Do you write/note down the kanji and vocab you learn?

I typically spend about a minute reading over the mnemonics for anything that I know I’ll have trouble with, then move on. If I can’t retain it by then, I just allow the SRS to do it’s job.

If I miss a review on something, I’ll usually skim over the mnemonic again, and move on.

I don’t write anything at all. Then again, I have no desire to write the language, personally.

I only did it for a few weeks last year, when I took an Intensive Japanese class at UCLA. Because I actually had to write a lot of kanji, my WaniKani knowledge only got me so far. It’s one thing to be able to read something vs. being able to write something. It was fun for the time.

Notes and anything else that reinforces your learned material in other ways is a great supplement in making things stick. But you are right in that it may be very tedious and time consuming.

Do what works for you. And it’s totally fine to do different methods at different stages of your learning. Try to keep it fun.


I was like you for the first level, i wrote down everything I learnt. For a while after that, I only wrote down the kanji for each level - it’s like a record. :slight_smile: but now i’ve started to speed up since reaching level 6 and im finding it a bit more difficult to remember the vocab. so what i do now is write down the vocab for each level that i struggle the most with (maybe 10-15 words per level?)

i recommend writing a list of the kanji for each level, just so you’ve got it, and maybe also your hardest vocab, because it helps with memorising to create a little written list. it’s so satisfying having lists of kanji.

****remember: only write down items right after you learn/ review them, so as not to affect SRS etc etc.

Are you saying you were write down the character, the reading, the English keyword, and the mnemonics for every radical/character/and vocab? That’s a recipe for burnout if so.

Physical memory is really important to learning, though, so writing stuff out is a good idea. I learned stroke order principles a while back, and I write down really complex kanji by hand seven times on scrap paper when I learn them, like today. Simpler ones I don’t.

I don’t keep a formal notebook or anything like that. I did when I studied Japanese at university, but I found I never went back over it after the test so I stopped.

For vocab, I glance and repeat and move on. If I don’t recall it from the SRS I’ll pick it up from real-world context later. I do plan to look at my data after level 60 to see which words I don’t know well and study them outside WK, probably with written flashcards.

I think WK’s weird radicals (way more than other systems, many with goofy ahistorical meanings) and its use of pronunciation mnemonics are counterproductive. Kanji are really beautiful and even logical, but closely following some parts of WK’s system creates a lot of mental clutter. The point of all the mnemonics is to eventually set them aside, not to drown is a sea of stories for every sound and vocab word. And WK could probably cut half the radicals and 1000 vocab words and actually improve its effectiveness. WK tries to do a LOT and it’s ok to prioritize what’s working for you and what’s not.

BTW I average about 27 lessons a day but I had a lot of prior knowledge and am going fast. Coming in cold I might try to do 10 or 12 a day and just do them really well. It’s a long march.

I write down all the kanji and vocab (unless it’s something I already know by heart). I combine the kanji radical mnemonics and sound mnemonic to create one mnemonic. Usually I just try to combine the mnemonics provided or I find a way to make it one mnemonic. I don’t have mnemonics for the vocab unless I really struggle remembering it. The mnemonics help me. I tried learning the kanji without them, and it took me way longer to remember than having a dumb story to help me remember what the kanji means and sounds.

Writing down things helps people remember better, so I always write down everything. I have a notebook I use for wankani. Writing these down also helps me practice how to write the kanji.

Same for me :point_up: I actually have my own flashcards for kanji and their associated vocabulary on the front, with readings and meanings on the back. If I make 4-5 per day (20-30 minutes) I can keep up with my typical leveling up times (8-10 days). Writing them helps me in really “getting to know” the kanji, and the quick glance of a lot of the vocabulary in which it’s used helps with the readings. I always have a small deck in my bag, and I can usually review 25 during the 15-20 minutes tram ride to work (given the frequent exposure, you could say I cheat the SRS system).

Sometimes I practice with my buddha board too, but just for fun/relaxing (you simply use water, and you see it evaporate, it’s really nice).


I don’t exactly find myself clinging onto the mnemonics for too long, and they sort of clear away after a while. I only really wrote them at the beginning just in case I needed to look over them so I had a physical copy of what I was learning, but I felt it didn’t help at all (and really, writing the mnemonics wasn’t necessary, they stuck in my head for as long as they should before drifting off, leaving me w/ just the kanji and readings… as it should be.)
With any incoming lessons, I may just write the kanji and their core meanings and readings to make it a little easier on me, but the reviews have kept me remembering so far, so I may not even need to… But better safe than sorry.

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Some folk, like me, are kinaesthetic learners. We need to write cards, notes, or whatever just to facilitate retention. That, plus SRS helps. Other, lucky ones, seem to have first pass retention. Most folk are somewhere between I guess.

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No. I just don’t have the time. I rarely have to write Japanese. I usually only have to write my address down.
I do love writing Japanese though.

I was doing the exact same for the past 5 levels but now for level 6 I’ve decided to only note down things I get wrong because it took wayyyyyy to long to do everything

I also do like that.

Other than being able to write it by hand, I also think it helps improve the ability to memorize and recognize it

Some kanji however are harder to write than others;
one I have the most difficulties with is

this one: 飛


I’ve been writing down every item since level 1 lol. When I started I thought I’d give up a lot sooner than now to be honest.

But it’s seriously helped my retention so much, to the point that sometimes if I’m not paying attention when I first do the lesson and write down the incorrect kana, I’ll recall the incorrect reading when I do the review immediately after and im confused when it’s wrong, until I realise my mistake.

I’ve even pimped out my book with WK stickers haha


I write down pretty much every new piece of information I get. I think it helps me remember the shapes.

Hmm let’s just say there had been some rather heated debates regarding the practice of writing down kanji (and also maybe concerning the practice of writing in cursive?)

I’d say whatever floats your boat is the ultimate answer. :slight_smile:
At first it’s definitely nice if you’d like to get a feel for the characters, however, as you advance it quickly becomes tedious depending on how much time you’re able to dedicate.

Aside from this, if you’re using Android I can recommend this app, Kanji Study.
Combined with this guide which shows how to import kanji corresponding to WaniKani levels, it can be a quite useful tool, I think.

If I have trouble getting a particular character or piece of vocab to stick I like to write it down a few times as part of a sentence - whether you find one online to copy, or come up with your own, or both. I find it helps contextualise the vocab / character, and looking up the stroke order helps me remember the radical / components.

I definitely use the WK example sentences quirky style as inspiration too :slight_smile:

(I know that’s not really an answer to what you were asking… but it’s to do with writing stuff down I guess!)

Hi Cristina,
Tx for posting the photos, I didn’t know about the buddha board, looks nice !!!
Quick question : what are the colors for in your cards ? is there a logic behind ?
Tx !

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I just like the assorted cards, I’m not colour-coding the kanji though, but it is nice being able to pick a colour and know it’s 25 cards. :grin:

I don’t write my wanikani stuff, but when I’m reviewing with Anki, I’ve set my flashcards up so that each kanji/word has three different flashcards: English to Japanese (pronunciation), Japanese (kanji) to English, and English to written kanji. This gets me a lot of writing practice and makes me look a lot more closely at the radicals!

ok tx Cristina !!!

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