These kanji are killing me, help!

Hello wizards,

I did try a couple of things already to try and get these kanji to STICK in memory, however for some reason my brain just refuses to assimilate the readings properly (I perfectly remember their meanings and the readings is 50/50 most of the time or worst).

Please share with me any tip or mnemonic should you have been in a similar situation before.



Have you tried finding words that you already know and associate them with these kanji?


Only thought of a suggestion for one but here it is…

向 has a 口 in it, so こう

(besides that, maybe consider restudying the mnemonics or making your own ones if you do not like wk’s for these ones?)


Most of my mnemoics have been customized lately (at least for kanji, not vocab) and it’s usually related to my own personal experience that no one else would understand; it seems to fit my subconscious best thus far as new material keeps coming in. Weird/dark/disturbing/perverted…WaniKani seems exploit this tactic well so customize however works. Sometimes it’s obvious or super funny so I don’t bother customizing those. However, I don’t want to search my brain for some LONG story that I easily get sketchy on the details and miss the mnemonic so I try to keep it very short.

I would look ahead to the vocabulary and learn a word for each one that uses the same reading.


Whenever I get かつ I change the mnemonic to katsudon:

tumblr_mqef4dCu4o1savzuro3_250 tumblr_ouejbb5AhQ1tdnbbbo1_500

It’s soooooo good :drooling_face::drooling_face::drooling_face:

So the mnemonic is “A tsunami of a thousand mouths will be become lively around katsudon.”

And then I imagine a bunch of mouths racing each other to get to a bowl of katsudon. :sweat_smile:

Edit: I later changed the mnemonic to a tsunami of tongues once I learned the radical.


向: this is a robot with one eye. kou is its tickling sound…

次: ji is just there… repetition may be helpful !? ji

直 i have no idea !!!

活 : katsu ? a tsunami of kats is good for me. its rival is ketsu but… repeat and repeat…

記: this is keeper of papers. or killer of books ? ki desu yo !

欠: this is an old record fails to read. or a cd fails to read. its rival of 活 and kun is ka.

教: kyou… do you know marshall D. teach ? he will teach you a lesson… kyou and long vovel is related to his big body. he is one ugly son of a gun…

i know, nothing much but… that is all can share :stuck_out_tongue:


This is used in 向こう, meaning other side or over there. You can remember both readings if you remember this one, since the onyomi is literally just attached to it to create this reading (むこう).

次回 means “next time”. What else does it mean? Find out 次回 on Dragon Ball Z!

If there’s anything you’ve learned about killers in movie shows, it’s that if they’re going to ちょく someone out with their bare hands, they’re going to tell them how they feel 直接 to their face.

Ever seen that hilarious DMM commercial for their 英会話教室?


Your mileage may vary, but I 100% back this. If you have any other exposure to Japanese, you have probably heard lots of these before, even if you didn’t recognize them. I find that this is the best way to make kanji memorable, far better than mnemonics with stories - recall words that use those kanji, and then recall out how to pronounce those words.

You might hear ()こう a lot, although technically it’s the wrong reading. It points you in the direction of 方向(ほうこう) though.

次回(じかい) at at the end of every TV show when they’re talking about what’s coming up in the next episode.

First thing I think of (after kun’yomi in (なお)) is 正直(しょうじき). At least for me, that’s faster than remembering 直行(ちょっこう).

Hah. I still get this one wrong sometimes, but when I remember it’s usually in the context of 活用(かつよう) or 活気(かっき).

日記(にっき)! As in the thing you write in every day, or part of the title of several popular pieces of entertainment, like ゆめにっき or 未来(みらい)日記(にっき).

Easier to remember the kun’yomi here too, with 欠片(かけら) in the titles of various media. I don’t have a good on’yomi word for this one, although for whatever reason I do remember that it sounds the same as in 決定(けってい).

Feels like half of all anime in existence takes place inside of 教室(きょうしつ).

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My name is 大向. The kanji is used for 向こう側 (other side of the street) or 向き合う (to face each other) or 立ち向かう((to face and) fight against) or 大人向け (made for adults (facing adults, so to say)).

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Thank you so much guys! I wasn’t expecting so many replies from you, being able to read all these different consideration about a kanji helps a lot when you are stuck and need a fresh point of view to get out of the loop. I have some new material to work on :slight_smile: Thank you all! I must say that some ideas and / or connections you made here are brilliant!


In case it helps, I mostly think about 生活 as that’s a word I’ve known a looooong time. And more common than those.

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My problem there is that the concepts of “livelihood” and “lively” aren’t well associated in my mind. ¯\(ツ)
But that could be a good tip for @gogu.

i memorized 活 not as “lively”, but as “get busy with”, with it’s role in words like 生活、活動、活用、就活 and so on.

BTW, this is a bit off topic, but typing

# 直

on this forum results in the Chinese font rendering,

To get a Japanese font, wrap it in a language tag, such as

# <span lang="ja">直</span>

which looks like

This affects quite a few other characters too.

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向 - Cyclops, but he is cold (“KOU”) and GAZING into the distance. I use cold for all the “kou” sounds.

次 - This an old man “o-JI-san”, going to the NEXT store

直 - I like chocolate better for this one. The lion has ten eyes on your "CHOKU"late. FIX it so he can’t get the "CHOKU"late.

記 - The cobra is actually a yellow snekratary: Spicer out, Snekretary in - Album on Imgur

欠 - WK calls this a radical, but it is really a person who LACKs shelter, since the over hang doesn’t cover them completely. The person also lacks KETSUp and a CAr (KA).


Edit: the problem is also the font selection of the forum.

Looks like this for me:

Hmm maybe the “Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif” selection of the forum doesn’t include the Japanese version on OSX, it shows the Japanese version for other fonts, though.

I don’t have personal mnemonics for all of those but I’ll give you the ones I have on the off chance it’ll help.

There are two readings they give for this one, ちょく and じき. Here I sort of leverage the WK mnemonic for the kanji, something about a lion getting a cross in its eye. After you pull out the cross and thus fix your mistake, the lion starts to choke(ちょく) you out. No good deed goes unpunished after all.

Afterward, he starts to dance around on his hind legs, you know, really getting jiggy(じき) with it. I kind of picture a one-eyed homicidal Tigger.

What’s a lively party? Well, one with cats (かつ). That’s my jam.

I think of the vocab word 日記 (にっき, Diary). Stereotypical diaries are always locked up with those goofy giant locks on the cover and need a key (き) to open. So, if you want to write down in your diary you need a .

Good luck!