End of free level. Considering subscription~

Hi everyone!

I’m at the end of my free level. So… yeah… I believe this question has came across quite a norm. Especially for every end-of-free-level-user… “Should I subscribe?” I think for my case, I already have an answer to that. I’m considering annual subscription. The reason for me to learn 日本語, is to able to converse in one, watching anime without sub. Of course, lifelong dream is to have a Japanese partner.

So my question is… How does WaniKani helps you in your study? Like if without WaniKani, will your 日本語 still be as fluent as you are today? And if not, what are your other recommendation? I am grateful if you able to share some tips to ease my study process or even fasten it! Hahahah!



Welcome to the forums! :grinning:

To put it simple, WaniKani have helped me learn kanji and vocabulary way faster than I could on my own. After level 20 I have started to use Bunpro, and some videos on YouTube for grammar. Since WK doesn’t teach you grammar or listening that should be the focus of your side studies. :nerd_face:

I can now tackle books and games aimed at children with the help of a dictionary, since I now can look up many vocabulary based on their radicals. (And I can now watch one piece with japanese subs, which seems to be close to your goal.) Since I recognize many vocabulary based on the kanji and not their sound it is too hard without the subs.

My only advice is study every day, reading, watching anime without english subs, WK, grammarbooks, it really don’t matter as long as you keep going :heart:


Have you tried other learning platforms other than Bunpro? I wonder if there is a platform to learn grammar, similar to WaniKani system.

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psst, bunpro IS an SRS system for grammar, just like wanikani :))


These goals require two different aspects of learning the language; speaking (output) & listening (input).
Just doing WK - which focusses more on reading (input) - and completing it won’t fulfil either of your goals. However, they will give you the grounding to understand some vocab and the power to go and read lots of content, including manga.

If you really just want to watch anime without the subs, maybe you should just do tons and tons of listening practice with an AJATT or MIA-type strategy - ‘input overload’ essentially, like how a child learns. Maybe some others have some opinions on this. If you wanna get good at speaking, move to Japan, or sign-up for a language exchange online. In my opinion all aspects kind of merge, so WK will help you listening, reading with help your speaking etc, but WK alone won’t get you to your goals. So should you get a sub?? Its up to you! haha, if you are serious about Japanese, just sub and think of it as a sunk cost to glorious fluency.


As a self studier, I found WK gave me the structure necessary to start learning in earnest. If I were only interested in conversational Japanese, this would not be my first choice to get toward that level of fluency. Marugoto, Pimsluer, Mango, Duolingo and You tube would be enough to get you by.
For consuming printed media, kanji is a must know for literacy and WK is invaluable.
It’s really a matter of knowing your goals and using the right vehicle to get there.


wk moves my a** to study kanji. well I just have to follow the schedule/
considering my procrastination and laziness, probably I won’t be able to know as many kanjis as I am now .
And yeah since you paid to learn, so it would be waste of money everytime you stopped, which would be a kind of motivation (though a bit negative but effective imo)


I can relate to this post. I had the wonderful possibility to study Japanese at university with teachers made of flesh. But since I am quite lazy as well and since I have still many kanji to learn, this tool is the best of all to motivate me. I tried several others - those were free, which is nice, but at some point, I always stopped. Not this time (so far, haha). But then, until now, I already know everything more or less. So I will see later if it keeps me going. But the process behind it keeps me coming back everyday. So just start if the money you spend is not of the essence.


I studied for around 4 years on and off before starting WK, I would have known some kanji but not more than maybe 200 or so to be generous to myself.

Since starting WK on 7th of Jan this year I now know “652” kanji and “2019” vocabulary up to level 19 (I would say a majority I didn’t already know) - it has been so effective for me it has blown my mind :exploding_head:

I feel a drive to do my reviews and lessons as soon as they appear with exceptions to times I cannot (I’m out getting drunk for example - not been a big problem this year for obvious reasons) so if you feel like that I say 100% go for it. I don’t know of a more effective way of memorising kanji!


I’m also at Level 3 and asking the exact same question right now!!

My goal is slightly different from yours.
I’m trying to get “real world” able to speak and converse and read passably fluently because I will be going to Japan soon.

From what I've seen...

I’ve been doing Duolingo (in conjunction with Google Translate) for over a year. While DL didn’t “officially” teach grammar or speaking skills, I have been absorbing that AND all of the kanji that was presented in the first 3 levels of WK, and apparently a lot of it through level 40 (over 1200 words I learned in DL in a year and I’m not even halfway through the tree). I use DL as flashcards. Whenever a word comes up, I go through the pronunciation and meaning. If I miss writing any little part of the kanji into Google translate in handwriting mode, then I miss the question on purpose so that it comes up again in the same session until I get it exactly perfect (same with the grammar).

I found Wanikani helpful as like “flashcards” for learning the kanji. On the boards here, I see people with really high WK levels (20-plus) struggling with translating and speaking and listening skills. Even though every flash card has two voice tracks to hear each kanji promotion. I believe that Duolingo is superior in quizzing you on vocabulary in context (complete in a sentence with grammar and hearing it spoken or having to speak it [simply use keyboard input with microphone]) while you HEAR it being said. I will admit within WK levels 1-3; there were only maybe 15-20 (essentially what I’ve been calling “compound kanji” sharing a primary kanji that I already had learned) that I hadn’t already learned in Duolingo. But just as if I’d learned it in a college class, I tend to agree with WaniKani policy that “it didn’t hurt to drill on it, even if you ‘already knowit’”.

But the way WK does SRS and sort of “Force feeds you” the reviews, YOU WILL LEARN! I believe that in combination with Tofugu or Take Kim’s or college coursework/textbook you can make up the “grammar deficit”. Also, IF YOU CAN SPEND THE TIME while doing WK reviews to scroll down each time and really learn the type of word and the nicely selected SAMPLE SENTENCES, you can see the kanji “in context” and soak in how it’s used. (I think DuoLingo is superior in this aspect, in that you can hit the button and HEAR the entire sentence in context and check if you had the correct "reading “in your mind”; Duolingo is 90% sample sentences, drilling input and output). (Nb. several people on this forum gave high reviews to LingoDeer for grammar learning). (Pretty much ALL over this forum, I’ve only seen them saying Duolingo is useless; apparently I use it differently than they do, plus there was a new tree two months ago)

I haven’t really used Anki decks for learning kanji. I found them too slow to load, too picky about the answers; Ididn’t experiment with the repetition available there (apparently, it’s tunable). I prefer to let WaniKani track all of that and feed me reviews, and use their great “notes”. For the record… If WaniKani didn’t have a NOTES FIELD for my own personal ways of remembering things, I would not use WK at all–but they do!!

In my case, personally, I conclude...

So… Should I reward these WaniKani creators with $300 for a “lifetime membership”? (For me, I expect that it would take 2 years at $10/month, so $240; plus reviews thereafter because if you don’t use it, you really do lose it)…I think it’s a bit of a windfall to them for a “glorified Anki deck”, but I have decided that it’s worth it (because they did a better job with it than I could and I’m lazy, and I’ll want to refer to it periodically over the next decade; and it has more information than an Anki deck).

BUT right now it’s taking away from my Duolingo progress, so I will focus on that right now until I am finished with “the tree” and then drop some coin here. I’m only part way through my Japanese learning journey.


I am LOVING the book clubs here, and even seen a few that are reading out loud, “live”, which I think is an amazing “next step” for reading, speaking AND listening skills. And the people here are OUTSTANDING! Can’t praise highly enough (helpful, creative and FUN)

What *may* be best for CANS

I suspect that “reading aloud” and “manga translation” activities like those together with WaniKani (to learn reading and vocab fastest) may bring YOU closest to your goal fastest, CANS. The goal of enjoying anime with Japanese subtitles (input). Although that involves listening AND reading, it seems to me that Wanikani might be good for you for getting fast at kanji recognition for meaning on the fly as those subtitles zoom by (reading) and if you keep trying as you can more and more kanji, it will essentially be LIKE immersion (but into a subject matter that’s FUN for you). And… If you practice translating the relevant manga sentence by sentence while studying relevant grammar on the internet (there might be a good book club here in the forum for you, like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure reading club), you would build up the vocabulary used in that anime/manga even faster, thus keep advancing while enjoying.


Wanikani helped me build a daily habit of studying Japanese. I started learning Japanese a few years ago, got to an advanced beginner stage, then got lazy and stayed at that level for way too long. I got a tutor once a week but never did homework and didn’t put in the hours needed to make good progress :see_no_evil:

I joined WK 6 months ago and have made more progress than I did in the last 5 years :sweat_smile: Thanks to both WK itself, which taught me how to actually read these squiggles out loud (not just their meanings), and to the helpful community here – who introduced me to lots of useful resources (especially for grammar, my arch enemy) and :sparkles: book clubs :sparkles: (it’s like eating the cake while you’re still making it :sweat_smile:)

I definitely recommend Wanikani to any learner who can afford it. For people who can’t, the Kodansha Kanji Learners Course book teaches in a similar way (but without the SRS). :blush:


I have been using WK for Kanji learning, and also RocketLanguages.com for grammar, conversation, culture, reading, writing, and much more. It is a paid site like WK, but covers all forms of the language, and includes many fun reinforcement activities. I think Rocket is an excellent addition to Japanese language study. I have learned a lot and quickly. Well worth the price for me.


Hahahah! Going to Japan for a holiday trip or settling down there? I been to Japan last year with friends, planning for another solo trip to Japan. Hence, need to at least brush up some conversation skill.

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I see. Do you tackle other languages in Rocketlanguages as well?

I kinda have to admit that I like the SRS system. It allows me to slowly imprint on previous words that I might taking for granted especially for Radical. So it is kinda nice to once a while, bring me back and refresh my memory again.


I am planning to get a course in the near future. At the same time, also do a bit of self-study in everyway I can. Is only been a month for me since i started learning 日本語. I’m kinda taking my sweet time learning the language. =D

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Thanks. I will take a look at the AJATT.

No, I’m only doing the Japanese course since I am a beginner. I have done some of the free trials in Arabic and Spanish. I like Japanese better.

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Just a vacation–unless I can land a job as an English teacher there for a time! It’s a lot of work just for a holiday LOL

Ain’t going to be an easy task to land a job there without any qualification of JLPT. That’s what I heard. Still it would be interesting to get a job there too =D

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