Another 'Should I reset' thread, need a bit of encouragement


I am about to come back to WK after a 1.5 year hiatus. I started WK with practically no knowledge of grammar back then. I didnt know anything about the specifics of the differences between i - adjectives and na - adjectives or pretty much anything else, other than the fact that all verbs end in ‘u’ and all adjectives in ‘i’ (is what I thought).
After quitting WK, I took a year break from Japanese altogether, but came back about half a year ago (goddamn f*cking vtube got me lmao). I exclusively took a look at grammar for a while (thanks Tae Kim!) and now know a good amount of it. Now that I’ve come this far, I wanted to resume WK, but have 1.300 reviews queued up.
My concern is not the pile of work. To be honest I feel like I could willpower through that in a given amount of time, but I would also have to review alot of burn items again, because I seem to have forgotten most of them. I cant remembe pretty mucha ny radical and this will become detrimental, when learning new kanji. I feel like this is mostly due to the fact that I needed to force all that info into my brain.
So when I already have to repeat all burn items, all the radicals and then also do the reviews, shouldnt I just do a hard reset down to level 1? I think starting over with the knowledge I have now, will make stuff stick and also give me a decent amount of reading practise in form of the example sentences. It might also go alot (and I mean ALOT) smoother than it did.

I’ve seen a mix of responses in other threads, but I really wanted to have some input for my specific situation. I do have a certain amount of time at my disposal, but I am ADHD diagnosed and tedious study of flashcards after doing online courses everyday is a bit of a personal hell for me. When I did WK, parts of it were fun, but most of the time I struggled through it and nothing more. The cards were words without meaning to me. I doubt alot of stuff actually stuck. I KNOW a bunch of stuff did not stick, because I cannot for the life of me remember a good amount of words I look up on daily, although they are tagged below the level I am supposed to be at currently.
I feel like this might change, when I get back in from the start. I now have a solid understanding of word types and how they are used aswell as all verb conjugations and much more. My overall understanding of the language is vastly better than it was. I think I pretty much have my answer already, so I might only been looking for encouragement to pull the trigger on it. I have a lifetime subscription, so subscription costs arent an issue.

Thank you for Your answers and input in advance!! Sorry for making yet another thread on this topic, but I think it is okay to be a little selfish from time to time.


Instead of resetting why don’t you try an ENG>JPN program like KaniWani and see how you do with that? If you feel lost then you can always reset on KW but you might surprise yourself at how much kanji you remember.


Isnt ENG>JPN mostly used to solidify your vocab knowledge for speech? My intermediate goal at the moment is mostly reading and listening comprehension, so I can passively learn off of the media I already consume. I do not have a partner to speak to at the moment and I doubt this will change very soon, due the rona and my own inability to follow through on plans I have made.

1 Like

A lot of people get hung up on the psychological hit from resetting, but there’s also quite a boost from being able to breeze through those levels again.

The items you already know will take very little effort to remember and you’ll be able to concentrate on the ones that didn’t stick.


You might be right about that. Still the hesitation is big, because 12 levels took me long enough and I’d lose the progress. Then again, it is just a progress in levels, as I barely know 5% of the kanji on my WK frontpage…

1 Like

I think that after a hiatus that long, this is pretty solid reasoning. Especially, that you mentioned you don’t remember many of the kanji you already passed on WaniKani.

However, since you’ve been working on your grammar in the meantime (last 5 months) and actively doing something with the language, repeating those levels might not be that hard. There is a chance that you do actually remember some of the vocab and kanji, but just need triggers from WaniKani to get you rolling.

In the end of the day, a level is just a number :slight_smile: . It doesn’t express how good you are at Japanese, since you could be learning through other sources just as well.

Speaking of resets in general, I’ve been resetting my progress in games so many times (Skyrim and God Eater 3 most recently) that I don’t care about it anymore.


Hey Morczubel,

You’re the only one who can know what’s best for you ultimately but I can tell you that resetting was very helpful for me at around your level and explain why. You can see if it resonates at all and hopefully something might help.

After a multi-year hiatus I returned to WK and I was completely overwhelmed by the review pile. I knew I could do them, but it felt like hitting my head against the wall as I tried because I was getting so many of them wrong. One of the biggest impediments for me was confidence in what I had forgotten–being able to start from level one again let me face it freshly and also with a knowledge of what I had done before that hadn’t worked. For instance, being very careful about not doing too many lessons and keeping a steady pace.

Since I also was sort of familiar with many of the kanji, it freed me up in time to find some kanji picture books that gave me another source of entry for some of the kanji I was finding difficult–that may help you since you mentioned ADHD is potentially challenging your studies. I found that starting over took away a lot of the pressure I’d put on myself previously to always be “leveling up” and let me focus better on a wider net of an inclusive study package.

This is my advice as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages–anywhere that you can lower the linguistic load, do so, because it will let make it easier for lasting learning to take place. I often have students who are learning English focus very hard on spelling–not because I want them to be able to win the national spelling bee, but because if you’re trying to write a sentence and thinking about spelling every word, it’s exhausting. Taking the level of intensity down in any way you can manage really helps you to learn new things. The same is true for kanji. If you’re thinking about every single thing you’re facing, it’s defeating and debilitating.

Honestly for me, starting over has been a delight; not because I’m getting everything right but because it isn’t so freaking hard this time. I’m nearly back to the same level I was before and in far less time with substantially less pain. My accuracy is high but more importantly, I don’t cringe every time I see that I have reviews to do or lessons to learn. Sometimes we need to learn how to learn as much as we need to learn the content.

I wish you luck on your journey and do let us all know how it goes!


Here’s my experience with resetting so you can get a feel for whether or not it would be good for you. I first started Wanikani with only the smallest bit of kanji knowledge in the middle of 2019, slogged through for about a year to level 14, and then I burnt out. I went on a 6 month hiatus and tried to pick it back up in December, but trying to get through over 1200 reviews with 50% accuracy was just so brutal I couldn’t do it.

So I reset back to 1. I wasn’t sure if that was going back too far. But when I reviewed the vocab from that level I didn’t feel great about them, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Even the things I thought I forgot were surprisingly easy to get back into because my brain remembered enough of the lessons to pick them back up again quickly. I could do all of my lessons as they became available without feeling overwhelmed. I didn’t get all of my reviews right, but my accuracy was generally around 96-98%, great but not perfect which meant I was still learning.

And it completely changed my emotions regarding Wanikani. Before I burnt out and when I first tried to get back in, Wanikani was something I would dread. I didn’t feel great about my abilities. And both doing reviews and avoiding them only made it worse. But resetting completely refreshed my emotional response to Wanikani and I feel so confident even doing levels I hadn’t gone through previously. Resetting set me into a groove of doing 7-day levels and I’ve been able to maintain that beyond levels 1-14 I did on my first go through. And I was able to get back to my previous level in about 3 months, which isn’t that long compared to the year it originally took me to get there.

So in my experience resetting definitely worked out, but that’s based on my individual situation.


I would not reset my progress for several reasons. It’s been steady. I’m fine with my accuracy atm. I want to be done asap because no life subscription and because I’m planning to move to content after I’m done here. Not necessarily 60 lvls. I’ll probably stop around lvl 30-40. And I haven’t taken any breaks. If not for these reasons I’d probably reset after a long pause. Lvl 12 is not that far in tbh.

1 Like

Btw if you reset 4 days ago when you started the thread, you’d be halfway through lvl1 already. :slight_smile:


I dont really have the time right now, which is why I made the thread in advance. But You are absolutely right.

This is solid advice. Thank You. Can You elaborate on linguistic load a little? Did You mean anything other than ‘less painful/more playful learning will be more effective’?

And it completely changed my emotions regarding Wanikani. Before I burnt out and when I first tried to get back in, Wanikani was something I would dread. I didn’t feel great about my abilities.

This is exactly what I am hoping for. Thank You so much for that angle.

As soon as I get back into it, I will reset down to 1 and hopefully have a wholesome and chill cruise back to where I was.

Thank You all for Your great responses. I dont want to mark any of these great answers as the one solution, because the the overwhelming support and insights of all of You combined really helped me out here.

Thank You.

1 Like

Wait read this before you hit that button. I strongly strongly recommend that you tough it out for the next month with doing your reviews. I’ve gotten to level 16 before and took a 1+ year hiatus as well and decided to reset back to level 1. Was it worth it? Not really as despite what others may say in breezing through the easier levels, the problem is that if you rush, you’ll accumulate a large review pile that might make you burnout and contemplate resetting yet again.

What a suggest you did is to bare with doing only reviews now, and formulate a pace that you can maintain for the long term.
It’s going to suck, but it is definitely worth it.
Also, while I can’t know how your mind functions, I’m willing to bet that you know more kanji than you think and with a few exposures, you’ll feel comfortable with them again.

Regardless of what you decide to do, commit to that decision and ganbate!

1 Like

Thanks. I have to revisit all of my burn items aswell, so I dont know. I think I won’t speedrun the early levels either, because i want to take a good look at the example sentences presented. And relearn what I might already know under the light knowing way more grammar.

You do have a point though.

So I made it to level 43 before I reset, and I had over 3000 reviews waiting for me when I got back. I had also forgotten a lot of the kanji, but it was also incredibly discouraging to look at that huge number of reviews. It made me want to not do WK because it felt hopeless. For me, resetting was helpful because it allowed me to restart my routine on WK, while working on some easier kanji that helped boost my ego so that I would want to keep doing it.

There are pros and cons to both decisions. At level 12, that’s 12 weeks of progress assuming you are going at the fastest pace possible, and more time if you are not. You could reasonably expect to work through your 1300 review pile faster than that, so resetting will be a net loss in time, most likely.

Another thing to consider that I almost never hear anyone talk about: how effective with the learning be? People often get caught up in the game on WK. Most of us have a goal of hitting level 60 and “winning,” but the ultimate goal hear is learning, so you should consider what will help you learn the best. If you really only remember 5% of the previous levels content, then I wonder how effective trying to work through the review pile will be.

One last thought: you mentioned that you have ADHD and that tedious study of flashcards is a personal hell of sorts. It makes me wonder if WK is the right resource for you or not. I’m not saying that it is or isn’t the right place for you, but if you were already struggling through WK at level 12, how much worse is it gonna be by level 20? 30? 50? I only say this to ask if you have looked into any other kanji learning resources and tried them to see if you enjoy them more. At the end of the day, people learn better when they enjoy what they are learning.

No matter whether you stay the course, reset, or trying something new, I wish you the best of luck on your Japanese learning journey!

1 Like

The time I initially did WK in, was a time, where I wasnt in the greatest of shapes mentally. I forced myself to do reviews every evening, mindlessly and it felt bad. I am in a completely different headspace now and have a lot of really healthy routines. I wanna make WK one of them and I am confident it will work out. Gamifying things really helps me looks at progress and payoff, so WK in that sense is a great platform for me and I doubt I will find a better format. But this gamification also means I am hurting for these 12 levels. Even if its just 12.

1 Like

With language learning theory, it’s important to balance what you are actually trying to learn with what you also have to learn to understand what you are learning.

For example, to understand the meaning of the sentence, you must first understand the grammar, and all the words in the sentence. But to understand that, you first need to understand all the letters (or equivalent component parts) and the sounds they make when they come together. (eg. If you are struggling to read the kana, you’re putting in double effort.)

This is particularly true for the way WK is set up. It’s designed to have the kanji at the bottom be solidly in your memory, because they come up a great deal later on as vocabulary words. So if you don’t know the ones at the bottom, you’re hitting your head double time as you increase in levels because you’re learning the new kanji as well as relearning the old.

To me, this is where the heart of resetting versus not resetting comes in. How well do you know the kanji and how much do you want to spare yourself the constant relearning? Obviously everyone on this thread is divided but that’s because it’s a values-driven decision–for me, resetting balanced my desire to solidly know the lower level kanji because I get very defeated by constantly making errors. By starting over and going more carefully it helped me. Also realizing that not all levels are created equal helps me from getting disheartened–the sheer volume of kanji and vocabulary can be drastically different from level to level. Taking that into account, I have changed my approach and that’s worked for me.

Thinking about what you value and how you want your time to go is the big question that you will need to answer to find which path is the way forward for you. There is no wrong answer because this is values driven, so see what resonates for you!

I was in a very similar situation recently, I got to level 10 then took what ended up being about an 8 month break. I came back to find 1200+ reviews that I seemed to fail the majority of.

What really helped my do it was the reordering script, I went back through it by level starting at 1. It really helps as that’s is how wanikani builds up normally. As you go it will start to come back to you, it seems like you had forgotten, but it just seems to be hidden away. I was able to bring my reviews down, and now am beginning to add in more lessons. I’m still trying to keep the apprentice kanji under 100 as I still have a lot of low leveled kanji due to the reset.

Best of luck!