WaniKani Content Movements: Wednesday April 19 - Wednesday May 31 2023

Yeah that’s definitely true for me as well, if you get familiar with one word and then are introduced with a similar one later on, it’s easier to remember the new one as “the other one” and distinguish them.

If you get them at the same time it just gets all blurry and confusing because it’s hard to isolate them in your mind.


I sympathize with your plight and I’m the first to complain when WK doesn’t offer some simple quality-of-life improvements and I end up having to use third-party tools, but IMO what you describe would 100% be a better fit for a user script.

I expect (perhaps erroneously) that the vast majority of learners don’t really care about learning the technical jargon around kanji at this early point in our language learning study.

For instance saying that 足 can mean bottom in one specific context would probably confuse more than it would help.

Also it would be quite a clash for WK to teach these relatively arcane details about kanji structure while calling 各 “kiss” and 未 “jet”.


I understand your point of view, and I agree that this should be optional/additional info, but I still think being able to discuss radicals verbally with friends, family, and teachers is surprisingly important.

I’m not sure I buy that the majority of learners wouldn’t benefit. I’m specifically requesting something additional like the expanded info sections on kanji and vocabulary lesson/review pages.

The importance of radicals to a character’s meaning becomes even more obvious the more characters you learn. Most visually similar characters boil down to different radicals. The difference between にんべん and いとへん, for example, is critical to anyone learning the language – the characters will mean utterly different things. This doesn’t seem arcane to me at all.

The names for the seven parts of a character are far less arcane than many of the vocabulary words taught on WK:

  1. (へん) the left side (taught only as “biased” on WK)

  2. (つくり) the right side (not taught on WK, usually kana?)

  3. (かんむり) the “crown”

  4. (あし) the “legs”

  5. (かま) the “surrounding”/“structural”/“organizing” bits (taught as “set up” on WK)

  6. () the bits that “dangle” or hang down from the top and left.

  7. (にょう) the “surrounding” / “returning” bits on the left and bottom (not taught on WK, usually kana?).

Trust me, every schoolchild in Japan knows these words. Most probably can’t imagine learning to read the language without knowing them. Having words for those concepts is useful.


This morning I had both 怪我(けが) (injury) and 軽蔑(けいべつ) (scorn/contempt) in my reviews. I often confuse these if I don’t pay attention. Note the visual similarity in the first character of each.

Even the readings of (かい) (suspicious) and (けい) (lightweight) are similar due to the, uh, what words would I use to describe the bits on the right part of the character? The right side? The “tombstone”?! Oh, the つくり! There’s a useful term for discussing kanji characters themselves.

If you try saying something like “the one with the soul radical on the left” to a Japanese teacher, you might be understood, but calling the other one the “morning” radical might cause more confusion than anything (it’s 車偏(くるまへん) in Japanese).

On wanikani, the word “meaning” with radicals is a bit of a misnomer. Only vocabulary words have true, less ambiguous meanings. Even individual kanji don’t have single meanings necessarily.

For radicals, WK uses “meaning” to refer to the mnemonic association for a given radical. As you know, these mnemonic devices often use visual characteristics: hence “jet” for 未 (it looks kinda like a jet). Those aren’t meanings at all! The mnemonic device to aid recall has nothing whatsoever to do with the literal meaning of any kanji or vocabulary that use the radical, it’s purely a mnemonic device.

Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s good and useful that WK uses their own radicals with their own unique (and fairly consistent) mnemonic associations. I’ve no complaint with that whatsoever. Their mnemonics make it easier for most people to memorize kanji and learn to read vocabulary. I’m absolutely NOT suggesting WK eliminate, replace, or even de-emphasize their mnemonic “meanings”.

I’d just like them to add the Japanese names for at least the most common radicals (person, string, wheel/car, sun, moon/meat, etc.), especially when the mnemonic “meaning” they provide is quite different (like “morning” instead of “car/wheel”).

Personally, I’m leery of scripts that add content (though I use a few myself: notably the confusion guesser, and the keisei and niai scripts).

Radicals are particularly challenging (I believe some of the radicals on WK are actually images rather than unicode characters!).

I think content should remain Wanikani’s responsibility. They do an awesome job and are far more knowledgeable than me (or most of the other script writers here).

Would you find it confusing to refer to the “legs” of a character? Do you find the 5th meaning listed here confusing?

There are only seven terms. I still think it would be extremely helpful to teach them to anyone learning kanji.

The reason I’m pushing so hard on this is because WK is all about kanji. Meta-vocabulary for discussing kanji itself seems particularly important to me.


Just to pipe in and say, “I agree with Rrwrex.” Well said. Providing such additional resources for understanding kanji-related words and concepts would fit in very well with WK’s core purpose. It may not be something that absolute beginners need to be concerned with, but as one gains more and more experience with kanji and radicals, it’s very natural to want to be able to talk about them sensibly in native Japanese terminology, as well as the WK mnemonic forms and ‘popular’ vocabulary.


By the way this may not be the best place to offer this feedback but just in case: I don’t understand why is all the way up to level 43. In my experience it’s an extremely common kanji that I’ve encountered all the time including in very beginner-oriented grammatical explanations. IMO it belongs earlier. I expect that most learners will already be familiar with this kanji long before they encounter it in WK.

Similarly I think is extremely common in sample sentences (either alone or as part of 彼女) and could be lowered a bit.

Basically in my experience these words are disproportionately represented in grammar books and for this reason alone it may make sense to teach them earlier. They’re also not particularly complicated kanjis from a radical standpoint.

There’s also which IMO belongs to a level lower than 44 because it’s everywhere in all sorts of Japanese media, but I understand that adding yet another “I/me” kanji in the lower levels, and one that’s a bit rough on top of that, may be more confusing.


Thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback and suggestions with us. We really appreciate your input and have added all of your suggestions to our list for consideration. :bowing_woman:


By the same logic as 諦観, I wonder about the primary reading type for Kanji 袖. Since 諦 and 袖 are in the same level, with warning message at , this is easily noticeable.

Thanks for bringing it up. We’re planning to change the primary reading of the kanji 袖 to kun’yomi in this movement. I forgot to include this detail in the original post, but I have updated it now.

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be me reading these changes at lvl10: =D

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Well technically you are more concerned than those who have already unlocked these entries and won’t even notice the reordering.

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i meant it as in i am not concerned at all. these changes won’t affect me until much much later and by then, i would have forgotten about them. i’ve been studying since the end of november and im only at level 10 LOL


Hey everyone,

Just wanted to give you a quick heads up about the item movements we had planned for today. Unfortunately, we’re currently experiencing some technical difficulties that are preventing us from carrying out the movements as scheduled.

Our team is actively working on resolving these issues as quickly as possible. As soon as everything is back on track, we’ll proceed with the planned movements. Thanks for being awesome and understanding!