When did you stop using furigana for vocabulary?

I’m still a beginner in the grand scheme of things (passed N5 last December) and currently I’m finding a lot of cool vocabulary resources that I’d like to use but seem more geared towards someone who’s already got more kanji under their belt. Currently I’ve been learning vocabulary with furigana, and then I learn the kanji for it through WaniKani at a certain point and that bridges the two together for me.

I was wondering when (WK level, JLPT level, time spent studying Japanese, etc.) some of you switched from learning vocabulary like this to learning without furigana. Did you make a big push in WaniKani to a certain point and then shift towards more vocabulary? I’d love to hear your kanji+vocabulary learning strategies so I can copy you :smiley:

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Well if you can find resources that use furigana then that’s great. I’ve just been using whatever I find interesting and things encountered in the wild don’t have furigana so I’ve never really got into using it. If there’s a word I don’t know and I’d like to look it up then I just try hand writing the strokes into jisho or using the sort by radicals.

I don’t quite get your question… Presence of furigana depends on the material you’re reading. If it’s there it’s there. Well, there are exceptions like NHK news easy where you can toggle furigana.

So… it’s a choice of materials you are asking about. Well, the longer you avoid reading text without furigana the longer you will be relying in it. But’s not like it’s bad. A lot of native manga for teens has furigana. Thus, it’s useful for the native speakers as well, while they are still learning.


I started crossing out the furigana in my textbooks when I had worked up to around chapter 18 of Minna no Nihongo, I think? So N5 level. I might have been around WK level 15 maybe? It’s hard to think back, but I got to level 32 or something my first year here, and I was studying Japanese for little longer than a year by that point, and I had just taken my N4. So it must have been about 6 months earlier.

In other resources I just take it as it comes, though NHK News Web and such I used furigana off as long as there was the option. It is hard reading a text with furigana and not focus on it, even though I always try not to.


I’m curious to see what people answer as well. I started straight with WK so I actually find furigana very disturbing. It’s like subtitles in a language you know: you can’t help reading them anyway.
I just started bunpro and that’s the first time I see furigana consistently. I can’t help reading them even when I know the kanji. It stops me from recalling the kanji (or rather making the effort to recall the kanji). So I try to distance myself from the screen until they’re small and hard to read lol. I’d say for people like me who used WK from 0 japanese language knowledge, furigana are not really a good thing. I would toggle them off if I could and on for stuff I can’t recall by myself. That’s because if I don’t know the kanji, then I don’t know the word anyway so knowing what it sounds like would not help.
I have not started reading yet (Will I ever be able to?). I think it will be different for that case, when the objective is to learn more vocab.


I stopped having to rely on Furigana at somewhere around level 20. At that point I I knew enough Kanji for 50-70% of the material and the rest I got used to looking up on Jisho using the radicals. I figured I would have to learn how to do the latter anyway as I got into more advanced material so it felt like the right time to start.

Plus, even Shounen Manga, which I primarily read, usually has very few Kanji with Furigana anyway.


As an absolute beginner when starting on Wanikani, level 20 was when grammar /lack of general vocab became a bigger obstacle to reading things than kanji.


You know you can turn them off on bunpro? I have mine set to only appear if I click, but you can also link it to you WK level…


I think this is a good point, but not exactly the way you mean it :slightly_smiling_face:. With Bunpro, and other grammar resources (including textbooks) I think it does make sense to use a lot of furigana. So as not to distract too much from grammar, which is the focus of the exercise.

You have books that use furigana, but don’t repeat furigana for words that have already appeared in the chapter. For example, I am reading Harry Potter book 1 in Japanese, and furigana is present (not on every kanji, only on tough ones). But yesterday I noticed ほうき had furigana the first time it appeared in chapter 9, but the next time you’re expected to recognize it and have remembered the reading (or go back a page :laughing:). There are also side by side JP-Eng story collections, that use a similar method.


How did I miss that? Twice?



I don’t think there’s a clean cut off point. If it’s there and I don’t know the word straight off then I’ll look at the furigana and see if my aural memory kicks in.

If you’re worried that you’re ‘cheating’ by looking up the furigana instead of recalling the kanji then don’t worry! You’ll need to recognize words by their reading when you’re listening anyway so it’s all good practice in my opinion.

Or maybe the question is about choosing content based on if it has furigana or not. I don’t think it’s a big issue when there’s easy access to electronic dictionaries.

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In my opinion you shouldn’t really be learning to read words that are usually written in kanji in furigana at all. You almost may as well learn to read them in alphabet if you do that.

You will for the most part never see the words written that way in the wild, so it won’t aid your reading of them at all. You’ll just waste your time for when you need to relearn them in kanji.

In answer to your question though I stopped doing that probably a few weeks in when I figured out the basics of what kanji were.


I stopped when I wanted to play Suikoden in Japanese, because it had no furigana. I was probably half way through WK at that point IIRC.

Then i noticed that I actually preferred it that way anyway!

I find that if it’s there I don’t even try to read the kanji, even if I know them well. And switching between reading the main text and the furigana is sort of unpleasant to me as well.


Yeah, I’m at this point now too. It’s like you can’t NOT read it and it breaks the flow.


I specifically never even attempted to learn vocab that consits of kanji i don´t know yet. I felt like hiragana only words were the best supplement to my wanikani library. Now that i´m close to level 30 however, i will slow down WK significantly in order to learn lots and lots of external vocab with kanji that is now available to me without having to rely on furigana.

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