I think all Japanese learners develop a deep love for kanji eventually. While you may not feel that way just yet, as your Japanese grows with your kanji knowledge, so does a strong everlasting bond. But even more than this, you learn how key kanji is to unlocking the essence of the language. The more, the better.
And so comes an important question asked by Jalup reader CallMeVince regarding kanji and Anki sentences.
If a word is commonly written using only kana, but it has a kanji version, which should I use on my Anki cards?
I tend to lean towards adding the kanji even if the original sentence didn’t use it. The dictionary already provides it. Even if it is uncommon to see it in hiragana, that doesn’t mean you won’t see it. And if you never added the kanji, you may not know the word when you come across it in this form.
It’s bad to make a judgment call as to what is common and what is not unless you are a high level. Most people who say you’ll never see it and it is a waste of time to learn it just simply have not read enough Japanese.
However, you don’t always need to add the kanji if it appears in multiple cards. Having it as 有る instead of ある is enough for one or two cards. Anything more than that is unnecessary and may start to become a hassle.
Worst case scenario?
It is kanji that is so rare and almost never used anymore in the written language.
But this isn’t as big a deal as you think. Anki works well because you combine it with native material. The material you have trouble remembering in Anki is the material you don’t see elsewhere. Which means it will start to stand out in Anki as you repeatedly get it wrong. If this starts to happen, just revert the kanji in the card to the kana at a later date.
Enjoy your kanji. They won’t steer you astray.
But how about you? Do you go overboard with kanji? Or do you try to avoid any possible unnecessary kanji expansion at all costs?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.