Do You Actually Remember Low Level Kanji and Vocab?

I’m just curious, for those of you who are high level (or I guess higher level), like 10/20/30 etc. Do you actually remember all the lower level kanji and vocab? For example if you’re level 40, can you recall the lvl 20 kanji and vocab instantly or does it take a fair bit of time/do you have to go back and relearn them?

One of my fears is that as I progress I’m going to forget a lot of the vocab and kanji that I’ve learned all the way down here. That’s why I’m taking it slow, I really want to ingrain those kanji to make sure they really stick. I’m worried if I do 10-15 kanji in one day that I’ll forget a lot of them and not progress as smoothly.


Once you start reading native material (the sooner the better; we have book clubs!), you’ll see many of the lower-WK level kanji/vocabulary often.

I do have some kanji at levels 5, 6, 7, and 9 that I’m not good at recognizing, and more as the levels go up.


I can’t go and like, list everything I’ve learned from a level. “Oh, I learned such and such at level 1, this at level 2, etc., etc.”

But, primarily thanks to reading along with the book clubs @ChristopherFritz mentioned, as well as doing a large amount of reading on my own, I find that I’ve not had much problem remembering most of the lower level kanji/vocabulary.

The big thing with any language is that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. With kanji, that means doing reading (even if it’s just with furigana to start, since early on you’ll run into a lot of vocabulary and kanji you don’t know. Heck, I still regularly come across kanji I’ve never seen/rarely seen before as I read, since WK doesn’t teach everything, just a lot).


I was going to say yes, but it’s not because of WaniKani. I actually struggled when it came to old stuff, though of course I burned my fair share.

It’s because of learning the words with WK, but being exposed to them in media.


It’s inevitable that you’ll forget some items. That’s just how the brain works.

To retain what you’ve learnt you’ll have to use the knowledge, most easily done by immersing yourself in Japanese media of some sort, be that games, books, manga, anime, tv-shows or something else.

But, even doing this, won’t allow you to retain everything. And that’s because some words or kanji simply don’t appear as often (or at all) in the media you happen to consume. Those items you might have to relearn, but thankfully, learning something a second time is much easier.

I wouldn’t worry to much about this, but rather think of ways to have fun with what you’re learning, and to focus on what you do remember instead (the stuff that have proven useful to you). :slight_smile:


Oh wow! Those book clubs are super cool! I always have a hard time finding level appropriate reading. Thank you!


For some people, it’s best to stick with graded readers as they make their way through learning grammar and vocabulary.

For other people, it’s best to jump right into native material and look up unknown grammar to learn as they go. (And vocabulary.)

The book clubs (especially the Absolute Beginner Book Club) help with the latter, because you get a lot of discussion about the grammar being used. You don’t have to “go it alone”.

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Yeah I think that’s awesome! I’ve found so many great resources I had no idea about just by going on this forum!


I actually went and looked at all the level 20 items, most of which I burned in 2019

  • Radicals: Recognized every single one but forgot what WK called them. I just know Kanji that use them and remember those.
  • Kanji: Pretty much the same. Barely remembered what WK used for them but I know words that they’re in.
  • Vocab: Could read all of them although I was a little hazy on the meanings for some I haven’t seen regularly while reading, but I’m pretty sure I would have been fine seeing them in context.

The thing to remember is that if you don’t keep reading after WK you’re going to forget a whole lot. And even then you’ll still forgot some. I don’t remember a lot of the level 45+ items because I just don’t come across them as often, even though I burned them only a year or so ago.

But the thing is that they’re familiar to me now. So I only need to look them up once and I’ll be good for the rest of that page or even that book.

And while i forgot the WK names and mnemonics, they were an essential crutch for getting to the point where I didn’t need them anymore.


That is very good to know! Thank you for all the detail, it definitely helps me grasp what the future will look like! :smiley:

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it depends.

frequent words I see all the time, I always remember them,

those words I see here and there, sometimes, by reading the parts of kanji I can deduce its meaning.

But those I dont ever see in my native language, let alone in english, who would say I can remember them in japanese? :rofl: Those are my eternal leeches, I dont even bother to be stressed by those words anymore.

What I am more interested now is learning new meanings for words WK already taught and they are burned for me, when watching jojo part 5 with japanese subtitles, several words when I check with yomichan I try to learn one more meaning to it, yesterday it was 針, it is hook as well, with WK I knew it only by needle.

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