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What is it about these MCDs? BONUS: The Easy Button

This entry is part 14 of 14 in the series Best of AJATT+ Forum
This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series MCD Revolution

Ever notice how we like to do things that are easy, and we don’t like to do things that are hard?

For example, maybe you aren’t really into this episode of “Is the Food Delicious or Not?” but the remote is out of arm’s reach, and you’re pretty comfortably settled onto the couch, and you have an adorable cat lying on top of you. Guess what you’ll end up watching.

Well, there’s good news for us lazy slobs. MCDs are insanely easy to make.

Surusu can create up to 512 MCDs in a single click.

Not a Surusu user? AJATT+ member tokyostyle created a plugin for Anki that automatically generates MCDs. As if this didn’t get him enough awesome points, he constantly checks feedback and suggestions from the users who post their comments in the thread and updates/tweaks the plugin accordingly.

Copy/pasted for non-AJATT+ members:

 Main Project:



1. Click File -> Download -> Shared Plugin …

2. Search for “MCD Support for Anki”

3. Select “MCD Support for Anki v1.2”

4. Click OK

5. Restart Anki


Deck Preparation

1. Open your Sentences or MCD deck.

2. Click Settings -> Deck Properties …

3. Click the “Add” button

4. Select “Add: Japanese MCD” and click OK

5. Close the Deck Properties window


Adding MCD Cards

1. Open your Sentences / MCD deck

2. Click Tools -> Add MCD Cards OR Press F9

3. Paste the passage you want to learn into the “Text” box

4. Add any notes you want on the back of the card to the “Notes” box

5. Add the words, kanji, kana, etc. you want clozed in the Clozes box

6. Make sure all of your clozes have spaces between them!

7. Add any tags you want these cards to have

8. Click the Add button


* If all goes well you will soon see a small status line telling you how many cards were just added.


Try it out and leave some feedback for tokyostyle on the forum.

So now you have no excuse to not try MCDs. Make some and post your thoughts/insights/revelations in the comments!

Series Navigation<< What is it about these MCDs? Part 5: The Variety
Series Navigation<< What is it about these MCDs? Part 4: The Active Output12 Free MCD Examples >>

  34 comments for “What is it about these MCDs? BONUS: The Easy Button

  1. アンソニー
    March 19, 2012 at 01:00

    So MCD’s are basically the Mcdonalds of SRSing. Quick, cheap, addicting, and makes you fat (with Japanese knowledge) in no time =P

  2. Sholum
    March 19, 2012 at 05:20

    This is great! I was just thinking how awesome it would be if Anki had easy MCD creation like Surusu! I was just too lazy to learn how to use Surusu after getting used to Anki, so this will help a lot.
    That is, it will help a lot once I finish RTK (won’t be too much longer).

    March 19, 2012 at 07:26

    tokyostyle should upload his Anki plugin to mediafire and post it in the comments.

    • 名前
      March 19, 2012 at 15:07

      It’s already publicly available through anki itself and has been for awhile now.
      Or if you want to manually download it, go to his github link in the article above and click download zip.

        March 19, 2012 at 17:59

        Cheers boss.

  4. kris
    March 19, 2012 at 18:35

    Can someone explain what exactly MCD’s are ? i still don’t get it after reading everything.  

    • ブライアン
      March 22, 2012 at 13:02

      A block of native text on an SRS card with a small piece blocked (clozed) out.  Fill in the blank, get a cookie and pass the card.  Everything outside the blank is only relevant as context to help you find what fits there.

  5. March 19, 2012 at 20:14

    I use anki 2 to create multiple cloze deletions. It works like a charm.

    • June 13, 2012 at 02:09

      The plugin is available for Anki 2 and makes MCDs even faster and easier to create.

      Furthermore the plugin will have Mecab support, thanks to a generous GitHub contributor, which will allow you to create insane amounts of MCDs from a single cut and paste.

  6. Sheridan
    March 19, 2012 at 23:53

    Can you please explain how to create MCDs in Surusu?  I signed up specifically for this feature and spent 30 minutes trying to do it without any success.  A quick example would be much appreciated.

    • J
      March 20, 2012 at 08:24

      Super easy. Im doing Bilingual cards right now so lets do that.
      Click the add button in Surusu.
      On the Front of the card type in the Japanese sentence followed by the translation.
      Front: これは猫だ
            This is a Cat
      On the back I usually put Kanji readings and any extra “relevent information”
      Back 猫=ねこ
      Then you scroll down to the box that says “[Base] Clozetext(s)” and paste the Japanese sentence there and separate each word you want to make a card for with white space, like..
      これ は 猫
      Then click “Create Cloze Cards” and you’re done! It usually takes awhile for your new cards to show up though. Up to 10 hours once for me.
      The result of the above would create 3 cards..
      This is a Cat
      This is a Cat
      This is a Cat

      • J
        March 20, 2012 at 08:30

        That looked way better before I hit post..
        The example i posted was a single sentence, but I like to put 4 or 5 similar sentences on the front of the card to get a bit more context on the bilingual cards.

      • クリス
        March 22, 2012 at 05:01

        I’m also making bilingual MCD cards right now. Instead of putting the English translation on the front, I’ll put it on the back. This kinda retains the feel of the traditional sentence cards, but with the MCD format (MCD/traditional hybrid?)
        Here’s an example…


        “You couldn’t send me a letter?”
        When I grade my reps I only take the cloze deletion portion into consideration. However, having the sentence by itself on the front forces me to read and find a translation.

  7. フレヂィー
    March 20, 2012 at 00:48

    Thank you for sharing the plugin with the regular AJATT blog viewers. Tried it and worked beautifully. 

  8. irmoony
    March 21, 2012 at 03:36

    I’m probably being really frigign’ annoying by now, but honestly, I’ve been getting great answers to my questions here, so, one last off-topic question, guys?

    Up until now I’ve been mostly using ready-made sentences to learn vocab (core2k), but recently I finally started reading stuff, blogs, manga, books (I really like the blogs). While reading stuff is fun, just thinking about stopping and adding stuff to Anki makes me go “ewww”. In addition to that, I find it much harder to remember words from sentences I got off the web, as opposed to Core, which is further discouraging.

    What do you suppose might be the problem? |D

    • 名前
      March 22, 2012 at 00:11

      I kinda agree with you about adding stuff to Anki. There are a few times that I add things to Anki:
      I add stuff I can copy/paste from blogs and other websites.
      If I’m reading manga on the computer and find an interesting sentence. (I do this for motivation to keep reading too, because I rather dislike reading things on my computer for some reason.)
      When I’m bored and I just really want to learn something I like better, I’ll go ahead and add that to Anki as well. I’ll usually try to find a transcript of it online first; amazingly, there usually is one. I’ve had to resort to typing some of it out before too though.
      I try to make adding stuff really quick and simple and this plugin has helped with that. When I’m doing the reviews for the first time, I’ll go ahead and add the definitions to the cards that I need them on as I come across them because I wouldn’t have the self-discipline to do it all at once after adding the cards.
      There is a little difference between reviewing the pre-made decks like core2k and cards that you make. You really just need to find a card format that works for you. I have cards in about 6 different formats in my deck and some of them are definitely better than others. I used to use the core decks but I eventually lost motivation to do them because I found the sentences all too uninteresting. If you don’t have that problem with them, they can be a really good starting point. However, you’ll eventually outgrow them, so it’d be nice to get in the habit of making your own cards before that time comes. The benefit to using the cards that I add are that I know exactly where they came from and it is even a little nostalgic in the sense that I can look back on what I was reading/watching/listening to at the time. And if something gets too uninteresting, I don’t really hesitate in deleting it anymore.
      Ultimately everyone’s preferences are different and you just need to experiment a little and find something that works for you.

    • フレヂィー
      March 22, 2012 at 05:52

      One thing I recommend is to do what I’ve been doing lately. Though this mainly works if you work on a computer all day like me.

      I keep a text file and just keep adding things, at end of day I wrote a script that adds the files to Anki automatically. But you can easily just import them manually end of day, or week, what have you.

      example of text file.

      地図 (ちず);map
      地獄 (じごく);hell
      成功 (せいこう);success
      成長 (せいちゅう);growth
      市販 (しはん);commercially available
      製品 (せいひん);goods


      This helps a little with the issue of adding stuff to anki one at a time, you can do sentences, too. 


      • Sholum
        March 23, 2012 at 04:57

        Care to share your script? Or is it Top Secret?
        To me, every little thing helps (as I’m quite lazy and tend to procrastinate a lot). I even made a slightly simpler (if you’re a windows user) batch file to open Anki for me every hour. (It’s only simpler because it doesn’t require any outside programs except a tool from Microsoft (free) to give a SLEEP command)
        I might rewrite it in Python (’cause I know more of Python and it will work better for anyone).

        • Prin
          March 26, 2012 at 13:20

          There’s actually a very useful plugin uploaded to Anki that can add vocab cards from text files, called “Yomichan.” It’s nice due to the fact that you can add multiple different words from a single fragment of text (like the first segment of four-character compounds) and that you can pick up where you left off when reading a text file. I use it for adding vocab from visual novel logs I keep around, or from digitized books. You can even import the sentence the word was in, for extra context.
          Hope this helps!

          • Sholum
            March 28, 2012 at 03:24

            Thanks! I’m sure this will help a lot!
            After using my batch file for a while, I’ve found it’s intrusive enough to annoy me, but I have yet to do any reps when it pops up. “Next time” I tell myself.
            It does work though, so I’ll just have to be more disciplined. I’m not going to whip myself, but telling myself to do my reps before continuing what I was doing will be good enough (I only do thirty cards per session, so it’s not like it’s a lot).

      • irmoony
        March 25, 2012 at 22:07

        Hm, that’s actually similar to what I was going to try. But unfortunately, it’ll have to wait, because my computer has broken down yet again, so I’ll just have to stick to reviewing stuff on my iPod.
        But I do second the question: do you think you could share the script? I’m sure it’d be a lot of help to other lazy Anki users – or at least ones that don’t have enough knowledge to create such a script themselves xD

  9. Octonion
    March 27, 2012 at 09:11

    I wont try to guess what フレヂィー is doing, but take a look at  Anki can import files in a simple format into decks, the question and answer just need to be separated by a tab, semicolon, or other special character.  If it helps you can open a deck, choose “export” from the “file” menu and then choose “cards in tab-separated file” as the format.  This will give you a file in the same format you’d use to import cards. If you’re uploading whole sentences you can then use the “Regenerate Readings” action ( to generate the furigana, assuming you’re using the Japanese plugin.

  10. Rob
    March 28, 2012 at 07:43

    Hi guys.

    Has anyone heard/used Michel Thomas method? I’ve only started learning Japanese and I went for Michel’s course because I had used it before (to learn Spanish) and I must say it worked perfectly for me. After a month or so (to be honest I didn’t study that hard), i was able to hold a simple conversation with a native Spanish person. At the same time I discovered Anki and I’m using “Heidig’s Remembering the Kanji” deck. 

    Just wonder if there’s anyone out there who used Michel’s method to learn Japanese…


  11. zhinxy
    March 29, 2012 at 00:08

    I used Michel Thomas along with sentence decks and a sprinkle of this and that I found it fun and a good way to pick up the grammar and get a feel for particle use. I would never rely on it as a primary base for learning your nihongo, tho! 

  12. dc0cc
    April 4, 2012 at 01:57

    Appreciate the add-on and the articles. I’ve since incorporated MCDs as a way to contextualize the individual kanji’s of compounds, while relying on sentences to contextualize the meaning of the compounds themselves. It has been too early to tell whether or not this is effective, but I certainly feel like it’s going somewhere
    Thanks again dude, this site has been the primary catalyst for the path that I started down 6 months ago.

  13. FarClimb
    July 21, 2012 at 12:09

    Can’t make Surusu work!! The Clozed stuff is too difficult and the interface too wacky for a non-computer nut like myself!! 😐

  14. FarClimb
    July 23, 2012 at 01:45

    allow me to change my opinion on this.
    i figured out how to set-up the phrases i want clozed… this is the real deal.
    this is SRS evolved. this is the next step. you literally just continue reading or listening to what you want, as you input it. it is so much more exciting and satisfying than plowing through an SRS deck filled with 20 kanji in a single sentence.
    congrats on this excellent new system, AJATT members!

  15. Jacob
    August 7, 2012 at 14:57

    So im working on my kanji but im interested in these MCD’s that are so easy but i have nooo idea what they are this series has confused me and im curious if someone can explain it to my like im five or something

    • Jacob
      August 7, 2012 at 15:01

      I would just like to clarify i meant “so easy” and that i dont intend to start them until i finish RTK1+3

  16. beneficii
    August 19, 2013 at 07:30

    How do you do this:

    Deck Preparation

    1. Open your Sentences or MCD deck.

    2. Click Settings -> Deck Properties …

    3. Click the “Add” button

    4. Select “Add: Japanese MCD” and click OK

    5. Close the Deck Properties window

    How do you do number 1? Everything I try does not allow for me to go to number 2. I cannot find any option in Anki, with mcdsupport installed, that matches number 2, and I have no idea what number 1 refers to.

    I know. I’m totally clueless.

  17. cel pintat de vermell
    April 3, 2014 at 22:55

    I’d like to know if there is a way to set a note for each clozed word, e.g.

    “My cat has teared my new shirt.”

    Cloze 1: “cat”
    Note 1: (dictionary definition) a small domesticated feline mammal

    Cloze 2: “teared”
    Note 2: to cause (material, paper, etc) to come apart or (of material, etc) to come apart.

    So, when I’m reading cloze 1 the card should show:

    “My #### has teared my new shirt.”
    *a small domesticated feline mammal

    and cloze 2:

    “My cat has #### my new shirt.”
    *to cause (material, paper, etc) to come apart or (of material, etc) to come apart.

    Can I do this? D:

    • Tom
      July 29, 2014 at 11:25

      I second the last question about separate notes. @cel pintat de vermell – if you have found a solution, let me know!

    • gasg
      November 29, 2014 at 21:10


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