How Long to Learn all 2000--help moving faster

At Wani Kani’s rate is it safe to say that in a year I can learn all 2000 common kanji?

1 Like

It is possible to get to the end of WaniKani in a single year. From most of the forum consensus I’ve seen, though, that requires never missing reviews, always charging ahead with lessons, and never making any mistakes on the first run of radicals. If you do anything slightly off you’ll be set back from a year.

A much safer timeline is 1.5 years.


You can do it in a little over a year if you just about make WK your life. Don’t miss reviews, sometimes get up in the middle of the night, and be very accurate. This is not easy to recommend. There is just too much to learn (~8000 items) for most people to go full speed the whole way through.

I’d recommend shooting for 10 day levels first, and adjust from there.I’ve been doing roughly 9 day levels on average so far. Since level 14 when I decided to speed up from ~10-11 day levels, I’ve been doing a bit under 9 days a level. This requires a lot of work!

I don’t recommend not setting an extremely aggressive timeline at first. Once you get past the initial few levels (which will feel very slow, at first!), just feel it out and try to find a pace that moves you along briskly but isn’t taking over your life.




As someone that will be reaching lvl 60 on WaniKani in 369 days, I say that it is indeed possible. Is it worth it? Depends. Wanikani will teach you to recognize kanji, but that alone won’t make you fluent in Chinese Japanese. You need to learn vocabulary extra Wanikani, you need to learn grammar, you need to read native content (news, books…), etc.

Personally, unless you’re a challenge addict like me, I wouldn’t do it. Yes, I would make sure to do the 30 first levels quickly if I was able to, since those have most of the most common kanji you’ll find. After that, you can go slowly in order to focus on other areas of Japanese/life.

Oh, and I don’t intend to discourage you, but a lot of people don’t survive leveling up at maximum speed.


That’s basically what I did. I did the first 24 levels at 8 days per level. But I’ve gone much slower since then because I didn’t want WaniKani to take over my life.


It’s possible. Hard as balls, but it is.

Although, why are you in such a hurry?


I’m taking this as permission to slow down at level 30 :sweat_smile:


Thanks guys, I’m in such a hurry because my plan is to escape to Japan from current life and live a different one there far away from all the people and bad experiences in my past. It’s a long story, but I think I’m going to become a hermit, just based off the life I’ve had so far.

1 Like

The quicker I can do it, the better, I’m not getting any younger. My goal is to move there by this time next year. As a result I’m studying Japanese 18-25 hours a week.

1 Like

I’d recommend going in with the mind set that you might not be able to pull it off. Yes, it’s possible, but don’t be discouraged if you fail halfway through.

I’ve been here for a year and a half and I’m barely a third of the way through, mostly because I’ve a terrible memory, I’m studying grammar too, and work a desk job with some freelance work here and there. Little progress accumulates over time. No progress is always zero.


I mean, to be 100% clear, there are a lot of people living in Japan that don’t know more than こんにちは. It’s not a super great experience, but it’s not impossible. The biggest problem you’d have is that if your intent is to move, you need to find some job in Japan and a place that’ll let you rent an apartment. Usually the first one is English teacher, and the latter is harder to find just because trust plays a huge role in renting decisions. You get a lot more access by passing JLPT N1 (by way of being able to work in more knowledge worker positions in Japan), but you’re still a ways off from being able to do that – even if you did WK for a year. You need vocab and a lot of other prep too, for that.


I have joined WK only recently, but I’ve seen these threads pop up pretty often. I would say that if you are super-committed to learning japanese, you have a predisposition for languages, and you can dedicate yourself to it, WK is not the fastest way to learn Japanese. WK limits the amount of information you are exposed daily, but if you go the good old way of books and flashcards (any app would do), you can probably make it even less than a year. But the chances that you’ll burn out are really high.

WK is not the fastest, but it’s probably the most fun way to learn kanjis. Also you’ll have 80-90% of the kanji that are most frequently used well before you hit level 60. So my suggestion would be to go to the Wanikani route.

Regard your idea of escaping to Japan, I guess this is a topic for another conversation. But Japan is not the easiest place I can think of if you want to fix your life. But in any case good luck, and I hope you make it.


Ok, but make sure not to ignore the last part :stuck_out_tongue:


Even though it has been pointed out to death:

WK does NOT teach you Japanese.

It removes a barrier (memorizing the Kanji) to learning Japanese. You cannot function as a competent user of the Japanese language as an adult without knowing Kanji.

So one way to look at it is: WK allows you to not have to make memorizing Kanji the focus of your Japanese studies. It lets you focus on other things (reading, grammar, etc) while memorizing the Kanji can just be handled by doing 30min in the morning and 30 min at night of SRS reps.

You could (and some people recommend) “learn” all the joyo Kanji with Hesig’s RTK in 3 months. But all you would know for each Kanji is a name for it and how to write it. You still have to read and listen to tons of Japanese to learn the readings and also do all the grammar study etc.

And just to be clear, when people say you have to read and listen to a ton, they mean 1000s of hours of reading and 1000s of hours of listening.

There is no point at which you learn “enough” Kanji that all of a sudden you can read and understand native Japanese.


As it’s already been mentioned, I’ll just boost the fact that becoming proficient in Japanese will take a lot of effort and easily thousands of hours. At your pace, the 1000 hours you’ll put towards studying Japanese in the next year may sound like a lot, but I think you’d be surprised how far short of fluency that’ll get the average self-studier. I don’t know how much prior experience you have with the language, but starting from zero or near-zero will provide quite the uphill climb.

I think that there is something to be said about not running from your problems. Japan is a real place with real people and real problems too. Even assuming that moving countries might stir up your life enough to give yourself a “fresh start”, there’s no reason to believe that across your own country or even just moving cities wouldn’t accomplish the same thing.


This has already been covered by other people, but in case you are wondering WHY they are telling you it is possible but quite challenging, let me give you some numbers. Assuming you have read the introductory guide (and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it), then you will already know that WaniKani is built on SRS principles, aka Spaced Repetition. This means that you will be given new lessons to learn, then asked to review these lessons at spaced intervals. If you successfully review the material, it will move up an SRS level and take longer to review. Correctly review the same item enough times at it will “level up” from Apprentice to Guru (and beyond). Level up 90% the radicals in your current level and you will unlock new kanji (and probably some vocabulary). Level up 90% of the kanji in the current level and you will unlock radicals for the next level (and also a bunch more vocabulary). You do not have to level-up the vocabulary words to advance to the next level, but you will probably want to learn them, since they help with memorizing kanji readings.

Now for the important bit. WaniKani’s SRS levels break down like this …

4 hours
8 hours
1 day
2 days (Guru)
1 week
2 weeks
1 month
4 months (Burnt)

If you add up the time it takes to reach Guru, it comes out to roughly 3.5 days. So that means if you do all your radical lessons at one time, then hit your review times perfectly, reviewing as soon as they come available, you could unlock the kanji in less than four days. If you then do your new kanji lessons immediately and keep hitting all your review times perfectly with minimal errors, you will be able to complete a WaniKani level in about one week (actually a little less if your timing is flawless). This is the FASTEST possible speed and would involve waking up at odd hours sometimes to do your four or eight hour reviews on time.

If you are completing a level every week, then that means you are finishing four levels each month or 48 levels each year. To reach level 50 (the original “end” of WaniKani), it would take just over one year at MAX speed. To get to level 60 would take another couple of months or less, since the higher levels don’t have many radicals.

If you have the free time and dedication to go full throttle, it can be done. But it is not the “average” or even the recommended rate. It takes a lot of effort to achieve those results. It’s not going to be worth it for most users. A more realistic competition time would push that timeline out a little further. For example, if you are completing a level every two weeks, it will take you roughly two years to reach level 50. This gives you twice as much time to finish and gives more cushion for life intruding on your WaniKani schedule.

Keep in mind that you do not need to reach lvl 50 to start seeing results from your WaniKani practice. You can start using the kanji you learn right away in your Japanese studies. Ideally, you should be taking time to learn grammar and practicing your reading/speaking skills through other means, so that when it comes time to call upon your kanji knowledge, you’ll know what to do with it. If your end goal is to move to Japan in one year, then you can certainly aim for that. But you should not expect to arrive in Japan as a fluent Japanese speaker. A year is not that much time, in the context of language learning. But you can accomplish great things in that amount of time, if you are willing to put in the effort. Getting started with kanji learning is a great first step. I would also recommend diversifying your efforts. You will need a solid foundation of Japanese grammar to understand native material and a LOT of practice reading and listening to Japanese.


“Go at your own pace” is cliche advice, but I think it’s legitimately best to listen to yourself – no, not the self giving you unreasonable goals, but the one that pushes back and says, “Slow down! I’m dying here!”

I burned through the last two levels and really burnt myself out. I was going too slowly for a long time because I was just being lazy, but going too fast was – at least for me – just as bad. It was frustrating, and frankly my work and sleep schedule suffered.

So now I’m taking on new items when I actually have the time now, and it’s much better: I’m retaining everything more easily, and I’m going at a good speed without going nuts. One day at a time. :slight_smile:

I hear what you guy’s are saying, thx for the advice but I’m not so much running away from my problems as a group of people. I could move somewhere much closer than Japan and achieve the same result of disconnection from them, but living in Japan has been a goal of mine for a long time. Also, I know I have to study more than Kanji to become fluent in the language. I’m a member of textfugu and intend to use all the resources I can. I had one other question as well. I know I need a bachelor’s degree for a permanent residence visa in Japan. Can that degree be in the Japanese language and are their any universities that offer a test(s) for the certificate?

I wouldn’t advise TextFugu since the Tofugu team is currently working on another project to fully substitute it.

Maybe you could check for other options? :slight_smile:

1 Like