How much vocab is there really?

I’m just curious. If I were to study vocabulary with just Wanikani, how broad would my vocabulary be? Would I be able to talk about most things, assuming that I learn the grammar to go with speaking? Or would I still have to do a ton of outside learning to be able to hold a decent conversation

There’s no vocab for items that can’t be written in kanji, or are almost never written in kanji, and lots of common words fall into that category, so yeah, still lots of vocab beyond WK to cover.


The vocab on wanikani is very kanji-focused; you will learn a lot of words that you would only find in literature, and conversely there are many common words used in conversation that you will not learn. If having decent conversations is your goal, I would definitely suggest looking outside of WK for more vocab, especially vocab that doesn’t use any kanji.


There’s about 6k vocab items on WK. It’s a decent amount of vocab, but it only covers words that use kanji, so there’s a lot of katakana words you’ll be missing out on. Also, WK will teach you the kanji for some words that normally are just written as hiragana, so you’ll need another resource for proper exposure to those words.

WK is mainly good for learning to read IMO, since that’s where you’ll encounter kanji. But for proper vocab and grammar you’ll want another resource to go along with your studies.


And it’s worth noting that even for the kanji covered, not every possible word is on here. The main goal of WK is to teach readings and sometimes reasonably common words are omitted because that particular reading is already very well covered.


Yep, it’s a good point to note that you will learn the kanji for some things that are typically written in hiragana, so it’s worth occasionally checking a dictionary like Jisho to see if it’s usually written kana only.

There’s quite a bit of vocabulary you’ll pickup, but there’s also a lot of common stuff out there that isn’t included.

  • 電車 included
  • 列車 not included (even though the individual kanji are)

Pretty sure I saw both with equal regularity in Japan.

In any event you will know so much of the kanji that looking up new kanji-based vocabulary will be fairly easy.

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