New Anki user asking for advice

Good day to everyone,

I recently started learning Japanese and also just discovered Anki. Seems a great idea to use Anki for it. I read through the manual and I’m kind of lost because there are so many configuration options in Anki. Which is definitely a good thing, but because of that, I don’t know how to do what I’m trying to do or if it is even possible. I also read the FAQ and the forum topics, but didn’t really find anything that could give me a hint on how to proceed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

For those that don’t know: Japanese has multiple scripts that can be used interchangeably. To simplify, most words can be written in their Kanji form or in either Hiragana or Katakana, depending on the word. Of course it makes sense to group this information together when learning it, and as far as I understand it, that’s what Anki uses fields for, correct? I was trying to create some templates, because I think that is the way to do what I want.

I want to enter a new note in the form of these three pieces of info into fields:

  1. an English word or phrase
  2. the matching Hiragana or Katakana form in Japanese
  3. the matching Kanji form in Japanese

Then I would like Anki to create 6 different types of cards from that note, in order to learn all the scripts equally:

  • English to Hiragana/Katakana
  • Hiragana/Katakana to English
  • English to Kanji
  • Kanji to English
  • Hiragana/Katakana to Kanji
  • Kanji to Hiragana/Katakana

I created some templates, but Anki keeps telling me that there is a problem, because the front sides of card types 1 and 3 are identical. Of course they are, because it’s the same word/phrase that just corresponds to a different representation of the answer, that I intend to learn separately.

Is this the correct way to go about it? How else could I do what I’m trying to achieve? I would be very thankful for any hints to point me in the right direction.

You are describing the right way to do what you want to do. However, if you have these two card types:

  • English to Hiragana/Katakana
  • English to Kanji

And the front (English) is identical, how would you know if your answer should be hiragana/katakana or kanji when you see an English word?

You can solve this problem by editing these two card types’ front templates to make them different. For example:

Card 1: English → Hiragana/Katakana

Card 2: English → Kanji


Creating 6 cards for each expression/reading/meaning triplet is going to increase your workload a fair bit - you may want to consider whittling it down to fewer cards, and perhaps combining two pieces of info on the back, like is done with Japanese Support - AnkiWeb


Thanks a lot. My mistake, I didn’t add any explanations to the cards yet. It works now.

Also thank you dae, will give that addon a try!

Just a tip, related to what said @dae about the workload. I think the best thing you could do is try your cards for a while. Then, take some time to think about the usefulness of each card in general. You can suspend every card that seem too easy.

When I started Spanish, I had 4 cards by words:

  • 1 to guess Spanish from English word
  • 1 to guess English from Spanish word
  • 1 to recall the gender of the word
  • 1 to type the correct spelling of the Spanish word

Well. Checking gender and spelling is quite useless in the vast majority of the words I encounter, and trying to recall the meaning of Spanish word is mostly useless right now. So I need only 1 card most of the time and 1 or 2 other cards sometimes. The solution is Conditional replacement (manual).

Right now, try all your cards, but don’t forget to check this after a while.

Ok, follow up question. I tried creating some cards, and mostly, my plan seems to be working: I can generate cards according to my templates just fine. But for some reason, sometimes cards don’t seem to be shown correctly. I tried to attach a link to an exported deck I have created, but apparently, I’m not allowed to post links here. So I’ll try to explain the issue as best as I can.

In the browse cards window, it clearly shows all 18 cards that have been generated from my notes. However, the newest addition (“Pleased to meet you” from Hiragana to English) is not counted in the main Anki window, nor does it show up when I learn the cards from this deck; even though the counterpart (English to Hiragana) that was generated at the same time shows up fine. I could understand that if it was somehow a duplicate of another card or something, but that is not the case as far as I can see. Can anyone explain why this last card is not showing up correctly?

@guidigoi Thanks for the advice! I already planned on editing my card collection extensively as I learn the language. I will definitely take a look at conditional replacement when that time comes. I guess you specifically mean controlling which cards are generated by blanking the front side?

I’m happy to report that I am a software developer, so the syntax is not what’s causing me trouble here :wink:

EDIT: Never mind, I figured it out: I had a daily limit of 20 new cards (I knew that) and I had already learned three “test cards” that I later deleted. Even though they were deleted, they were still counted into the limit of 20 and the 18th card showed up today. Off to add more cards!

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