About to enter the painful levels... searching for advice on how to handle the pain

I’m nearly through it ! It has been pretty challenging at points - maybe because of the burns coming back, as mentioned previously, or maybe because… life. But it should be hard - you are learning a completely different language, built on completely different foundations (assuming your first language is English :wink:)

My top tips are (learnt during the depths of my pain) -

DO NOT RUSH Who am i kidding, you’re gonna rush. but remember taking it slow and comfortable will help you retain the information better in the long run, and learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint.

DO NOT ABUSE RE-ORDER SCRIPT if you have it, fair enough use it for doing your radicals and kanji first, but then make sure you get the vocab lessons done at a steady pace through the level duration as well. Vocab is really important for enforcing the meanings and the readings. I’ve learnt this on recent levels (SHAME ON ME)

CONSUME JAPANESE IN OTHER FORMS By level 20 you will have the ability to read around 2000 vocab words !! HURRAH - but wait, does that mean you actually know 2000 words? - unlikely. Try and actually use words in context, and remembering the vocab readings will be a piece of cake. Inevitably i think if you are racing through wanikani, you will be learning more words than you could ever possibly use as a beginner - but the ones you come across in real life will be much easier to retain.

REMEMBER HOW AWESOME YOU ARE you are learning Japanese !!! you can actually read those squiggles which 3 months ago may have been incomprehensible. level 10 is already an achievement, and if you keep putting the same effort you have done to this point - you will make it all the way to ‘reality’.

PRACTICE LISTENING AND LEARN GRAMMAR you could know all the Kanji in the world, but if you can’t understand and apply the knowledge, then what was it all for.

Good luck my friend, i hope to see you on the other side. :guitar:



Level 11 reporting in - seems easier than level 7-9 struggling a bit less, vocabulary is self explanatory most of the time.


Use the mnemonics. They work. If you don’t like wanikani’s, make your own.


I can only agree with the other people around my level saying slow down. The load of new reviews almost crushed me around the later painful levels. Now the burn reviews are coming in, which increase the review load even further. Doesn’t help that I did the first ~10 levels at maximum speed, so I now get piles of 80 burn reviews at once. I had to almost stop new lessons for a while (still keeping up with reviews, luckily) and am now trying to find a slower regular pace.

Edit: Forgot to also answer the second part. In an average text, there’s now more Kanji that I can read than ones I can’t. So that’s pretty awesome. Now, if only my grammar wasn’t so lacking…


It will be less painful if you spread your lessons throughout a level rather than doing all the lessons immediately when you level up. I recommend using my Lesson Filter script to do roughly the same number of lessons each day. It will let you still learn a mix of radicals, kanji, and vocab every day, but you’ll be able to choose how much of each to control your level up time.

Using the script, if you do something like “blank” for radicals (to do them all right away), 7 for kanji, and 13 for vocab, you should still level up close to max time. But then you’ll only have to do 20 lessons a day (except the first day), which will also keep your reviews coming in a balanced way as well (this is very important). And obviously you’d be able to tweak the numbers if you want to change your pace later on.


To get the most out of Jitai (字体): The font randomizer that fits, make sure you download the additional fonts on that page!

To use the fonts, all you have to do is download them, extract them, then double-click them and you should be able to hit an “install” button. I especially love ArmedBanana, even though I had to download another program just to be able to extract it. I enjoy this script so much that I actually modified it to exclude the more “vanilla” default fonts entirely, like this:

Notice the red circle; the double backslashes make those lines into comments instead of real code, so those fonts are no longer being loaded by Jitai. I’m not on OSX or Linux so those other default fonts already don’t do anything.

Just be aware that if the author updates this script, these backslashes are going to get overwritten and you’ll have to add them back in. If you start seeing vanilla fonts again, that’s why, but it’s only happened to me once so far.


Seeing as I stayed in painful for way too long (642 days and 22 hours to be exact), my advice is:


But seriously, just keep at it and youll be okay :blush: a little each day and youll be through it in no time!


pretty interested on what gif could explain as well as this one the death, hell, paradise and reality layers, haha

well according to wkstats page i stayed on level one for 1420 days, lol, glad to hear you’re again on your feet, let’s see how it goes, good luck on the death

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Thank you so much for taking your time to share your thoughts. I’ll try to be consistent on the amount of days it takes me to level up but trying to not feel overwhelmed by it.

Here comes the owww, i am not awesome, you’re awesome line

I have these mangas waiting for me on my room crying out loud for not beign read yet, i dont want to withstand for much longer the cries of the unattended babies, lol.

Best wishes

Im glad to see you are back as well!

Use. The. Mnemonics.

Even if you think you’ve been getting by fine without them up until now and you don’t need them, you will need them. At least use the radicals to make uo your own, they become so important to distinguish similar kanji


so should i use the reorder script or just follow the natural system?

Normally when you level up, Wanikani gives you the vocab you just unlocked from the previous level (~30 terms) before it lets you get to your new level’s kanji and radicals. The problem with this is that if you want to start progressing on the new level ASAP, your review batches are going to pop up with all of the new kanji, radicals, AND last level’s newest vocab every time.

So, lots of users install a reorder script to let you unlock the new kanji and radicals ASAP, and then stop for the hour. The vocab lessons are best trickled in over the next few days so that you don’t have lulls of nothing followed by sudden, massive review walls.

People warn against “abusing” reorder scripts, because it’s technically possible to always sort kanji and radicals to the front and never unlock new vocab. Just make sure your lessons are empty before new ones show up and you’ll be fine.


Yes, i’ve already felt that urge to study radicals and the first wave of kanji as soon as i enter a new level, so for that purpose using the script is a realy neat thing to do.

Anyhow, it is just beautiful to learn vocabulary imo because to see how a word conforms via the union of the kanjis it’s sometimes even mindblowing… like for example when i learned how to write emoji it was beautiful or how to write Neptune, volcano, and so on.

If i were to give my own advice on this topic it would be that don’t take away the pleasure of learning the vocabulary, there are a lot of times where you’ll get as satisfyed as when constructing something and two pieces fit together so seamlessly.

Bro, i love it so much

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This. This. This. It’s not always easy because the mnemonics do get more convoluted at times, and the hardest thing for me is to not rush through lessons. You might not need it during the Painful levels themselves, but you’ll be grateful later.

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completely up to you - I personally use it - it allows you to get your radicals and early kanji up and running without trailing through all your vocab lessons first.

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inb4 lvl 40 panic. D: halp I must be a masochist to enjoy this much pain.

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I’m right there with you. I’m excited to cross the threshold into “Painful.” I don’t really think I’m apprehensive about it though. I’m sure there will be some difficulties but I’m also sure that we’ll all be better for the challenge :face_with_monocle: :smile:

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Congrats on not resetting and pulling trough!
I went the reset route.