This is absolutely disgusting, please change it!


They say if you use a hat to cover the area your hair used to be, chances are you had a doctor diagnose you with cancer. Sometimes after you get diagnosed with cancer, the process makes you lose your hair, and you have to wear a hat. It’s sad, but true.

I am not one of those special snowflakes who loves to have a reason to be offended and this may be quite humorous for someone out there or the wanikani team. you might not even care but if you had had someone in your family die from cancer and this brings painful memories, you know this is not something to joke around or make a mnemonic of.

This is is just painful and not the type of thing I want to see in wanikani a place I come to learn and enjoy . Why couldn’t you use something like baldness or take some extra time and come up with something else ?

Hopefully this mnemonic changes to something better.


Probably would help to tag staff directly. I don’t keep up with all the staff movements, so if there are better people to tag, please include them.



I’m sorry to read that this has upset you. I know a lot of the mnemonics are intended to be funny, but I don’t get that impression with this one*, if that helps take a little of the sting out.

[*A number of my family members have had cancer, some underwent chemo, and a number of them have died. I have also had cancer myself]

You mentioned replacing it with baldness, but that is not usually something that is diagnosed, while medical conditions such as alopecia and trichotillomania are too rare vocab-wise to be useful in a mnemonic…

I would recommend emailing the team directly at
for a faster response than a post here will garner.

I am sorry for your loss and pain.


I have known a friend, great grandmother, and uncle die from cancer. It doesn’t offend me in the least. Sometimes mnemonics just stand out if they resonate. The mnemonic isn’t even meant to be funny.


I agree with Rowena. ^^

I once contacted them by email about a mnemonic I found to be over the line, and I got a prompt and respectful reply. In that instance, it was basically changed on the same day.


I’ve also got (and had) relatives diagnosed or died of cancer. This mnemonics doesn’t offend me, but since different things offend different people I’d suggest a feature to hide/replace individual mnemonics for individual users rather than removing an effective mnemonics to everyone because a few people are offended by it.


I’ve also lost family to cancer, and I didn’t find this particularly hurtful or offensive either.
The person above me, however, had a good suggestion. You can never predict what will hurt or offend people, so giving them means to address the problem themselves could be a good idea.


The mnemonic could simply be that all of your hair suddenly fell out and that’s why you’re at the doctor with a hat on. No oncological diseases would have to be referenced.


And then just get diagnosed with baldness or some made up disease that implies loss of hair.


This is absolutely digusting please change it
this is not something to joke around

Whos joking? Its clearly not meant to be funny. It literally says:

It’s sad, but true.

I think the only person that thought this was a joke was you. Its making a clear connection to something everyone knows of for the sake of a mnemonic. By this logic, 50% of mnemonics should be removed

Take your fingers to the street to hit some people! Street fingers are for curling into a fist. And that street fist wants to do some hitting!

Like what if you know someone who was assaulted? Then isnt that bad too?

And before you say I just cant relate, the most recent death in my family was to cancer and I’ve had cancer before.

I dont mean to be insensitive, but I would recommend taking this whole mnemonic thing less seriously. No one is making a joke about cancer, its literally just being mentioned in a sentence.


The flippant nature of it does make it seem like it’s being said jokingly. Just having the word “sad” in it doesn’t reverse that.

Take the first part of it…

It’s not taking the subject as seriously as you’re suggesting.


Definitely not seeing the joking about cancer still, but maybe I’ve got baka eyes.


Well, I mean… it’s not “just a sentence” about cancer, because it’s not… factual. So it’s being said with some kind of knowing wink and nod that we’re not being 100% serious right now.

It might not be a literal “joke” but it has a tone that I can see why they were put off by it.


Also since there is already a field for custom mnemonics perhaps one improvement is just to switch the order – custom mnemonics, if present, on top, original mnemonics on the bottom.


Sounds like we agree.


Well, I think there’s a line that can be crossed… I’m not going to declare where it is, because it’s not up to me personally, but I don’t think all possible mnemonics deserve to exist on the site just because they aren’t serious.

Some disagree, but the staff does seem to agree that there is a line.


Deffos with you on this one.


If the mnemonic upset you enough to where you never forget it, I’d say it did its job, whether you liked it or not.


This is is just painful and not the type of thing I want to see in wanikani a place I come to learn and enjoy . Why couldn’t you use something like baldness or take some extra time and come up with something else ?

I don’t know if you knew this, but baldness is also a painful personal experience for a lot of men and women the world over. It’s associated with numerous social stigma and ridicule, not to mention the fact that it’s incurable. I understand that you’ve gone through an experience which leaves you sensitive to certain triggers, but the casual way in which you’ve suggested changing the target to other people’s pain sort of illustrates an important point about the power of perspective when it comes to sensitive subjects.


I don’t get the argument because “this mnemonic isn’t meant to be a joke” and “isn’t meant to be taken seriously, wink wink nod nod” is what’s insensitive.

There’s nothing wrong if you have a problem with this or not, whether you have a personal experience with cancer or not, but the attitude of “well you shouldn’t have a problem with it” is not OK.

It’s hard enough to learn kanji and if you have a visceral negative reaction every time you need to remember a kanji’s meaning, you’re probably going to be put off and stop.

The right answer would be to be able to hide the default mnemonic and replace it with the custom one, I don’t know if the staff likes that solution.

EDIT: My argument didn’t make sense