What's the point of reviewing the hiragana for the Kanji cards?

Since all of the Kanji have different pronunciations based on the vocab word they’re associated with, is there any benefit to knowing the hiragana/pronunciation for the pink Kanji cards?

The readings in the kanji cards give a common reading, usually the on-yomi. This is helpful when learning vocabulary because you can then make an educated guess on how that word is read (if it’s a compound).


You’re level 17 so I would imagine you’re in a pretty good flow with the system by now… So I mean… you’re aware that everything builds up from the radicals. They could just dump full vocab words on you like a random Anki deck, but this is how they teach.

I guess I’m just wondering what makes you ask this question.


This is not ~technically~ correct if I’m understanding you right, any Chinese origin words are generally comprised of these reading (on-yomi - Chinese pronounciation).

Generally words with only kanji and no hiragana are these words. Half of the vocab words I pull up I already know the the pronounciation for without having seen the card, which is obviously much better than remembering them…

Edit: OP, if this is indeed what you mean I strongly recommend you read this, it’ll make a night and day difference with your study: Onyomi vs. Kunyomi: What's the Difference?

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oh my god that’s exactly my thought. Surely you would have noticed that the reading you learnt for the kanji is the one that’ll soon pop up in the vocab?


Maybe they reset from level 1 to 17


Not necessarily…
The reading you learn during the Kanji is just one of what could be 2-5 different readings when you start the vocab. Why even learn the reading during the Kanji phase and just memorize which reading goes with which vocab word?

Sure, it seems like most of the time for single kanji that the onyomi and kunyomi are the same, but if that’s the case, why not just learn the English meaning during the kanji phase and save the hiragana reading for vocab only?

Hey ya’ll,

Sorry if I was unclear. I do think the system of first learning Radicals, then Kanji, then Vocab is a great method of learning, and I really enjoy using WaniKani. I’m just wondering why don’t we just learn the english meaning during the Radicals and Kanji phase, and then add on meaning + hiragana/pronunciation during the vocab learning phase?

Maybe they grew their hair shorter.


Maybe it’s Maybelline


You shouldn’t have to “just memorize” which reading goes with which vocab. You can usually tell from the word whether it’ll use the on’ or kun’ reading of its kanji (is it just kanji [i.e. jukugo]? Probably on’. Are there kana? Probably ‘kun. [Unless the kana are する in which case it’s a する verb and the kanji are on’])

You probably have a sense of which readings for a given kanji are on’ vs. kun’, so with that knowledge you can make a pretty good guess at how the word is read. Sometimes it’s harder when a kanji has multiple on’ readings and such, but try deducing how each word is read before you flip to the reading card in lessons – for jukugo words you should be able to anticipate the reading almost all the time.


Ok I sort of see what you mean but also don’t.

Fair enough, but we’re just trying to get the gist of the kanji here so when we learn new vocab it feels like it’s partially recognisable. Of course you can learn the whole vocab by itself but by ‘learning’ individual kanji first the vocab feels more easily digestible as you find yourself able to pick out what makes it up rather than just seeing it a whole.

what? I think you’re confused with your wording since onyomi and kunyomi are never the same (at least I think?)

Why would you do that? The english ‘meaning’ is arguably less important than any of its pronunciations since kanji essentially only have meaning through the vocab it makes up. That just sounds like Heisig’s RTK at that point.

I personally think that you shouldn’t 100% go with whatever ‘meaning’ wk throws at you for its kanji. Just use it as a placeholder until you get some vocab in. Wk’s meanings/readings of kanji aren’t really meant to last forever but just to get yourself a stepping stone into being able to read the vocab. Sure, you can go digest whole vocab and eventually internalise/intuit kanji meanings/readings yourself, wk is just trying to make the start less painful.

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Because that’s not the case? Which kanji are you talking about that you believe have the same reading for its on and kun readings?

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I’d go further - treat anything you learn in English about Japanese as a convenient lie that gets you partway there. There’s a reason they use “gloss” rather than “meaning” or “definition” in formal settings.

I had a :exploding_head: moment with regards to ーだ not actually meaning past tense yesterday…

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I would feel that I would be building a really rocky foundation of my Japanese if I learned the kanji-s readings with vocab only. Wow.

You could try this, learning the readings of kanji just as you go through every vocab word. Some people do it. From my own experience - it is much harder to do it that way. My retention and understanding weren’t nearly as good as when learning the typical or most common reading on a kanji-by-kanji basis, as the WK system does.

??? On the contrary I would say this is very rarely the case.

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So you know how to read things like 出身, which isn’t on WK.

Exactly. It was the same for me when I found out な is a copula like だ

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Haha. Copula are sneaky buggers.

Thanks for the link, that’s solved some confusion I was having with -なる adjectives.

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Let’s say you learned a ton of kanji but only their meanings. Now you’re reading some Japanese text and you see a new word that is composed of kanj that you know. You don’t know the meaning of the vocab though…

If you knew the most common readings for those kanji you could guess the reading of the vocab. You could easily look it up in a dictionary by reading.

You could guess surname and place name readings if you know kun readings of the kanji.

So my point is, reading of a kanji character is not less important than the meaning. Maybe even more so, since kanji could have different meanings and you need to see the vocab to know.

I can see OP’s point of why dump more info during the kanji stage, if you’re gonna learn some other readings during vocab anyway. Why not learn all readings in vocab.

And I think it’s actually a really cool thing that WK does, cause it separates the learning of on- and kun- readings into kanji and vocab. This way, you learn only 1 reading at a time, and don’t start memorizing second reading, until you already memorized the first.

Learning 2 new readings at the same time during vocab would be a lot more overwhelming.