Tool for training at distinguishing similar kanji


I often find myself wishing I had a tool which would help me memorize the differences between kanjis that are easily mixed up. These could be visually similar kanji (for example, and or kanjis with very close meanings (for example, and . If that tool integrated with Wanikani, it would be great, but I would still find it very useful even if it didn’t.

Can anyone offer suggestions?


Something like the self study script with the visually similar kanji filter?


There is also

although I don’t think it helps with visually similar kanji…


Honestly I think that selecting visually similar kanji through Item Inspector is a better experience than my filter


That’s a great tool! Thank you very much!

1 Like

I see, I just vaguely remembered that the filter existed and thought “that sounds applicable, let’s suggest that”

1 Like

although I don’t think it helps with visually similar kanji…

I’ve been really impressed with how well Confusion Guesser does on visually similar kanji. In addition to being really helpful when you put the kunyomi instead of onyomi or whatever, if you get something wrong because of interference from visually similar kanji, Confusion Guesser is like, “no, no, you’re thinking of 輪 instead of 輸”.


I use Item Inspector to display side-by-side items that I confuse. The procedure is

  • Select the All Learn Items table. This ensures that the search will cover all items for which I have take a lesson.
  • Use one of the search filters in the temporary filter dropdown box. This will display the items that meet the search parameters.

I recommend the Global Search to start with. You type one keyword by item you want to check separated by commas. This will return all items that matches one of the given keyword. You can use latin or japanese characters.


I use both ConfusionGuesser (linked above) and [Userscript] Niai 似合い Visually Similar Kanji (adds a MUCH more detailed section to lesson pages and kanji pages with list of visually similar kanji) to try to help during lessons / reviews and for review just after failing an item during a review.

I also often use to pull up all kanji with a shared radical and then write them down and review them together, focus on the differentiating feature, and sometimes come up with my own extra mnemonics or borrow mnemonics from for trying to distinguish between similar kanji.

For example, a recent list:

  • 憎(ぞう)hate (radical: left heart) “hate is a feeling in the heart”
  • 増(ぞう)increase (radical: ground) “increase from the ground up”
  • 僧(ぞう)monk (radical: person/leader) “monks are people, too”
  • 層(そう)layer (radical: flag) “there’s a flag at the end of the level before Mario can get to the next layer” [this one is a little silly, but I actually don’t usually have trouble remembering 層 so it works]
  • 贈(ぞう)gift/present (radical: shell/money) [haven’t actually learned this one yet, but the 貝 radical often means money so it won’t be too hard to remember]

Seconding the Niai script. That’s my primary tool for this. If I notice that I’m getting two kanji mixed up, I try to take a moment to look at them together with the Niai script and figure out a way to differentiate them.

One thing about this is that different people will get different kanji confused. So I really like how the Niai script lets you add kanji that you’re getting mixed up, because sometimes it’ll be one that doesn’t even share any radicals and isn’t included on the default list of common mix-ups for the other kanji.

I’m not currently doing any dedicated study for these kanji. I just compare them mid-review-session if I get something mixed up.


Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I’ll be trying them all out as soon as I can! =)

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.