Why don't WK Lessons reinforce the reading usage in the vocabulary section?

One of the best ways to retain the sound of a Kanji, especially the On’Yomi reading, is to learn a word that uses that sound, yes? Yes.I will always remember 画 because I’ll need it for 映画. Useful.

WK really gets my goat when I go into a lesson to learn a new kanji and eagerly proceed to the WK lesson vocabulary section … only to find three words that don’t use that sound at all. This is bad lesson design and I come across it all. the. time. Why are you like thiiiiiiis

I’ll give you a specific example: Level 9, I just learned 持 (じ) hold. Cool.

The vocabulary examples given though are…

持つ - motsu - no じ :frowning:
金持ち - kanemochi - no じ :frowning:
気持ち - kimochi - no じ :frowning:

So now I have to go on a manhunt on Jisho to find something that does, often with unsatisfying results because I have no idea what I’m looking for. So I settle on something like 持参 (N2)

I don’t understand the lesson design logic here, other than trying to smash lower difficulty words in a lesson despite introducing a new sound (and in a tiny font on hover, no less). Even if these are the most popular words, this doesn’t seem to be appropriate time as the only option.

Better design would be to show two rows of words: actual relevant sounded On’Yomi words that can be used for reinforcement, and then popular words that don’t use that sound as an FYI

A suggestion for the product team.


WK teaches two words that use the じ reading, so I’m not sure why you needed to go on a manhunt elsewhere. 保持 is taught in the same level.

If you just meant why aren’t they mentioned in the lesson examples themselves, people have mentioned that before, so I imagine it’s something they’re considering. Including at least one vocab item that uses the reading taught is reasonable. At the same time, it’s something I never noticed in all my use of WK.


This is the search you want to do. You can get Jisho to do the search easily enough by visiting the kanji’s page (i.e. , in this case), and clicking on the reading that you want to find examples of. It’s not a flawless system - what it’s searching for is words that contain both that kanji and that reading, so sometimes it can turn up words where the reading is used by a different kanji in the assemblage - but it works well enough.


Wow, I didn’t know you could combine kanji with sounds in a single Jisho search, that’s super useful, thank you


I’m guessing the reasoning is that 時, a lower level kanji, is similar to 持 and both have the じ reading. Maybe they are trying to reinforce the fact that similar looking characters often have the same onyomi.

Here’s a script you may find useful: [Userscript] Keisei 形声 Semantic-Phonetic Composition

They just display three words from the set of all WK words that contain that kanji. How these words are selected is not clear to me. Maybe it would be more helpful to just display all the words? Because just as you say, this doesn’t help as much as it could…
@Mods what do you think?

If it helps you, you can also enter the kanji into the WK search (in another tab if you’re currently doing your lessons) and it will show you all entries that are on WK and contain that kanji, e.g. https://www.wanikani.com/search?query=持&button=

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Hi there! Thank you both for the feedback.

Can you clarify what you mean by the sentences I quoted, specifically where it would be helpful to display all the words? You can see all of the associated vocabulary for any particular kanji by visiting the page directly, like you can for .

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To address @MeesterN’s feedback directly, it’s true that the on’yomi readings of some kanji will have more frequent appearances in common vocabulary words than others, but we hope that both the on’yomi and kun’yomi readings are reinforced by quizzing you on both. I.e., if you can’t remember the on’yomi reading as well as the kun’yomi reading, then you’ll keep getting quizzed on the kanji until you do :wink:

There are also other factors at play, such as the different levels of each kanji in jukugo words. In the example you used, 持 is a level 9 word, whereas 参 is level 14, so even if we were to include 持参 as a vocabulary word, it wouldn’t come until level 14 (just like how 維持 doesn’t come until level 36).

This isn’t to say your idea is a bad one, just that there are various complexities our product team has to keep in mind whenever we make any changes to WaniKani.

All said, I’ll happily pass this feedback along internally. Thanks again for the feedback!

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Sure! I quoted this from the OP:

That’s where I think it would be helpful to display all the words: On the lesson example words page for a kanji.

That’s another good place to find the vocab, it’s just pretty disruptive when you’re in the middle of lessons.

They were talking about taking kanji lessons and looking at example words during kanji lessons, not about being quizzed on associated vocab.

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Ahhh, I gotcha now. Thanks for clarifying!


Oh, I think I misunderstood what the OP was asking for last time I saw this topic. Now that I understand, this seems like a good suggestion!

(Probably a bit of an undertaking to check the vocab section for each kanji lesson, though… :sweat:)

WaniKani aside, I think what I’m suggesting follows the basic teaching pattern:

Scaffolding > Examples > Production

If the single On’Yomi teaching is being taught at that time in a focused lesson, and the example words and sentences do not perfectly use what they just learned, we have derailed the student. I’ve seen the example sentences also go completely off the rails from time to time

Of course, the learner should be aware that other sounds exist, but I feel like the later lessons already handle that well enough with new mnemonics, etc

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