Word for mountain fuji, which one do they want? やま or さん help please

ok i’ll remember to screenshot it when it comes up again in my reviews. Maybe its an issue with the app as I am mostly using mobile. Or I could just be overlooking something! :slight_smile:

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Thank you again everyone for helping me. I’m very familiar with Fuji-San or Fuji-yama especially since I even got to visit the mountain in japan. Somehow this particular review question has been a bit confusing lol

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Hold it right there, mister. :raised_hand:t4::point_up:t4::hocho:


Also, if it helps 山(さん)is a suffix meaning “Mount”. Hence 富士山(ふじさん)= Mount Fuji.

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Important things to remember:

  1. A pink background means you must enter a kanji reading. In the case of 山, both san and yama are correct readings, but since WaniKani taught you san, it will only accept san. Still, if you enter yama, it will not mark you wrong, since yama is a correct reading as well; it will just shake and ask for the other reading.

  2. A purple background means it’s a word. A word will only have one reading. ふじ山 is fujisan, and fujiyama is not a word. There is no hard rule as to which reading a word will use. 山道, for example, is yamamichi. The kanji 山 on a purple background is the word for mountain, and is also read yama.

This is all in much the same way that the letter C in English can be pronounced as either K or S depending of the word, but the word car cannot be pronounced sar. Sometimes you can guess, but you have to learn it on a word by word basis.


Thanks this makes it so much clearer! i’ll keep this in mind :smiley:

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I know you’re being semi-humorous, but I think you may be confusing the issue slightly. Onyomi is not actually more polite than kunyomi. Politeness in Japanese is a different concept from formality. So while it’s true that many onyomi compounds sound more sophisticated than everyday words using kunyomi, that doesn’t make them any more polite. And there are onyomi compound words that are less sophisticated than corresponding kunyomi words.

For example, WK teaches the onyomi compound word 便所(べんじょ)in level 11 to mean bathroom. That word sounds pretty crude in Japanese compared to the kunyomi compound お手洗い(おてあらい)(level 22) which is a much more genteel sounding way to say the same thing.

Sorry, I didn’t think of that! I was told by a Japanese native that Onyomi is more polite, but I forgot they probably just meant in that case. I’ve edited it now!

That’ll teach you listen to a Japanese native try to explain their own language (in English)! Your explanation above makes more sense now.

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Just to make something clear, “Fujiyama” has only ever been the reading in English - some early English visitor back in the day misread 富士山, but added it to their official English-Japanese phrasebook, and it’s stuck like that ever since.

(Though, to confuse matters, 富士山 is read as ふじやま when it’s functioning as a family name, so there’s that…)


So, like in 本, 天, 点, 王, 文, 分, all the numbers when used for regular counting, 用, 方, 気, 図, 金, 肉, 会, 曲, 辺, 変 (I stopped looking through the list at around level 7), I need to use the kunyomi, right? :slight_smile:

Sorry, I feel the need to complain every time I see this rule of thumb.

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It’s probably better to just use the on-kun rule as a guideline when you have no idea how to read a word, but you still have to check the actual reading every time. On top of the words that don’t follow this “rule”, there are words that do but use uncommon readings for the kanji, sometimes there’s an unexpected rendaku and stuff like that. There are also a few words that use neither on nor kun, but special readings that are only used for that word.

So yeah, don’t trust it with your life.

It’s much safer to say that, when you see hiragana, the kun’yomi is taken. There are so many exceptions to the standalone guideline that I can’t recommend it. However…

Right now, you see ふじ山 because you don’t yet know the actual kanji for ふじ (which @seanblue provided). As WaniKani will tell you countless times, if there is no hiragana, you’re more likely to see the on’yomi. Because ふじ山 is actually written, 富士山, you are looking at on’yomi here. You’ll actually be taught the proper jukugo later on (Level 31). Regardless of anyone’s complaint about that guideline, it’s one WK teaches and it works here. :expressionless:

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This seems like an invitation to nitpick :slight_smile:

What does “it works here” mean? It works in the case of Mount Fuji? Okay, I’ll give you that.

But my guess is that you meant more generally? I could be most generous and assume that you meant it works generally for kanji compounds, but I’m going to be intentionally unfairly restrictive and assume you meant “when talking about mountains in Japan” because then I can justify spending 5 minutes to categorize the top 100 mountains in Japan by whether they use onyomi or kunyomi :slight_smile:

Of the top 100 mountains by height, 12 have the suffix 山.

富士山 ふじさん
御嶽山 おんたけさん
別山 べっさん
小蓮華山 これんげさん
白山 はくさん

立山 たてやま
中盛丸山 なかもりまるやま
笹山 ささやま
将棊頭山 しょうぎがしらやま
小太郎山 こたろうやま
赤沢山 あかさわやま
新蛇抜山 しんじゃぬけやま

At least in the case of this sample of mountains, やま is the winner! At the very least, the rule doesn’t help you out with these names.

But you might be thinking, “but that was only 12, didn’t you say that this was a list of 100 mountains?”

Well, the overwhelmingly most common “mount” suffix in Japanese (for tall mountains anyway) appears to be 岳, which has the onyomi of がく the kunyomi of たけ.

More than 80 mountains on that list use that and they all either have the reading of たけ or the rendaku’d だけ.

So kunyomi wins by a landslide (pun intended) for mountains in Japan! Nit thoroughly picked.

EDIT: If you keep going beyond 100, やま gets more common.


Haha, great information, and doesn’t surprise me in the slightest! No, I literally meant “for this example,” as well as for the kanji compounds limited to those found in WaniKani. Of course, I have not taken a count so it’s quite possible that 音訓 compounds outnumber 音音 compounds, but I don’t intend to confirm that. I was not referring to the entirety of Japanese nor to all mountains, as I believe that’s a bit too deep for a level 3 user of WK with seemingly no strong Japanese background. :wink:

I personally don’t like any 音訓 guidelines, as all have failed me too many times to bother. :smirk:

Like as others has said its ふじさん a good way to remember this is to watch laid back camp. Not only is it a pretty good anime they reference the mount Fuji a lot. A random suggestion lol. Plus watching animes you can pick up on vocab words you know, while you may miss or not know the context you can still pick out words you know.

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Yeah, it’s perfectly fine to take literally 0% of what I said as a genuine rebuttal, I just had fun looking it up.

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It’s Fuji-san. -San is the honorific you add at the end. When 山 is written alone, it’s yama because that is the Japanese word for mountain.
Edit: I lied. I’m a liar. San is the on’yomi reading in this case. I’m very sorry, please don’t let this confuse you.

Just for clarity, さん is not an honorific here.

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And then you get the fun ones, like 桜島. And… 竜ヶ馬場?

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