Am I going too slow?

Hey everyone,

I started my WaniKani journey in February of 2019. Since that day I have done my reviews daily except for my two week trip to Japan.
You might expect that I’m already quite on my way in the program but the opposite is true, I’m just arriving at level 16.
When I started I learned 20 words each day but that overwhelmed me really quickly. The problem was not that I had too little time to use WaniKani, what the problem actually was is that I have trouble reaching any percentage higher than 70% on how many words I got correct. With this I would often have a lot of words returning daily for about a week before they would slowly be reaching Guru.
Over time I slowed down to 10 words each day to see if that would reduce waking up with over 100 reviews. This then slowed down to 10 each weekday until now doing about 3 days a week of learning 10 new words.
I don’t mind doing a lot of reviews, however with many mistakes, it also takes a lot longer. It isn’t unusual I mistake the reading 3 times in a row for a word before I remember it correctly to at least move on to the next word. My current rythem I have 45 minutes to start my reviews and that usually just makes it able to finish those I woke up with. Then during the day I do reviews for as long as needed (usually 20 minutes) about 3 times a day.

Even going slow I still see how much I learn from it and makes me able to do. I’m reading the yotsuba manga on my own right now and would never have been able to make sense of the kanji without WaniKani having my back.

With my slow pace, I’m feeling it is going to take literally years before I might ever reach 60. So I am wondering if any of you out there maybe have tips for me how to increase my tempo without it becoming too much.

Thank you so much for listening to this long paragraph, may your path to Japanese fluency be easy and fun! :smiley:

Greetings Ivan


I don’t think there is a going too slow or anything, if you feel like your current workload is enough then you should not increase. Otherwise, you can always do more lessons every day, but to have almost max speed the rate is 30 lessons a day, so you don’t have to increase a lot.

I think that’s the most important part about the Journey, Wanikani is only a tool to learn kanji, it should not be 100% of what you do for Japanese studies, what you’re doing is great, mix learning kanjis and reading.
Don’t stress over being slow (because you’re not, I am lvl 22 and I started in 2017 :eyes:, everyone has their own journey).

Hope that helped :wink: Enjoy the ride!


Your own pace is never too slow


It seems you are dissatisfied with your accuracy. Do you do extra studying after completing your lessons? Like going over each item and reciting meaning/reading/mnemonics load? It greatly increased my own accuracy…


It’s only too slow if you’re on monthly payments. It looks like you paid for lifetime. If you’re reading manga you like and don’t have a set deadline, what’s the rush?


As long as you’re putting in consistent effort, I don’t think there really is such a thing as going too slowly. After all, you’re still making progress, and you’ve found a pacing that works best for you. :slight_smile:

A few things I’ve been trying to do to help retain memory:

  1. Try to pick out the radicals during the first time I see a new kanji
  2. Learn the mnemonic for that kanji and repeat it a few times in my head
  3. Learn the vocabulary and read it in a sentence

Also, there’s nothing wrong with failing reviews! In the software dev world, one of the principles is to fail and to fail quickly. The SRS system will help you distinguish the troublesome items, and those are the ones you can focus more energy into studying. Let’s do our best!


I started WaniKani in 2015 and I’m level 59. Although I didn’t start doing it consistently until 2017, still over 2.5 years ago now. No pace is too slow except for doing nothing. Just keep it up and don’t be too hard on yourself. (And study grammar and practice listening- those are the skills that’ll really help you feel like you’re making progress). Good luck!


Isn’t that the best feeling? What more can one ask? This is not a race, and as long as you feel like it’s working, then it’s working.

Keep it up! :tada:


As long as you don’t have to reset, it is not too slow! Just make sure it sticks.

Just go at マイペース (not yours), and it should be OK.

Also, when it reaches around lv30, it might stop to matter. You might want to focus on other areas, rather than Kanji. (e.g. reading, listening, comprehension)

Doing well in about 3 years might not be so bad.


I am going to provide a slightly different viewpoint and say that while you may not be going too slow, I think the reason you are progressing at a slower speed may be due to the way you are studying.

In order to really progress through WK with accuracy, it is important the mnemonics are memorable. Rote memorization will work to a point, but when that fails, being able to fall back on some sort of memorable story to recall the meaning/reading is extremely helpful. If you do not spend enough time either memorizing the mnemonics provided or writing your own, I think your accuracy may continue to suffer.

Do you feel like the mnemonics are memorable for you, or has that been a challenge?


I will often focus on the ones giving me trouble and will have a separate tab open with the specific level I am working on so I can study. I also like to have a tab open with the next level and work on those from time to time. I noticed that the mnemonics have helped a lot. Self-study quiz and Kani wani also have been great tools to use.

If you’ve never studied Japanese or been exposed to kanji, the task is a daunting one. Try and supplement WK by creating powerful links with the kanji that you’ve just studied by doing some light reading. Being in Japan, the amount of times this happens daily is always such a great feeling and quite amusing. Also just think how many kanji you understand at L15, by L30, you will know around 80-90% of kanji used in texts. So maybe look at L30 as the next mini-goal.


As you can see…its pretty unanimous that slow and steady wins the race. I’m lv22 and my account is over 5 years old (granted I took breaks and actually reset my account to lv10)

WK has its issues but in the long term it will guarantee success if you stick with it. Consistency is key, and if you are getting stuff wrong, that’s normal for SRS.

You can either study on the side if you want to go faster or just get them wrong but take the time to actually re-read the descriptions. Just let SRS do its thing and eventually you will stop getting it wrong.

The only constraint is the membership fee, which if you are concerned about you can consider the lifetime account or back to the books/Anki.


Pgoonghang’s Laws of Wani Kani #4:

No-one ever goes too slow.


tldr; Give each word or kanji a solid few minutes of attention in the lesson in particular. Really visualize the mnemonic and make it vivid and real.

The thing that helps me the most is making sure I really, really take plenty of time during lessons in particular. Make sure you’re in a quiet, calm place and your brain feels pretty on. Read through the mnemonic and consider if it’s one that is going to be memorable for you. If not, try to think of your own. When you have one that feels vivid, close your eyes and create a mental picture or movie. Play around with switching between the picture, the kanji, and the meaning. During early reviews, give yourself a good minute or two to try to recall the mnemonic before giving up as well. I often suspect that people think they’re doing the things to get the mnemonic in there, but don’t give themselves enough time before they decide to just move on.

As always, ymmv, but doing this and spending a good few minutes with each word during the lessons (I would guess I average 3-ish min looking at each word/kanji during lessons?) really helped me. The nice thing here is that you should really only have to do this one time for each word/kanji during lessons (although do go back if there are words you find aren’t sticking), so it shouldn’t impact review speed too much. Eventually the mnemonic will probably just drop away naturally (don’t worry about remembering it at that point) and you just know the word. I’ve been here forever and reset back to level 1 from the late 30s - those early words and kanji are still really, really stuck for me. I don’t think I will probably ever forget them.

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Actually I’m also just curious… how long does everyone else spend on each item during the lessons? How long do you spend trying to remember during reviews before giving up? Does that change from earlier to later reviews for an item?

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I started serving the Crabigator on May 6, 2015. I completed my final lesson of level 60 on October 16, 2018 but still am not finished since I have 479 items left to burn.


Just a couple weeks older than me—promise, I’m almost there…!

Vocab I jot down a few times and don’t worry about. Kanji lessons I treat like precious metals.
The vocab comes eventually, anyway.