Getting killed by leeches

Finally hit a wall with my studies as I’ve been bogged down with essays and other school stuff I need to keep up with. I was consistently getting my reviews down to 0 previously, but the last few weeks I’ve had a crazy amount of leeches that are really eating up all my review time.

Has anyone been able to squash a huge amount of leeches and get back to it? I haven’t done any lessons in about 10 days but I still can’t see to get back on track

I installed the one of the leech scripts and its showing about 150-200 leeches, most of which are similar looking kanji, or vocabulary with bad mnemonics

Any help would be appreciated


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I took around two months off lessons at around your level. Whittled 500-600 guru down to about 150 before I started back up. Felt amazing. Just keep it up, you can do it. It gets annoying for a week or two when it’s all your worst leeches coming up over and over but you survive.

Now that I’m level 60 basically everything I review are leeches. It’s tough but good. Imagine a program built specifically to help you study only the stuff that is hard for you. That’s what it’s like working on leeches.


For similar looking kanji you should have a good look at them side-by-side. You can try Niai for that.

Oftentimes the similarity is actually a feature if you know how to “read” the part that is different. You can try Keisei as well. :slight_smile:


I’d love to have only 150-200 leeches, although I guess it really depends on the proportion of your total items on the go. I’m currently hovering around 400, out of 1,507 items in progress. And 260 of them are burn-only.

I feel like I pushed too hard earlier this year, trying to learn as much as I could before my trip to Japan in the Spring. Then I went in vacation mode for the 3 weeks I was away, plus about another 2 months after I got back, before I finally got back into it.

I ended up resetting from level 26 down to 16, then did 0 lessons for about 3.5 months, just getting my enormous pile of outstanding items down to something more manageable. Now, I only do lessons (at most 10/day) if I have 0 reviews, and try to keep my Apprentice items under 50.

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These are all great suggestions, thank you

I guess I just need to accept that I will have to get through all these before I can move on

@acm2010 I will try the script - I think about half my leeches are the look alikes

@timfreilly Thanks for sharing the wkstats - It’s good to know I’m not the only one with some purple bars. I will try to look at it as a challenge I guess haha

@meekohaw I think I did the same thing when I had a bunch of free time and ended up overloading myself too. Thanks for the advice

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For me, seanblue’s userscript that shows how many leeches on my dashboard really helps.

There. 53 Leeches on Apprentice. 220 Leeches on Guru. 107 on Master. 58 on Enlightened. And prolly many more on Burn.

I use some methods that had been mentioned by 先輩たち here in this forum. I tried searching the exact links but I failed getting them back. So I think I’ll just rewrite it here.

I kill leeches by talking a lot about it. But this is not enough. I may still forget about them. I must actively kill them by writing them. Really pay attention to their composition and radical/kanji difference. And to their mnemonics, or could be my own mnemonics or mnemonics from communities.

I don’t only put them side by side as a pair passively but also actively. What I mean is, I don’t only use acm’s userscripts and see some of them listed there along with other similar kanji. I really put efforts to kill my leeches by writing them offline on piece of paper. Searching their refences on my Dictionaries. Searching for their thesaurus. Searching for their more context sentences. I use Dictionaries that Leebo had talked about on one of his YouTube vlogs.

I tagged Leebo here to let him know that I’m open to more of his suggestions on what to do to kill my leeches because I still feel an empty brain baby in Japanese. I edited it. No, I’m afraid I’ll disturb him if I tag him. So no I’ll probably ask him in another thread specifically when I can word what my questions are in hooman language.

My offline dictionaries.

My flow is usually like this: If I got recurring red, I take screenshot

And then I really pay attention to this pair of leeches. Thanks for ConfusionGuesser script on the top right. It makes my search easier.

And then I type on my Notes (Evernotes, could also Apple Notes). Like this

Then I generate their cards using Dictionaries feature on Kitsun. I once used Anki before getting used to Kitsun. I gave up on Anki because Anki is not for me. I highly respect anyone who can master Anki, like Hine sama and that penguin ava I don’t remember their username.

Then I do my WK LEECHES deck on Kitsun. Like this.

My current WK LEECHES deck on Kitsun.

Some of my leeches on my new WK LEECHES deck on Kitsun.

Some of my leeches + Mining on my old MINING deck on Kitsun. cc @jprspereira @neicul

Question: How many leeches do you want to kill?

I once stopped learning lessons for 2 to 3 months just to focus on killing leeches when I was lvl 25. Of course, exposure helps but exposure usually doesn’t help me kill specific leeches. listening to J Drama. Seeing kanji in the wild on Japanese TV. I usually never forget whatever those Native Japanese said in the wild. But that’s more like an accidental. I got more leeches than those accidentals (coincidental? Sorry, my English).

I once had more than 250 leeches on my Guru. Then I got them down to 180. And now, you can look again at my dashboard above. I personally kill leeches not to 0. Around 150-180 is ok. Then I continue adding lessons again. And keep my numbers on my dashboard that make me feel comfortable. You could have these numbers different than mine.

I don’t only base on X Apprentice. Because usually Apprentices lower than 30 will make me bored. 600 or 700 Guru usually scares me. I could be comfortable on 50 - 130 Apprentice. And especially that userscript that seanblue created. I really pay attention on them. Not only in general bunny made on top like the one you got.

I may also want to use a specific tool, called I forgot what its name. It’s a beautiful graph, that if I click Apprentice 2, it’ll only show items that are in Apprentice 2 only. Etc. Because I forgot what that tool’s name is, I just use kind of manual tool but still useful. It’s wkstats the new one.

And repeat the process from my Notes to my SRS of choice :fox_face: again.


This is a lot of good information here
I’m honestly overwhelmed by how much time you probably took to put this reply together with all the screen shots and everything

I like the idea of having a leech deck also - I guess I just need exposure

It’s about 200 leeches right now, but some of them have been haunting me for a long time. My review sessions have gotten longer - probably from the accumulation of these
I will try out this and the scripts and see what I can do in the next few weeks

Thanks for taking the time to post all this information!


i really appreciate this thread, but i am not tech savvy and still figuring out WK, can someone explain what a leech is and what the leech scripts and charts and stuff are? or if you don’t want to type out a whole response, if there is another thread that you know about that explains it could i get the link to it? i really appreciate how supportive this community is. good luck killing your leeches and getting back to the pace you’d like to be moving at!

You’re welcome! I may still lack of each specific details of tool’s and userscripts’ links though I prefer each WaniKanian browse and test themselves from the central wiki page. No, I’m not suggesting you to browse it all at once. It’s just for a future reference.

Who knows someone found the tool I used to use instead of wkstats. That tool’s graph is beautiful. cc @Whologist up and down eyebrows gif here nyaa.

By the way, I found what I searched.

Oshin is bowing Japanese bow to @tmahrt 先輩 for the inspiration among others.

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I just wanted to post an update on this.
Through a combination of some of the ideas you guys gave me I’ve managed to come out on top of a pile of squashed leeches.

Some of the similar looking ones I learned to write and focused on the mnemonics to really drill them in. The visually similar userscript was helpful to get a quick glance at these

The dashboard leech app is pretty useful too - I had a lot hovering around apprentice/guru

I made an anki deck of the rest and just drilled it for a few days until they stuck

I realized some of these items have been haunting me for over a year. I took some breaks in my studies and never was able to get quite a few items out of the recurring leech spot

I’m happy to say that after 2 solid weeks of working through these I had my reviews down to 0 with only 50 next day average and most of the leeches have been taken care of

I was able to do my kanji lessons recently, working through them way quicker than normal and I actually leveled up today. I’m back on track - thanks for all the advice. It was super helpful to know that other people have faced the same problem I was stuck in


what’s the name of @seanblue’s mod?

This one?

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thanks, gotta install that :slight_smile:
edit: 49 leeches… i have to read up on what’s considered a leech for this script.

Uff 237 leeches in guru. I need to do something about those. Maybe just wait it out…

The one that’s killing me is “right - 右” and “stone- 右” Because they look the same and it’s pretty much a 50/50 chance as to whether I’ll get it right. Anyone else have this problem?

Something that has worked for me for similarities like 右 and 石 was to just come up with a specific pair of mnemonics that relates the two kanjis (and their visual differences) and put them down in each kanji.

That should be 石

Thanks I never noticed

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