Anyone else facing burnout?

Wanikani seems lacking on really teaching you Japanese, which is expected because it’s main focus is to teach kanji. Pace your lessons and make sure you do not overwhelm yourself with reviews. I also suggest using other resources like bunpro and kamsame to help with vocab and grammar.
I am trying out japanesepod 101 which is not free but seems to be useful so far, they have step by step lessons teaching Japanese with video/audio. There are tons of resources and everyone seems to learn in different ways.

One opinion I have that I learned after burning out is your wanikani level doesn’t mean crap. Does not matter if you reached level 40 if you never learned any the verb conjurations and grammar that go with it. As it is now for me when I reached level 10 I knew lots of kanji but had no clue what the て verb form was. The kanji and related vocab I knew was useless because my knowledge in grammar was so weak.

So, what I am trying now myself is to take my time on wanikani but focus on practical Japanese with learning the grammar. Also really pushing recall, tools like kaniwani and kamesame help with that.

This was more of rant then anything but do take your time and at least with the start focus more on grammar. I am trying to get a good N5 level in grammar before I push more into wanikani.
Because seriously idk what I am supposed to do with some this vocab/adjectives/verbs I am learning here.


WK actually recommends to start studying grammar when you get to level 10 if youre new to Japanese so you have some base Kanji and vocabulary. This way you can focus on the grammar rather than what each word means.

If you previously tried to read something like TK, you would notice a significant difference now.


I didn’t read all the replies (It’s amazing the number of post / answers on this forum ^^) so this is just another one that you may or may not have already heard.

I’ve faced burnout multiple times on the past 6 months and the worst part was when I quit smoking 4 months or so ago. It was really super hard to get rid of the thing that (I thought) helped me to relieve stress.

What I’ve found out in quitting the cigaret habit made me think of my “burnout” facing. When I got cigaret hanger like super strong ones which just makes me want to jump in the car and go straight to buy a new pack… just focusing on my body, being conscious of myself, and repeating in my head “you’re worth better than that”, after just 5 minutes boom the craving is gone.
That’s only because of that, that I realised I was doing exactly the same for my japanese study but way more subtly. The moments when I needed to start studying or switch from a task to another or repeat a set of cards etc etc and all my brain was saying was just “ok why don’t we just lie down and take a nap”, “why don’t we turn on the switch and do one little run of Dead Cells”.
In those moments I was also unconsciously telling myself “you’re worth better than that” except that for studying it’s more of a shameful feeling of “so you are not capable of learning that stuff, you’re too dumb maybe you should just quit and do something easier”. The cigaret was the opposite it wasn’t shame it was something like pity for my own health.

I hope you follow me ^^

So all I want to say is yeah you are worth better than the burnout ! What you are doing IS MEANINGFUL you’re not doing a sad sad job, working for a big company or an as****le. You’re gaining meaningful knowledge. Is it hard ? Let’s be honest it isn’t hard like having a PhD in quantum physics. All we have to do is to focus and put stuff in our brain again and again and again.
We learned our mother tongue we can learn a new one !

(And don’t think kids have it easier because they are sponges or whatever, adults are in fact way better at learning a new language thank kids you can check on google very serious studies have been done on the subject !).

Now from my own perspective if you ask me, then if it’s meaningful and all, why, why this bad feeling when I need to get on my work ???!
What I think is we, as humans, are animals of rewards. That’s why we love video games, to watch movies and tv shows to take naps, to procrastinate. It gives instant small doses of quick and easy good feelings.
Learning japanese takes so much time, so much energy that after weeks / months our brain try to trigger us like : “HEY DUDE WTF ?! I’m doing this with you for the past 15 weeks and the time spent / rewards (like the first time you read a sentence in full japanese… god that feeling) has not been awesome, maybe we could do something else”
But it’s just in your brain, in your guts, the only thing you need to do is to say NO, sit down start studying again… and 5 minutes later you get back in the zone. Today you’ve learned things you go to bed knowing you did every thing you could AND THAT’S the point !
At the end of the day, the opinion you have of yourself when you spent 4/5/6/7 hours studying by opposition with the one when you spent your day binge watching a stupid tv show saying to yourself: “tomorrow I work !” …
I think you already know the difference :wink:

What you do is Meaningful.
You’re going to speak Japanese like you speak English soon.
Never stop.
Every day matter.
Your brain is not the boss of you.
Your guts are not the boss of you.
You’re going to speak Japanese like you speak English soon.
Go to bed bed before midnight.
Wake up before 8am.
Eat well / sleep well / drink water / do some kind of physical exercise every day.
You’re going to speak Japanese like you speak English soon.
At the end of the day there is no excuse you could find that will give you a better feeling than a good day of study.
You are smart and every day of studying proves it to yourself.
You’re awesome.
You’re going to speak Japanese like you speak English soon.

Good luck :slight_smile:


You could pause the kanji study for a bit and work on some basic grammar. Wanikani is specifically for kanji reading. Get some simple knowledge of making simple sentences first. Read Hiragana and Katakana only texts first. Then add the kanji a bit after because, as you said, it’s a pretty overwhelming language to learn with the multiple writing systems and all.

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i feel like i worked on grammar too little in the beginning (did tofugu and read tae kims guide, but never really practiced anything more) so when I finished WK I thought I was ready to read anything, but i soon realized how useless kanjis/vocabs are without knowing what the heck their purpose in the sentence is. Grammar is not as easy as vocab to just “look it up”

So, study more grammar and do WK on the side. Practice and practice until you can make sentences on your own. any new vocab/kanji would be learned as it comes.


I feel you.

Last year I started with Genki and was doing WaniKani plus two flashcard decks (Genki + Core 10K). I burned myself out after 4 months. I finished Genki, was at level 8 in WaniKani, and felt like I should take a week or two to study up on conjugations I was weak on. This lead to me wanting to just put studying on hold for a little bit so I could relax, but every day flash cards were due and it was like every hour WaniKani was giving me 10 or 40 reviews and I just couldn’t sit down for a few hours without having to do something and I hated it, so I put everything on hold for 8 months and ended up forgetting just about everything.

I’m now in the early parts of Genki 2 (after re-starting from Genki 1), level 15 in WaniKani, finished the Genki flash cards and am 2K+ in to the Core 10K. I still feel like reading よつばと! is beyond my level because I just lack the vocab (if I really wanted to I could force my way through, but I’d spend too much time translating everything. There’s also some really odd quirks in some character’s speech that Japanese Ammo covers in her review of the manga). You can also find vocab decks for よつばと!and some other manga on Memrise I believe, but you’re gonna have trouble with the grammar most likely (I’ve heard that よつばと!is around N4 level). As others have said, “beginner” here is a bit deceiving.

FWIW, here’s a comparison of what I was doing wrong before and how I’ve fixed it now. I have no idea if it will be relevant at all for you though.


  • Studied EVERY day
  • Was so desperate for more vocab I would double up the # of new cards per day (not realizing how this would lead to even more card reviews later)
  • Never took rest days
  • Did not space out WaniKani and didn’t have a system that worked for me; I just did the reviews as they came in unless I was sleeping


  • Study Mon-Thurs and take Fri - Sun off
  • Stick strictly to the number of new cards per day I know I can handle
  • Do WaniKani in the morning and evening and not worry about it in the afternoon unless it’s just 1 review or something. I also found a method that works for me and my goals. That I don’t feel the strong urge that I absolutely have to do everything immediately is very nice.
  • Spend collectively about 30 mins a night re-reviewing all the flash cards I got wrong (+new cards). I’ll just look them over a few times until I feel like I know them, come back in an hour, do it again, etc. I end up spending very little time on the reviews (5 to 10 minutes?) and each successive review is a breeze (to the point where I don’t feel like it’s eating away at a huge chunk of my time).
  • Don’t bother learning English loan words that are so easy to remember that even if I had to look them up while reading, I’d remember what they were after seeing it a second time. This helps me squeeze in more Japanese words.

If you have to prioritize one thing, personally I’d suggest to make WaniKani the priority for two reasons:

  1. It is time consuming. It’s not as time consuming as grammar, but it’s something that you have to do in addition to everything else. Finishing WaniKani gives you more time for other things.
  2. Knowing the kanji helps a great deal with memorizing vocab. Even if you don’t know the meaning of a word, you will have a general idea based on the kanji and this really helps make things much easier.

If you’re not already using tools like the override script or reorder, you should be. I found this guide to be incredibly helpful and the advice has saved me a good amount of time and frustration. I’m still figuring things out as well, and learning how to better tweak the method that is already working for me. But I’m getting my reviews done and I’ve surpassed where I was at last year (by almost double) without feeling burned out.

If you’ve got the cash, I suggest buying the graded readers (CD Japan has them the cheapest. There is an app available now as well, but I know nothing about it). Some of the Level 0 books have grammar that is taught closer to the end of Genki 1, but it’s still a good way to read at your level (and you’ll pick up some new vocab from each book). I bought the entire set and I’m thankful I did since my vocab isn’t completely up to a high enough level for regular manga.

It also goes without saying but you should designate a specific amount of time to studying grammar. I have a lot of free time right now, so I spend the bulk of the day doing that (because that free time won’t last forever). You can even set a goal of 1 chapter per month or 1 chapter every 2 weeks. This will help keep you on track and moving forward.

With your build up of reviews, personally I’d suggest to either take care of all of them first (use the reorder script and do one level a day if you need to go at a slower pace or don’t have much time). You could also just start from level 1 again; there’s nothing wrong with that (I had to do it once myself).

Good luck!!


You have a lot of responses, but just reconfirmation what’s been said and adding a bit. You have to go at a pace that works for you. If you don’t have the time or the ability to learn so much at a time then you need to slow it down to a pace that works for you. If your goal is reading, then balancing WK and grammar is important (if you want to be able to listen and speak you will need to balance that in there too). With Genki you will also need to learn additional vocabulary that you aren’t learning with WK. Creating a plan to study each of the areas is important.

As for reading…everyone is different. You don’t really know what they actually know, how much they really understand and how hard they worked. For me I’m about halfway through Minna No Nihongo 2 and still feel too much of a struggle reading simple manga or Easy NHK. I’m the type of person that wants to fully understand content, rather than just get the gist of it. In my case I can’t justify reading these sources yet. Graded Readers and other easier sources have been a little more encouraging and useful for me.

In a typical non-Japanese University you basically learn a JLPT level a year. It takes a year to go through Genki 1 and learn around 100 Kanji (which is only a couple of levels of WK). In a Japanese language school in Japan as a full-time student you learn about two JLPT levels a year (maybe a little less depending on the school). You could learn even faster than this if you have the time, drive, ability or some kind of advantage. Some people go even slower than this. I think everyone wants to be fluent in Japanese tomorrow, but the reality is that it takes time. You have to set up your expectations to be realistic and understand that it will take time. With WK (and the internet) it can make it seem you need to hurry and lead you into burning out.


I hate that it’s only on mobile but LingoDeer does a really good job of introducing you to grammar. In the review section it will take everything you have been shown so far and reorder it into random sentences. You will be surprised at how fast your brain will work out a sentence you’ve never heard before with no visual que and read by a native speaker.

I really hope they bring it to desktop.

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I just wanted to respond directly to your concerns about looking up a ton of vocab. Unfortunately this will be the case for a very, very long time. At some point (maybe after finishing or nearly finishing Genki 2) I’d recommend you try reading something. You’ll likely still have to look up a ton, but it’s better than waiting and doing flashcards forever.

If you’re worried about the slang in Yotsubato, you could always try another manga like Aria the Masterpiece, which has characters with generally more normal speech. Or perhaps you’ll want to join one of the beginner book clubs at some point so that there’s a vocab sheet and people to help if you have trouble.


Thanks for the suggestion! I’m mostly just focusing on vocab right now, but here and there I’ll pick up one of the graded readers when I have the time. I’ve fetched Crayon Shin-chan, Doraemon, Chii’s Sweet Home, and Yotsuba&! for my first dip in to beginner level manga, but I’ll take your suggestion and check out Aria as well!

Make sure it’s Aria the Masterpiece or Aqua. It’s a bit confusing, but the original Aria was published after two volumes of Aqua, but Aqua is included in Aria the Masterpiece.

If you do check it out, you’re always welcome to ask questions in the existing chapter discussion threads.

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I found the discussion thread but I’m having trouble finding the official Japanese title. I just see アリア

If you are really cannot study your midterms and do WaniKani at the same time, you could go into Vacation Mode which stops the SRS System until you are ready to continue. I however suggest that in your breaks from studying, you should do WaniKani as much as possible. Good luck!

This thread has the links to where you can buy it from:

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I don’t think you have burnout. I think you have been mistaking motivation for discipline. It’s great to be motivated to learn/study Japanese. When you sit down and are just pumped to learn more and more. However, that won’t be the case forever. You will go through cycles, but the important part of continuing any hobby is discipline. Doing the hobby when you really don’t want to. Studying at least 1 hour a day no matter what. You already are doing Wanikani + Genki which are what I used to start out.

You can come on here and complain or procrastinate as much as you want and it really only affects you. It isn’t always going to be fun, you just have to put more and more time into it if you really want to learn Japanese.


Ah thank you! I found myself on the chapter 1 discussion thread and not the home thread.


I’ve never personally experienced Japanese learning burnout, but perhaps if I was a college student with mounds of homework I’d feel differently. I hate to tell you this, but 300 is a staggering amount of reviews to have piled up and a number that intimidating is probably one of the biggest killers of your motivation. I try not to let my own reviews accumulate higher than 50-ish because I’ve personally found higher numbers than that start to feel like a bit of slog to plow through.

As for grammar, I think the Genki books are great, but you might want to consider giving Human Japanese a try. Human Japanese 1+2 doesn’t cover as much material as Genki 1+2, but what is covered is explained vastly better with more depth and with a wonderful sense of humor that keeps motivation high (Brian Rak’s writing made me laugh out loud many times). After completing Human Japanese 1+2, I recommending going through the chapters in Genki 2 which covers the things absent in Human Japanese. After that, you’ll have a pretty solid foundation of Japanese grammar. From that point, to really learn all the finer points of Japanese grammar, you can move on to something like Satori Reader (made by the creators of Human Japanese if you like their style) or the A Dictionary of Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese grammar series. Satori Reader is nice because in addition to explaining everything super well, you can also use it to practice your listening comprehension. I also have the complete A Dictionary of series, and it’s great being able to look up any grammar point with excellent explanations and examples.

I came to this thread because I have been experiencing loss of motivation lately. I am about to hit level 21, into the Death zone. I feel so accomplished, yet I cannot seem to find the motivation to do my 350 reviews and level up. I still have 35 lessons to do too. I have the time, just not the motivation. Ughhh halp!


Have you been using what youve learnt/reviewed? For example tried reading something you tried to read 10 levels ago?

Maybe you need a little time to breathe, just do your reviews for a while and focus on other parts of Japanese without doing lessons? Somewhere between the early and mid 20ies I also was close to burn out and didn’t feel like I should be spending so much time on WaniKani anymore. I started to read more, got a Netflix subscription to watch a lot of Japanese content, watched Japanese YouTube and so on and focused more on grammar for a while.

And now the time feels right again to speed up in WaniKani and in turn neglect grammar for a few months. Only so many hours in a day…

When I feel super overwhelmed and demotivated I also allow myself to just watch TV. As long as it is Japanese without English subtitles, everything counts. The only thing that matters is doing something consistently. If your brain needs time to breathe then I think if that “something” is just having fun for a while that is OK too.