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

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

1 Like

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:

1 Like

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

Thanks for the link to that Jitai font randomizer, that sounds like a useful thing to practice whilst learning!

As for the OP’s general question, I’d agree with the general advice given already - don’t rush through lessons and instead work at whatever pace feels good to you whilst still being effective at around an 80-90% success rate in the reviews. That’s a good score to be aiming for and make sure to study up extra on any older kanji or vocab that ain’t stickin’ in the noggin as well as the rest. I have a focus deck on anki that helps me study up on my weakest links.


Angry Mami,
This sounds like an interesting feature. But excuse me, when I click on your link all I see is code. How could I implement your code when using WaniKani? Sorry to be clueless!

You need to install a browser extension first that uses the code (I recommend Tampermonkey). There is some help here:

When you have the extension the install link will work as expected (and not just show the code).

1 Like

Let’s do it together! I’ve hit 10 today and I noticed that painful is just around the corner as well…

1 Like

I just spread some morphine on my morning toast.

1 Like

I feel you

Those two scripts of yours are amazing! I’d heard that many kanji do have phonetic components, but since not all kanji utilize them and some have exceptions I never knew how take advantage of that knowledge. I’ve had your phonetic script for only a day and I’ve already seen patterns I hadn’t picked up on:

剣, 検, 険, 倹, 験 are all ケン!

粗, 組, 租, 祖, 阻, 狙 are all ソ!

訪, 紡, 肪, 放, 防, 妨, 坊 are all ホウ or ボウ!

And every time I mistake one kanji for another, being able to glance down the page at your other script and pull up a list of all conceivably similar kanji is a godsend for hammering out the detail that threw me off. Thanks for these!


Thanks! The longer I use WK the more I feel that sticks to the “everything is a story of radicals” idea too much. It also muddies the waters by “arbitrarily” showing On and Kun readings in the character grids, making it harder to see the regularities.

Introducing “Ken the squid” once is definitely more effective than trying to remember in ten different stories if it was Ken from Streetfighter, Ryuu from Streetfighter, or Zangief from Streetfighter who did some weird stuff.

It is more work to remember it in the beginning, but I can really feel that it pays off. Even stuff like 者, which is quite messy.

If you are looking for a “companion book” for WK I can highly recommend the Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course, it keeps similar kanji closer together, points out similar kanji that will cause trouble down the line, and mixes styles of explanations. Just seeing 拾 (pick up) and 捨 (throw away) together instantly locked those two kanji down for me :slight_smile:


Glad to see you around here mate!

Likewise. I wish the site allowed PM. You’d have heard from me earlier if they did :sweat_smile:. But since there’s no way to engage instantly, my drive for instant gratification is suppressed :tongue:.

1 Like

You’re late in the news :stuck_out_tongue: We can send PMs now!

1 Like

:scream: now you know how long I’ve been away!


off topic, i just want to say you are one of the people around here i look up to. It’ll be amazing if i can get to your level at your speed rate, you’re awesome


I’ve been doing learning sessions and reviews on a daily basis (in the morning and at night), but with few items each time. This way you get naturally used to the routine of studying Japanese and don’t necessarily get overwhelmed by the amount of items. Also, you get really really fast at answering stuff.

And yes, do use the power of mnemonics. It’s been countless times I found myself looking at a kanji and only knowing its meaning and reading because of mnemonics. Most of the time I make my own instead of using the website’s.

And at least for me the most important thing is: don’t ignore the power of radicals. I realised I can read and write more complex and similar kanji because I can remember which radicals each of them has. At the beginning I kind of tried to remember the whole thing by itself, but now I can easily learn some 20~30 vocabulary items in a row and already guess most of their meanings and readings just because I’m comfortable with the kanji.

Last thing is: try not to learn kanji and vocabulary in a mechanical way. Try studying them within sentences and daily-life stuff. If you blindly repeat the strokes of different kanji dozens of times you probably won’t even memorize their meaning.

Oh, almost forgot. There’s this thesis that explains it can get much easier to learn kanji by this “phonetic component” many kanji share, something like the phonetic script above offers. It’s a short and nice read.


Welcome to pain, kouhai! My main piece of advice? No rush! If you’re changing levels at least once a month, than you’re still learning kanji three times as fast as the average japanese schoolkid, so don’t sweat 12 days vs. 14. We’re learning the kanji for the sake of the language, not the other way around.

That being the case, my main piece of advice is to learn grammar if you haven’t already, and to do so in the same methodical manner that you are doing WK, if not more religiously. If you are using a beginner textbook like Genki or Minna no Nihongo, your level 10 WK knowledge should be enough that you already can read ALL the kanji in the first book, so take a half hour before you “start” the book and block all the furigana on all the readings with a higlighter or masking tape (there’s typically one per chapter, so it’s not too laborious); this way you can enjoy the fruits of your hard work thus far, while simultaneously practicing the kind of reading you’ll do for native texts, and improving your grammar, which will be the no. 1 stumbling block when you actually start trying to read manga or other native text.

The other thing I can say is that at the upper levels, the vocab become ways to remember kanji, and it becomes more and more difficult to remember kanji readings or meanings without hooking them onto one or more words you’ve actually used. If you’re looking for a way to nail down a kanji, place it in verb or compound noun (ie: a word), and use that word in a complete, meaningful sentence that you either have personally written or said. Ideally, try to write/speak a sentence you could actually imagine using in your daily life.

Good luck!


Aww don’t be like that :heart:

I still have a long way to go. My Japanese is still terrible after all. But I’m extremely glad that I’m able to help and motivate you to push forward :slight_smile: Hope to see you on level 60 one day!

1 Like

For me, level 15-20 were the most difficult to get through because the kanji and vocabulary seemed to become more specialized to outside of everyday use. I noticed that each level had kanji and vocabulary related to a general theme (e.g. judgements, trials, persecution etc. for one level). This could help you find articles or books related to those topics for added reinforcement.

The only thing I can tell you is do not get discouraged because surpassing the difficulties of these levels make the higher levels more manageable. And definitely use mnemonics! Good luck!