Am I just stupid?

No, you’re not dumb lol. If you’re failing that means you’re learning, language learning isn’t a race. Keep in mind that most people don’t post their failures, so if you’re browsing forums or social media it’ll seem like everyone else is a genius and you’re struggling to keep up when in reality, your experience is actually pretty dang normal.

WaniKani isn’t the only way to learn Kanji, and you seem to know that since you’re learning Japanese outside of it. I hear most people who quit WaniKani do so when they hit around 20, so you’re not alone in thinking there’s other, better ways for your learning style. I myself have been thinking of quitting and just doing immersion and sentence mining with Anki, which I’m already doing concurrently right now anyway, though I think I might wait until I get to like level 30.

If you don’t want to quit, since I assume you got the lifetime sub, then I say just don’t sweat about it too much. Treat WaniKani like an auxiliary learning tool. Keep doing the reviews so that they don’t pile up, but maybe just like stop doing lessons, and even when you do do lessons, just do like 5 every now and then. idk if this is the type of response you’re looking for since it’s kinda quitter’s POV lol, but like overall I’d say don’t worry about it dude, you’re doing fine.

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Yes, forgetting is important to memory, but why?

Boring explanation

Everytime you learn something, that memory will decay. When you’re about to forget it and you make an effort to recall that information, that effort actually makes that memory stronger, meaning it will now decay slower.

The whole SRS is based on that idea.

Now, will you forget burned items? Yes, but it should take a really long time for that.
Take a look at this:

Intervals from WK:
Master to Enlightened = 1 month
Enlightened to Burned = 4 months

It’s 4x increase in interval. So, theoretically, how long you think should it take to forget a burned item?

My point is: if OP is having problems remembering, maybe the problem lies elsewhere. I think it’s actually a bit extreme thinking the only way to solve a problem is putting in even more work.

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I think it very much depends on how you approach the words you’re learning. If you accidentally condition your brain into “believing” that Burning an item is the end of it, you risk forgetting it immediately after, because you’re brain will no longer require the information.

If you ignore the entire SRS mechanism and just keep delivering the same word from different sources, eventually it will stick.

Also, from what I noticed, learning stuff outside WaniKani can negatively impact accuracy, because WaniKani has a very specific way of naming and assigning meaning to flashcards which is not universal. So if you learn a word well and then it appears in WaniKani, you’re already biased.

At least that was my experience thus far :slight_smile: .

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It’s really important not to get too bogged down in how fast you’re learning, or how you compare to others. Learning a language is a long journey, and you’ll have moments where everything progresses so quickly and so smoothly, and others where it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. That’s normal, I think, and just comes with the territory.

My main two pieces of advice are the following:

  1. Learn to love the grind. To stay with learning a language, I think you need to learn to love the process of learning the language. You have to be able to find some kind of joy in the studying itself. If you’re not, then switch it up, try a different method, or maybe even take a small break.

  2. Remember why you’re learning it. Presumably, if you aren’t learning it for work, you’re learning it out of some kind of passion. Remember what it is that brought you to the language in the first place, and try to engage with that, whether it be video games, anime, manga, music, whatever.

Most importantly though, you have to be kind to yourself, celebrating your successes and forgiving your failures. Even at your current level, you’ve made it farther than most people ever will, because most people will probably never even try. So be proud of that, and keep working.

For what it’s worth, I did the run to Level 60 in about a year myself, and it served its purpose for me, but I also invested a lot of additional time in studying to do it. I think most people are better served by taking their time. Just my two cents.


I wouldn’t try to compare against speed runners. A number of speed runners do have some level of past exposure and leverage scripts to achieve the pace they go at. It’s a lot easier to speed run levels when you use a reordering script during lessons so that you can skip over vocabulary and only get kanji and radicals, as an example.

I think the big thing that gets overlooked a lot with quickly picking up kanji is just how different it is to learn compared to English or any similar language. Being able to make associations between (essentially) a picture, and a reading and meaning is vastly different. Unless you’re brain has already done something similar to this then it is unlikely to be a skill you will quickly pick up. There will be some people that this comes naturally to but they are the exception and not the rule.

I would encourage you to keep at it, go at the pace you find comfortable. This is not a skill that develops quickly for most people. A trick I used to use back when I studied Chinese Mandarin was to write new characters down a few times. While writing them down, I would often say, or at least think, the reading and meaning. It is very hard to describe, but you will start to get a feel for when your brain has adjusted to this system, where a picture becomes associated with both a reading and meaning.

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One thing I want to point out is that the jump of accuracy from 80% to 85% or 90% could be almost double the work. (Meaning doing reading, listening or reverse wanikani).

From the replies, we can conclude that what happened to you happens to most of us :slight_smile: You’re not dumb. It’s normal.

I, too, have difficulties remembering some words when it’s already in Master or Enlightened. One extension that I find helpful is Wanikani Context that will put the vocab in the sample sentence. When I read the whole thing in context, it becomes easier to recall.

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We’re rooting for you! This also could be the push to get your motivation back up, too. I stalled out hard for the past month and a half. Eventually, I got to a point where it was the same content over and over that I’d keep missing, with some burns mixed in for extra dread (hah). I was seriously contemplating what the heck I was doing, but then I realized – I was bored! Now that I’ve started lessons again at a pace right for me, it’s gotten easier to do the “boring” stuff I keep missing, too. I just needed something extra to help me feel like I was learning again. Good luck, and remember the goal is to burn out those durtles, not yourself!

Alright y’all I righted the ship, course set to burn out


おおお、すごい! I can’t imagine going through one of my more recent levels in a week, and at time of writing I am a mere LV 7. Seeing someone doing LV 二十四 in 七日…