The Kanshudo Blog

Kanji usefulness

Posted: 2019-10-28, Tags: kanji usefulness ring
As part of our transition to the new Japanese Mastery system, which tracks your progress with grammar and vocabulary as well as kanji in your Dashboard, we're introducing a 'usefulness' rating consistent with the usefulness rating already used for vocabulary and grammar points. This replaces the old 'ring' designation of kanji.
Kanji usefulness levels start with 'K' for kana, and then go from 1 - 8. Usefulness levels 1 - 5 represent the Jōyō kanji, and map directly to the former rings 2 - 6. In other words:
  • kana used to be 'ring 1', but are now 'usefulness K'
  • the most common kanji used to be 'ring 2', but are now 'usefulness 1'
  • etc.
What used to be ring 7 contained 'everything outside the Jōyō'. With the new system this is now more clearly broken out into separate usefulness levels:
This new system makes it much easier to see the study requirements for your Japanese Mastery Level. For example, if you are studying mastery levels 10-19, you can see at a glance from the first digit (the 1) that you should be focusing on kanji with usefulness 1, grammar points with usefulness 1, and vocabulary with usefulness 1.
You can find kanji by usefulness level with the special ufn: search keyword. So for example, to find all kana, you would run a kanji search for ufn:K. To find all kanji with usefulness level 3 (formerly ring 4), you would run a kanji search for ufn:3.
You can combine the ufn: keyword with the mymastery: keyword to find kanji with a specific usefulness that you have mastered to a specific level. For example, ufn:1 mymastery:4 will show you all kanji with usefulness 1 that you have fully mastered.
Your kanji mastery wheel looks just the same, and still has the name number of actual rings - all that's changed is how we describe them!