Hard stuck lvl 5 over a year

Hi there first of all sorry for the rant but here it goes:

I can’t seem to get my kanji’s down. It seems like an endless dreadful chore where Im just never lvling up. Help/any suggestions? I will admit my motivation is quite low atm, and I thought with my busy schedule 1 hour would be enough for daily time spent but it really isnt. I tried that 1-2 hour a day for a while really motivated. and it just gets me to lvl 5 where it starts to get tough and get no where. Reset like twice now I think on my third lvl 5 with a couple of vacation modes.

like I get about 80% + correct, clear all my reviews then it just gives me a bunch more to study and Im like okey Im motivated enough and ill do them. then super tired after that session next day BAM I end up with even a bigger review stack and Im like okey… and it never stops like my OCD goes nuts seeing the numbers never going down (and my lvl still the same). Skipping one day makes the reviews hell. It just makes me so frustrating and hating kanji all together at times. So I’m currently just learning by listening and speaking.

I’ve quit several times, whenever I am back to it I just try to rush through it but it doesnt matter if I get 50% correct or 90% feels all the same. Especially as of late where everyday just isnt happening.

Might be a mix of bad motivation (though I have had longer periods of motivation but still didnt help with progression itself), bad way of learning and just a slow learner idk.

I really want to get better at Kanji I just dont know how. So does anyone have any good tips they could give to progress? Do you for example sit and read the whole story/message, write the character down, think about it for some minutes before you learn the next kanji? Do you spend several hours a day every single day being dedicated to only this? etc

edit: This is usually how I study: open the app on the phone, go through reviews, if i fail one I read what the reading and meaning is and try to memorize it for the next time it pops up. Then If im not tired I do the lessons. Usually I do about 80 reviews and 15 lessons on a good day. spending over an hour. When studying lessons I try to memorize the radicals then see if any of the explainations are funny to remember so it sticks and move on.

it helps me to do it in small chunks. like a little study break. you get mental fatigue doing 162 reviews at once (like I just did).

Also do some on your phone while you are waiting in line for food or something similar.


I strongly suggest reading the mnemonics for every kanji and radical. It does take extra time, but even with reviewing kanji from multiple levels ago I still remember some of their mnemonics if I’m struggling with it. For items such as vocabulary, I tend to skip the mnemonics if it’s a jukugo word and/or the meaning makes sense based off of the combination of kanji.

My process for remembering tricky kanji is to remember the story from it. Sometimes it’s a lot harder, but if you know your radicals then you can try to make up your own story to fit it into a batter context for yourself.

Now I know you said you’re crunched for time, so the best way to help yourself whittle your list down is to do 5-10 lessons at a time. You’ll slowly introduce new items into your review queue, and I would hope that helps make the process less overwhelming.

Good luck getting back into it! I hope to see you up to level 10 in the next few months :slight_smile:


If you’re worried about leveling up, get some userscripts or use the new preview dashboard to see what you can’t fail (radicals or kanji) in in order to progress. Self-study quizzes or just primarily focusing on those items (You can also try ignoring vocab until you get the level’s kanji to Guru level) will let you get to leveling up much more quickly. By reducing vocab you can also manage your review stack much better, which will maybe lead to less stress.

In my opinion however, I find the vocab to be rather indispensable as in contextualizes the otherwise usually obscure kanji, especially once you reach higher levels. But I think in our case it wouldn’t hurt to just push through some levels to get your motivation up, then slow down again to catch up with the vocab.

Some suggested userscripts: Ultimate Timeline, Dashboard Progress Plus, Reorder Ultimate 2, and Self-Study Quiz.

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Why not add the kanji to Quizlet, and practice it there, as often as you can? That’s what I do so I don’t have to spend so long between studying. I have bad ADHD, so it’s suuuuper helpful.


When I first started I disregarded mnemonics entirely. But I kept hearing people who were very advanced in Japanese talk about the usefulness of mnemonics for remembering. Both people who use WaniKani and those who didn’t all seemed to agree they were important. So, I started implementing them into my own study.

I can say it has certainly helped me recall new kanji more easily. And sometimes when I come a across an old review and I feel the panic of realizing I had forgotten the kanji the mnemonic will suddenly come back to me and I remember the meaning and sound again.

One thing I will say though is that you should create your own mnemonics. Personally, I find many of the examples WaniKani gives to be ridiculous and no easier to remember then the kanji itself. There are likely connections and stories you can make for yourself which are most easy for you to remember. I think this is true for each individual.

One example I can think of is for the kanji “sell” 売. The On-yomi for this kanji is “bai” ばい. WaniKani gives some weird mnemonic I didn’t bother to remember. It seems so obvious to me that the easiest way to remember this is with “buy/sell”, two English words with opposite meanings. With almost every kanji there is likely a more intuitive way for you to remember personally. Another example is that I have a friend named Kyu, pronounced exactly like きゅう. So I associate my friend with any kanji that has this pronunciation.


Sorry to hear things are rough!

Do you do reviews only once a day? The SRS system tries to use time intervals that boost your retention. Hitting at least the first 2 review intervals as closely as possible can make a big difference in how well you remember items.

I tried to make sure to only do lessons in the morning, at a time that I’d be hitting the +4h interval, and the +8h interval after that. So for example lessons at 08:00, reviewing at 12:00 and reviewing again at 20:00. Alternatively, I’d do lessons in the evening, for example at 18:00 or 19:00, meaning I could do the +4h reviews before bed, and the +8h reviews first thing in the morning

On PC, there are scripts available that allow you prioritise items at a certain SRS stage during review, which means you can make sure you review the items of low SRS if you don’t have the time / energy to do all your reviews. The lower the SRS stage, the more damage it tends to do to retention if you’re not hitting the review intervals.

You say you mostly do it on phone, so I don’t know how much you’d have access to such things. I’m sure some of the third party app users will chime in if something like Flaming Durtles has such a feature. ^^

I’m sure others will have many useful tips. Best of luck, and I hope you’ll be able to find your groove so that you can make progress like you want. I commend you for your tenacity! :muscle:


Can confirm Flaming Durtles has advanced review and lesson reordering/prioritizing. @Soffeh If userscripts are too much, and you have an Android phone, the Flaming Durtles app is a great option to get all those features I’ve mentioned and more (offline reviews!) in one neat package.


Was going to ask about this, Thanks for the tips! I use both computer, but mostly android. Downloaded both and will try it out!

Some practical tips:

  • Consider using a computer for your reviews. I hate doing large batches of reviews on my phone, and will only do it if I absolutely can’t use my laptop. You may find that using a large screen and keyboard gives you less fatigue.
  • It sounds like you’re doing reviews once per day? You should review at least twice, but ideally 3-4 times per day. Try reviewing in the morning (before work/class), evening (after work/class), and night (before bed). Squeeze in a session at lunch if you can. This will help you remember things better and make each session less tiring.
  • 80% correct is good, if you average that you’ll make steady progress.
  • Make sure you’re remembering the mnemonics, especially for new items. If you forget something, take time to re-learn the mnemonic.
  • Get the ultimate timeline script so that your daily review count is not a surprise. There’s a system here, and once you understand it perhaps it won’t trigger your OCD.

Hopefully some of these tips will accelerate your progress, and the feeling of progress will help with your motivation!


Thank you for your insight!

I have to admit, sounds pretty crazy. I unfortunativly would not be able to study that often. 1 Hour every third day of kanji seems more than enough for me, since I do one day of speakingl/listening, one day of kanji, one for grammar/writing. I also draw which I have to do also everyday atleast 2 hours. Amongst spending time with others/work/cleaning etc stuff like that. It makes sense Im not making progress when Im probably meant to do it several times a day.

Cheers for the motivation though!


You may be right, I tend to get more done when I do at my PC i feel. Ill try to see if it changes over long term.
Actually Im doing once every third day now almost given up again with 50-70% now. I used to however do 1-2 times a day an hour with 80%+. It sounds like an awefully often though? Maybe I do not have the time to study that often/I have to get my priorities right.

I see a lot mentioning mnemonics, I will try to approach it more carefully and see if it helps.
Thanks for your reply.

Once every third day is absolutely not enough. Anyone would feel frustrated with that schedule, because you’ll forget new items before you get your first chance to review them. There’s a reason the first review interval is 4 hours after you learn the item.

It sounds like you’re trying to tackle Japanese from a lot of different angles at once, without having much time to do it. Perhaps you should try picking just one or two skills to work on at a time; whatever you find most enjoyable.

If you do decide to put kanji on the back-burner, I’d recommend halting lessons but continuing reviews (no less than twice a day – really.) until all your items are deep into guru/master. Then you can slow down the review pace to once every few days, and keep at it until it’s all burned. Don’t let yourself lose the progress you’ve made so far!


Since I am the worst man who was ever born maybe my advice is not worth much but I will try and help you anyway. First of all let me tell you something, you are never ever gonna learn a language if you don’t enjoy studying it. I had to study german for 6 years in school and I hated it, so now I do not even remember how to count to ten in german. I also studied french for 7 years and, once again, I do not even remember how to count to ten in French. If studying japanese seems like a chore to you or if you don’t feel motivated then try to remember why you started in the first place and try to see every little improvement as a victory to stay motivated otherwise you will end up like me and german/french.
I would also like to share my modus operandi hoping it will help you.
I spend a lot of time during lessons, I spend anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes on every new radical/kanji/vocabulary, and I use the wanikani story only if I can’t come up with a mnemonic that makes more sense to me.
I would suggest you come up with your own mnemonic aswell.
I do my reviews in small chunks basically 5-10 minutes every hour, i do them during the pauses of the lecture of my uni, but depending on your work/study this might not be possible.
During the reviews if i can’t remember a word i go like this:
発見, i do not remember it so i will try to remember only the left part.The left part is made of a tent and lantern items that are needed to go camping so this kanji could be something like going out or DEPARTURE. Then I try to remember the right part, it is made of an eye and some legs, and i would bet a walking eye could SEE a lot of stuff. So if you go out and see it might be because you want to DISCOVER something.
After a while i start to remember them just taking a quick look so I do not need to divide each compound into the kanji that form it and each kanji into the radicals.
I try to never skip a day, in the 2-3 months i used wanikani i skipped only one day and it was because the day after I had a really important midterm.
I also try to end each day with 0 reviews to do, i may have some lessons left but as long as they do not contain radicals or kanjis then it is fine for me to postpone them for one, two or even three days.
I hope this lengthy incoherent rambling of mine will be of some use for you. Good luck mate.


This might have already been said, but I recommend writing out each kanji along with its furigana and meaning. Hope this helps! :smile:

I highly recommend you set a session or two a day at a certain time to practice and not worry too much about the number of reviews you have. So whether you have 50 or 500 reviews you have a set amount of time to calmly do some reviews at your own pace and not worry about how many are left over at the end, What will happen is your review intervals will get longer and eventually you will start burning the oldest levels which will remove them from your review queue permanently. This of course means you CANNOT reset your levels. Stop doing that, be more consistent.

If you really want to level up faster get the userscripts for greasemonkey or tampermonkey. Specifically the WK reorder script and focus on the kanji. However this will just give you even more reviews at any one time so consider whether the risk of being completely overwhelmed is worth the gratification of leveling faster.

I’ve been overwhelmed to a point where I simply couldn’t correctly do 50 reviews a day. If I have 500 words I don’t know and I review 100 incorrectly at a time each day. That’s 100 words i’m not going to see for another 5 days. This completely destroys the 4hr, 8hr 1 day intervals WK sets for these words and makes it much harder to remember them. Eventually i reset several levels and took it one step at a time. So the lesson learned here is to take it slow and build your foundations, get words to guru before pushing for more. Don’t take breaks and if you can only manage an hour a day then you need to manage how many items you try to learn at any point in time


I just wanted to emphasize what others have said, specifically that if possible you should do reviews on your laptop. Keyboard just makes reviews like 3-5x faster for me and with less errors. Especially if you know how to type. Also I think its better to go though a big chunk of reviews at a time, because I get disappointed if I do a few reviews then come back next hour to the same previous amount or way more. Doing big chunks at a time can mean you usually wont have a bigger pile than last time if you do reviews 2-3 times a day.

Edit: To be honest if you can only usually come to do 80 reviews every 3 days, its not even worth paying for WK unless you invest in lifetime. Maybe you can get some grammar books like Genki, learn from those when you have time, at your leisure.


My recommendation would be going back to your big why.

Why are you studying japanese?
Do you have a goal in mind for when you want to be proficient?
How do you measure your progress so you can track proficiency?

I think it can be hard to remain motivated if you do not find a way to make Japanese study an integral part of your day. There are scripts that limit lessons, and there are also ways to batch your reviews so you’re only doing 20-30 at a time–

But the most important thing will be remaining motivated as the information steadily increases. Unfortunately, we can not help you on the motivation front, but we can give you tips to structure your day around language acquisition.

I encourage you to go back and make SMART (specific | measurable| achievable | realistic |timed) goals as for your Japanese education. Figure out a pace that makes sense for you based on the timetable you’re giving yourself to achieve your goal. And then find friends locally or online (this community is a great place for that) that can help you stay accountable to them.

Let us know what you end up doing! We are rooting for you. :heart:


Writing my own mnemonics has really worked for me.

Best wishes on catching up.


Stop resetting ; just keep grinding forward. Wanikani only gets harder as you go, but you also get better as you go. You’ll be surprised at how many reviews you can handle once you get to the higher levels, even if it doesn’t seem like it now.