Atter Burning Question

I feel like after I burn kanji that I haven’t really truly remembered them, and that I’ll soon forget them if I don’t see them for a while and might have to do WaniKani a second time.

Do others here feel like the kanji has permanently stuck after burning?

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They won’t be permanently stuck, but you need to so them within a year or so to keep them in memory. The idea of wanikani is that you are either studying or reading or whatever alongside it, and therefore you will eventually encounter most words taught there.

You also have the option of extra studying burned items, and if you see one that you didn’t know, you can unburn it.


That’s what immersion is for. If you happen to forget something along the line, you’ll simply remind yourself of it and move on (and be alot less likely to forget it again).


They are not permanently stuck, burning is a lie. Sadly there is no way to disable the burn ‘feature’. Personally I’d rather have them reviewed at increasingly long intervals, six months is way to short to be able to say to have learnt something for good.


Kanji is a complex concept. No way to truly remember them even after Burn. You can think that the associated vocabularies extend beyond what WaniKani teach, and therefore both meanings and readings.

Vocabularies are simpler, but there are still multiple facets – visually? aurally? production? Simply, you have to make use of those vocabularies in a personal way. Think of SRS and Burn as just an initial step.

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burning items means that this is about the best an SRS can do for you, in particular as you’ve got thousands of other items to learn.

to actually get them to stick, you need to use them. that means listening, reading, and if at all possible also producing (speaking and writing). you need to put all the stuff you learned here into context (and often you might realize that they actually don’t mean what you thought they mean). and you need to get many of these contextualisations.

so go and read. join a bookclub (i joined my first bookclub when i was level 13. it was very hard, but extremely useful). or something.

SRS like WK are good for quickly learning lots of things with very little context. this is sometimes necessary, for example when bootstrapping yourself as an adult to a level where you can start reading japanese. but overall SRS is a rather poor tool for learning a language.


I’ve definitely forgotten some of the kanji I’ve burnt. But I don’t mind since they end up being kanji that rarely show up in novels, TV, etc. and if I ever come across them again I can search them up in a dictionary. Once I read their definition in a Japanese dictionary, then the word tends to stick with me for a much longer time, so I like to think of that as the “official” burning of a word.

Wanikani gives you a black and white picture. Through utilising the words and hearing them in different contexts, you slowly paint the picture, until you have a vivid image of what a kanji means.

I wouldn’t call kanji complex, there are concepts which are many times more difficult out there. To be honest, language learning to me is easier than other subjects because of how much memorization and how little critical thinking is involved. Some days I was able to just sit down and listen to music while doing WK, but with my current study I have to really sit down and focus.


The expectation is you will see the kanji again within a years time if you are READING!

When you burn an item the rules change to a game of: Use it or lose it.

Yes, I’d prefer them popping back up at longer intervals instead of being completly burned. I wish we couldn’t burn them actually.

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I live in Japan, but don’t have time read books or anything anything except the signs and junk mail (which I usually can’t read because it has too much kanji I don’t know). I wish there was an option to not burn them or have intervals of them coming back take longer like weeks or months.

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You don’t need much time to read. Allocating 5 minutes every two or three days, to read a story on Satori Reader, or the news on NHK News Easy goes a long way. And if you have absolutely zero time to read something, well, listening to Japanese at least has at least a similar effect, if you can think about the actual kanji that you are hearing.

thing is, the next reasonable interval after burning (which is a 4 month interval) would be 1 year. if you don’t use that knowledge in between, it is highly likely that you will indeed have forgotten a large amount of it.

with WK (and other spaced repetition systems) you learn things in a vacuum. and as long as that remains in a vacuum, your brain will forget it. you need to fill that vacuum, and you do that by using what you’ve learned. and the best way to do that is reading.

if you don’t have time for a manga, try reading one article per day on NHK easy. install a browser extension like 10ten reader, so that you can just mouse-over words you don’t recognise. your goal at this point is to get the gist of the article, that’s enough. but you need to see and read kanji in real texts.

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