About how long does it take to unlock all levels with prior kanji knowledge?

So as the title suggests, I have prior kanji knowledge; I took Japanese my second year of college and studied abroad in Japan for my third year of college and completed a Japanese Language and Japan Studies program there. In total, I’ve learned how to write somewhere between 800 - 900 kanji and read 1000+.

I’m trying out wanikani because this past year I kind of fell off the wagon because I was so busy taking a lot of classes to complete my degree on time that I had no time to re-enroll in our Japanese program post study abroad and I forgot quite a bit of things so I’m relearning grammars and kanji but since I have so many things going on this summer I turned to wanikani since it takes care of a lot of the work for me and all I have to do is study the sets. Despite being told it was a waste of time because I already know so many kanji, I went for it anyway because I don’t have time to create my own routine and wanikani’s so far doesn’t seem too bad.

My question is: given that I already know quite a bit of kanji, would the process be faster for me? and if so, roughly how long would it take to simply unlock all levels? I’m not concerned with how long it would take to burn turtles or whatever just how long to unlock all levels

Thanks and sorry for the super long background story, I give a lot of background story to avoid getting stupid/ unhelpful answers to my stupid questions

Having prior kanji knowledge makes it probably a bit less likely that you’ll make mistakes, but it won’t speed things up for you at all. For most levels, the fastest you can possibly complete them is six days and twenty hours (some take half as long).


You can unlock everything in a year

knowing everything doesnt make level progression significantly faster but if you do know everything then its more likely you wont make mistakes --> you level up as fast as possible

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WK is also a paid service after lvl 3 if you weren’t aware.

and also WK only teaches the most useful readings so you might find it conflicting with what you learned in your college classes. All in all though it is a good way to recall the kanji you might have forgotten but this might take some time.

(i like to split up my replies so people arent reading walls of text…i hate walls of text)

If you know that much kanji already, you might want to explore resources outside WaniKani as there’s no way to test out of or skip material you already know. I’ve been here about 1.5 months and have seen 209 kanji. For me coming in knowing very little, that’s pretty good.

But if I knew 1000 kanji already, I probably would have gotten bored, especially since I’m guessing the kanji you learn in the early levels are not ones you’d likely forget if you’ve studied Japanese. I’m guessing you’d be better served with something where you can control your pace–WaniKani limits how quickly you can progress through their material.

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It really depends on how much flexibility your schedule has for doing reviews. If you’re able to do every review when it unlocks, you’ll go pretty quickly (as Kumirei said, you can unlock it all in a year). If you’re only able to do reviews once a day at a certain time, you won’t be able to move through the first few SRS levels as quickly*, and by the end of WaniKani, those extra hours will add up to months. Still, though, you should be able to get it all unlocked within two years.

Another thing to note is that WaniKani ONLY teaches reading the kanji. No grammar, no writing, no speaking or listening. There’s a nifty userscript that adds a stroke order chart to your lessons, but you’ll never be tested on it. You learn different readings but never have to actually pronounce them, just know how to spell them. And grammar is whatever you can pick up from the sample sentences. It’s still worth it because kanji is a huge chunk of Japanese literacy, but since you mentioned relearning grammar as well as kanji, I thought I should bring it up that you’d want to find a separate source for grammar practice.

*you might have read this in the guide already, but the SRS levels time-lock your progression so your brain commits things to long-term memory. You have to get a kanji correct two hours after learning it, then four hours after getting it correct again, then eight hours after getting it correct again, then twenty four hours after getting it correct again. So if you are able to hit your reviews at those intervals, it’ll take a day and a half to get to new kanji. If you can only do one review session a day, you’ll be taking four days to get to new kanji.

I was in a similar situation and I don’t regret choosing to complete WK. I took a break from WK for a few years and when I came back I knew around 800 kanji. I honestly think it’s better to go into WK knowing a lot of the vocab words that it teaches; it really smooths the process. It helped me more than I thought it would to review the kanji I already knew, and now I’ve gotten to a point where I only see new kanji. It’s taken about 9 months to get there though. If you’re willing to spend the time, it’s definitely worth it.


Fastest speed to unlock everything is about 350 days

nobody does that, though a lot of people go near but I’m unaware if someone has made it perfect

Average time is somewhere between year and a half and two years

I passed N2 years ago prior to wanikani. Memorizing kanji is a comparative weakness for me, and wanikani is great for that. I started learning forgotten stuff/alternate readings quite quickly, and now, everything is coming together.

Yeah, I’m aware of that :slight_smile:

I’m actually fine with this, my professors did a similar thing where they only taught the most useful readings as well. The only thing here that does throw me off is that the kun yomi which you usually always learn with a new kanji if it has one isn’t always given. Either way, I find kun yomi to be easier to memorize anyways; it’s on yomi that can get difficult

I do as many reviews as I can per day and usually only the 8 hour one is the one that needs to be put off until the next day because I get home from work at 5 and need to sleep around 10 or 11 to be up at 6:30 to go to work so I can only get up to the 4 hour review. The only reason I don’t do my routine with something like RTK is because then I will get too into my studies and can’t afford to waste that much time bc I have other stuff to do so WK is better because it limits the time I actually spend reviewing since there is a set amount of kanji per review


I only started WK after getting the N1, and I don’t regret it (it’s mostly reviewing, but I’m learning new vocab along the way).

Considering the order they use for WK is not the “standard” order people are usually taught kanji, you may learn new kanji quite early.
Assuming you don’t (the first 900 kanji on WK are the one you know) and that you go near full speed, I think 900 kanjis was around the level 27 mark. So, that would be approximately 5 months.


5 months and about 20 days at full speed for 907 kanji

Are you already N1?!?!?!

you won



Just a note to say that I came in knowing about 1,000 kanji (I guess) and I am really enjoying WaniKani.


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