Am I going to slow?

The point of sending them back to Guru is to make you remember by coming up sooner in reviews.
It’s okay to make mistakes, as the system will help you to learn these words and it’s better if they’re in Guru than if you’d burned them and then forgot.


There may be pressure as to other people bragging showcasing about their speed in the lower levels but I wanna see them continue talking about how fast they are when they reach level 30s or 40s, up to 60. Now that’s pure commitment. (One already did and do not recommend rushing)

Now, you may consider that just because others are doing it fast is because they may have been learning the language but not the kanji/vocab themselves. So in that point, they already have the foundation in learning the language.

Do take note that learning should be a fun process and should not be based on how you perceive yourself compared to others. You’re not in school and you have all the time you need! (This is more like a shoutout to myself because I’ve never been good at academics and do end up comparing myself to others most of the time, sorry if this sounded selfish but may apply to your case as well.)

But all in all, as long as I’m having fun (and challenged) by the learning process, I won’t stop!

Learning this language (or anything, in general) is a marathon, not a sprint!


Many people who are going fast are also re-ordering the lessons so that they do radicals first and then kanji. Vocab is done when you have no other lessons.

You’re doing roughly 1 lvl per month, right? That’s pretty slow. It’s possible to do 1 lvl in 2 weeks without sweating. And even 9 days is fairly easy.

But 7-8 days is a real challenge because you can’t afford to skip a lesson or review session and you have to follow a strict schedule for a year. Your whole life revolves around WK. That’s too much of a commitment for most of the users.

On the plus side of going faster, I think it’s actually easier to remember all the items if you do reviews consistetntly 2-3 times a day, because you are going through all of the items and reinforcing them all the time.

Basically, to go faster:

  • do lessons every day until you run out
  • do a fixed number of lessons 10‐30 but consider changing the number of lessons depending on the item type (e.g. I remember vocab much easier than kanji, so I do more vocab lessons per day)
  • prioritise getting radicals to Guru as fast as possible
  • do your reviews 2-3 times a day (do = clear all of the items available)
  • if you want to slow down - skip lessons for a day, but don’t skip your reviews

I also suffer from comparing myself to others, it is not the route to happiness! You have a strategy that works for you, you only need change it if you set yourself a different goal :slight_smile:

I also worry about burned items and imagine myself seeing a word float gently down a river never to be seen again lol. I try to use kani wani to check up on them, I have set the parameters to only give me burned items I sometimes rest a word in wani kani when it has completely floated out to sea (see eralier metaphor)

it is really not helpful to compare yourself to others, but very hard not to, I put a similar post up a while ago and found it helpful when someone pointed out how many people start, and give up without ever getting to level x. Compare yourself to them, you are doing so much better!

If you don’t mind me asking, what is kani wani, this thing you mentioned for reviewing burned items?

You need to get a token from wani kani account to link the two accounts it then works in a similar way to the review system here, but it offers you the english and you have to type in the hiragana.

Hope this makes sense!

Sorry for so many questions, but what tokens do you mean? How do I get them?

wanikani api token - 3rd paty apps use it to authenticate with wk on your behalf and get your data

get it in your wk profile settings

I second the opinion, that you forget because you are going too slow and thus messing with the schedule of the SRS.

Don’t let old reviews sit on the Dashboard for too long. You should do a few more lessons, too. It’s not that hard.


I think you are going too slow and it is backfiring you. You are still in the easiest levels and takes you more than a month to complete one, at this pace it will take you 6-10 years to get to level 60! I think you should review your strategy because it surely can help you learn faster. Try different things, writing the kanjis several times when you learn them, creating an extended story with them, using them in different sentences… whatever works best with your way of learning.

There are several posts in this community with advice from LVL60 users. I attach a couple that were useful for me:

Hope it helps!


I’m slowly learning that accuracy is better than speed when it comes to Wanikani. I frequently try to blitz through my lessons and I keep making dumb mistakes, especially with similar-looking Kanji.

Like today! I accidentally sent 土 from the Guru pile back to Apprentice because I’d just learned the radical for Samurai and wasn’t paying attention to the coloured backgrounds.

Plus the more mistakes I keep making, the more reviews I have to do later which slows me down further.

So I wouldn’t worry about your progress. It’s much better to go at your own pace and make sure the knowledge is actually sticking for you. I understand though, I constantly compare myself to others and feel bad about myself. It’s like a compulsion, if I’m feeling too good about myself my brain will actively look for ways to compare myself to others to make me feels bad.
This is why I need therapy! :grin:

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There’s no right or wrong way to do this. I’ve been at this for 16 months and only level 10. I forget a lot of readings often but eventually they stick. When it comes down to it, it’s not a race. I still enjoy learning/studying even if it feels like I’m not progressing. Using different resources can help keep things interesting in your studies.
Good luck.


a month per level is okay

just the past few weeks there were two new posts by people who reached level 60 after 5 years, that’s what it takes if you do a month per level

the main determinant for how fast you go is how many lessons you do per day. i’d reccomend doing at least a few lessons every day (5 is totally enough), and doing the 4-hour and 8-hour reviews for those lessons on time. doing a little bit like this every day helps your brain learn how to learn, and keeps it in the habit of learning a little bit of new stuff every day. and the 4 and 8 hour reviews are the most crucial for making the lesson stick long-term

but again, a month per level is fine :slight_smile:

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This is just my experience obviously. And it echoes others’ posts. I keep about 100-110 in apprentice. Some I get rid of really quickly, because some stick straight away. Yes there are some leeches that I can’t seem to ever get right and they just slide up and down between guru and apprentice. But at least I know which they are by getting them wrong, and attempt to make a better mnemonic to get them to stick. What’s more motivating is getting the easier ones done and sent along the chain. Because that way I can do more lessons and see myself levelling up. And that’s encouraging. Especially when I then notice those words out in the real world.
I totally agree everyone’s got to go their own pace (at the moment it’s quietish at work so I can put aside enough time to level up every 11-14ish days). But at the same time, I don’t think it’s the idea of WK to avoid lessons just because you feel some items aren’t sticking. If you have time for lessons and reviews then it’s good to do lessons (and many people say 100 apprentice is a good amount to have). Because some of those lessons are easier than others? I don’t think people should be afraid of getting things wrong repeatedly. It’s the repetition of the SRS that is the key?

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It sounds like you might be trying to burn your items before adding lessons. This would slow you down, but I wouldn’t say it’s wrong. You gotta do what works for you.

P.S. Japanese has a highly visible gamification culture to learning the language. Luckily, it’s not so large on these boards, which I’m glad about. Seriously, just do you! :grin:

You should follow your own speed. If it feels a bit too slow, try experimenting a bit.
If you want some slow friends to hang with this might be the place for you!

I like to do 10 new lessons a day. I try do one batch of 10 each day, but if life is busy I only do reviews.
Often there are similar things in various items, vocabs that has same reading as the kanji and such, so getting the items out and having more than one similar item of same kanji and reading helps improve what you remember.
The SRS will help take care of the harder ones too, as they fall down where you see them more.

In burn it should be known fairly well. It is always possible to repeat them later (unburn items, whole levels and so on)

You should go at the pace that is most comfortable for you. But if you’re bothered by your current speed, increasing it a little for a while just to test how it goes can’t hurt. You can always go back to taking it slow if you don’t enjoy it.

It is completely normal to forget words. Heck, people even forget words in their native tongue. But I do think one of the things you may be “missing on” (or more correctly, delaying – and this is just a hypothesis) by going so slow is the extra reinforcement provided by the higher WK levels.

((Also postponing your ability to immerse in native content, which is arguably the most important form of reinforcement)).

I’m sure you have noticed that vocabulary, radicals and kanji using content you’ve already learnt keep appearing as you advance in levels – and what they’re doing (aside from teaching you brand new content) ends up also giving you more context and opportunities to cement the old in your memory. You could even say that they’re almost acting as new SRS substages.

Here’s an example. While Enlightened to Burn for, say, ‘ground’ may take 6 months, you are guaranteed to see it again over and over again in new lessons and their mnemonics. If you keep going at a decent (albeit not overwhelming) pace, you’re bound to see ‘ground’ in many more contexts and mnemonics than if you were to wait until you have mastered it – casually reinforcing the item in your memory without overburdening it.

That being said… Ultimately, everyone needs to find their own personal, manageable balance to strike between quantity and quality. Just don’t dismiss quantity as something that will solely make your life harder and experiment a bit to see if a slightly faster pace will better suit you.


Agree!!! I started in September and I’m still Lesson 5… IDK about you, but I tried to learn kanji the conventional way and it was awful so I can actually see the progress with wanikani… maybe just focus on your progress :slight_smile:


Going at any pace is better than going at no pace. I struggled with a fear of failure and not feeling like i’m not progressing which made me stop learning Japanese for a long time, but being so crippled by fear you don’t do anything so don’t make any progress.
Any progress, no matter how small will get you to your goal.
Do whatever you can, as often as you can and don’t worry about mistakes.


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