How do you guys learn vocab not on WaniKani?

Started off learning vocab simply through my grammar study source, Minna no Nihongo. That gave me 5000+ words to start with.

But after that, it’s all immersion. I’m not a big fan of out of context learning, going through like, top 10k most viewed word lists. I simply read a lot and use the app (I think it’s called 調べ辞書 or something like that) to look up unknown words. The cool thing is you can save the words you look up with just a click, so it doesn’t disrupt your reading experience. And it has a flashcard option as well, allowing you to quiz you on all the new words you saved. This is fantastic because you need to review new words a lot right off the bat to commit them to short-term memory. Then in the evening, I’ll go over my list of marked words, and the ones that I remember well, I’ll transition them to Anki for long-term memory. It’s been working so well I couldn’t imagine another approach better for me than this.


I’m curious, what kind of content are you reading online/digitally? As an aspiring Japanese reader, I’m interested to learn more about this approach. I have Yomichan in combination with Anki that seemingly can do the same thing you’re describing, I just haven’t tried it out yet (or really even know where to start.)

I just read manga. The good thing about manga is that many of them are in furigana, so you can really focus on understanding the “Japanese behind the kanji” instead of struggling with another layer of difficulty. You’ll never read with kanji if you can’t read without. And once you decide to make that jump, there’s more than enough manga without furigana that you can use to get used to reading before you attempt reading an actual Japanese novel.

Graded readers, stuff like satori reader or other reading sources users commonly recommend - I never really liked those. They just weren’t fun to me. But manga, I’ve read almost 30 volumes in less than two months. It truly doesn’t even feel like work. It’s been unbelievably fun and I feel the benefits have been astonishing so far.

I suppose the best tip I can give you for getting into reading: just try to find something that really gets you going, something you can become genuinely invested in.


I’ve found that just doing a lot of reading and listening practice has helped me to learn vocabulary. The youtube channel しのせんせい has really nice story videos where you can get both reading and listening practice. I also play videogames in Japanese, looking up words in an online dictionary as I go. Eventually words just start to stick, and it’s fun. Graded readers, books, and manga have been useful too.

3 Likes and a core 6k deck on Anki, as well as mining.

Reading. If I don’t recognize the word, I look it up on Goo’s dictionary, copy the english definition with example sentences, put on the back on the anki card, then find a image that represents said vocab in a way I will remember it for the front of the anki card, then click add and practice.

I try to limit myself to things I can’t get out of context or it keeps coming up in a way where I feel like not knowing it is holding me back.

I thought I might be the only old-school one here… but seems like there is at least one other person here :slight_smile:

I manually write any vocab I come across down on flashcards, so I can easily flip through them to do my own SRS memorization. I have been truly enjoying seeing my flashcard “pile” build up as I go. This takes a lot of extra work, but the act of writing it down seems to make it stick in my brain easier than just quickly reading it on a screen and saying goodbye to it.

I get these pre-cut and hole punched flashcards on Amazon: Flashcards for Studying

I work at home so I don’t have to carry around my flashcards everywhere. Makes it easy for me, and I have struggled to find apps that have everything I want, and I can use for years to come without losing data. I am also a picky person when it comes to apps, being a UI/UX designer. If it looks ugly, I’m not going to use it lol :rofl:

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Yeah that’s why Torii and have always been non-starters for me.

It has its trade offs, but so does Android’s platform. Honestly, you’re just picking between which trade offs matter to you.

I personally like Apple’s MDM better than Android.

I doubt things are as bleak as all that. And in the consumer space, Apple users hold the overwhelming lead as far having users willing to spend money so not being on IOS is just leaving money on the table.

That being said, IOS development and app review is a major PITA, so I can see why smaller companies just don’t do it.


Kitsun, 10k voiced deck, exclude words from WK, 10 new cards daily (will ramp up once Im done with WK).

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It’s a little off-topic, but let’s swing back to this in about 4 years. It will be interesting to see if the mobile device situation has any significant upcoming changes in store.

I’ve recently started using LingQ. It’s for listening and reading. There’s lots of content already there. It is easy to add new vocab to learn with just a click on whatever I’m reading or listening to. It’s not perfect, but I like the simplicity. It’s also a bit like DuoLingo, where you earn “coins” every day and can join groups of people to “streak” (i.e. study every day) for different lengths of time.

i use this too. works well.

new learners should not brush off the idea of learning using Furigana. that’s what it exists for! study Genki or whatever, and use or make (easily enough with yomiichan) an Anki deck that has Furigana with the vocab you learn through the course. it’s great to want to focus on and reinforce your kanji and all that, but if I’m remembering correctly 消しゴム used to be like level 16 on wanikani? no one needs to wait 4 months to learn a word like that.

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I made an Anki deck of LingoDeer’s Japanese I course vocab years ago. iirc it was like 900 words, including plenty you wouldn’t learn on wanikani. It was a good start!

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I personally really like to use Memrise for my vocab. You can select the JLPT course that you want, and it has vocab, kanji and even grammar! It works based on SRS, and you can ignore the words you already know. It could be less useful if you don’t want to focus too much on the JLPT, but I find that it’s simple and easy to use. Here is the link for the JLPT stuff!

(one downside is that it also uses multiple choice answers for learning/reviews, which might not be as effective as WK’s system)


There has been an official Kitsun apps for ~2 years now.


I just try to incorporate it on stuff like my writing, diaries etc. I might make an anki deck for stuff one day though

is it possible with Anki to exclude the vocab already learned with WK? Is it API related?

I am already thinking in my alternate choices when I hit lvl 60 here, I have never used Anki before.

If you are interested in watching anime with subtitles, I use this method:

Easily it shows the subtitles in firefox then I can check with yomichan its meaning.It also creates decks for anki (but I dont use it).

TBH, my main way of learning vocab has been by taking a Japanese course. I focus my vocab practice around the words I’m learning in class (we’re using Marugoto as our textbook). The day after class, I enter all new vocab into my Anki deck and review when I have time. That way, I know I’ll have reinforcement for this vocab beyond just my own private practice, because we’ll come back to it and practice it in a class context. And beyond that, there’s reading, watching Japanese films/TV, listening to music, etc. But for me it’s really important to focus on a limited amount of vocab at one time, and taking a course is great for that. Bonus when those words come up on WaniKani as well (in fact, I sometimes remove them from the Anki deck when that happens).

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