Am I just stupid?

When I do lessons, I have a notebook where I’ll hand write the following:

<English definition #1>/<English definition #2>/etc : <Radical/Kanji/Vocab written in the right stroke order> : <Kanji/Vocab in hiragana with correct stroke order> : <Kanji/Vocab in Katakana with correct stroke order>

I know it sounds weird but it makes me slow down and think about the radical/kanji/vocab and makes me analyze it instead of going:

Clicks next
Yep, lesson done in 2 seconds
Clicks next
Yep, lesson done in 2 seconds
Clicks next
Yep, lesson done in 2 seconds

Maybe this will help you? Keep in mind, my 10 lessons will take me a good 30 minutes if they’re all vocab because I also tend to google the difference between synonyms or research words that sound familiar or it could take 5-10 minutes if they’re radicals.

Also, after doing this, recalling hiragana and katakana both in stroke order and visualizing the kana in my mind becomes almost like the english alphabet after several levels of doing this.


I feel pretty dumb sometimes too learning Japanese. But I really like doing it. I feel like I am accomplishing something everyday.

No matter how “dumb” you are, if you do a little Japanese every day, you will be a little better than the day before.

My hope is that I will be decent after about 10 years.


I’ll try to do 5 a day and see if I can avoid new lesson burnout. I’m about to finally click that big button again y’all!


88% overall accuracy is fine. You’re fine.

Remember, level 60 in 1 year is the fastest possible time. Most don’t do it within that time. I don’t have data to back this up but I think most don’t do it within two years either. I know a few who didn’t even do it in one stretch, they ended up forgetting so much they dropped back down a few levels (or even all the way to level 1) just to get those lower levels back into their memories.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Persistence is more important than speed.

As for the SRS being too strict, as long as you know the meaning of a word (and be honest with yourself - did you really know or did you actually picture a man with a gavel and a silly wig for “judgment” and only realise your mistake when you saw it was wrong?) you know the word. That’s all there is to it. I use a script that lets me retry when I get an answer wrong because it just happens that either I make a typo or I mean the right thing but use the wrong word, and I add synonyms accordingly. It’s about understanding the meaning, not about knowing the right English word.

You’re definitely not stupid.

You don’t have to be intelligent to learn kanji. It’s more a question of your ability to relentlessly plough through the reviews. It’s basic rote learning by SRS.

People on the spectrum, like myself, may find the task easier and become more absorbed in it (although I’m obsessed with grammar rather than kanji).

Besides, it doesn’t matter what other people are doing. The only thing that matters is you. 頑張ってくださいね。諦めない。


Not stupid. WaniKani is too strict. No leeches and no allowance for typos or second guesses. There is nothing wrong in using a double check script freely. Sometimes stuff does not stick. Why spend so much time on such a small amount of vocab when you can go after easier vocab?

There is nothing magical in the WaniKani Kanji order, it does not align to most commonly used and it is not particularly helpful in differentiating similar looking Kanji. Maybe supplement with Kodansha which is a much more efficient way of leaning differences in similar looking Kanji.

What are you trying to achieve? Level 60 in WaniKani or the ability to read? Who cares if you forget WaniKani burns, especially “radicals” and kanji on yomi readings. If you can understand vocab in a reading context then who cares?

At your level you should be reading. A lot. It sounds like you probably are. Only you can answer the question on how is the best use of your study time. But it sounds like spending an hour a day on one WaniKani level for months is probably not a very efficient use of time.


Stats can be found at - you just enter your API key.

I am at a similar plateau and I had the same problem of losing motivation. After taking a break from new lessons, I am aiming to do at least 10 new lessons a day and starting to make forward progress again.

When I started WaniKani I had no understanding of any of the statistics or mechanics - Apprentice count, etc. - I just did all the lessons and reviews everyday. I honestly think that is still the best approach, and to let the SRS do it’s work if you get things wrong.

As you get to higher levels using this approach, the risk of the number of reviews becoming overwhelming is a danger, but my feeling now is that it’s better to take on the additional work until you break through.
That being said, I still think I am too sloppy and get too many answers wrong - donut223’s approach described on this board, of hand-writing new lesson vocabulary words, sounds like a great one.

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if u prioritize wanikani over everything else, do 300 reviews, have good accuracy, then u can do it within a year. In the end it all depends on your time u can spend, ur dedication, and a good gaming chair.


there’s a script for that: Wanikani: Random voice actor

other than that, of course you’re not dumb. hope you get good ideas from all the replies here! you can do it.

There is really no way to avoid forgetting at least some stuff. Good news is that when you encounter it in the wild (reading/conversation) and “relearn” it your overall memory of it will improve. Also, when encountering things through actual use you’ll get a much better sense of what things are worth spending a lot of time remembering and which aren’t. Think about it in terms of your native language. You probably learned some uncommon words for a test at some point in your life that you didn’t use and so forgot. If you came across it again you might find it familiar and after looking it up remember that you learned that word for a spelling test when you were 10 (random example). The same is 100% true in WK. SRS is going to help you remember, particularly if you can then start using it in some way, but it’s not magic and every single person here is going to forget some stuff. That’s just part of being human.

So… long story short, don’t worry about the fact that you’ve probably (definitely, and there’s no shame in that), already forgotten some stuff you’ve burned. What you need will come back as you use Japanese more and expand to consuming media of some kind (if you couldn’t guess I strongly believe in reading) if you haven’t done so already.

Edit: And one more thing for the record, forgetting is an important part of the learning process. It’s often seen as being negative and it’s not. By forgetting and remembering or re-learning you are adding to a memory and further strengthening your knowledge of that thing. Think of it as a thread getting thicker each time you pull it in or a new thread being added with new context that links it to something else and you form these webs of inter connected knowledge in your long term memory. This is what you want to happen because that is how you create those easy pathways to information that is logged into your memory.


Making progress is about two things, basically:

  1. Doing more lessons, and
  2. Logging on and clearing reviews multiple times a day in order to push new items past the very early SRS stages that are counted in hours and not days)

Since your accuracy is good, it wouldn’t seem that you’re dumb, it would seem you just aren’t inputting enough new material.

Don’t do so many lessons that you overwhelm yourself, though! むりしないでね

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A noticeable number of people who get to level 60 quickly do WaniKani and leave grammar, etc. for later. I would personally not recommend this as 1 year is a lot of time if one’s dedicated.

Which could explain why you might be struggling with some WaniKani items or have to pace yourself more :slight_smile: . In the end WaniKani is just a tool. If you’re learning kanji, grammar, etc. outside of WaniKani and feeling like you’re making progress, I see no problem.

I would recommend using Anki in addition to WaniKani for words one has problems with or trying to approach them differently if brute force doesn’t work:
解決 - have a look at other compounds like 解決策 which have 解決 in them
理解 - “solving” through “reason” is “understanding” or something similar
正解 - appears very often in anime as a remark in the vain of “ding ding correct!” when someone figures something out
解説 - think of 説明; I think they’re synonyms or often used interchangeably

I used to have trouble with 想定 and other compounds that contain 想 on the same WaniKani level until I found 想定内 and 想定外 which made sense given 想定. Same issues with 定則 and other compounds with 則. Still have to figure those out.


If you’re forgetting burned items, there might be some other problem there. Common causes of forgetfulness are: stress, anxiety and depression. If any of these ring a bell for you, you should look for professional help.

Also, you should also try to have a healthy diet.

Edit: insufficient sleep is bad for memory too :brain:


You are not alone! I feel dumb when I’m repeating leeches over and over as well. I still try to keep up with lessons to have some progress, but I’ve slowed down a lot for the last year in particular. A busy work life didn’t help.

To be fair Japanese is a language conceived by a population of high IQ people, and training long-term memory is almost never done past school.
You can hardly be blamed for struggling with it if you learn as an adult, now that your capacity to remember information has been eroded by digital convenience, age, and corn syrup.

Like some of the people here suggested, you should try to improve your mental capacity with a healthy routine (good sleep, good food, limit screentime and exercise) and consuming japanese media. Leeches stop being leech the moment you encounter them in the wild usually, where you can associate a context to them.


That seems a bit extreme. You will forget even burned items, it’s normal. Remembering the word as a single flashcard is just a fraction of “knowing” the word.

Forgetting is important for memory, and they will eventually stick as you encounter the words naturally.


I hope that first paragraph was sarcasm :sweat_smile:.


this current level I think I will start like taking a long time to lvl up now

only today, after 13 days, the radicals of level 35 finally appeared in my lessons.

my accuracy decreased a lot :sleepy:

sometimes I feel dumb for not getting the same retention as previous levels, but I realize I dont see many of these vocab in the wild, maybe that’s why they dont stick.

people who do wanikani in a year usually have 2-3 hours of free time every day+ dedicated schedule.

It’s an effective method if you have free time and plan instant immersion after lvl 60. Otherwise, you risk a heavy burnout. They are tons of people who digested tons of hanzi/kanji in chn/jpn - then they burned out and later had to start almost from 0.

  • memory is not an IQ. You can be a smart person and still suffer from ADHD/brain fog which will heavily impact your learning. when I had gut candidosis I suffered from social anxiety/depression and ADHD- could barely move with 1 level/month pace on wanikani. After I got rid of that my mind is finally in peace and I have mental clarity that allows me now to use 2 srs programs simultaneously and have an above-average memory.