Why do you fail single Kanji vocabulary words if you put in the kanji reading?

Hey all! This is my first post. I couldn’t find any threads that discussed this. My search terms were probably not great.

My issue is as titled above. To provide more context in case other people aren’t experiencing this - WK has the fuchsia kanji cards and the purple vocabulary cards. They confuse me a lot when presented with a single kanji :frowning:

The kanji cards don’t necessarily always expect the on’yomi reading, which is part of the confusion. However, the fuchsia cards are very forgiving of that confusion. It gives a polite warning that it was after the other reading. This behaviour is really cool.

I’d really appreciate the same behaviour with the purple cards. Take the kanji for “white”. I know that it reads as “haku”/“shiro” (based on my newbie level 4 experience). I’ve already gotten past both the fuchsia and purple cards for this. I then get the random already-gurud-fuchsia card for “white” and answer it with “shiro”. I get a gentle head shake and then answer it with “haku”. Business as usual. I then get the purple card the next day. I answer that with “haku” and get it added back to queue again insert table flip

I guess no one else experiences this, or there’s been a decision not to do it? If someone has experienced this and knows any good tips, I’d really love to know.

Thanks for any insights! I’m loving that it sometimes forgives the small auto correct fails on my phone / and does accept the British “s” instead of “z”.



This might help you. Readings vs Meanings.

1 Like

In my newbie experience I would tell you to focus more on your reviews, especially in the colors so you know which reading WK is asking.

It happens to me when I try to go fast, I make stupid mistakes for things I should know.

Take your time.


A comparison with English might be helpful.

The letter “I” can be read in various ways depending on context, including あい and い.

The word “I” can be only be read あい.

If WK would ask you for the reading of the letter “I” neither あい nor い is incorrect, so it’ll just shake the screen at you until you answer the one it expects.

On the other hand If WK would ask you the reading of the word “I”, answering い is incorrect and it should and will fail you for it.

In the same way, while にち and ひ are both valid readings for 日 as a kanji. You cannot pronounce it にち as a word.

EDIT: i.e. you can’t say today is a good day by saying “今日はいいにちです”


Also, welcome to the WK Community. Thanks for joining us.


TL;DR. I’m hoping my answer is of some use anyways.

When asked for the reading of a Kanji, neither onyomi nor kunyomi are wrong, it’s just that they’re asking for a specific one. Remembering which one they’re asking for would be real silly.

When asked for the reading of a Vocab, there’s only one right answer, as crihak already pointed out. Entering a different reading is just wrong, no excuses. You need to know the right one for use in speech.


I like that you used hiragana for the english pronunciation of an english word :full_moon_with_face:


I like this version from @rfindley:


Oh wow, lots of replies so soon. Such an active community <3

@Turok - But our favourite blue creature says, “You gotta go fast!” :smiley: My aim isn’t to do something for a hobby per se. I want to read fast. I’ve wanted to learn Japanese for almost 20 years and literally dropped everything to utilise this tool once I found it. I feel like reading my Japanese manga might actually be possible haha. I know that a lot of it has furigana, but I’ve also got a copy of Itachi’s novels that are straight up no-hands-held kanji lol. One day I’ll be able to read it :slight_smile:

@ chaswrig - Thanks for the welcome! That “mouth” example is also cool. There are lots of nice little features here. I’d just love some love for single kanji words in that case. The saturation of the fuchsia and purple feels so close that I often don’t notice the jump amidst all the blues, fuchsias, and purples. Maybe I just can’t be Sonic :frowning: Public transport also gets me a lot. I don’t realise auto complete put far instead of fat. Super hard to notice when your phone is shaking. I can understand no protection there, though. The hiragana input can be even worse

@ crihak - 日 is another one that’s given me the same experience haha. I can agree with your message for sure, but if the system can give you a gentle shake for putting “mouth” into the kanji reading for “kuchi”, then I really feel like single character words can detect that you’re clearly confused. I get blue, fuchsia, and purple cards in any given order. It bounces around a lot, so I find it easy to get confused. I doubt I’d be confused if given two kanji back to back

The phonetic side of things does also suck though. Like words that have oo or ou but sound the same. I get tripped up with those words all the time

@ GrumpyPanda - If it’s in a sentence then I will easily know it’s to be read as vocabulary.

1 Like

It’s also easy to tell when something’s supposed to be read as vocabulary on WaniKani too - because it’s got a purple background.


I too go very very fast on my reviews and I too remember having this exact problem. Sometimes I typo my answers, sometimes I か when I mean to け (I say the answers aloud as I type to help me focus), sometimes I enter the wrong answer before my memory kicks in properly… anyway, I can highly recommend doing this:

  1. Install Tampermonkey/Greasemonkey on your browser of choice
  2. Don’t install [OBSOLETE] Wanikani Override ("ignore answer button") - heed the wise advice below…

This is not a good case for using the override button. It could mean remembering the wrong reading for the vocab long term.

1 Like

Sometimes my fingers are fat little idiots and don’t type the thing I say even though I say it quite clearly. Maybe I should get little hearing aids for them.

You’re right that genuine misreads should be let to stand… except when I don’t even read the word properly because I’m reviewing too quickly and two similar words show up. (It’s a bad habit.) If I get the wrong answer because I’m rushing but I genuinely honestly know the vocab when I slow down, I ignore that too. Same if I typo okurigana or other kana in vocabulary, or if all my brain can come up with for 不可欠 is “can’t be without it” as opposed to WK’s specific gloss of “indispensable”. If I genuinely don’t know a review though, that I let stand - better I know that I don’t know it. I spend more and more time now looking up items I’ve mistaken for other items (“insurance” and “guarantee”, take a bow).

SRS has its limits even with positive reviews though because lucky guesses are a thing. There’s at least one kanji reading that I wouldn’t really say I know - I’m just good at guessing its reading when it comes up. :slight_smile:

By level 20, you can still count the kanji that are written as おお on one hand. Long o is almost always おう. The exceptions to the rule are pretty easy to remember.


Agreed with @seanblue that this is not the best use for the ignore script – in your case you say it right but typo the answer, but in OP’s case they don’t know which is correct.

At any rate, if you do have to have an ignore script, I highly recommend the Double-Check script over the Override script, because it allows to mark a correct answer as incorrect, and allows you to immediately retype an answer instead of just marking it correct (and thus making sure you really know the answer).


Rofl. You’d think it’s that easy, but I honestly don’t notice the colour change all that often

Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately I use WK on my phone ~90% of the time, so I won’t have access to stuff like this. It would take extreme discipline to not just hit that button. I’m hoping the frustration of failed reviews will translate into my brain going “oh hey, this is purple, buddy. BE CAREFUL!”. We’ll see though haha

I’ve heard a lot of sadness around this on the forum haha. I think I read somewhere that the insect radical confused someone because they recalled it as bug but got failed. I’m going to have a lot of fun trying to figure out the when of saying something. I’ve currently got two kanji for past in my review stack. I’m sure I’ll learn when to use them over time

All languages do have these weird things after all. I guess it’s the equivalent of gnome and knife lol


The double-check script seems pretty handy. I sense I will be using WK on my computer more often as the kanji gets harder, so these tools will be beneficial

I think What are radicals, kanji, and vocabulary? is the more relevant knowledge base article in this case.

Kanji usually have at least two readings: the on’yomi reading and the kun’yomi reading. Both of them are correct, but we only want the one we taught to you as “the reading.” If you type the kun’yomi reading, but we asked for the other reading, the text box will wiggle and ask you for the on’yomi reading.

Wrong Kanji Reading

This doesn’t count as a wrong answer, and you’ll have a chance to try again. (Try to get it right the next time!)

Unlike kanji, vocabulary only have one correct reading (with a few exceptions). So if you see the purple vocabulary word 生 and type in せい, you will be marked wrong.

Wrong Vocabulary Reading

No wiggle here, because せい is not the vocabulary word for a raw. That’s なま and only なま. It’s important that you pay close attention to what we’re asking for when you start learning, because it minimizes confusion and mistakes later on.


Thanks for that :slight_smile: So it is indeed deliberate, but it’s just a pain to deal with this for a single kanji. Maybe it’s actually “Vocabulary” and “Kanji” that need to be bold. I know a black bar means “reading”. A black and greyish bar have a huge contrast difference, so it’s very easy to see what it’s after.

At this point it just looks like pain I have to deal with haha. Frustration is good. It means I’m invested


Pink and purple backgrounds are a pretty big contrast too. :slight_smile: