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

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

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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!

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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.


It’s taken a year for me to get to level 40. I reckon I knew about 200-300 kanji when I started. The order of WK isn’t necessarily the order you learnt them in but of course there’ll be loads of repetition. I plan to work through KKLC (which I use now for the nicer mnemonics) and read more when I’ve burnt all kanji on WK. I’m not a huge fan of Anki but may use that or similar.

WK is a big commitment (part of the reason it’s so good) and if you are eager to get to the “next” 1000 probably not the right choice. That said, if you need to be forced to get your head down and learn then it’s ideal.

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Wow, thanks so much for this suggestion. I’m amazed at the knowledge and tools this community provides :slight_smile:

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I just wanted to say that I would have never learned as many kanji as I know now, and as well as I know them, without Wanikani.

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt you to go again through the 1000+ you already know in order to learn the last 1000~ you don’t know yet.

But, I don’t trust myself to come up with another system to learn as well as I am learning right now, maybe you can? I don’t know. I wouldn’t do it.


At first, I misunderstood your description. I thought you meant, “subscribe for one month, then let your subscription expire and do all of Wanikani for free using the script”… which wouldn’t actually work, since you can only access levels 1-3 when your subscription ends. Besides, the people at WK need to get paid for their work.

But I think I understand that you meant, “use the script to study as fast as you want, and keep your subscription active for as long as it takes”. That would work, and WK would still get paid for their work, though probably not as much as if you had to go at WK’s pace. I’m not sure what they think of that, though it’s certainly better (for WK) than only paying for one month. :slight_smile:

I would add, though, that I went partway through WK a second time using only Self-Study, and even at an accelerated pace (and already having learned everything fairly well) it still took a lot more time to refresh each level than I expected it to take. But I guess I’m pretty strict with myself about having strong memorization.


WK will not help you with radicals, in the sense of, say, the way the Kanji Kentei uses radicals. WK makes up their own radicals for the purposes of creating mnemonics.


Yes, you got what I meant, not to cheat the system, but to use it as efficiently and beneficially as possible. @marimorimo or other users can use the site fully (or just part of it) as long as they want, for the period that they are paying subscribers. I don’t think that’s breaking either the spirit or the letter of the subscription agreement. Whether they’d be doing themselves any disservice would be up to them.

On the other hand, that was only a suggestion. If as stated, @marimorimo still has 1000 kanji and the attending vocabulary basically unlearned, that’s half the content of the site. So it may well be worthwhile going through the whole thing (especially considering that the kanji here isn’t taught in the same order as N5-N1, so you can’t assume that the kanji/vocab you need to learn is in the last 30 level.

ETA: at level 10, shows that I’ve already Guru’ed about 1/6 of N1or Joyo G9 kanji, so the early levels may not be not entirely a waste to the advanced learner.

E again TA: OK, the bar graph I was looking at first may have appeared a little optimistic, but in any case, definitely a few (7/1232) N1 Kanji. :cold_sweat:

That’s a bit disconcerting :frowning: I’ll check out the first 3 levels anyway to see if the made-up radicals work for me.

If not, I’m considering going the book and paper route with the Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course. An app would be more convenient though.

Unless you plan to take the Kanken, I don’t see why it would matter much, and even then it’s not that big of a deal, because you can just brush up on the radicals quickly and most of the time the radical-related questions are easy to guess on anyway.

You can’t make mnemonics out of the “real” radicals, because there’s not enough to cover the entirety of the kanji.

I would recommend to get the Kodansha’s course. It helps you stay focused on the difference between kanji because it presents [similar kanji/same phonetic component] together and has good cross-referencing. WK also has mnemonics for vocab readings and meanings, but just a list of words might be enough for you. KKLC sometimes also mentions the “real meaning” behind kanji, which is helpful to get a deeper understanding why certain kanji have several seemingly disconnected meanings. Its memory aids are also good, and all readings and meanings come from a “real” dictionary so it feels more authoritative than WK.

But: If you lack self-motivation to just go through a book that just stares at you from a shelf, or you want a fun system to browse through kanji (especially with the many useful user-made add-ons) you should still consider to get WK. WK’s main benefits are a really well-made and motivating review system and funny/wacky texts that will keep you engaged to see what happens next and a nice presentation of content.

Oh and mnemonics for kanji readings.

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I’m surprised that this wasn’t mentioned earlier, but there’s a very good possibility that some of the kanji you’d like to learn will be interspersed throughout WK because they aren’t ordered by grade level, but instead from simple to complex. Which means there will be some more common kanji near the end due to how they’re written.

Additionally, if you’re in it for the Joyo-kanji, WK doesn’t teach all of those either. So it’s good to take that into consideration as well.

Wish you the best in your studies!

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Whoa, didn’t know that. Thanks for the heads-up!

Thank you for your assessment of the Kodansha course. It’s now a toss-up between WK and Kodansha for me. I’ll try both and see which sticks better :slight_smile:

Honestly as you get past level 15 or so in wanikani it starts to really eat into your time. The first few levels won’t reflect this

How much does this change from the 20s to the 50s? Because even with the arrival of more difficult kanji and mnemonics, at this point I still find WK reviews pretty fast, and they remain among the breeziest part of Japanese study for me, especially in terms of a content:time ratio. It’s usually quicker to get through a (roughly) daily WK session than to do the same even in another app like iKnow, or to go through a book lesson or do self-drilling. Less mentally strenuous too, both of which I’d imagine would be even more true for an N1.

It’ll be interesting seeing where the OP ends up! WK definitely helped me learn kanji I already knew coming in more deeply, and has helped greatly in assessing and remembering kanji encountered in the wild as well, thanks to its radicals and mnemonics. And if you know the actual radical names and meanings in addition to the WK mnemonics, so much the better–it simply gives more options for memorizing. (For background, I was a rusty Japanese minor coming in and currently live in Japan.) But if you find something that suits your needs better at this stage, that’s great too!