WaniKani-like input system for Anki Flashcards

Hi everyone,

I’ve been loving the WaniKani input system since I started using it. Before trying WaniKani, I was fumbling around with Anki, but at the time, I didn’t really “get” how to use Anki effectively. I wasn’t sure I was actually learning the content because recall was “Did I say the word in my head right? Eh, close enough”. It wasn’t really working for me.

WaniKani forcing me to type out the answer has held me accountable, and I think the act of physically typing has helped my recall and fidelity quite a bit.

That being said, I’ve started reading more Japanese content on the internet, and I’d like to be able to learn that in addition to the paved road that WaniKani provides. I began using the Yomichan browser extension, which has a feature that lets me create flashcards of vocabulary with a single mouse click.

Still, I wanted to make sure I was remembering the readings, and not just the meaning, so I took a stab at recreating the WaniKani typing behavior in Anki.

It supports, I think, all of the kana that I’ve seen used to represent Kanji on the internet (so far). Let me know if I missed anything?

Here’s a link to the code for the Anki card front, back, and style - I hope it’s helpful to others! Let me know if you run into trouble: 01_front_template.html · GitHub

I followed these steps for initially setting up the card model and getting Yomichan dumping cards into Anki: Using Yomichan to Learn Japanese

I’ve only tested it on the following platform, and I can’t promise it’ll work elsewhere. But, it should at least work on the desktop version of Anki:

  • macOS 12.1
  • Anki 2.1.49

Below is a demo of what it looks like.

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A cross-platform solution is Kitsun.io

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Anki also has mobile support. Do you use on smartphone?

As for me, I use Android phone and AnkiDroid.

Both on PC and Android, however, also involve setting up proper Japanese font. I use Noto Sans JP and Kanji Strokes Order. This is important, otherwise both machines will use Chinese variants by default.

I also successfully set up external server for TTS service for example sentences, but for vocabularies, you can get native speaker voice files from WaniKani API.

I’m using kitsun, the interface has made me use it consistently. When I used anki I just sighed every time I opened up the app.

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You can create multiple sides (card) to a note type. My trick was, to not rely on Kanji for reading at all, instead, try to get the reading from English. Otherwise, cloze test should work as well. (WaniKani already supplied the example sentences.)

Thanks for the pointers towards kitsun. It’s paid, but I don’t have a problem paying for services that’re high quality, so I’ll give it a try.

My first stab at this was to augment Anki because it’s free, which is a big reason for its popularity. But, it suffers from being (too, imo) configurable.

Writing a Hiragana IME sounded like a fun exercise, so that was also much of the motivation behind implementing it for Anki cards :wink:

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I don’t use Kitsun because I want to run on my laptop (without an internet connection) and I also prefer (free) open source software. Hinekidori‘s Core 10K Anki Deck https://community.wanikani.com/t/so-much-vocab/12050 has a very similar layout as WK. Here is visual depiction of one of his decks that has a similar style, Anki: Testing my Genki Deck - YouTube I tried to combined the Auto rate typed answer add-on with his deck to have a almost WK experience but for notes with several fields, I did not figure out yet how to properly configure the Auto rate typed answer add-on.

PS. I’m not sure if the files links in the old WK post I cited still work with the current version of Anki. I don’t remember where I got my version but if anyone has problems with those files, please let me know: I have a version that works with the current Anki version.

I suppose this is a bit of a moot point now, but I know of at least two other Kana-Input scripts for Anki cards. One of which come with user shared decks from these forums :see_no_evil:
Why I’m actually posting this though: If you’re studying Japanese and are thinking “Wow, this would be a cool feature for Anki”, chances are pretty high Someone has created it.

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I am happy to read this. I see too many people with exactly the opposite mindset :joy:.

Just in case it needs mentioning: I am not affiliated with Kitsun. I just think it’s the second best thing since slice bread. The first being chocolate chip cookies Kanji.

As of now, I don’t even use a vocabulary list anymore. Rather, vocabularies from reading are more valuable.

I use Takotsubo to send dictionary entries to AnkiDroid, and then I edited the template.

Torii is great and free too (you can pay if you want to support the creator).

For building your vocabulary it is a very good choice imo and has an app. as well (at least on android).

I also don’t use Hinekidori list, I just use his template to input the words I pick up when I read.

I used to think like this as well. Then I realized the WK method was actually hurting me by allowing me to stay in my comfort zone, and all Anki was doing was forcing me to face an aspect of Japanese I wasn’t yet comfortable with.

The truth is, if you know the reading of a word, you must be able to vocalize it, either in your head or out loud. There’s no way around it, that’s essentially what reading a text entails.

If you can’t, then either 1. you don’t actually know the reading of the word, or 2. your grasp of, or comfort with, Japanese phonetics is lacking. In the first situation, using Anki or WK doesn’t really make a difference. If you are in the latter situation however, the WK system actually does you a disservice, because it puts you in an environment where you can sweep the problem under the rug.

I suggest you stick with Anki and train yourself to become confident in just vocalizing words on sight.

Not to mention, writing down the reading slows the process of reviewing by a lot. Anything that makes you spend more time on SRS and less time on reading actual Japanese content is hurting your learning process and should therefore be avoided.

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I’m in the process of developing on an open source, KaniManabu, which works like WaniKani, which you need to type the answer, but there is a Anki mode that one can set on a per-deck basis. Since I am using it with my studies and planning to have an iOS app soon (just need to program the front end as most of the SRS scheduling and card management backend is complete already). You just need to import the CSV file of the deck into the program. I plan to have Alpha 2 released soon, which fixes some bugs I found and add ability to import to existing decks.

I know there is a Anki template that emulates WaniKani, but it doesn’t allow for typos and alternate meanings. Also, having to press the again/hard/good/easy button makes it a bit too clunky to my liking.

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fyi wanikani uses wanakana.js for input.

You can use wanakana.js in anki by just pasting the minified wanakana.js code with

var input = document.getElementById('typeans');
if (input.nodeName == "INPUT") {
    wanakana.bind(input);
}

in your script block