Best Way to review burnt items

Thanks for sharing your way to review items. I’m quite averse to using another app for SRS besides WK and Bunpro since I already have so many other websites/tools for language learning. I tried anki a number of times before and while I like the ability to customize, I prefer to just have ready-made structured materials that I can just go through than having to create my own personal deck. Probably to do with the fact that it takes so much more time. I think I will want to do what you’re doing on ‘mining’ vocab from things you’re reading when I get to higher levels of WK and grammar though.

On a related note, Bunpro also has a vocab component and I recently discovered an option to sync Wanikani to Bunpro which automatically added WK vocab to my Bunpro reviews. And now I find that I’m ‘experiencing’ the kanji in different ways since Bunpro provides multiple sentences where you have to fill in the blanks with the appropriate kanji. It’s quite nice to be able to recall kanji in a different context.

Now that I’ve unburned 20 radicals, I actually had this thought. Especially since there’s a lot of radicals and some of the first ones don’t have the corresponding meaning as the kanji, which is annoying to me. For example, 一 as a radical is ground, but as a kanji is the number one. The same with 十 as a radical is cross, but as a kanji is the number ten.

My initial idea of doing the radicals was that it would help me recall the meaning for kanji I have a hard time recalling by using the mnemonics that go with each radical. I think I’ll go at it a few more days but I’m leaning towards unburning only kanji and vocab from now on.


Yeah I tend to be skeptical of unburning out of principle I think. Too easy to fall in a spiral where you review the same content over and over again in exactly the same context. I personally prefer to push through even if my knowledge is a bit shaky and then deal with any potential issue when actually using the language in the wild.

I’m certain that there are hundreds of entries I’ve burned and since forgotten, but so be it.


Jumping to the meaning first, before figuring out the reading, and there is no way the reading would be gotten wrong. Kanji reading is just for confirmation, because it is in the acceptable range.

Also, getting the meaning is easier in context, in sentences. Not saying that standalone word can’t happen in native materials. Even then, it might not matter even if the reading is gotten wrong.

I don’t understand, how does the meaning inform the reading in this case?

Something like filling the blanks, of a spoken sentence; but only actually subtitled.

Thinking of a way to deal with many exceptions of reading Kanji, sometimes meaning first, sometimes reading first.

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In the main comment on this, I explained that I was unburning Radicals separately especially from ‘future’ levels. For example, Radicals from level 10 at the same time as Kanji from level 9 at the same time as Vocab from level 8. But still, Radicals, Kanji, and Vocab all at the same time, all in a mix, just from different levels (especially so that I would get Kanji before the Vocabs they were in, to simulate WK’s ‘unlocking’ mechanic).

Perhaps I wasn’t very clear on why I was doing it this way, but I only started doing it this way after I had ‘ramped up’ the unburning to the point where I was unburning more items than I was doing new WK lessons for. This was because I wanted to ‘catch up’ to my regular level progression, and I was much further ahead at the time.

So I wanted to unburn quite a few items at a time, so it made sense to do the Radicals 2 levels ahead of the Vocabs, so that I would end up with a nice mix of Radicals, Kanji, and Vocabs. I also found it a bit … boring, I guess? … to unburn all the Radicals from a single level all at once. Perhaps I didn’t make this point clearly enough.

Initially, levels 1, 2, and 3-ish, I was more or less unburning items at random. I only started to separate out Radicals from Kanji when Kanji would refer to Radicals I couldn’t quite remember.

It was only later I decided, “Well, I don’t really care to selectively unburn specific radicals based on which kanji I’ve unburned. I’ll just unburn them all.” The reason I was okay with that decision by that time was because I realized I was enjoying the experience of ‘revisiting old friends’, including as a way to help with the pacing of my regular WK progression. Remember, I’m not going for speed or efficiency. I’m Durtling the Scenic Route.

I think this whole technique probably works best when Radicals (in particular) are only mixed in with Kanji and Vocab. Level 1 is a bit of a special case because the radicals are so simple and common, and they’ll feel like they are hindering you from unburning kanji and vocab, which are the meat of what we’re trying to learn in the first place.

So, I’d say that for levels 1 to 3-ish, go ahead and start unburning kanji (especially) and also vocab. It’s probably better to get a variety of things unburned initially, so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Unburn the radicals too, at some point, but they don’t need to be done all at once in a big block.

In fact, maybe I should have included more of the idea that I used some kind of ‘randomization’ of selecting which items to unburn within a particular level. For example, suppose I wanted to unburn 5 Kanji from level 8. I would go to the Level 8 page and more or less randomly pick 5 burned items from the list of Kanji, and I wouldn’t even pay attention to which ones they were.

This gave the whole process a sense of ‘surprise’ (as ‘artificial’ as it was), so that when the items showed up in review I would be seeing ‘something new’ again. Kept the interest and enjoyment up.

Also, finally, of course at the beginning SRS levels, reviews are going to be a bit repetitive. Just zoom through them. As the items progress and the delays between them grow, they will get mixed in with all your other reviews, including future items you’ll unburn at lower SRS levels.

TL;DR: I’d say go ahead and start unburning Kanji and Vocab also from levels 1 to 3-ish. And, pretty much at random, too. Eventually you’ll pick up all the Radicals – just by the mere fact of ‘clearing’ the whole level – but it’s not important to do them all strictly before doing Kanji or Vocab.

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Oh right, but that’s sort of my point I guess, by creating an Anki card with the word in context I stop thinking of it as an amalgamation of individual kanji (the way I tend to think when I use WaniKani) and instead I consider the word as a whole in a meaningful context.

Paradoxically I find that a good indication that I’ve truly assimilated some vocabulary is that I can’t immediately remember what kanji is used to spell it.