Found a Wanikani for Chinese!

I’ve seen on here a lot of posts asking for a Chinese version of WaniKani, and today I stumbled upon what looks like a good option called Pandanese ( It promised to teach 6,000 Hanzi and vocab in a year, and like WaniKani it uses spaced repetition and starts with mnemonics for the radicals. I’ve only tried the first day (I believe you get three days free) but so far it looks very promising! Anyway, since it’s something I’ve seen asked about a lot on here I thought I’d let you all know :slight_smile:

REVIEW UPDATE Jan 7th ----- 2 out of 5 stars
Okay so I’ve been using this website (for free still thank goodness!) for nearly a week now so I thought I’d update what I think of it. It’s got potential, but it really ain’t there. There will be lots of outraged question marks in this review because that’s how I feel right now.

First of all, as many of the replies below here have pointed out, the pricing is absolutely ridiculous. You can do three new cards a day for free, but the more cards a day you do the more expensive it is?? And up to $29/month??? YIKES! There are also issues and work around with there being no auto-play audio, which is also detailed in the replies below, and the fact that the mobile site version is pretty unusable. Most of my criticisms in this update are going to be about the actual method/mnemonics, since those are things that can’t be evaluated from a quick glance at the site.

The mnemonics are not good. Some of them the meaning of the word doesn’t even appear in the mnemonic that is supposedly there to help you remember the meaning. Why???! Here’s an example (wording changed slightly but key elements intact): The hanzi to be learned is the hanzi for ‘behind’ or ‘after’. The mnemonic for the meaning is Santa receiving a slash (first radical) to the mouth (second radical) and so falling off a cliff (third radical) while trying to deliver presents. The mnemonic for the reading is Santa saying ‘ho (hou4) ho ho I may have gotten injured but at least the kids got their presents’. WHERE IS THE WORD OR MEANING OF ‘BEHIND’ IN ANY OF THAT??? Sure, you might imagine he falls off the cliff backwards, but that is NOT specified! So you’ve encoded the reading but still have no idea what the meaning is.

Another point on the mnemonics is a point in appreciation of WK. WK gets you to learn the onyomi of the kanji and then if there’s a compound word that just uses the onyomi readings it gives you a short mnemonic for the meaning (e.g. ‘one’ + ‘hit’ = ‘strike’) and tells you to just use the onyomi readings that you’ve already learned. Minimal writing, maximal efficiency. Since Chinese almost entirely works this way, there’s no need to have new mnemonics for compound word readings. Yet Pandanese insists on having entirely new mnemonics for compound words and their readings. I’ve just been ignoring them so far.

Finally, I’m pretty disappointed that they haven’t included mnemonics for any of the tones. It’s a massive part of the language, and a really hard part to memorise. To just present the words and hope the student will retain the tone without doing anything to assist that is poor form from a mnemonic vocab program. If they had done that well it would have made up for a lot of the other bad stuff in my eyes.

Overall this site has lots of potential but it’s not meeting it yet, and it’s too darn expensive. I’ve already told them a few of these criticisms via their help chat, but I feel like I’m getting annoying to them so I’m just gonna leave this all here and they can maybe find it if they google themselves. 2 stars out of 5.

Side note: For anyone who is trying to memorise tones in Mandarin Chinese this is how I do it. Tone one (high flat tone) I associate with an opera singer singing a big high note. Then whenever a hanzi has tone one, I encode an opera singer somewhere in the mnemonic for the reading. Tone two (rising) I imagine a kettle whistling higher and higher as it boils. Tone three (low tone) I imagine the grudge (who makes this noise). For tone four (falling tone) I imagine Star Wars stormtroopers (and the ‘pew pew pew’ noise of their blaster guns). An opera singer, a kettle, the grudge, and a stormtrooper. Works well as these images aren’t likely to be used for much else.


This actually looks pretty cool from a glance…but then again, I am a sucker for SRS and flashy colors so… :sweat_smile: :turtle: Thanks!


That’s cool, if I ever decide to learn Chinese again some day I’ll keep in my toolbox.


but i wanted to learn pandanese ;-;


Not that I’m planning to pick up Chinese again any time soon, but they clearly haven’t tested their website on mobile, which renders it pretty useless.

computers tho


Their website on mobile could use some work, but other than that on PC it’s pretty good.
Another one I prefer is Ninchanese, you can learn the top 5,000 hanzi with it. It has SRS, which is nice, but no mnemonics. One thing I’ve found is that mnemonics help to remember unfamiliar characters, but seem to slow down recall a bit too. Still, this website seems like an excellent resource!


racist joke about how there’s a chinese cheap version of everything


I’d like to see what their system actually looks like and how long the srs intervals actually are, along with pricing in an easy to see place, but it does look nice.




Agreed, I have had to message them to inquire how the pricing works

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for the small group that apparently need to do everything on a phone as opposed to being comfortable on a pc… yes, indeed.


Thanks for the heads up! My partner’s interested in learning Mandarin and have been looking out for something like this. After WK and bunpro, If I wanted to learn it (and I would like to someday) I’d take web SRS over a book anyday…



These folks have definitely used WaniKani, haha.


Cool. I’ve recently started giving Mandarin a go, and I’ve been feeling kinda nostalgic about using WK, but not nostalgic enough to do a Leebo and restart from level 1 :slight_smile:

Gonna give this a go and see how well they’ve copied it! :stuck_out_tongue:



That’s… kind of a weird way of doing pricing. It costs you more in total the faster you decide to study. And why limit the speed at which you can learn?

And… twelve cards per day? That’s nothing.


Do these exist for traditional Chinese?

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I’m gonna check it out, but as I’ve been taking a chinese course at uni for 1’5 year already and reading the other comments here, I’m not quite sure if it’ll be something for me… (Especially 'cause it looks pretty darn expensive xp) Still wanna check it out personally though)

edit: yeah, not gonna do it.

this is the feeling I got from it as well