Memorizing On'yomi... any hints?

Kira Resari
Asked 4 years ago


Am I the only one who is finding the on'yomi of new kanji particularly troublesome? I can easliy remember the Kun'yomi, because that appears to be how I mentally connect to the kanji. However, I always have trouble remembering the On'yomi until I actually learn some words that use the kanji in its On'yomi form.

To go into greater detail of my user case, whenever I unlock the drills for new kanji, I normally get the kanji translations in both directions and the Kun'yomi right on the first try, but consequently mess up the On'yomi (unless I already know a word where the kanji is used in its On'yomi form).

Am I the only one having this issue? Or is it normal that On'yomi can be confusing until you learn a word where it is used?

Know someone who might be able to answer this question?

2 Answers


I'm the same, until the reading of a kanji is actually used in a word I struggle to remember kanji readings. I foudn what's works best for me is to put the readings in to some form of sentence, even if they can sometimes be really abstract. For example, with the kanji  (fire) the On'yomi is . I always say to myself "I n't touch the fire". Everyone works differently, but I hope this helps :). If you want to remember that the reading is in On'yomi specifically, perhaps add a trigger word for it (I like to use China, foreign, or anything rhyming with On). For example, "I n't touch the fire in China"

がんばって! (頑張って)

Answered 4 years ago


My suggestion is not to try memorising things as 'onyoumi' and 'kunyoumi' as it were.

Instead - and this is what I do - learn useful vocabulary which uses all variants of pronunciation so you know 'right this kanji is read this way in this word and that way and that word' and job done.

Basically my reasoning is in real life no-one's going to ask you what's the kunyoumi of this kanji, however they will expect you to know how to read a word as it's written without furigana.

Answered 4 years ago