Burned, but not really?

So I’ve burned a couple thousand items by now and I’ve been noticing something for a while: some of the items I burn, I feel like I didn’t really know that well. Like… maybe I guessed at the reading or meaning, and got it right, but felt like I got it by luck more than I remembered.

Or maybe I did a kanji and a vocab in close proximity (or vice-versa), and only managed to burn the second because I failed the first and had to look at the answer I missed.

Or maybe some of these I feel like… if I had to burn that again three months from now, I’d most likely miss it.

I assume this is typical… but what do you folks like to do about this? Meticulously fail items that you had to guess at or know you couldn’t have gotten if you didn’t just fail a related item? Go in and unburn the items you feel like you don’t really know? Keep a list, and spend extra time studying those items outside WK? Just don’t worry about it, and use reading/dictionary lookup to help fill in the gaps organically (quantity > quality approach)? Reset back to level 1 once you hit level 60, and do it all over again to focus on the ones you’re not clear on? (An extreme idea, but I know a number of you actually do this, so.)


I wouldn’t reset back to level one once you hit 60, but rather unburn the ones you really don’t know, that way you can really focus on the ones you don’t know.


I use Kaniwani for further practice. You can ‘redo’ all your levels on there, and you have the option to get quizzed on burned items aswell.


I’d take it on a case by case basis. I’m probably not wildly guessing but going with what feels right or is most likely given the Kanji. If I get it right that time I’ll probably get it right the next time I see it too. If I got it right because I just failed a related item, was it because I forgot the reading of one of the kanji? If so that failed item will reinforce the reading so it’s fine to let it pass. I might unburn an item if I encounter it during immersion and after looking it up, have no memory of learning it. If I instead go “Oh, that one” then having looked it up will probably be a strong enough memory to get it right next time.

As for resetting back to level 1, I don’t think I’d ever do that. WK is a significant time investment and I think It would be better to spend that time on immersion. Immersion is where you will create the strongest memories to the kanji and all the words you learn. Seeing them in use over and over again is what get’s you to the point of knowing them without thinking about it. WK is a great way to learn the kanji, possibly the best, but it’s a starting point to immersion. Not the end goal. At least that’s how I feel about it.

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I actually think I will go back to level 1 and do the whole thing again once I reach level 60. I’m just learning Japanese for fun, so I don’t have any particular urgency to become fluent by a certain time.

For some time, I’d actually go back and unburn a kanji, when I realised that I knew that kanji only vaguely or not anymore.

But nowadays I see it more like this: You don’t necessarily burn the Kanji to store them away in your memory for ever. What you achieve is that you’ll have a much easier time relearning the kanji, once you come across them in text. And then eventually after seeing certain Kanji over and over again you’ll remember them. And of course a basic understanding about Kanji. FE that certain radicals in a kanji influence the reading of the kanji.

I’ve been playing with the tought of going through WK again. But now that I’m level 60 and can finally focus on grammar again I notice what I’ve been missing at least the last two years. So I don’t think I’ll be going back through WK any time soon.


This resetting-back-to-level-1 business has always struck me as a mild form of madness :upside_down_face:


I’ll swap you your burned items for the ones that I know but typo and get them sent back to Apprentice :stuck_out_tongue: :upside_down_face:


There are scripts for that, you know. I recommend them. Typo fails are bull.

I know :slight_smile: I would be too tempted to cheat. Gonna try to let SRS do its thing for now.


I’m nowhere near lvl 60, but I think resetting to lvl 1 maaaaybe wouldn’t be that bad. I’m not sure what scripts there are out there, but if it was possible to only do the vocab and use cheats to lvl up it would be nice

That makes sense, completely agree

If I see the kanji or vocabulary in the “wild” and miss the meaning or get the writing wrong, I then unburn the item. I think the real world is the right test field if you really know what you learned. If you are not currently reading native content, I suggest to read an NHK Easy News article per day ( or per week ) to see how much you are retaining.

I tend to double check myself when it comes to enlightened items. I don’t feel like slowing down because no lifetime, but getting overwhelmed by not burning stuff in no option either. Another thing is that I often remember the field of meaning, but not necessarily the word wk chose as the right answer, so I sometimes use a second tab to search for the “correct” answer before giving one. So once something gets to enlightened, it gets almost automatically burned half a year later. Except for a few times when I kept staring at a kanji for 10 minutes and was like “Wtf is that kanji, never seen it before”. I figured those deserved some more attention.
As for resetting - never. I feel like trying to immerse with 0 kanji knowledge is biting off more than you can chew. The amount of new material is overwhelming, making the retention rate complete trash (I tried). But after taking a wk course it becomes a lot more managable. I’m convinced it’s a lot better to use the time a second wk run would take for consuming content instead.


I would probably stick these items into an Anki set, since the font is different, the context different and that might be enough to make remembering them for longer easier :slight_smile:

I’m going to go against what everyone else here is saying and suggest that as long as you understand most of the items you’re burning, doesn’t even have to be in a fully natural way, but at least somewhat, then don’t bother doing anything further with them. Instead I think a far more productive thing to do is immersing yourself and get practice on words that way. Go and read, watch some tv shows or whatever. It doesn’t even have to be very long, maybe only 5-10 minutes a day. In the beginning I got stuck in the hole of using too much SRS. WaniKani is great don’t get me wrong, but a lot of people over obsess about using SRS as their primary source of studying when imo I think SRS is best used as a supplement


I don’t really check burned items, but when I encounter burned items in the wild that are familiar but not quite completely known, I reset it immediately. The added context of seeing it in the wild helps me remember it.

That said, I agree with Rysing Dragon here. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t remember a burned item, especially not for vocab or radicals. It’s much more important to understand context than it is to remember the strict translations of Wanikani.

I would honestly love to unburn every item back to Enlightened and just slowly work back through them all again. If I get it right, it re-burns but if not it’ll pop down to Guru on re-start the SRS for that item.

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Liar! That doesn’t go against what I said!

How can you “unburn” cards without resetting though?

There’s a resurrect button on each burned item’s item page.