How much time should I put into learning Kanji introduced in Genki?

Hi! I am at WaniKani Level 4, and am working through Genki I at the same time. Genki is starting to introduce vocab with kanji now (I’m on Lesson 3). Whereas WaniKani introduces Kanji in rough order of complexity, Genki right off the bat is introducing Kanji with radicals I have never seen before.

My question is: until I get further in WaniKani, should I be putting time into memorizing the Kanji for the vocab I am learning through Genki? My initial thought is that I would put most of my energy into learning the readings, but put the kanji on my Anki cards for reference so I will start being exposed to them.

Any perspective from someone who is further along than I would be appreciated!

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I would just concentrate on the vocabulary from Genki, you’re already paying to learn kanji.


You’ll expect to be learning the Genki 1 kanji very soon with wanikani.
I try to expose myself as much as possible with Anki cards.
When I finally get to those levels where the kanji is introduced it makes everything a bit easier.

Each chapter of Genki teaches very few Kanji. You should not consider any Kanji used in a Genki chapter as being “taught” only those introduced in the second part of the book (where the fun stuff is). My suggestion is to do the workbook exercises for these Kanji (writing and writing in context). Writing kanji does wonders for its memorization.


Thanks for the input everyone!

Agree. The Genki kanji reinforce the Genki vocabulary. You’re start to be able to use them in the exercises. The beauty though for me is that they’re easier to learn if you’ve already been introduced to them in Wanikani. And it works both ways: when you’ve learned the kanji in Genki and first come across it in Wanikani it gives you a little breather knowing you’ve already “got” this one.

Most kanji taught in Genki is probably common enough that you’ll see it enough that you’ll start to recognize it reading native material, even if you don’t specifically memorize it. (But I agree with those who say to do to the relevant workbook exercises, to help with that.)

If you’re curious on how much Genki I kanji you’ll learn when in WaniKani, here are some stats:

  • WaniKani’s three free levels cover almost 11% of Genki I’s kanji.
  • By the time you complete level 13, you’ll have learned 51% of the kanji used by Genki I.
  • At the end of level 26, you should be able to recognize 75%.
  • The last WaniKani level that includes a Genki I kanji is level 56 (寂).
  • There is one kanji used that WaniKani does not teach (咳).

(Note: These stats are based on a list of Genki I vocabulary I found online, which I ran through a spreadsheet to compare with WaniKani levels.)


Awesome breakdown with the stats—that helps put things into perspective for me; thanks!

It feels difficult at times to find the optimal order of operations between learning grammar, vocab, and time spent on immersion, but ultimately I am starting to understand that it’s just important to keep moving forward.

Also, regarding the workbook exercises: acknowledged. I’m not super interested in being able to handwrite in Japanese, but if there is value there in terms of kanji/vocab retention, then maybe it’s worth some time.

One can certainly learn the kanji from the vocabulary.
However the kanji that I think that should be learned are the ones in their kanji writing lessons (at the back of the book).
The first book goes to Chapter 12. I’m sure the WK stats would be a lot higher from just this list.

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The source I used for the vocabulary list went up to chapter 23, so if the first book goes up to 12 then the list must have encompassed both volumes.

I’m not familiar with what kanji is used in what ways, but this sounds like a reasonable approach. If Genki utilized X number of kanji in their vocabulary, but only provide lessons for Y number of kanji, chances are the lessons are more targeted to more common kanji.

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