Burned just days after studying, but don't actually remember it. What to do?

Hi! Maybe an awkward sounding title, but I hope it gets the vague idea across haha

Basically what I’m asking is this: if you see, for example, a kanji that you have completely forgotten, you’ll probably check the reading and meaning and stuff, yeah? But then, if it appears let’s say a week later for being burned, what do you do? Do you just burn it, because you know it now? Or do you purposefully get it wrong, because you don’t actually have it in your long-term memory and actually just revised it recently?

I’m not sure if I’ve overly complicated the explanation there, so let me know if that makes no sense haha. Sorry about that

Basically I’m just asking what you would do in that situation/what you think one should do in that situation?

I’m just wondering because I’m having that situation now, and am not sure whether I should burn an item which will show up for burn in 5 days which I only just revised and didn’t remember before

Please let me know what you think! Thanks!


Not an expert on this by any means, but as I see it, you’re going to encounter kanji and vocabulary in real life all the time, so it’ll stay fresh constantly (at least the more common ones, I guess). I wouldn’t worry too much about it.


I just answer them wrong since the Kanji clearly is not committed to my long term memory unless its a leech like Kanji that I’ve given up on.
But most Japanese learners use other resources next to WK so we end up seeing other kanjis and “ruining” the SRS a bit like that. So that itself is not worrisome or anything.
Having a burned Kanji doesn’t mean you are going to remember it forever. I probably already forgot several Kanji that I burned. If I encounter them I’ll have to look them up again. So it really doesn’t matter that much either way.
I think it depends on you and how you see that Kanji. Do you think you will benefit from answering it wrong and getting extra revisions? If yes then do it. And if that’s not the case for whatever reason burn it and look it up again if necessary.
At least that’s what I’d do.


I would say not even a bit :smiley: . Anecdotally I noticed that doing kanji-heavy learning outside of WaniKani does bias the way I look at the cards in WaniKani.

Burn it. From a meta perspective, you’ll keep forgetting kanji you don’t use and learn new ones you use. That’s just how it is :slight_smile: . Even Japanese people forget how to read some kanji they don’t encounter often. Hell, that even leads to some happy accidents.


Just let it burn. It’s unlikely you’ll need to cold recall whatever it is outside of WaniKani, and if you can’t recall it in context… Oh well. You’ll have some good context to remember it in.


You can unburn items.


@mrenaud @Ducklingscap @Iinchou @NarkySawtooth @EigaKantoku

Thank you for the advice! I think the point about considering whether it is actually useful to me, and how I’ll always forget things because even Japanese people do too if they don’t see it enough was really good. Sometimes I’m not really good at thinking of that kind of thing, but it makes a lot of sense haha

And yeah, the ones I really need to use I’ll see often anyway, so I’ll definitely remember them.

So I’ve decided to burn it. Good to know. Thanks again everyone!


I definitely think its better to see Kanjis outside of Wanikani and I use other Kitsun decks to learn or reinforce Kanji next to WK and reading. The more you see a Kanji the better it sticks I think.
But SRS is based on the fact that it’s most efficient to review something at the point right before a learner would otherwise likely (statistically speaking) forget a piece of information. You need to not see the item for a while. But ruining your SRS is not bad or wrong. SRS is all about efficiency basically just the least effort way to learn statistically speaking, but we all need to put in more effort to learn Japanese anyways. It’s not like reaching WK lv 60 means reaching fluency. So I’d say it does ruin the SRS but ruining the SRS is not necessarily bad. :thinking:

1 Like

Don’t let the Wanikani tail wag the Japanese learning dog.

Right, and when you adjust the interval to your personal capabilities (including other commitments, etc.), it is subjectively more effective than more traditional learning methods like keeping sheets of vocab, just absorbing loads of native content, etc. in terms of retaining information.

That being said, SRS’ are not a golden bullet and they don’t guarantee perfect remembrance, I think. Or at least I can’t see that being universally true :slight_smile: .

I would say ruining the SRS is called life :smiley: . I can’t imagine sticking to a single SRS platform and doing nothing else. After all, completing WaniKani does take around a year at least and within that time some people are capable of reaching a quite formidable level of fluency, even if they don’t know as much kanji as one would after completing WaniKani.

Back on the topic, if one forgets a kanji shortly before it’s being Burned, I think it can mean a number of things, including:

  • The emotional connection with the kanji was not strong enough to retain the information for longer. In other words, it was not “relevant enough” for the learner.

  • There was no additional periodic reinforcement in the form of vocab, for instance, to make sure the kanji “sticks” and/or becomes relevant to the learner.