The function of associations in improving memory for vocabulary has been widely testified and admitted. There are morphological and semantic associations between Chinese and Japanese vocabularies. However, whether explicitly knowing the associations can improve Chinese learners’ memories for the kunyomi (Japanese native readings for kanji) of Japanese new words has not attracted much attention from researchers. To clarify the phenomenon, an experiment was conducted on novice Chinese learners of Japanese. The results could not demonstrate that teaching the associations improved the learners’ memories for the kunyomi of new words when they had not yet grasped the Japanese expressions of the concepts related to the associations. But the results do imply that knowing the associations can help the learners’ memories if they already know the expressions associated with the kunyomi of the target Japanese words. The results of the experiment also indicate that the learners’ memories for the kunyomi of the new words are better if the words are associated with each other. We infer that this somewhat benefits from strong associations between Chinese and Japanese vocabularies.