Been gone for over a year, should I reset to level 1?

Due to family circumstances, I didn’t have time to focus on Japanese anymore and now I’ve returned I feel like I don’t remember anything. I’m on level 21 currently, unsure if its worth me just trying to push through and reading through the things I’ve burned or resetting at this point.

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I did exactly that and grew to regret the decision. I hadn’t actually forgotten most of anything between levels 1 and 10, and it took me months to get back there, making zero real progress for months apart from reading manga. The early levels are slow.

What I’d suggest is to inspect (and possibly down to backwards from the level you’re currently at and see where you start remembering most of the items. Then reset back to that.


Since you made it to 21, I doubt you completely forgot everything, some of it will surely come back or be easier to learn this time. You could look through the levels and even do like a half reset. Maybe 10 or something like that? Try to browse through the levels and see where it starts to get weak.

Forgetting and relearning is all apart of the process of language learning so don’t worry if it’s not perfect recall from earlier levels. Some burns that you can’t recall is okay. You’ll relearn them elsewhere if you need them.

If you look through and are like “Nothing rings a bell” Restarting from 1 is okay too. Language learning takes many “coats” or passes of learning, so don’t sweat it if you go back. It’s very likely it will be easier the second time. I did many passes on the lower kanji. Once for “this” class, then another for “that” class, then wanikani etc. It’s all good practice.

Good luck!

I was gone for over a year too, and struggled for a year before that due to not having enough time to keep up with reviews. This year I reset from level 32 to level 17. No regrets! I do remember more than I thought, but I am zooming through levels (compared to my previous pace) and having a much less frustrating experience. Going back to 1 might be too far for you. Maybe try 15 or so? You can always reset again to an earlier level if you’re still having problems remembering earlier things.


O agree with the first commenter about looking at each level’s list of kanji and vocabulary to see what you remember. You may only need to reset to 10 or 15, but you won’t know until you look.

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I agree with @RainbowBrite13

Take a look at the level kanji and vocabulary and then decide where you should reset.

I was on level 9 for almost a year and decided to go back to level 1, but I probably could’ve managed with level 5, but what’s done is done. At least I now have a chance (AGAIN) to try and build a healthy pace and not risk burnout (AGAIN)

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I did reset to level 1 a few times, but it’s mostly annoying because of the radicals and waiting to ramp up.

I agree with reseting a few levels each time and seeing how it goes.


i’m down to about 500 from 1200 reviews after a year off and it’s not the first time I’ve been backlogged in reviews. still only at level 9 myself so it’s not as bad, but I think there’s merit in using the overwhelming reviews to create a routine again and you’ll burn a lot more than you think you would.

I also took a close to a year off and then came back to Wanikani, also at about level 20. I never really considered going back to an earlier level, but just pushed on through the review mountain. I don’t regret it, although I suppose I can’t be sure that I would regret it if I reset either. I seem to have retained a good deal, and they have chosen the kanji vocab on this site pretty well so you will still come across kanji you earlier learnt in later levels in words where they are combined with kanji you recently learnt.

In short I would say you could probably individually just revise the items that you’ve previously burnt but which you are not too confident on. If you haven’t burnt many items, by the time you work through your review stack the kanji have forgotten will have reset to the guru level and then its just having to put up with a pretty high review stack for a while (easily doable as long as you don’t push it and do more lessons at the same time).

Proof of my earlier unhealthy studying habits (I’ve gotten better):

I recently went the reset route and haven’t regretted it but it’s definitely a “YMMV” situation. I was um, level 25ish I guess before reset but I didn’t mind at all going through the early levels again.

Some benefits I’ve got from resetting:

  • I’ve been able to focus on secondary meanings - especially with kanji, it’s actually pretty easy to just stick to the first meaning and ignore the others ( 合, - suit, join, fit). Sometimes they’re close enough that it doesn’t matter, sometimes it actually helps to pay a bit more attention it.
  • I already know which kanji I had trouble with before so I’ve been able to pay a bit more attention to those (mostly similar looking kanji)

I haven’t found it super slow (I’m up to level 14 now) but I’m not in a hurry.

Don’t reset to zero. Maybe try bringing it back to 10-15 like others have stated.

I was in your situation and reset to 10 I think it was. Personally, I dont think fighting through the reviews is a good idea. You’re going to basically end up with 500+ apprentice for a long time and just torture yourself trying to relearn so many at once. I don’t know how big your review pile is, but do you think it’s going to be quicker to relearn (probably) 1500+ items all at once, or reset back 5-10 levels (weeks) and relearn them the regular way.

Find a good spot to reset to and go from there. Even if you have to repeat some you already know. Better to do that than be stuck trying to move a mountain.

Either way, it’s not a race. Do what will help you learn, not whats the quickest.

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