions will differ on these things. :slight_smile:

I see the “rice field” as the head of the sunflower, the middle line as the petals and the bottom line as the ground.

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Me too. I learnt it as a radical as “sunflower”. I can see a sunflower in it. And so when I saw it in the wild I naturally assumed it meant “sunflower”. But it doesn’t. I’ve since learnt, here on this thread, that - though you can trust WK - you must not trust the “meanings” WK gives for radicals. You have to check them each time in case their kanji equivalent actually means something different. And then you can add a user synonym to the radical if you like. Not perfect perhaps, but the consensus seems to be that it works.

If you think this is frustrating now, wait until you’ve used the hometown, home village, village meaning for awhile with 里 and it’s vocabulary and then when the radical comes up for enlightened or burn you answer hometown instead of sunflower.

Fortunately there is the “Add Synonym” function and I highly recommend it for any radical that is not using a more useful meaning.

I do the radicals 5 at a time and after the lesson check each one for whether the meaning is useful or not.

When it is one of the actual radicals, I tend to use that meaning as it is more likely to have something to do with the kanji it is later used in. When It’s a kanji, I go with that meaning. When it is neither a actual radical (nor very close to one) nor a kanji nor a katakana, then I’ll look were it is used and if there is a common pronunciation to go with that. Finally if all that fails, I’ll often come up with my own meaning that I’m more likely to find useful.

Here are some handy links for radicals:

For the radical 丁 I have street and ward
For 干 I use Dry.
For 丷 instead of horns, this is actually a variation on grass and plants
Those two above help make 平 (Flat) a lot easier, big flat field of dry grass.
If you learn 艹 as grass and/or vegetation instead of flower, later kanji make better sense. hick does nothing for me, but if you look at it, you see a dot upon a cliff, and you can also see twenty (two tens, also called two hands or folded hands), so this is twenty upon a cliff or twenty atop a cliff because TAAC is easy and quick to type. becomes small ground, ⺍ is a variation of small. If you look at where it is used, it’s easy to picture most of those occurring in a small spot on the ground.
⻌ is an actual radical, walk or advance (instead of water slide), and most of it’s usages have that connotation.
殳 is a weapon, not a furniture store, and weapon fits it’s usage better than cheap desks. is bai because 4 of the 6 kanji in WK using it have bai as a reading (bu bou bai if you want to keep something clown like and cover all the readings).

It’s slower, but taking a bit of extra time on the radicals and how they are later used in the kanji will give you a head start when their kanji roll around and hopefully help prevent bad radical meanings from tripping you up later.


For hick I use Twenty Upon A Cliff or Twenty Atop A Cliff(TAAC). Can you see it?

I already know a ton of kanji so if I come across a radical where I already know the kanji for it, I just add the actual meaning of the kanji as a synonym. For example, 本 is called “Real” for some reason, but I know it means book, and there are only 3 associated kanji for that radical so I’m not super worried about needing the mnemonic “real” to remember them.

I think you misunderstood how the radicals work. The radicals are based on what the symbol LOOKS like and are given some silly name sometimes the name matches the real kanji/word, sometimes it doesnt.

Kanji have meanings that come with them, and those are usually the same as what the vocab of just that kanji would be. (Usually). The radicals are arbitrarily named by WaniKani, the Kanji meanings come from actual Japanese.

And vocab words usually relate to the meanings kanji that are in them though some are less obvious.

If you had done this with a kanji, you could still be wrong, because of compound words, but the radicals sometimes have nothing to do with the Kanji/vocab meanings at all. Some good examples are axe, elephant, sunflower, which are all based on what the radical looks like and aren’t really the meaning.

Because 本 does mean real and origin sometimes too. Unfortunately, kanji rarely have a single meaning.

In 日本 it means origin more than book. In 本当 it more means real/true.


oh yeah that’s totally true, I guess on that one “real” just didn’t mean very much to me as a mnemonic device. I think that the radical names for kanji I already know as a different word just aren’t helpful to me because I prefer to see kanji in context so in a word like 本当 I can see it as “real” but solo 本 I always see as “book”. The radical names for radicals I don’t know yet are always useful though…I wish I knew about WK 4 years ago when I started learning Japanese haha

Thank you so much @Five for such a useful post! Thank you, working through it now!

One “design flaw” of WK is that it mixes up different things under the loaded term radical. Sometimes they are “real radicals”, sometimes they are results of a graphical decomposition (don’t mean anything), sometimes kanji in kanji compositions. Mixing them together creates lots of confusion :wink:

For “real radicals” it makes sense to know their “real meaning”, especially because they are (99% of the time) used as the semantic hint in phonetic compounds.

[ゆ related to words, illness, mouth, heart/feelings, cars/wagons]

Sometimes the kanji are indicative compounds (everything is meant as a picture), like 乳 is a child receiving milk from a breast (the cleat of WK is actually a “hand from above”, derived from 爪).

Seal script is



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