Yet Another Wanikani Could Be More Useful Thread (aka, fixing WK's missing kanji readings)

Well I’m 3/4 of the way through WK’s program and about to make it into the fast levels so I thought it would be a good time to offer some feedback tempered by experience.

First off, I love this site. I don’t want it to let me go any faster, I don’t want it to let me unlock stuff I’ve already seen from later levels to study them sooner, I like the silly radicals and mnemonics (even if I do use the keisei script to bypass them sometimes), and I don’t want it to cover all the vocab in core 10K or whatever. One website to teach me how to read the kanji, while I pick up more vocab from native material and check imabi every so often for grammar, is perfect for my study needs.

That said, sometimes I see a kanji I already know in a compound word, and realize WK only taught me the kun’yomi, despite being able to guess its meaning easily enough. Or listening to music or anime I’ll hear a verb I need to look up, and jisho will smack me with a familiar kanji, and I can’t help but think, “wtf, why didn’t WK teach me this one had a kunyomi too?” Even with WK’s stated mission being to teach us how to read the kanji and nothing more, each time it feels like a little failure at that mission.

To that end I’ve been keeping a list, since about 10 levels ago, of words that have given me this wtf moment. I made sure to include only those jisho lists as “common”, for whatever that’s worth, and label them by JLPT level (although aiui even that’s kinda fuzzy).

I can’t think of any reason WK shouldn’t teach these kanji readings

明らか・あきらか - obvious, evident, clear, plain (N3)
度・たび - time, each time (N3)
満ちる・みちる - to be full, to wax/rise (N3) (and/or 満たす (N1))
種・たね - seed, material, source (N3)
去る・さる - to leave, to elapse (N3)
疑う・うたがう - to doubt, to distrust (N3) (and/or 疑い)
結ぶ・むすぶ - to tie, to bind (N3)
優れる・すぐれる - to surpass, to excel (N3)
呼吸・こきゅう - breathing, knack (N3) (呼 onyomi)
抱える・かかえる - to hold, to carry in arms (N3)
問う・とう - to ask, to inquire, to accuse (N1)

重ねる・かさねる - to pile up, to overlap (N2) (and/or 重なる)
押さえる・おさえる - to restrain, to suppress (N2) (or as 抑える)
探る・さぐる - to investigate, to search for (fumbling/groping nuance) (N2)
回答・かいとう - reply, answer (N2) (答 onyomi)
背負う・せおう - to carry on back, to take responsibility for (N2) (or 負う (N1))

青春・せいしゅん - youth (N1 (altho basically impossible to watch anime w/o learning this one)) (春 onyomi)
強いる・しいる - to force, to compel, to coerce (N1)
記す・しるす - to write down, to note (N1)
軽率・けいそつ - rash, careless (N1) (率’s 2nd onyomi)
歩む・あゆむ - to walk, to go on foot (N1) (or 歩み寄る) thanks @Vanilla
築く・きずく - to build, to amass (N1)

I’ve also got a bunch of other words whose cases to be added are a bit weaker than the above’s, for whatever reason. Again all “common words”; categories here in descending order of (perceived, in my opinion) importance.

Words with readings WK teaches but not until much later levels

様子・ようす - state, circumstances, appearance (N3) (子’s 2nd onyomi not taught until level 46) (vanilla beat me to this one :slight_smile: )
追加・ついか - supplement, append (N2) (appears on websites’ UIs often e.g. twitter, youtube) (追 onyomi not taught until level 53)
行儀・ぎょうぎ - manners, behaviour (N3) (行’s 2nd onyomi not taught until level 57)
望遠鏡・ぼうえんきょう - telescope (N2) (鏡 onyomi not taught until level 42) (ok maybe uncommon for most ppl; I follow some astronomy stuff on twitter though)

Words already taught but with alternate readings I would add

開く・ひらく - to open (nuance of unfolding/expanding) (N4)
打つ・ぶつ - to hit (a person) (N3)
空く・すく - to become empty (esp. hungry) (N3)
額・ひたい - forehead (N3)
摘む・つまむ - to pinch, to pick up/out (N1)

Words usually written in kana but maybe common enough to learn anyway

等・など - etcetera, the likes of (N5)
温い・ぬるい - lukewarm, tepid (N5)
正に・まさに - surely, certainly, right then (N3) (まさ reading common in names)
怪我・けが - injury (N3) (怪’s け reading otherwise not taught)
留まる・とどまる - to remain, to stay (N2) (or as alternate reading of 止まる)
細やか・ささやか - meager, modest (heard in songs a lot)

Words which are ateji rather than actual kanji readings but still very common

八百屋・やおや - greengrocer (N5)
微笑む・ほほえむ - to smile (N3)
流行る・はやる - to be popular/prevalent, to flourish (N2)

Words I found exploring jisho rather than personally encountering in native material

工夫・くふう - scheme, device (N3) (工’s 2nd onyomi) (or 大工, carpenter (N2))
和やか・なごやか - mild, calm, amiable, peaceful (N1)
健やか・すこやか - vigorous, healthy (N1)
速やか・すみやか - speedy, prompt, smooth

Finally, just in case adding new words is an issue of total vocabulary and you’d need to remove stuff to add anything new, I picked out a few vocabs I feel serve no point in WK’s curriculum. (Considering I built this list starting at level 30 it’ll be a bit biased to hell words.)

Words to remove if it’s an issue of making room

イギリス人 - this one’s description straight up admits that it’s a stretch that it belongs on a kanji learning site lol
恥ずかしがる - 恥ずかしい is already taught and by level 37 I’d expect people to know the がる grammar already
御飯 - ご飯 already taught on lvl 15 and 御 has plenty other examples
宜しくお願いします - both halves of it already taught separately and i’d expect anyone lvl 40 to know it already
携帯ストラップ - I appreciate the katakana practice but if I see this in the wild already knowing 携帯 I promise I will have 0 trouble

Well, that’s my piece. Please keep in mind that I’m writing out of love for WK, because I love having all my jp study (apart from native material consumption) concentrated in one place, and I’d like it to be even better for future users if possible. I also have some gripes with certain mnemonics and synonym inconsistency but I feel more strongly about this issue so I’ll leave those for another day and keep the topic more focused.

Discuss away. New vocab submissions for the list also welcome.


Just a heads up, you have 要す instead of 様子

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There will always be lots of missed words, even if they boost the number significantly.

A good solution to this issue would either be to allow scripts to append user defined items as lessons and reviews for community items, or really sit down and offer paid “booster packs” like medial terms, business terms or even anime terms; I expect that would actually sell well without seeming too much of a ripoff.

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WK teaches 奉行, though, sure, there are more useful ぎょう words out there.

WK teaches 押す, so they teach that kunyomi.

Also, I would just warn against taking Jisho’s declaration of JLPT levels without a small pile of salt. It’s someone’s (who? I’m not even sure) best guesses. I guess you didn’t specify where you got them, but that’s where people tend to refer to. You did mention that you got the common word thing from Jisho, but that can be pretty wonky too.

Also, there’s often a disparity between what level a word is and what level you’d be expected to read the kanji. For instance, メガネ is an N5 word, but any text with 眼鏡 in it will probably have furigana until N1. With reference to the “usually written in kana” ones.

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ahh, nice catches. I originally saw the latter as 抑える, which is why it made the list. it makes more sense that it comes from 押す. and I’ve changed 行儀’s category.

the usually-kana ones are definitely a mixed bag. I remember seeing 等・など in particular written in kanji, and being like “…the hell is that?”, but most of the other ones were indeed seen in kana or heard spoken/sung so I suppose they’re more there to chronicle my experience than to plead for their addition.

I’ll be honest, I forgot that basically all of these weren’t on WK, because I know them from picking them up through all kinds of other study methods.

Of the ones you listed, I feel like there are few that WK has no reason not to add, like 去る, but others, like 強いる would be a very low priority.

But I don’t have to pay people to make the mnemonics and whatnot, so if they add them cool. If they don’t, I still learned 8000 other things.

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Yeah, there are a few I feel like kinda got skipped over. 空く is in that same boat. Obviously I can’t speak for what koichi fully intended, but I expected to be able to come across words that have kanji I used and not be surprised by the way its read. That is to say, I’ll have learned on here that specific reading for the kanji one way or another. All in all, the site does that pretty well, but not perfectly.

It all boils down if its worth closing up those last readings that aren’t taught on here. For some words, I think its a no brainer, but I wouldn’t care if for a few select cases. If its a reading found only in a single uncommon word, for example, I’d say its not even worth the effort. Just learn the word when you come across it a year down the road.

Also @bblum , you can add 歩’s あゆ reading to the list.

Found in 歩み寄る/歩む

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Ah, but I think the point here is that specific words should be added to teach missing kanji readings. I think adding extra words simply for the vocabulary boost or providing booster packs of specialist terms is a separate issue from what the OP is talking about.

(sorry if I’ve misunderstood your post!)


Yeah, I think it was just him missing the point. Naturally, adding more vocab and teaching more readings will overlap since vocab is how wk teaches new readings, but the point is to specifically add vocab that would bring new readings to the table/sooner.

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