Going kanji only for a while

Hi everyone.
I got to level 23 doing going 0/0 every level so far. Currently I’d like to focus more on grammar and reading than on the vocabulary that is taught by WK. I still want to progress through the kanji though in order to learn the core meanings so that I’m better prepared for all the kanji that I’ll be seeing in the wild.
Now due to my time being a bit more limited in the forseeable future I can’t do 0/0 in 7 days anymore. I could of course just slow down, but I don’t want to slow down my “kanji core meaning progression”.

So I want to approach this by doing mostly kanji only up until level 30ish (using a reorder script) and then play catchup with the vocab. Have any of you ever tried this? Are there some serious disadvantages?
I understand of course that learning vocab is great for reinforcing the kanji meanings and necessary for learning different readings. I certainly don’t want to skip them completely, just delay for a while.

What are your thoughts on this?

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Well, one of the disadvantages is that vocab also teaches you kanji readings.
For example, 生 has a lot of readings and memorizing them all by themselves can be problematic.
When you learn vocab, you also learn when each reading is used.

Still, I think that any studying approach is better than no studying at all. If you feel like concentrating on kanji is the only way for you to keep moving right now - then maybe that’s what you should do.


Yes, I acknowledged that in the original post. It’s more like “doing a slow Heisig for some time”, or at least that’s how I see it.

What are you trying to accomplish like that? You’ll forget these Kanji anyway, if you don’t see them in the context of vocab.

Even if you ignore the reading, you won’t really know how to use them as verbs and you also won’t understand the many unintuitive compounds. AT ALL.


I mean that is the very idea of Heisig, which is a valid approach to learning kanji and Japanese. You basically learn the core meanings of kanji so you are not completely thrown of when you encounter them. If you learned the meanings of 選 and 挙 and you encounter 選挙する you can either guess the meaning or, if not, it’s at least not difficult to remember the meaning if you look it up.
In the end, I will probably forget some of the kanji, but this isn’t a big deal: if I need it I do have it somewhere in the back of my head, I will look it up and it will reinforce my memory. If I don’t need it I will encounter it again when I catch up on vocab.

guinea pig it for us and come back with the findings. I predict it’ll be like heisig and you’ll forget/burn out after a year.


I don’t really see how it will increase burn out, as I will reduce the weekly lessons (I did all kanji in seven days up until now anyway). Anyway, goal was up to around level 30, thats only 6 weeks, not a year. Mainly was looking for people who had already tried that, maybe I will just guinea pig it for you guys.

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I think it’s a matter of deciding between going slower but solidifying the knowledge you acquire, or going faster without context and risking forgetting a lot or most of it. In my experience (and many other japanese learners that I’ve seen since I study), kanji that I learned without vocabulary accompanying it is kanji that I’ve ended up forgetting one way or another because it doesn’t have coherence, it’s just a massive and tedious blob of meaning/reading memorization that got me nowhere. But now that I’m learning those kanji paired with vocabulary (which is what most people recommend) I honestly feel that I’m really learning and internalizing them.

Not to mention the hundreds of lessons that will be waiting for you once you’re done; I’m sure if I saw myself so many lessons I would feel awful and probably wouldn’t want to start doing them anytime soon. I’ve read multiple examples of people in the forum with this exact problem.

You will have to decide for yourself what fits you best, but I personally think it’s not an efficient approach. It will take time anyway, but I would rather have that time being efficient than ending up needing more time because I keep forgetting everything. Slow and steady, if you aren’t able to keep the pace that you had that’s okay, you can always resume it once you’re able once again. It has to work for you, if you think it isn’t working, change the approach. Good luck!


Languages generally and Japanese specifically are context-laden subjects. Ideally, we would be working not only in example sentences on their own, but in context conversations or settings. Learning vocabulary by simply translating (vocab) to English without any context is in itself not ideal. We need to learn “what would a Japanese person say in this setting”, not “how do I translate this from English to Japanese”. Learning Japanese squiggles on their own with made up English keywords seems even more foolhardy.

Sure, if you already know these words, learning the kanji in isolation might be a fairly effective use of your time. And, like we all know, all roads lead to Rome, but some of them are bumpier than others. People have learnt Japanese by all sorts of methods, and I’m not one to stop people from doing what they want to, I just don’t think this will be a good use of time.


Thank you for your answers. After going 0/0 in seven days for a while I just didn’t want to slow down my kanji progression, but maybe I’m overzealous. I was a little skeptical with my approach but was hopeful other mind think of it as good idea, but it appears that is not the case. I think I will just slow down a little bit and focus on the 0/0 instead of time per level.

Thank you for taking your time to answer my question. I marked the first answer as the solution because I think it encapsulates the discussion quite well.


Here’s another idea.

If you really don’t want to do wanikani vocab because you want to focus on other parts of you studies, just slow down your wanikani pace and start a separate SRS system with the new kanji + some relevant vocab that you encounter in the wild instead.

Might be a bit annoying to have multiple SRS systems going at the same time though. Anyways, just a thought


I tried Heisig for Hanzi back in 2010 in preparation for a trip to China in 2011. I got through the first 300 and it worked great for my trip but a year later I couldn’t remember more than a couple dozen characters even counting the numbers from 1-10.

Starting Wanikani in February of last year felt like it had all the pieces that Heisig was missing.

Not to mention the fact that knowing the meanings won’t help you with things like 修理, which is Discipline + Reason, but the word itself means repair. :wink:

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I haven’t seen this specific approach before, but i’d say it’s definitely not advised. Many people have saved teh vocab for later and it just hasn’t worked out, that’s a common case we see very regularly. Lots end up resetting rather than ending up catching up. You most certainly won’t be able to have 7 day levels and a sane amount of reviews if you wanna catch up the vocab to the same level as you’re at, probably even up to 60. To play catch up will take a very long time, and it will all be old vocab too.
Personally, I recommend against it, Your core kanji meaning progression won’t be slowed down a huge deal, but with the vocab i believe that it would make your limited more time to Wankani count more. it would (as mentioned) increase the depth and strength of the stuff you do learn. your “kanji core reading progression” (and in many cases the reading as well) will increase extensively in comparision to what they would without the vocab.
No-one’s stopping you, but keep in mind that Wanikani isn’t a race, it’s a learning process, however that ends up looking.
Good luck with whatever you choose : )

Some topics/posts i gathered after a quick and shallow search, but it’ll give you a better idea of what the reorder script (and other notorious scripts) can do if you don’t use them well: