Feedback and Tips for a beginner


im currently starting out with wanikani and im still at level 1 and id like some feedback and possibly some tips.

What im having problems with is learning the vocabulary.

The english meanings themselves i can remember quite easily but i have alot of problems differenciating between On’yomi and Kun’yomi and when to use which one and i can really remember the hiragana writing of them. The mnemonics dont really help either because most of the time i find that they dont really have any connection to the actual word that the vocabulary means.

Also its really hard to differentiate between things like “size, big, great” and the above or below versions. Though thats probably due to not enough training.

Which brings me to the main thing. Do you and if so how do you learn the kanji inbetween reviews?
For me its always like for example:

First Vocabulary in review: 大きさ (oh that must be big or something) (which is wrong)
Second Vocabulary: 大した (oh that must be either big or great then which leaves me with great because i can remember that big ends with and い so i just pick that)

But the problem with all of that is that its gonna be just the same next time because i kinda just guessed.

Well whatever maybe i should stop rambling now. Do you have any tips or something for me? and how long does it usally take to finish the first level?

1 Like

Welcome! Make sure you come join in on the forum regularly! :smiley:

Answering your questions in sequence:

If the mnemonics aren’t helping you, take a few extra minutes during your lessons and/or reviews to come up with your own that help you more. You can add them directly into WK.

If the remembering hiragana is an issue then it sounds like you need to take some time to review it. Try writing or typing them out in kana table order from memory. Once you’ve done as many as you can make notes of ones you got wrong or ones you missed. Kana is the lynchpin here of going on to learn kanji and vocabulary so you need a strong base there.

Now as to knowing whether something on WK wants on’yomi or kun’yomi:

  • Vocabulary with a single kanji or kanji and hiragana = usually kun’yomi.
  • Single kanji (not vocabulary) or vocabulary with multiple kanji = usually kun’yomi.

In the wild? Pretty similar, I would say, but don’t worry about this at this stage.

I say usually though because exceptions are always going to exist.

Check this link for more information about on’yomi and kun’yomi.

This a mixture of allowing the SRS to do its job and paying attention during your lessons.

Here are some things I like to do when I come across tricky kanji.

  • Use this script to keep track of my leeches. If they become actual problems for me I handwrite them for later review. You could do that or you could review them on Anki or similar. Don’t review them before a WK review though or you’ll not benefit from the SRS.
  • I also like to look up the etymology of kanji using this website. Sometimes it’s useless but other times it helps me create my own mnemonic and/or gives me a deeper understanding of a particular kanji.

You’ll come across 〜さ a few times. My understanding of it is that 〜さ on a いーadjective makes it into a noun.

All I can say to learn the difference between 大した and 大きさ is experience, practise, and, maybe, additional work on it.

Finally, good luck with your studies!

1 Like

Don’t worry too much about whether a specific reading is on’yomi or kun’yomi. Just learn how the word is pronounced, and you’ll get a feel for which is which over time. Certainly make a point of studying up on your hiragana, though.

Yeah, this one’s a grammar thingy - the ~さ suffix turns an adjective into a noun, like the English suffixes -ness or -ity. For example, clean > cleanliness, immense > immensity. Since English likes to be all manner of irregular, though, we don’t have the word “bigness” - instead we use “size”. So yeah.



so what i meant by not remembering the hiragana writing i meant that i cant remember the japanese translation not the hiragana itself.

Some people prefer to learn a bunch of kanji and vocab via WaniKani before focusing on grammar, but others prefer to learn grammar first since it helps explain parts of speech and converting from one to another. Perhaps learning some grammar first would suit your learning style more.


Ah gotcha. I still maintaining writing it manually is helpful. Get some scrap paper or a whiteboard and doodle away.

So you said something about the SRS not working properly if i review the kanji/vocabulary inbetween.

But wouldnt id kinda prefer it to learn like 5 to 10 kanji till i have them remembered properly instead of waiting and hour inbetween and forgetting them immediatly because there are like 30 more in my reviews.
For me the cycle then just keeps on going and im still at level 1 after like 7 days and only get about 60% of my reviews correct.

Most people here only take on between 5-20 lessons a day to help them manage the amount of reviews they get.

You don’t need to do all your lessons at once.

And yes some people will say reviewing between SRS times (normally 4 hours/8 hours/11 hours I believe) will break it.

But if you’ve got 8+ hours until you’re next seeing a kanji or word then it’s not going to hurt to review before then so long as you don’t review I would say within an hour of the next review cycle.

1 Like

yea but i feel like if i do less then im gonna have and even harder time remembering. For me the way you learn Hiragana/katakana on tofugu was really easy. Like read the mneumonics, do about 15 minutes of training and then the little quiz at the end.

What im really missing with learning the vocab on wanikani is the “training stage” where i just do 5 or so over and over for a few minutes to be able to remember which one is which.

I had a similar problem. I solved it with a procedure I described in this post. You may want to give it a try.

1 Like

Sorry to go off topic. Would you consider trying Item Inspector to keep track of leeches? In my opinion it is superior to Leech Tables because:

  • Unlike Leech Tables it does not enforce a limit on the number of leeches displayed.
  • The leech filter is a real number for a more granular filtering. Leech Tables uses a drop down list of integers.
  • The meaning and reading of the items are available in a tooltip for convenient studying.
  • There is a configurable Time To Review filter to avoid studying items just before the time of review.
  • It can display other tables not available in Leech Tables.

Disclosure: I am the author of Item Inspector.

1 Like

I’m sold. When I go back onto my laptop I’ll switch out the script and give it a try.

Thanks for the heads up!

1 Like

so i just got the self study quiz with the advanced filter. is there a way to set it to keep repeating 5 or 10 or so vocabularies?

Yes you can do this.

You must open the settings dialog with this button.


In the Settings tab you set the Maximum Quiz Size to 5 or 10.


Under Items you set the Item Type filter to vocabulary and the Level filter to +0 to select your current level. It is important to say +0, simply 0 without the + sign won’t do. You also select the SRS Level of the items you want to study.


At the end of the quiz session if you press it will repeat the quiz session. You may repeat as many time as you want.

I kind of wish I did some grammar before. Finally getting down intransitive and transitive verbs has helped me with things like 混ぜる 混ざる.

One unfortunate thing about how WaniKani is laid out is that the Kanji at the beginning are the ones with the most readings and exceptions to the rules, which makes it harder at first if you’re coming in with no prior knowledge. More complex Kanji that show up later will follow more straightforward rules for when to use on’yomi and kun’yomi, and will also stick closer to their meaning in vocabulary, or at least that’s what I’ve found so far.

There’s not too much WaniKani can do to avoid teaching you these Kanji though, since they’re the simplest ones visually and just very common in Japanese (hence all their readings and exceptions).

1 Like

I have a few uses for the self-study script that you may want to try.

There is a Recent Lessons filter that will select items that were learned recently. You may want to use this to do extra studying after taking some lessons.

There is a Leech Training filter that will select items you have trouble with. You may want to do extra studying specifically to these items.

You may save your filters configuration in presets in this part of the settings:


Each preset is a filter configuration. Having presets avoids having to change the filters configuration every time. You just select your preset from a dropdown list:


i can also never remember whether to use on or kun readings. Most of the time I just memorise it as it is, then kinda guess my way through.

I agree with @Belthazar that trying to remember whether you’re using onyomi or kunyomi, especially early on, isn’t helpful. I haven’t really tried to do that and it doesn’t seem to have held me back.

Also practice over time, either through the SRS or not, means you will remember similar words over time. If you start doing reading or even grammar practice, you’ll start seeing words like 大きい all the time.

On the other hand, I recently failed 大した when it came round for the burn review. I think I dropped it all the way back to apprentice…

I thought it’ll just drop to the previous level? Did you get it wrong multiple times lol

1 Like