How to get serious about WK/Japanese again after 1+ year from studying?

I started WK (and a spirited effort to actually make progress learning Japanese) in 2021 and added Bunpro (after a couple of failed attempts) in 2022. Things were going decently until towards the end of 2022 when I started to fall off, ultimately leading to periods of months at a time where I didn’t do any Japanese at all (I didn’t quite reach that point until mid-2023). All that being said, the numbers don’t lie: I’ve been on my current level (31) for 453 days (part of this was because I had a bit of time before I let things go where I was just trying to get my apprentice to count down) and currently have 1575 reviews. As far as Bunpro goes, the main thing I did was complete all the N5 grammar during the summer of 2022 and 22 points from N4 after that. I’m not as worried about Bunpro because I only have 87 reviews and could probably get into the swing of things more easily than with WK (though any advice on doing so would still be appreciated). After I really let my studies get away from me, I was doing some Japanese here and there but it got to the point where it was only catching up on reviews, and the time between periods where I was consistent got longer and longer.

I have found myself in a position where I feel ready to get serious about Japanese again (“'serious” is relative because I probably only have about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how I spread out my time a day to dedicate to Japanese) and am looking for guidance on what route I should take going forward.

Tackling WK reviews: I have two choices: either hunker down and grind through reviews until I can get my apprentice count down, or reset to some point. I like the former option because I am not in any hurry and I don’t want to feel like I am working backwards. I think (as I’ve seen during the periods where I was trying to work on getting the review count down) that once I get consistent I will start relearning vocab and kanji from reviews relatively quickly. That being said, I’m not completely opposed to resetting, I’m just not sure to what point I should do if that ends up being the better choice. I’d rather not complicate things with scripts but I understand that could be a viable compromise between the two aforementioned options.

Bunpro: Since I didn’t get very far with Bunpro, I’m not too worried about getting back into it. The only problem is I’m not actually sure if I am using Bunpro correctly which may have given me a false confidence with the material. When I have done Bunpro in the past, I have always left all the English on as well as the description of the grammar (I think this is the 4th/last stage of hints). Doing it without this info seems rather impractical to me (I think this was the default when I started so I’ve always just left it like this). However as one might guess the problem I run into with this is that you start memorizing sentences. I’m not sure if this is actually that bad and assumed it was just a side-effect of this method, but I may be wrong here.

Starting immersion: This is something I have wanted to do for a while (especially reading), and I think doing a little each day would help keep me motivated, among other benefits. Something I’m particularly interested in right now is the light novel 夏へのトンネル、さよならの出口 since its movie is releasing in the US soon and my friend and I are planning to go see it. I’m sure it’s way above the level that I should be reading at, but I also have heard of people going very slowly through light novels as a method of learning with dictionaries, adding things to decks, etc. (almost using the novel as study material). I know there are a lot of posts here about how to start but if someone could point me in the direction of what might be a good method for someone in my position I would really appreciate it.

Here are my stats for WK and Bunpro:
WK - 849 apprentice/411 guru/196 master/343 enlightened/3071 burned
Bunpro - 6 beginner/6 adept/60 seasoned/76 expert/0 master/15 ghost reviews

Thank you for reading, and any advice would be greatly appreciated!


You can do it chief! If you need some motivation, make sure to post your progress on the forums. Every time I’ve ever reset my progress here I’ve regretted it. We’re all gonna make it if we just keep grinding.

As for Bunpro, I haven’t tried it, but I think it’s supposed to be used with a textbook. Maybe look into some decent textbooks, depending on your level. Really, Wanikani is a supplementary resource, and I think Bunpro is as well. Proper textbooks or “bootcamps” of various types, followed by immersion of some form seems to be an agreed good standard.

Don’t worry about memorizing sentences. It’s not inherently a bad thing. Try to make sure you memorize them with the right pronunciation! Language is patterning.

Regarding immersion, it’s impossible to say without knowing your level, but do keep in mind the type of immersion should match what you want to be able to do in Japanese. If you want to be able to read, reading novellas and other shorter material might be just right. But if it’s too difficult it will only be demoralizing. I’ve had more luck with audiovisual content because no matter my level, at least I have something entertaining me. If you’re planning on learning to speak, you need to speak, either through a tutor or some form of audio courses with “tapes”.

My word of advice. Make learning a habit, like brushing your teeth. Do it every day, in a chunk that feels comfortable. If comfortable to you is 15 minutes a day, be ready for it to take a long time (I am!).


I would say Wanikani is great for learning Kanji, and Bunpro is great for learning grammar. No complaints. But neither is learning Japanese, as in conversing with other people. They’re each useful support for that, but not the thing itself.

I think you’d learn more Japanese by an hour a week on iTalki with a real Japanese teacher than you would with many hours on the SRSs. (Which again, is not to say the SRSs are bad things to do)


If you have only around 30-60 min daily, I definitely wouldn’t recommend burning it all on WaniKani, because it’s going to become very tedious quickly.

Rather, pick up an existing Anki deck and start chipping away at it for maybe 30 min, then do the stuff you actually care about in Japanese for another 30 min.

To give an optimistic perspective on Anki, once you have a flow which works for you in terms of how you score your answers, going through daily reviews is a matter of maybe 15 min. Not the case with WK where you have to type out each and every answer.

Watch it. It’s really good. I’ve seen it at a movie festival last week.


Both of y’all make valid points. The thing is, with the limited time I have, I feel like SRS works very nicely because I leave everything up to the computer and don’t have to plan anything out myself. I like having a clear progression and not having to worry about gauging whether or not I know something (tl;dr avoiding analysis paralysis, which I am definitely prone to… or maybe it’s just laziness). It’s also cheap compared to things like tutoring. I think once I get to maybe N2 level (would love to actually sit the exam), I will have gained enough traction to where I feel it makes sense to invest more time and money into learning Japanese. That being said, maybe I am thinking about it the wrong way, and I could be making use of little time and money in more efficient ways.

What kind of deck are you suggesting? Also, do you mean that I should supplement it with WaniKani or stop doing WK alltogether?

I actually find that the typing helps me learn better, but maybe that’s just the placebo effect.

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses!


The core 2.3k deck is pretty solid. Yes, that would mean dropping WaniKani.

Hard to say if it does or it doesn’t. What I think helped way more than just typing is writing sentences with the words you learn. But of course, that takes way more time.


Typing Japanese can be emulated in Anki using an IME. (e.g. {{type:Reading}})

Typing English, maybe somewhat, but not perfect checking. Probably better use WaniKani, but there is still quite messy, IMO – typo allowance that can have completely different meaning, hidden blacklist, typo allowance not working on blacklist, etc. Technically this can be exported to Anki, but it is still WaniKani’s intellectual property.

I think learning about meanings should be done by self grading. Reset progress and Set due date, if you want to relearn it. Also not every words work well with JP => EN.

Having studied Kanji to 30s, I think Core vocabulary decks are perfectly doable. In the end, give leeway that not all Kanji are known in advance.

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My initial plan was to get consistent with WK/Bunpro again and then start (I think the main thing there is the core 10k?. At this point, I could lay off of WK a bit, though I still have a desire to rea
ch lv. 60. Would that be a viable plan?


Since you’ve been gone for 1 year and are considering Kitsun, have we looked into instead?
I’m a team member of Kitsun & Marumori. We launched Marumori 1y ago in order to cover everything Japanese learning from Zero to Hero. There are grammar lessons & Grammar SRS, vocabulary and kanji SRS practice. We’ll also have vocabulary lists for thousands of light novels being out next week. Content-wise, everything is basically covered until N4 but we’ll continue working on N3+ content as well.

I think Marumori would make more sense for you over Kitsun :slight_smile:


Right, but are you doing WaniKani to complete it or to learn Japanese?

I think the point @ctmf made was pretty valid - apps can help you internalize certain aspects of the language, but they won’t actually teach it. In which case I would recommend a more holistic approach like learning via immersion and doing flashcards only to support your learning, because they’re useful for that.

If you really want to continue doing WaniKani, you can focus on that and maybe get to level 40-45 then pause/drop it in favor of something else.

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I did WK up to level 15 then stopped for many years… this worked to get me back into it:

  • tutor 1-2x a week (forces you to keep Japanese within scope of things you prioritize)
  • goal to work towards (for me this is N2)
  • use the vacation mode when needed so you don’t get behind too far)
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I registered for an account and it looks really intriguing. As someone who doesn’t want to stress about juggling different learning methods and would prefer a streamlined approach, this looks like it could be a good fit for me. So basically it combines WK + Bunpro and adds Kitsun vocab elements + some immersion, right? If so, that would be cheaper than all three, which is a plus.

If I get consistent again, I will probably be nearing N3 territory soon. Do you have an idea of when the N3 content will be out of WIP stage?

Last question - it looks like there isn’t an option to import progress from WK or Bunpro. Is this something that y’all are planning to add any time soon? If not, would Depths of Devotion be a decent place for someone in my position (most of the grammar would be new but looks like there will be some repeats on kanji which honestly might be a good thing) ? I think I’ll give the free trial a shot, at least.

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I definitely want to start doing something like this, though I think I like having some structure to follow too much to exclusively use this method. I definitely want to try using LNs like I mentioned in my post, so maybe I should start there?

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The main disadvantage between Bunpro/WK is that they are “finished” products when it comes to grammar and kanji. Marumori is not yet finished but this is purely due to how young the platform is :slight_smile: We’re definitely catching up, and will be finished with N4 grammar within 3 weeks. We’ll immediately start on N3 right away. Since you’re early on N4, I think all works well! Our pace is around 7 hexagons every 2 weeks currently.

We’re not considering it currently. It’s an idea we’re open to thinking about again in the future once the vocabulary lists and book clubs are out. For now, those are our focus in terms of development. You’ll be able to mark things as known very soon. For now, you have the option to suspend the content you already know.

Depths of Devotion sounds good! In terms of grammar, it’s basically N4. The kanji/vocabulary list will be slightly different, since our main goal there is to teach you kanji in the most efficient way possible and not necessarily follow a vocabulary list from JLPT that might not be as relevant. You still have the JLPT vocabulary and kanji lists available on Study Lists if your wish is to focus on them :v:

100% do. We’ll be releasing more content within your free trial that will help you understand how the platform is developing :slight_smile:


You can also try manga first. For instance, has a ton of free manga every month + a couple of first chapters for free for every item. There are also massive discounts + coupons + a set of discounts when you first join.

The big advantage manga has is that the pictures and short dialogues provide a lot of cues to make it easier. Jumping straight into LNs might be a little tough, though that depends on the novel. I’m reading highschool novels mostly and the amount of rare vocab + slang makes it often harder. Also, you rarely have pictures.

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Do a little every day. And if you want to do more increase it a little more each day.

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