At about which WaniKani level does reading Manga / VNs in Japanese become something it's really possible to do?

As title, I know it depends on the manga / VN / anime / whatever in question but I was wondering at which Wanikani level it would start becoming sort of viable to read things written in Japanese beyond example sentences and things that are deliberately written to be easy to read for foreign learners (I’ve been doing a bit of grammar on the side and kind of get the basic stuff with that)

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well. “It depends”
By no mean i am an expert. My kanji isn’t that bad by i am beginner at grammer and just recently started studying vocabulary(again)
So i would say around 30 should be safe bet.
for me i guess?

You’ll see kanji that you don’t know for a long time so get used to looking it up. Aside from that it’s more of your grammar and familiarity with the language. A few levels ago I tried to read Yotsuba and my reading and processing speed was slow so I stopped. Yesterday I started again and can’t stop myself from finishing two volumes a day :smile:


Depends more on how much grammar you know, in my opinion. The stronger your grammar the easier it will be to read even if you’re still looking up words (which you’ll be doing even at level 60). I run into words all the time reading manga that aren’t on WK at all.


I started around level 10 I think. Could probably have joined a book club earlier though - like @athomasm says, the main thing is getting the grammar down.

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As others have mentioned, grammar’s going to be the main thing that limits what you can read. Second to that would be vocabulary. Third is kanji, but if the manga has furigana readings on the kanji, you don’t even need to know any kanji to read it.

For manga without readings on the kanji, it’s going to depend on the series. Volume 1 of 「ご注文はうさぎですか?」, for example, utilizes 799 unique kanji. Of those, 777 are covered by WaniKani (with 22 not covered). You would have to complete WaniKani level 34 just to recognize 80% of the unique kanji. However, many kanji are used multiple times in the volume. In that case, there are 3,772 kanji total in the volume, and you will reach 80% recognition of the overall kanji usage at completion of WaniKani level 21. (Oh, in a few levels, I’ll be about due to try re-reading volume 1, this time without looking up nearly every single kanji along the way.)


Something others haven’t mentioned is that probably the biggest factor is what your tolerance for looking things up is. With relatively elementary grammar, you can have basically no vocabulary and no kanji knowledge and make it through while looking up every kanji, every word, and most grammar points, but this would be a thoroughly unpleasant experience.

On the other hand, you will still have to look up words even if you have competed WaniKani, the core 10k, and heck, even the ridiculous 40 thousand word Anki Deck. The only thing that changes as you go up is the frequency in which you look things up.

It’s also worth noting that WK is focused on kanji, so for kana only words you will need to be pulling from something else as well for vocab. Torii is good for this, as it can order based on WK kanji order, and slip in kana only words alongside of this.

All of that being said, people often seem to indicate that mid 30s, along with N3ish grammar and vocabulary tends to be where manga becomes fairly bearable. For VNs, it is probably higher, but I can’t say for sure.


If you don’t know grammar, level 60 is not enough :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Tbh i hated grammer before i started it (quit learning it kinda alot of time). But it turned out to be fun. Especially when i encounter grammer point in the wild. I haven’t completed JLPT 5 grammer yet. And i already feel like understanding generally what sentence mean.


I feel like the one important step is realizing that long ass sentences can modify a single noun. And て forms.

I feel like these two points alone are wildly important and just everywhere.

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There is a benefit to consuming content intended for natives before you can fully understand it. Listening to Japanese podcast, reading Japanese news, watching Japanese youtube, anime, etc. It can start to train your brain as to what words are used more frequently, and how they are used. If you go in the goal of absorbing the language without trying to understand it, then you don’t have to look everything up.

Having youtuber セイキン hold up a blue object he’s reviewing and say ‘あおい’ imprints it into your brain a little differently then studying that ‘あおい’ = ‘blue’

I guess I’m just suggesting that you shouldn’t feel like you need to fully understand native content before you can start digging into it!

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