Vocab - Is it just me?

Hello everybody,

when i’m doing my reviews i often don’t have a hard time to remember the meaning or the readings ,but i think i’m not really learning the word itself.
Let me explain.

Lets say i get tested for 社長.
I see it, i remember the kanji and the on-readings and i know what it means and also be able to type in しゃちょう-
But i’m sure if someone would ask me ,do you know the word for company president,i could not come up with しゃちょう。

So is it just me or, or are some of you feeling the same?
And is kaniwani the solution?


1 Like

That’s because WaniKani helps a lot with Japanese-English learning, but not necessarily the other way round.

There are services like KameSame and KaniWani which try to fix that by basically reversing WK – giving you the English word and making you recall the Japanese. You plug in your WK API key and it uses the same SRS system to teach you English-Japanese, but only the words you’ve already learnt on WK.


This is somewhat passive learning, so yes, it is normal, and yes, kaniwani or the Self-Study Quiz may be your answer.

1 Like

When you start reading Japanese text or watching Japanese TV/movie, the word 社長 will come up quite often that you’ll remember it in no time, along with other words.


It’s completely normal. You have two different things here, recalling and recognition.

Recalling is when you can find/recall a word and recognition is when you can recognize a word. In other words, WaniKani only helps you with the recognition part. You can read a Japanese paragraph because you know the characters. However, if you try to say the same thing(as what you have in the paragraph) on your own, you will probably fail.

To improve your “recalling” skills, you just need to practice with something else beside WaniKani—mainly by improving your speaking/reading skills.


No, that’s perfectly normal. You may be able to read 雪, but may not be able to write it on paper, for example.

I use Anki to give me Portuguese words, so I practice recalling Japanese words and kanji.

1 Like

you will only get aquainted with words here on WK. With little practice you will identify them later on if enough context is provided, and even recall them upon struggling a bit.

But then still you still have to “earn” those words, upon hundreds of encounters (while reading or listening) those will become familiar enough that you won’t think much for the words to be at the tip of your tongue fitting the ocation. :wink:


Exposure helps. I say again what @plantron senpai said to you in my own words. If you consume Japanese media, such as watching/listening to J Drama/movies, anime, reading manga, they say 社長 quite a lot and it’ll be your second nature to know how to use 社長 in less than a second.


That the first stage. You learn to recognize the word. Then, after you encounter it in context a few times you’ll internalize it and be able to recall it. For instance I see 営業中 all the time while in Japan. It’s become obvious what it means and when to use it now. But after learning it on WK I only “knew” the reading and meaning.


Sorry for the late reply, but thanks for all of your answers!
I’ll just proceed with my wanikani studies and just do as much reading as possible.
I’m already “reading” NHK-easy, even though its still tough, but with each level its getting a bit easier.

1 Like

Yeah you just test one direction, you need to test both ways. There’s for example Kaniwani, who made the reverse direction, showing you English and you have to type in Japanese. (If you like me also want to write Kanji, I can recommend to write the Kanji on a paper and then type in the word. It’s a good way to practice writing Kanji.)

I don’t think consuming Japanese media will help you with translating from English. I mean sure you will improve somewhat, but if you really want to practice to recall words it probably is better trying to write or say stuff in Japanese. Just reading or listen to stuff is still again just recalling when you hear a word and not producing it yourself. (Nothing wrong with consuming media, it sure helps to strengthen the vocabular you learned, since you get now some context with it and not just learning it.)


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