WaniKani Content Additions: Wednesday November 16 - Wednesday December 7 2022

Please add “to accuse” to the blacklist for (のろ)う — through careful experimentation I’ve determined that the current spelling relaxation rules allow this incorrect meaning to pass. :roll_eyes:


oh what calendar is this

A request:

Some characters are SO absurdly similar that I spend a ridiculously long time staring at the pairs to even see the difference.

Here are two pairs that have bit me recently (I had to break down and compare stroke order diagrams to finally discern the difference):

(とり)(からす) (bird vs. crow)

(しつ)(ちつ) (room vs suffocate)

It’s easy to get carried away with this, but for 烏 and 窒 at least, could the reading and/or meaning hints at least mention the lookalike character and highlight the distinction? I can’t be the only one confusing these characters.

I realize this is probably a never-ending quest. I’m sure there are others, but these two are the ones that took me the longest to distinguish.


One more that is probably worthy of a callout:


Since the latter isn’t taught until level 33 (vs. level 9 for 表), it seems at least worthy of highlighting that these are antonyms but visually similar when it’s introduced. I guess it makes more sense to do this on the vocabulary page than the kanji page, but since the kanji is introduced first I’m unsure.

Edit 2:

Okay, 似合い are obviously too numerous to address them all. But here’s another pair I just realized I was constantly confusing:

(じゅ)(えん) (instruct vs. aid)

The Niai Similar Kanji script does a good job of displaying visually similar kanji, but I tend to ignore it’s output because it always lists too many.

What I’m requesting is a heads-up during lessons when an extremely similar-looking kanji is introduced that can be easily confused with something you’ve seen before. The niai script suffices during reviews, I think, and we can always add notes during reviews, but it would be nice to get a heads up for at least the pairs shown above during lessons.

My eyes are so bad that I can’t even see the difference now between most of these (without blowing up the font size to something stupid) even though I’ve now seen the differences.


This is unconnected to your question, but would you mind telling me the name of the script that you use to track your JLPT progress, please?


Edit: NM, I figured it out!

This is the 2022 edition of the Tokyo University quiz calendar. It contains a mix of quiz questions: on language, writing, literature, mathematics, visual, … Some of these are only doable for Japanese people, but most can be resolved with the help of google, jisho, etc.

Here is the 2023 edition.


So cool! This could have this own thread (if it doesn’t already?), I’m sure a lot of people would join trying to solve them!

It would be fun, but I think that publishing all the daily questions would not be legal (copyright, forum rules, …).

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Yeah they kinda suck right now. The death levels seem to alternate between fairly easy and let’s take double the usual time to level up.

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Could we possibly get some more distinction between this vocab and the existing Level 16: 係わる (かかわる) - To Be Involved With?

Two examples of where they are confusingly similar:

  1. The reading mnemonic for the new 関わる is basically copied from the existing 係わる, to the extent that it concludes “… You don’t want to be involved with them,” rather than “You don’t want to be connected with them.” The former merely excludes the word “with” from being highlighted; and the latter uses the word “connected” instead of “involved”, even though the primary meaning is “to be involved with”.
  2. They each have their final example sentence using the phrase “命に[かか]わる” or “命に[かか]わります” to mean “life-threatening” and “matter of life and death”, respectively. I swapped out their kanjis for kana – can you tell which one should be which kanji? They seem to mean the same thing, just slightly worded differently in translation.

Are they really so interchangeable? (Maybe they are?)

Checking on Jisho.org, it seems 関わる is more common/primary; both are listed in the same dictionary entry, かかわる – although, strangely, the actual entry’s web address uses “係わる”, despite it seemingly being the secondary kanji: https://jisho.org/word/係わる. Is 係わる a ‘specialization’ or ‘different nuance’ of the same word, as is often the case with different kanji for the same word? Is the different nuance really the English equivalent of adding “with” to the end of it?

And how will we escape our entanglement with the Kaw Kaw Gang? Ain’t nobody wanna be involved/connected with them! These two vocabs are already too related with each other. This is a matter of life-threatening and death, I tells ya!

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FWIW, my J-J dictionary has the exact same definition for both. The first definition listed is 関係する.

There might be a slight difference in nuance, but my dictionary shows them as pure synonyms.

Why, Japanese people, why?!!

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I think it’s just one word with a couple of different ways to write it (this is how every dictionary I have to hand records it, at least). The corpus stats lookup wwwjdic offers says that 関わる is about 10 times more common, so if you’re only going to remember one, pick that one, I guess.

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What a fantastic song. Thanks for posting the extended LP version; I had never heard it before. Also finally took the time to listen to the lyrics thanks to someone posting them in the comments. Really great song!


It’s such a sunlight of joy really! Nothing NOT to love about it! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Thanks for bringing this up! As mentioned, they have exactly the same meaning, so we’ll update 係わる to reflect that. I’ll also add it to the list of movements for next week — it makes sense for 係わる to be a higher level than 関わる, since it’s less common.


Since there seems to be exactly one kanji without any associated vocabulary (漣), why didn’t that one get some love in these updates? :cry:


Good question @MissDagger! We’ve had a lot of back and forth about how to deal with 漣. It’s not a common kanji, but has recently become popular as a single-kanji name. We just don’t think it would be useful enough for most people, so we’re considering hiding the kanji altogether… :thinking:


I think I know why 係わる was originally placed in level 16, along with the kanji 係: Probably because there are only two vocabs for 係, namely 関係 and 係わる. So, in order to reinforce the kanji early enough, my guess is that 係わる was chosen in favour of 関わる despite being less common.

Initial Idea

Since there are currently only two vocabs for 係, I suggest possibly introducing a third vocab for it, namely 係 (かかり), meaning: charge; duty; person in charge; official; clerk​

In Jisho it is listed as both a ‘common word’ and a JLPT N3 word (ref. ), so it seems it should fit in with WaniKani’s goal/purpose. It is also a slightly different reading than just かか, so could have a new/distinct reading mnemonic for it.

Considerations (pro and con)

Jisho (via Tatoeba) also has several example sentences, such as:

Although, this one uses the alternative form, with okurigana, 係 (かかり):

There is the slight issue that many uses of 係 (かかり) are used as suffixes to other words (or perhaps the other words are prefixes (like rentaishi)), like:

And, as a result of this form, there is even a separate entry in Jisho for the rendaku’d version, 係 (がかり), which is listed specifially as a ‘suffix’. It has example sentences like:

On the other hand, the kanji 係, with the reading かかり is also used in its own capacity in such words as:

  • 係員 (かかりいん) - person in charge; official; attendant​
  • 係長 (かかりちょう) - subsection head; assistant manager; chief clerk​
  • 係官 (かかりかん) - official in charge​

These are all listed by Jisho as ‘common words’, though not JLPT words.

Analysis of Options

There are several possible ways that vocab support for the kanji 係 could be included at the same level (16) which

  1. don’t require including the synonymous pair [関わる, 係わる] in the same level (16)
  2. give an opportunity for new/distinct reading mnemonics from that pair
  3. still potentially fit within WaniKani’s goal/purpose of using vocab that’s not too obscure, common enough to be useful as a lesson on the reading of a particular kanji, and fit in with other vocab/kanji already covered

Some possible ways (in no particular order, but numbered for ease of reference):

  1. Base a vocab off of the Jisho entry for the ‘standalone’ word 係 (かかり), and devise example sentences that use that reading.
    • This would have the meaning of “charge; duty; person in charge; official; clerk​”.
    • If it’s okay to have example sentences where this vocab word is used as a sort-of suffix, then this would allow example sentences which combine other existing WK kanji with words such as: 販売係 (sales staff), 救命係 (lifeguard), 登録係 (records clerk), etc.
  2. Same a #1, but treat it as a suffix vocab, ~係 (かかり), with the same meaning.
    • Since it would be presented as a suffix, many example sentences would be available without needing to devise ones where 係 (かかり) acts as a standalone word.
  3. Base a separate vocab of of the rendaku’d suffix version as ~係 (がかり)
    • I mainly mention this option as it matches how Jisho has split its entries into two different ones.
    • But it also has the advantage that can introduce example sentences which utilize even earlier WK kanji such as: 受付係 (receptionist, from 受付 at level 11), 予約係 (reservation desk, from 予約 at level 14), 会計係 (cashier/treasurer/accountant, from 会 level 5 and 計 level 15)
  4. Base a vocab on the verb 係る (かかる), although this is not listed as a ‘common word’ in Jisho.
    • However, it would facilitate introducing the alternative form of #1, which is 係り (かかり)
    • Meaning is (from Jisho):
      • to be the work of; to be the result of; to be done by​
      • to concern; to affect; to involve; to relate to​
  5. Whether or not #4 is included, could simply base a vocab off of the alternative (with okurigana り) form of #1, i.e. 係り (かかり). Meaning is identical to #1.
    • This would allow more of the ‘standalone’ versions of the word to be used in example sentences, such as 「今、誰か係りの者を差し向けます。 」“I’ll send someone up to help you now.”
  6. Could combine #1 and #5, simply by giving it two ‘official’ forms, one being 係, the other being 係り.
    • Allows combined pool of example sentences to be used
    • Kind of goes against the idea in WK that a ‘reading’ belongs to a ‘kanji’, and that ‘vocabs’ have one form (i.e. either 係 or 係り, but not both). But maybe?
  7. Could introduce one or more of the ‘common word’ entries that use 係 directly, with the reading always かかり, namely the aforementioned: 係員, 係長, 係官 (though this one requires 官 from level 17)
    • Introduces the distinct reading かかり without any exceptions.
    • However, if done without first introducing the ‘standalone’ versions 係 and/or 係り, the meaning of the kanji 係 in these vocab words is not as obvious and would need to be added to the Meaning Explanation.
  8. Instead of introducing a suffix form (#2, #3), or possibly even the standalone form (#1, #5), could simply introduce two or more vocabs which use 係 as a suffix.
    • Examples with the rendaku’d reading がかり would be: 受付係, 予約係, 会計係
      • 会計係 benefits from the fact that it also introduces a new example for the kanjis 会 and 計; although, the specific word 会計 does not yet exist standalone in WK
    • Examples with the unmodified reading かかり: 販売係, 救命係, 登録係
    • Disadvantage of this option is that at level 16, only have options to introduce the rendaku’d version first. The other examples all use kanji from later levels. Would have to explain in the reading that the actual reading is かかり, but rendaku’d to がかり. It reminds me of the situation with ‘shaved ice’ かき氷 (かきごおり) in level 4.

My suggestion(s) with reasoning

  1. I think it would make a lot of sense to introduce #1 as 係 (かかり) at level 16, especially since it is listed as both a ‘common word’ and as a JLPT N3 word. Make it a ‘standalone’ vocab word (i.e. not as a suffix), and make a special note in the reading that while the ‘official WK form’ of it will be 係, that it can also be found in the wild (and fairly commonly in fact) with the form 係り, although both of these forms are exactly the same word with the same meaning.

    • Doing this will ensure that:
      • the new/distinct reading かかり is introduced to us, which is indeed a common reading in the wild,
      • the new/distinct meaning of “charge; duty; person in charge; official; clerk​” is introduced
    • Furthermore, by explaining upfront that both 係 and 係り are allowed forms, this will allow a larger pool of examples to be used in example sentences (which don’t require always using kanji from previous levels), such as: 販売係, 救命係, 登録係, ホテルのフロント係の人, 倉庫係, 遺失物係, ドア係, as well as 誰か係りの者, 準備係り, 国際電話の係り
  2. Skip the idea of having a special suffix form, just for the sake of distinguishing the prevalence of the rendaku’d form. Instead introduce the rendaku’d form as part of a distinct vocab, which uses prior kanji. I think the two best candidates would be 受付係 and 予約係. 受付係 because it’s one from of the earlier vocabs we learned (level 11), and/or 予約係 because it’s from one of the most recent vocabs we learned (level 14). I think either or both of these could be introduced in the very next level 17,after the plain reading of かかり has been established in level 16. Simply introduce the vocab as a combination of prior vocabs, with a special note about the rendaku, as is done in many existing WK vocabs.

  3. To further reinforce the distinct reading, introduce one or more vocabs which feature 係 with かかり reading at the beginning of a kanji compound. Three possibilities, all listed as ‘common words’, are the aforementioned: 係員, 係長, and 係官. Introduce these after introducing #1, since #1 establishes both the reading and the meaning for this usage.

    • On Jisho (via Tatoeba):
      • 係員 has 4 examples sentences, 3 of them using the translation ‘clerk’, so perhaps that could be one of the meanings assigned to the vocab.
      • 係長 has 2 example sentences, one with ‘chief clerk’, the other with ‘head clerk’.
      • 係官 has 1 example sentence, with ‘official’ as the translation.
        • 係官 has the advantage that it could be introduced on level 17, since it would also help reinforce 官, which is also level 17. However, it seems perhaps it is a less common vocab, so maybe one of the other two would be better?
  4. Skip introducing the verb 係る (かかる), as it is less common. Once someone learns the more common 係 (かかり), they can discover the root verb 係る in a dictionary like Jisho if they want to, but it wouldn’t really add much to WK.

Summary and Conclusion

I suggest introducing 係 (かかり) at level 16, to establish the distinct reading and meaning associated with the kanji 係, which will facilitate moving 係わる to a higher level than 関わる, since level 16 will still have two vocabs supporting 係.

Also, less pressingly, I’d suggest introducing the rendaku’d version of 係 (がかり) simply by adding a vocab for one (or both) of the following words, at level 17 (one level past introduction of 係 (かかり)): 受付係 and/or 予約係.

Lastly and least urgent – but perhaps still useful, since it cements かかり as a truly ‘standalone’ (i.e. not always a suffix) reading – I suggest introducing one (or more) of these words, at any level (perhaps even as early as 17?): 係員, 係長, and/or 係官.

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