Are burned items really fluently used in your real life?

Just wondering… If you learn kanji this way, does this really work? If you burn an item, if you read it anywhere you are completely sure you know it?

So people with 600 burned kanjis are fluent with those 600?

Thanks all!

I brain fart sometimes and fail to recognize a burned kanji (I usually unburn them then), but overall I’d say I’m able to recognize them pretty well. Some take more thinking than others though.

I’m not sure to what extent one is “fluent” in the individual kanji though, since there’s no guarantee you’ll understand a word just because you know its kanji.

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Burning an item has nothing to do with knowing how to use it. So, no. You should be able to read it though, as long as you are regularly still consuming Japanese written content after you burn the item.


If you have the kanji 交(こう, mix) burned in the wanikani system, you would not know what the word 交通(こうつう、traffic) unless you had studied it separately. So even if you a burn a kanji, there will certainly be words that use that kanji that you would not be able to understand at all if you don’t also study that vocab’s meaning.


You don’t read kanji, kanji are just characters. You read words, which are made out of kanji, hiragana and katakana.

Now, if you burn a word, for example, it doesn’t mean you’re fluent in it and can read it anywhere, but it does mean you’re more likely to recognize it “in the wild”. True fluency comes with repeated use (in context). I’m not saying burning items here is useless, because it takes you to a level where you don’t need to look up the same word every five seconds, and then you can just focus on learning the details of the meaning of each word. Because that level of subtlety can’t be learned properly outside of context.


Definitely agree with this. A burned item hopefully means you won’t need to look the word up when you read. This is of course very useful, but you still just know one or a few english translations, which is not the same as fluency.

It’s sort of a like a scaffolding with which you can start to construct your own mental model of what the word really means, I’d say.



Everything learned here in Wanikani is essentially foundational stuff. Radical serves as the foundation for kanji, kanji is the foundation for WaniKani’s vocab, and WaniKani’s vocab is the foundation for a full understanding of the vocab.

Think of it like this: if you were just beginning to study english and you learned the words childlike and childish through a SRS (which WaniKani is), you would be able to tell that both mean temperament of a child. Reading and experiencing the language through movies, news, books, etc. gives you the distinction. (That distinction being childlike feels softer and a good trait whereas childish feels more annoyed and a bad trait).

Essentially burned items serve as very strong foundations for knowing a word, to the point where you can read the word outside in the wild and know its meaning without looking it up. However, achieving fluency means experiencing the word frequently.

That being said, experiencing the word is the fun part and happens naturally upon consuming media that you enjoy. The more tedious part is learning the vocab here, which can still be fun if you enjoy the learning and leveling up process.


Thanks for all the answers guys!.

I’ve been learning japanese for nearly 9 years now, and I’ve learned english and arabic, so I’m pretty sure about what works and what doesn’t, really.

So yes, reading works. A lot. But searching for kanji all the time doesn’t.

For me what works with japanese and I’ve managed to improve a lot is KNOWING vocabulary watching movies, talking with people (not reading the kanji). After that,when you see two kanjis, you know how to read them because you know other words that use them… and then you find out that word you knew is that!. So you start to associate that.

The big problem is when you have two kanjis you don’t remember, a word you never saw, and a lot of them in the text. You will probably find them, forget them… and so on



easy answer; if you only do wanikani and nothing else with japanese, you will forget even the burned items over time, in my experience even more the vocabs than the kanji.
I resseted my progress from 42 to 1 a while ago and when it comes to kanji I often recognized them again and als guess the reading correctly, but there where many vocabs I completely forget.

I think it’s best to not neglect learning grammar and just read read read as much and as soon as possible because when I learned/burned an item on wanikani and also read it several times in a book, then I got the feeling that I have really learned it.

I also find it much easier to read a word and remember it than to produce it yourself when you try to say something. But thats another story.

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Absolutely true ! I fully agree.

tickles あそんでもいいぞう

If I see it in real life, I can sometimes infer what the kanji/hanzi is.

But when a sign uses different font (particularly the kiddy font) I can barely recognize it.

Also, I’ve seen some of my Japanese friends’ handwriting, and for the love of god I can’t make any sense of it.

horusscope. I don’t really understand, you mix extremely informal with formal stuff.
頑張れってだとういうな → 頑張れってだというな
読んでテヨンでと中に込んだ → テヨン?
まさかなにかなんだ!? ← … too informal to understand.

What do you mean? Thanks!

Also, lots of japanese people don’t know how to write many kanjis. They discuss it in front of you when trying to write something… this is what technology has managed to do overtime.

I’m not sure if “don’t know how to write many kanji” is a fair way to describe it. It’s probably well over a thousand, even if they forget which kanji to use in which compound now and then.

Japanese will often say things like ‘oh I always forget how to write kanji’ or something like that, even if it’s completely untrue.

Oh I’m well sure about this. Specially people around 18 years old, but also older people. They try to write and they are so used to automated writting than when they have to, they stop many times. This doesn’t happen with people with university studies where they write a lot. I’ve seen a lot of them write. I used to organize a huge language exchange with a hundred people participating every week and this was a very common problem.

Well. Just saying, nothing to start a conversation about it.