Combine WK with other SRS

How do you combine WK with other SRSs like anki?
In general I want to learn more basic voacb and learn the words I come across while reading.
How do you use other SRS apps? For example, when you want to learn a word, but it’s kanji is higher than your WK level?
Or should I just give up on that and learn 10K anki ordered by WK level?


If you’re going to use WK I would suggest that you make lists of words you encounter that may be useful to you and make an Anki deck out of those. I wouldn’t combine WK with a Core anki deck because you’re going to be doubling up on vocab that won’t be immediately useful. If it were me, I would just focus on words I’d like to know how to use, and words that I encounter while enjoying my hobbies or interests.

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You can learn vocabulary without learning the kanji. Just use kana only or include the furigana.


Torii SRS combines well with Wanikani as you can exclude all Wanikani vocabulary from Torii. The focus of Torii is vocabulary - the thing I like most about it is that it has audio of all example sentences.

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For me, I am finding that I cant do 2 SRS at the same time. Yesterday I gave up on JPDB, but looking back my times of most growth was when I buckled down with one at a time. WK or Anki, it doesn’t matter. I just need to pick one. If you’re like me and feel tired of “studying” and dont have the energy to do the stuff you enjoy after I recommend just picking one. Put WK on vacation mode though if you do.

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My plan is to use WK along with Nihongo app when that app goes on lifetime sale. The app can be used to take a photo of something from the manga or you can click on a word while on the internet and put into a flash card. This app has an SRS system. There are also video games coming out next year that have an SRS system so I’ll be using WaniKani along with it.

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I’ve been successfully doing it for a year and a half, but it’s a bit of a balancing act.

I started out with just adding my textbook (Minna no Nihongo) vocab to Anki. I started with a premade deck, but it had some errors in it, and I modified it in a lot of ways (added audio to everything, added the dictionary form of verbs, etc.). The deck also had furigana on everything, just like the textbook itself does. I took the furigana off of the kanji that I had already learned in WK.

I think I was around level 6 in WK when I started doing this? So there was loads of kanji in my textbook that I did not know. For those words, I did practice writing the kanji by hand and also looked up the WK mnemonics, but didn’t actually test myself on recognizing the kanji without furigana and focused on just memorizing the word by its reading.

For my purposes, this worked great! The vocab took a lot more work for me to memorize early on, but as I got further in WK, it got easier and easier for me to memorize the textbook vocab each lesson because I increasingly had a kanji base of knowledge to work from.

Also, I still added cards to Anki even for words that were in WK, because I treat WK words as sort of only half-known, since I learned them completely out of context. For actually producing Japanese, I want to be drawing from the vocab I’ve learned from my textbook as well as native media, where I at least have gotten the chance to see it in context.

I made one early attempt to add new vocab from my reading to Anki several months after I started adding textbook vocab, but it ended up being way too overwhelming. The sheer volume of unknowns I was dealing with (unknown kanji and unknown vocab in addition to grammar) made it so that one page of manga could easily have like a dozen new words. I gave up on that and just read the manga without mining anything, and that was absolutely the correct choice.

Several months after that, I ended up accidentally becoming a fan translator for a Japanese pro wrestling company :sweat_smile:. By this point, I was nearly level 30 in WK, and had just about completed my first textbook (so I’d learned over 1,000 common words, including lots of kana-only words). I tried mining vocab again, and this time, it actually went much better, largely because my kanji knowledge was a lot better, and I knew more words in general, so there were less unknowns. Pro wrestling was the reason why I started learning Japanese, so I knew that spending the time learning the vocab was going to be worth it long in the future.

Currently, I use my WK level to sort of gate the vocab that I’m adding to Anki. I have an extension installed on Yomichan that tells me if a word or kanji is in WK, and if I come across a word in the wild that I’ll eventually learn via WK, I’ll just leave it alone and won’t add it to Anki. I do add just about any word with kanji in it that I’ve already learned, as well as some words with non-WK kanji in them (I add their kanji to Anki, too).

At the moment, I am only focusing on mining words from pro wrestling, and am not adding them from other sources/mediums (I am still adding textbook vocab to my other Anki deck, though). Keeping my domain narrow helps keep my flash card numbers from getting out of hand, and it helps me improve the fastest in the area that is the most important to me. When the number of flash cards I’m adding from wrestling eventually tapers down to nearly nothing, I’ll probably expand outside of that domain and start adding cards from manga and novels and such, but until then, I have plenty to keep me occupied.

Some caveats: pro wrestling is a very different media experience from manga/anime/video games/dramas/movies/etc. For those other mediums, there are a lot of resources out there with frequency lists and premade decks and such that can help you jumpstart your immersion by targeting the most common vocabulary in those domains. For me, I don’t really have any options available like that. I’ve chosen to pretty much forgo frequency as a point of consideration when adding new words, because it’s really difficult to gauge that with wrestling, because there aren’t exactly frequency lists you can consult.

I also personally don’t really like spending a lot of time trying to weigh whether a word is or isn’t worth adding. I’d rather just learn some infrequent words that I never need again rather than micromanaging the selection process while attempting to optimize it. Your mileage may vary on this.

I also make no claims that my method is the best or the fastest (for a more normal media, it’s probably not!), but it has been very effective for my purposes, and I am content with my pace and can easily see my progress. So far, I’ve managed to stick it out through periods where I was feeling very demoralized, but I won’t say that it has always been easy.

Running two SRS can be very punishing (I’m actually running three, if we count KaniWani, haha), and you have to be very careful to make sure that you’re pacing yourself and that you aren’t overdoing it, otherwise you will burn yourself out. I’ve personally experienced some strain every time I added to my SRS workload, and it takes several weeks to even out. So I would start out very slow and get a feel for how it’s adding to your workload and then only ramp up from there after the daily pressure feels like it has stabilized again.


I’ve tried to and honestly I ended up wasting time and being less effective.

The “lulls” in wanikani reviews that are still happening (I’ll hit level 11 Wednesday), I fill with additional reading and study. For those new words I use handwritten flash cards since I find retention is better when I write things down. I can drop the little flash card ring in my pocket and pull it out and do a few things while waiting in line or something.

But I get more out of variety of exposure than I did out of trying more than one SRS. Watch a show, try to read something, etc.

The only exception I’ve found is the vocab for minna no nihongo before meeting with my tutor. I’ll add the lesson into AnkiPro and crash course the vocab before the next chapter. I rarely review these after the lessons, though. As I find it’s pretty soon that they come up regularly in real life, reading, or future lessons.


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