Advanced Japanese Learner--how long would it take me to reach the last quarter of the course?


Background: I’m an N1 passer and have extensive experience with Japanese (I use it for work, etc.) but out of pure laziness I stopped studying after reaching approximately 1,000+ kanji. However, even without knowing all the kanji I am quite literate due to sheer exposure–I learned more kanji from reading, and am usually able to figure out kanji/words from their context in the sentence, but weak at identifying them in isolation. So I probably need to take a step back and learn the radicals (which I never did properly).

So I just started WaniKani a few hours ago and like the radical approach, but am unhappy that I can’t skip levels, or at least power through them due to timed review constraints. I like learning the radicals but since I already know most of them I just fly through them…and I expect the next 1,000+ kanji would be the same.

I just really need to learn the last 500 or so kanji, but how long do I have to slog through the course before I get to finally learn what I need?

Is WaniKani not for me, or is there a faster way to do the course?


There is no faster way. You can get through each level in just under a week, so I’d guess it’d take you around 45 weeks?


If you’ve already passed N1, then most of this will probably be useless to you. The fastest you can complete most levels is 6 days and 20 hours, so it’d take you around 11 months going at full speed. This isn’t the sort of resource you can blaze through if you already know most of the content, so you may find it easier and less time wasting using something else.


Personally, I would advise you to use an Anki deck or something to finish those last 500 kanji. Why haven’t you learned them? Were you having problems memorizing them? Also, are you sure the ones missing are in WK?

In terms of WK, you can reach level 60 in exactly 1 year. However, this is heavily based on the fact that you’re already on a N1 level, since almost no beginner is able to do this program in the fastest speed. Like others have said, you can’t skip through WK.


Thanks. Bummer. 45 weeks to learn stuff I already know is pretty discouraging. I guess WaniKani isn’t for me :frowning:


WK is pretty famous for teaching less common words in some levels, so that might be something for you :stuck_out_tongue:

But yeah, I wouldn’t invest my money. One thing I would do though is keep in touch with this lovely community. I feel like this is a really good community to make friends :slight_smile: And hey, the wisdom of a N1 is very much welcome!


It could be if you were looking for a good review (and in the long run, learn the material, and possibly more), but by the sounds of it, it may be more worth your time to add the kanjis you want to another program (maybe anki or houhou?) and learn them that way. If you had previously learned 1000+ kanji, I’d imagine you already have a good system for learning kanji


Yeah I had trouble mostly from the kanji that look alike (they tend to increase around the 1,200+ mark). So I do think it would be nice to take a step back, learn the radicals, but not so much that I have to take 45 weeks to do it…

Yeah, I’m just missing the last 300-500 kanji. I based this off a joyo kanji dictionary I have: it’s random kanji interspersed with ones I know towards the back of the book. There are also a bunch of kanji I can identify when combined with another but not by themselves, so it would be nice to “complete” my knowledge so to speak.

Is there an Anki deck you recommend?


Nah, I just learned kanji by rote. And a lot through reading. I learned over a decade ago before Youtube or smartphones even existed.

My system is pretty shitty if I say so myself :fearful:


WK might not be for you but, if you are interested you could think of it as review? Might be boring, really boring at first, but if you know around 1000 you could double that in maybe a year if you did your reviews on time. You can always hang out with us here. :wolf:


Honestly, I can’t really give you a recommendation, as I’m not one´of those people that have Anki mastered. Remembering the Kanji would probably not solve your problem either, as it doesn’t approach kanji readings, am I correct?

In a worst case scenario, you can use Houhou software to manually add the kanji missing.

Also, there’s a deck made my one of our lovely Anki Masters @polv with kanji post-WK.


WK is pretty famous for teaching less common words in some levels, so that might be something for you :stuck_out_tongue:

Really? I’ll test drive the first few levels then–I don’t really mind reviewing the earlier kanji (as I’ve forgotten how to write them due to being typing-dependent), just the fact that I’m constrained to learn only X number of kanji at X amount of time, with no way to skip.

This does seem like a good community :blush: I’ll keep in touch!


I’d highly suggest Houhou! It’s an SRS application that works very similar to WaniKani. You’d have to come up with your own mnemonics, but you can add kanji and vocab at your own pace as opposed to being on a set course you already know most of. It’s really useful for when you really like WK’s style of reviewing but the actual content isn’t what you need.

All the radicals are listed in the kanji page and every kanji has the radicals used in it listed on its page. You can use that to help you learn the radicals and start looking for them in the kanji you’re learning c:


Wow! Thanks a lot!


How did you pass N1 with only 1000 kanji? Is that possible?


Sounds interesting! I will check it out. Thanks!


Because I knew more than 1,000 kanji. I just stopped studying after the 1,000+ mark, but that didn’t mean I stopped learning (direct from native sources).

However, it’s true that when I passed the exam I did not know all 2,000-ish joyo kanji. But it didn’t pose a big problem because the N-levels emphasize context more, so I was able to know most of the vocabulary/kanji from context. I’m good at identifying kanji in context because that’s how I learned most of them (through osmosis). I took the exam before the N-level revision and failed, because a large portion of the exam was identifying kanji in isolation (which I suck at).

That said, I still don’t know all the required kanji, hence this post!


I am literally in the same situation as you (based on your first post).
I decided to go with WK because I cannot trust myself with Anki (it’s too easy for me to go “eeeh close enough”).


Oh man, I thought about tagging you here :heart:


I have a suggestion for how you could use WaniKani (assuming you like it) to learn the kanji/vocab you want to without going through the whole year+ course.

Once you subscribe (even for only a month), you are able to view all the radicals, kanji and vocab on the site. You could then download the (free) userscript called “WaniKani Self Study Quiz Edition”. This allows you to test yourself at your own pace even on locked items (i.e. items that haven’t come up yet in your WaniKani lessons). And that way, you wouldn’t need to waste time on things you have already mastered.

Doing it that way, you wouldn’t be using the built-in SRS, but you could use the tool and your own self-discipline to really study the kanji/vocabulary you need to, using the nicely laid out WaniKani website. This might be a convenient option for someone with a lot of kanji knowledge already, and even better if like many people, you didn’t enjoy using Anki.