How am I doing?

I’m 2 weeks in. Level 1 was “easy” compared to level 2. I complete all reviews and lessons every single day. Yesterday and today my lesson and reviews were in the 50-60 range. It’s taking me about an hour, hour-and-a-half to do my reviews each day. In two more days it says I’ll have 115 to do. DEAR GOD I’M TERRIFIED.

Am I average, or below average?

I feel completely overwhelmed and find myself getting kanji and vocab mixed up all the time. The mnemonics are starting to get confusing because of reusing some of them to remember different things. King, ball, Tom, drop, Oooohhh! I just don’t think my brain can handle this.

Any tips for perseverance to go through level 2 is appreciated!


I think you need to evaluate what is taking you so long. Depending on how concentrated I am 100 reviews only takes me 10-20 minutes. If you don’t remember an item within a couple of seconds then you should probably fail it so that you get to see it more often. You don’t need to be a speed demon, but 60-90 minutes for 50-60 items is a long time, IMO


Good. I haven’t read your post.

Yeah, do what Kumi said.

It can be tough at first, but you get used to it and you can even find your rhythm.

Remember that getting an item wrong is part of the system.


You control your pace by controlling the number of lessons you do; you don’t have to do all your lessons immediately they are available (personally, I do 10 to 13 a day, which means it takes me about a fortnight to do a level, giving my brain the time it needs to absorb the new material).

As you are on still in the accelerated levels, where there are more possible review sessions per day, in total you may be spending more time each day doing reviews than you will be when you reach the normal levels.


the reviews will pile up more as you level up, as guru/master will creep up back to you, I’m afraid its just a matter of getting used to while getting very slow per level, maybe around 5 lessons per day to keep up a consistent pace? A consistent slow paced is better than trying to fight it


I wouldn’t worry about mixing up kanji vs vocab. It gets better after a while. I hardly ever confuse colours in the browser, but on mobile I still do, because it uses a different colour scheme (i chose dark theme). As for getting overwhelmed, the easiest way to avoid it is doing reviews first. As many as you can. It naturally adjusts your workload.

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Kumi said, “Click on this link.”

What do you do?



I go to her website instead.


Not gonna lie this makes me feel like a speed demon because I can speed through a review of 50 items in line 5 minutes or less. That sort of lines up with you saying 100 items taking 10-20 minutes. I couldn’t imagine spending an hour+ on 50 items though. Maybe OP is taking on too many lessons at once, or is not spending any time thinking about the lessons once they’re done?

Personally after a lesson I’m thinking about the content or that lessons just casually (not even Intentionally) for a little while after.

That being said I’m in the easy levels, I’m not currently working so I don’t have much going on so my mind is quite free lol.

If I could give you some advice OP, going too slow can sometimes be detrimental, blast through those reviews in 20 mins or less and don’t worry about getting them wrong.

I’ve had to get a Kanji wrong 5x in a row over 2 days or so before I started getting it right lol, only happened with two or three Kanji though.

Also if you’re struggling with the mnemonics you should look into community mnemonics or I think it’s called KanjiDamage.


Nice try Nic. In this community we’re no strangers to links.


Don’t panic. - Douglas Adams :slight_smile:

Statistically, you’re average. :wink:

The first thing to remember is that you’re not just learning Kanji, you’re also learning how to learn kanji.

If you’re not used to an SRS, you may not be comfortable enough with it to let yourself fail quickly. The reviews aren’t a test where you have to get a high score.

They’re more of a filter where you weed out the items that didn’t stick from your lessons or the previous review. Those items then get more review time as part of the SRS.

One thing that really helped me retain things was to go over each wrong item on the summary screen after a review and spend a few seconds reinforcing the meaning, reading, and mnemonic.

Best of luck :smiley:




This is why you always ensure you’re adequately protected from threats:



Don’t worry about it. Kanji is more than rote memorization, and your brain just needs time to adapt: it’s like learning to play musical instrument. The worst thing you can do is compound your brain’s already stressful adaptation with a lot of fear and additional stress. Honestly, just block out some fixed amount of time for it daily, like 30 minutes, set your timer, and when you’ve logged your time call it a day. Your primary goal at the moment isn’t to memorize kanji, it’s to get your brain adapted to processing kanji. This was an uphill battle for me for years (and to some extent it still is, I guess) but your brain will learn eventually learn how to read them. Coupling Wanikani with broader Japanese learning will make this process go faster through context, in my experience.

Good luck!


If you have a bad review session you need to try and do your next reviews as close to 4 hours as you can manage so that you only see the things you’re failing to learn. I found if I review once a day some items just never stick - 24 hours is too long for items you can’t retain

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You’ll be okay, don’t worry - learning is very much like building a muscle. To begin with, even simple lifts are going to take time and a lot of energy, and you’ll get sore… but as your body(/mind) adapts, you’ll be able to do more and greater volumes.

I started Wanikani in December and, like you, reviews would take me a long time, and I’d be fairly inconsistent in my answers. However, after having done it every day for a few months now, I find it intuitively a lot easier and though I still make mistakes (who doesn’t?), I feel like my understanding of the language and of kanji in general is much better, so I learn quicker. It’s like my brain is able to understand better the more I teach it!

For example, at the beginning if I had half a hundred reviews like yourself, it would take me about the same time as it takes me to do ~150 now! Key is to keep going and don’t get discouraged - and if you ever have a big lesson dump at once (e.g. at level up), don’t feel pressured to reduce that stack to 0 immediately. I find I retain information better if I split a stack of 75 lessons into 3 sessions of 25, for instance!

Honestly, reviews don’t bother me that much at this point… except the dreaded ones where I’ve just been introduced to a new set of Kanji. I’m lucky to get about 50-60% correct on the first round, and it always makes me :sob:, but I know I’ll get them if I don’t give up!


I think this is worth analyzing a bit. Let’s say 60 reviews, each with a meaning + reading, in 90 minutes. That’s ~45 seconds per answer (assuming they’re all correct… obviously that’s skewed depending on accuracy level).

That feels like a long time to me. Personally I think it’s good practice to try to challenge yourself to get through the reviews at a brisk pace. It trains your brain for immediate recall, which will improve your overall throughput and comprehension. Eventually you’ll get to where you see something and instantly recognize it without having to think through a mnemonic.

If you can get that time-per-review down then your review sessions will go by way faster and feel less stressful. You’ll see a review pile of ~100 and bang through it in no time.

While you’re still getting up to speed on all of this I think it’s perfectly normal to be a bit overwhelmed and wrapping your brain around everything - the system, kanji vs vocab, etc.

Like anything else I think if you just stick with it for a bit you’ll settle in and it’ll all be easier and more natural.


This is good advice. The problem is, the faster I go, the more mistakes I would make, and therefore the longer it takes me to get them to guru status.

I’m going to try and study the mnemonics more closely. I get that the ridiculousness of them makes them more memorable, but for me, logical explanations make more sense and are easier to remember.

Oh well. I’m not giving up… Yet.



How long does it take you to review one item usually? Your post indicates that it its 1+ minute per item, right? The goal is really to have it down in like a couple seconds for a lot of these. After all, we don’t want a 10 word sentence to take 10+ minutes to read.

Yeah, your initial learning of the material is pretty important. Early on, its not a bad idea to make sure that you can remember all of the mnemonics for your apprentice items. The mnemonics will fade from your memory with time.

Unfortunately a lot of stuff at early levels doesn’t really have a logical explanation. There’s some vocab that does for sure, but kanji and readings really don’t. Logic only comes in when you have vocab words whos meaning makes sense from their kanji’s meaning like 四捨五入 or 戦車. Theres plenty of words like that, but I personally don’t know of any logical explanation as to why 入 is read as にゅう, yknow. If there is one it probably requires some background knowledge in chinese.