How much/ what can you read through WaniKani already?

Hey all! :blush:

I just started out with Wanikani and love it so far! Actually, I’m learning Japanese for quite a while now but I never really touched Kanji. My goal with Wanikani is to be able to read japanese magazines - so not necessarily whole books but fashion & entertainment mags. I can’t wait for the day I’ll be able to do that to be honest. ^^

I guess my question is: How long are you studying with Wanikani and what can you read by now?
What do you use your knowledge for?

I can’t wait to read from you guys.
Happy Studying! :crocodile:

  1. Started WaniKani last year (2021) Jan ~16th. I can read most stuff that doesn’t contain too much kanji outside of the joyo set, but older novels are okay.

  2. I use my knowledge for gaming, watching VTubers and anime, reading novels and manga.

What I think question 1 doesn’t really cover is do you study vocabulary outside of WaniKani. WaniKani is good for kanji and it does offer some vocabulary, but I wouldn’t give all of the credit to that alone, because to read intermediate to advanced content in Japanese one needs to learn vocabulary outside of WaniKani and practice it, for instance with Anki.


I can read mostly anything (understanding it is different matter) for example i can see a word using two kanjis i know but i don’t know the word itself. Looking it up ofc is easier than to try and guess the kanji. Ofc i still encounter some the either are not in wanikani or haven’t studied them yet.

Also this^
Which i still didn’t do tehe😀


Thanks so much for your answer. Also congrats on studying for such a long time already. :raised_hands:t2::fire:
That’s truly amazing!

And you are completely right - probably a lot of users here use other sources, too.

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Thank you for your reply.

And honestly that’s pretty darn cool! So you basically don’t know the meaning right away but you know what it says and then - if necessary - you can look it up. :fire:

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I gotta be honest, despite all the kanji learning, I still can’t understand Chinese


Welcome! You’re in the right place. :grin:

I’d say it depends on your overall Japanese comprehension outside of WK (spoken or kana/romaji). It also depends on how comfortable you want such reading to be. It will take many years of study post-Wanikani to get to a near-native level of comfort.

No matter what, you’ll need some basic grammar and lots and lots of vocabulary to start making headway. It’s never too early to start because you’ll also need to develop the skills to use dictionaries and other research tools (even google-sensei). It really does get easier the more you read. Most of us seem to reach “critical mass” somewhere around the level 30 or so: you’ll know enough kanji that you don’t need to look up absolutely everything.

It’s good that you know what you want to read. Slowly building “fashion and entertainment” vocabulary is much more constrained and realistic than “I want to learn the most common 30,000 words” or whatever.

I spoke Japanese poorly for many years before joining here so I started with a larger vocabulary than many (even if I had no idea how to read those words or that many were even comprised of the same components). For me, it was around level 35 that I found myself doing a lot more email, web browsing, etc. in Japanese and enjoying it. Before then it felt insurmountably difficult.


I’ve been going at this since the first of June 2021, so close to a year and a month now. @Rrwrex 's post is full of great information and it’s especially a point worth repeating that what’s going to matter most is getting grammar study, more vocab, and practice at reading in itself.

Anyway, as for me – I was luckily in a position to hit studying really hard for the majority of that time, hours every day, so my time frame might be a little unrealistic for some people. But at this point I’d say I know enough Japanese to be… functional with light assistance?

Most books I’ve been reading hover near/right below level 30 on Natively, which for books is on the relatively gentle side (on an absolute scale, no reading in Japanese, when coming from English, is gentle!). But at that level I’m not very frequently surprised or thrown off at the moment. There are so many words out there that I’m often sent looking something up in nearly every sentence, but those are finally just minor speedbumps and not big deciphering challenges.

No doubt when I move up the difficulty scale I’ll be back to slowly puzzling through things, but these are very much “real,” “not for kids” books so I’m pleased enough with where I am for now! I’m sure I’ll come across something really hard that shows me the upper limits are well beyond me, but at this point I think a lot less about if I’m capable of handling something in Japanese at all, and instead in terms of how slow it’ll be and how much effort it’ll take. Realizing you’re in that stage following the long ramp-up when everything feels too hard is a really good feeling. The only bad news there, is depending on just how much you want to know without guessing from context or looking things up, true “comfortable reading” seems to be a very, very long way away from the stage I am at. So it goes; assisted reading starts to feel natural enough along the way.

As for your second question, I actually read visual novels more than anything, but it’s a little harder to determine and share their difficulty level so I went for books as the benchmark.