Does Wanikani have a difficulty curve?

This is my first post in wanikani community, been using non stop through the last month (28 days to this day), been loving this style of learning kanji, but I have some questions.


Today, I started level 5 and got welcomed with nothing more than 124 lessons to do, a little overwhelming at first, but thanks to being in weekend I managed to finish all my lessons (1 hour maybe)

I’ve just completed something like 240+ revs in a go, and god that was a lot, I may have to relax a bit, because my overall accuracy dipped to around 70%.

Here some screenshots of heatmap:

And here of WK History

TLDR: Today was a difficult day to me because I did 300 reviews, and 150 lessons.

This lead me to think that there is some sort of difficulty curve, associated with what kanjis, radicals and vocabulary are thought, something like this:


There is a difficulty curve, but not like the diagram you posted. On one hand, as you progress the number of daily reviews increases until you start burning items (meaning you never review them again), so your workload at level 10 (for example) will be greater than your workload at level 4. On the other hand, you get used to the process of learning kanji over time, which makes learning them easier. But on the other other hand (the first hand? :laughing:), the kanji later on do become more abstract and complex, which can make learning them harder than learning the basic kanji from earlier levels.

My biggest recommendation would be to not try to do all your lessons in one go. Instead, pick a set number to do each day and stay consistent. I personally used [Userscript] WaniKani Lesson Filter to do 3 kanji and 9 vocab lessons every day since I found learning a mix of kanji and vocab at the same time beneficial (I just did all the radicals as soon as I leveled up). If you do a set number each day (regardless of whether you use the above script), you won’t have to do 150 lessons at once and are unlikely to have random spikes in reviews.


Honestly, I think you just need to pace yourself. If you do too much within a short amount of time, those lessons and reviews pile on really quick. Better to set limits and take the learning at a reasonable pace.

What I try to do is keep the Apprentice level stuff at 100 or below. Don’t add anymore to the workload if you’re close. It’s also a good idea to pace the lessons in short blocks. I add 5 new lessons every hour when I wake up usually around 5 (you don’t have to do that part lol) and stop doing new lessons at around 9. The reason I do this is so that I have time to get it done by the end of the day and not interfere with sleep with the last review being the last lesson I added that day 12 hours after adding it.


In my experience, the difficulty curve… barely exists… You’ll find some scary looking kanji later on but they only look scary. The process to learn them is the same: Know the radical, learn the mnemonic… and most advanced level kanji are similar to what you’ll find in lvl 25 or so. As for workload… It depends mostly on how fast you’re going. It will increase a bit once the enlightened items come back for review… and in the last few levels you’ll be able to advance levels really fast. If you decide to do all the lessons in one seating… Be prepared… cause the amount of items in apprentice and guru levels won’t be fun… but if you decide to keep the 1lvl per week or so, it won’t be a big deal (compared to this same pace in earlier levels). I was rushing for most of my wanikani journey but I’m taking my time now… only doing 10 lessons per day, it’s chill.



I did all of my lessons in one go because they never were this much, still, I will try to do less

I will take a look at that userscript if this happens again at level 6, for now it looks like I managed to lower the amount of items from Apprentice I, so they shouldn’t appear as often.

I now have 150 Apprentice items, but I will try to further lower them then.

I have the bad habit of trying to speed run anything or compete in any regard that can be seen, that’s why I thank Wanikani devs to not implement a ranking system, but the fact that I know (I shouldn’t had searched that) how many time does a level take if you do all perfect (7 days or so) makes me try hard to not surpass that limit, this level I will try to keep that aside and focus on learning, that way I break the cycle of speed running

That’s how fast I’m currently leveling, here a graph:

Thanks all for replying to my post :slight_smile:


You should know it’s already been done, and that you have already failed if that’s your aim, so there’s no reason to do that here:


Keep in mind that the earlier levels will go a bit faster than most too. So what everyone has said is great advice. It is going to sound easy now and it is fairly manageable to knock all lessons out in one go, but this begins to change later and pacing yourself becomes key. My average for the first 5 levels was probably ~7-8 days, whereas now it is about 12-13 days.


ik its alr been said but youre doing wayyy to many lessons if you wanna keep it manageable
youll still be able to level up at about the same time if you do like 20 or so lessons per day, but it’ll be much more manageable and spread out
i made that same mistake when i first started too but since then its balanced out


I found doing all lessons will lead you to trouble later on. If you miss a week because of life stuff, you can come back to like 800 reviews and it’s overwhelming.

What worked for me, and the simplest to manage, is halfway down the dashboard it shows you how many Apprentice, Guru, Master, Enlightened, Burned items you have. Apprentice is number you care about. Pick a number you don’t want this to go above and only do lessons when the Apprentice falls below that number.

For example, when I knew I had an hour total a day to spend on wanikani, I would keep this number just under 100. Then when I got more busy, I changed it to 50. Now, I have about 20 mins a day and regularly miss days. So I keep my apprentice number under 30 and it works great. Even if I miss a few days my total reviews never goes above 100, so I can easily get back on track. It’s much slower but I don’t get overwhelmed.

What number you pick is up to you, but if you are spending lots of time on wanikani, 100 might be a good start.

Good Luck!


It’s not too bad going full speed, if you feel like it. Just increase the pace gradually until you are satisfied. Just do the reviews daily, no matter what, even on christmas.


What I meant for speedrunning wasn’t “fastest wk any%” alike, more like a personal aim to be under 8 days in each level, I know I already missed that, but for some reason my mind doesn’t want to accept it, that’s why I’m forcefully trying my hardest to focus on not focusing in time so that don’t I level up in 7 days, that way I can continue my journey without hiccups.

From what I’ve seen, higher levels are harder, so I’m expecting that to happen

Already on my way to do that :slight_smile:

I actually never considered that, until now I had all my lessons and reviews done every single day, and what makes that possible is the fact I’m a student with somewhat great grades, leaving me with a lot of free time to browse the internet or learning by myself, but if I ever need to cut down the time I spent doing this, It may become overwhelming as you said.

Ty buddy

Thanks all for your responses and time, I appreciate everything you told me. Awesome community :wink:


Nah, if anything it gets somewhat easier with time, due to:

  1. Getting used to the pace.
  2. Routine making you do it on autopilot.
  3. Getting used to how WK works.

if you want to speedrun WK, you’ll want to understand how it really works, and what the speedrunning strats are. jprspereira’s guide is most commonly recommended. i believe most speedrunners spread their lessons out over the course of a week, and use userscripts to strategise which lessons they do first. that’s certainly what i did when i was running.


im impressed you did all of them in one sitting. I have never attempted this lmao


We will see how does evolve in the future perhaps

I think I didn’t express in the right way, I don’t “speedrun” and compete with others, I simply know the fact that levels take around 7 days and focus on that, aside from that, what I want to personally accomplish is learning, not speedrunning (even if my conscience tells me to do so)

I actually did take a break of 10minutes to have breakfast (the first thing I do in the day is actually entering wanikani asap)

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ehh, i see speedrunning as a competition with oneself, not others.

but on WK, doing 7-day levels is speedrunning. it requires strats; either doing massive numbers of lessons immediately after level-up, or using userscripts. it requires very high accuracy. it requires strict adherence to schedules.

and for most people, it means foregoing other aspects of learning japanese, because there’s just not enough time.

so like with speedrunning a game, where you might “finish” a game, but have missed out on large parts of the game. you can finish WK in a year, but you might not be able to read even a simple newspaper article.

i’m not saying that it’s a bad approach, if it weren’t for health issues i would certainly have continued my own run. but it is speedrunning


I actually thought of speedrunning to be even more intense really, but I may had taken for granted doing all lessons as soon as they appear, I do that not because I want to finish rapidly, but because I actually have fun and entertain myself while learning.

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Speed running is doing close to the 7-day per level ideal. That’s a 1-year finish. I’d say the average pace is around 10-15 days per level with a 2-3 year finish.

Having fun and entertaining yourself is a good thing.

Just remember that doing 150 lessons today means 150 reviews tomorrow, and 2 days after that, and 1 week after that, and 2 weeks after that, and 1 month after that, and 4 months after that, assuming perfect accuracy.

So the number of reviews you have today was determined 2-6 months ago. If you’ve been on Wanikani for less than 6 months, then you’re not getting the full workload yet.

Something to keep in mind. :wink:


The first rule of WK is don’t talk about how slow it is when you are 5 radicals into level 1.

The second rule of WK is never do 124 lessons in a single sitting.


So far I’m doing 6 to 7 days per level and it’s very managable, but you really want to spread out those lessons and reviews over the day, starting now. The amount of reviews you will have to do quickly piles up and it’s much more managable to do reviews spread out over the day instead of having to do 200 reviews in one go.
Personally I could do the reviews in the first levels very quickly because everything was fresh in my head but as I progressed reviewtime got slower because it took me more time to think about vocab/kanji I hadn’t seen in 2 months.
Even when learning vocab I spread that out over the day so the reviews also get spread out. Now I’m doing my reviews almost every hour and it only takes me a couple of minutes per review session.