How well has Wanikani improved your Japanese learning?

how good has your japanese improved? [Discusion]


I have been doing uni courses as well, so it’s all mixed but I think that WK has really boosted my reading and my ability to pick up new vocabulary.

Also last time I went to Japan, my speaking ability had improved without a lot of specific practice.

Conversely, two or three years ago I was using the ‘learn kanji from vocabulary in context’ technique that reddit thinks so highly of - my kanji knowledge stagnated totally. Big mistake.


Kanji was one of my biggest stumbling blocks with learning the language, and wanikani gave me the foundation I needed to start reading. I would like to finish the rest of the levels eventually but I’m proud of how much I’ve managed to learn so far considering I once thought kanji was an insurmountable obstacle that I could never overcome.

That being said, most of what I’ve learned about Japanese has come from other sources… wanikani is one of the best kanji resources for people like me who are bad at memorizing things, but you’ll definitely need some grammar sources and lots of practice to really get good with the language.


I’m still rather new to the language and still i’m solely doing self study for it motivation can be hard. Wanikani helped me set up a habit and keep my Japanese language learning going even if I don’t feel like doing anything. It’s something I can get myself to do every day and feel that even if i don’t put a lot of effort in, i’m progressing slowly but surely. That way when i have extra time and motivation i put it into stuff like grammar that is a much lower level for me.
Of course, it’s also thanks to Wanikani that I’ve been able to every now and then recognise some kanji and vocabulary in the wild now and then.


It’s what taught me to read, basically. After going through it I could read most of the characters I encountered in native materials. Even at the half-way point I could read a lot without having to look things up all the time.

I started it at the same time as (which I think is a really good resource as well), but after a while I noticed that I didn’t really feel I knew the characters until after I’d learned them via WK.

Of course it did nothing to improve my grammar, and little to improve listening or speaking :slight_smile: (Though it did make it easier to practice all of those things)


How well has Wanikani improved your Japanese learning?

well Kanji section in JLPT feels like a cakewalk (well not the reading part tho)

Most texts I encounter I can recognize most of the kanjis (but they often come as part some new meanings or vocab so, most of the time, I still have to use dictionary). However the point is you know most of kanjis you encounter and kinda have a level of confidence imo (at least about the basic of those kanjis). Sometimes I can guess the meaning based on those kanjis (but still have to use dictionary for confirmation). So, it actually feels somehow easier when you are reading. I vividly remember when I first start wk, reading news in NHK pages I hardly could make up any kanjis, let alone its meaning. Now I can read through slowly with the help or a dictionary for the details.

My listening, speaking and writing skills stay the same.


It helped at the beginning when I first started wanikani back in 2014. In 2016 I tried reading a Japanese newspaper for the first time it was difficult but I understood about 30-40 percent of what I read back then and I was between levels 30-40 back then I think doing wanikani every day. Now I can read things smoothly and understand almost everything I read or hear. I have not been using wanikani since 2017 though.


I’ve gone from barely being able to read Graded Readers lvl 1 to actually reading full books!
I was learning Japanese on and off, never able to stay motivated or learn enough to make it useful.
WaniKani alone made all the difference! Still need to practice my grammar, but even without it I can make do cause of all the things I’ve learned here. Well, I can understand enough to get the gist and then some. I’ll focus more on grammar once I hit 60


I’ve only been studying Japanese for a year and a half or so, but WK has definitely helped in some significant ways. It’s not a perfect app but I can’t imagine where my studying would be otherwise without it.

The primary ways:

  • Kanji has changed from something I was completely intimidated by to something I generally enjoy.
  • When I’ve studied with Genki (and now Minna no Nihongo), I’ve mostly come across kanji and vocabulary in the textbooks which I’ve already encountered here.
  • The biggest thing is that this site has given me a clearer a picture of what the kanji learning haul is like and what the roadmap for moving forward might look like.
  • My hiragana understanding has dramatically improved just by having to think about the ‘reading’ of all of the items here.

if i didn’t know about wanikani’s existence, i don’t think i would still be learning japanese. i could never find a good kanji resource (that was free) that really stuck with me. and then i found this one. i tried the first three levels, and honestly it was a God send. and hey, they just had a sale, so there wasn’t a better time to get lifetime! and now i’m here :raising_hand_woman: i’m only on level six, but even from what i know, i’m able to have a minimal understanding of japanese sentences i read.


First time posting in the forums, ever, so hello, everyone!

WaniKani has drastically improved my learning. I started learning hiragana and katakana back in March of 2020 when the lockdowns started in my area, and started with Kanji pretty much as soon as I had those down comfortably.

I jumped around a little bit and found WaniKani, tried it out, and really enjoyed it, so here I am! I do need a lot more grammar practice, but I find I can fairly comfortably read most NHK articles now with only occasionally stopping to look something up.

Mostly where I feel behind in practice now is in listening (though, to be fair, even though English is my native language, I have a hard time with listening to people speak. For some reason, my brain likes to wander instead of listen unless I make a really conscious effort to stay present. I do wish real life had subtitles sometimes; reading focuses my brain much more easily), and in speaking/writing/making up sentences, etc. WaniKani has me definitely feeling like I’m on the right path for kanji, though, which is great! That’s where I was always intimidated by Japanese, and now it doesn’t feel all that difficult. Though, I suppose take that with a grain of salt as I’m not all that far in. :stuck_out_tongue:


Ever since I started Wanikani, I’ve known all the kanji in our JP class’s kanji tests about a month in advance. Before, once we’d get a new packet to study, it would all be new to me. Now I’ll get assigned a new test and I’ll think “whoa, these are the kanji WK introduces at level 19, cool.”


Well if nothing else, I went from knowing all of about 50 kanji with onyomi over… 20 years of “learning” to knowing on and kunyomi for 718 kanji? And I know writings for about 2200 vocab (I know more vocab because I can understand a lot of spoken Japanese).

What WK improved, beyond teaching me kanji, is my drive to succeed. I finally found a tool to tackle the one thing I was scared of for 20 years! And it works, and works REALLY, REALLY well for me!

Because I am doing WK every day, multiple times a day, I am now also doing other studies daily as well to supplement. In the past I would work for a month or 3 on Japanese, then just stop. I haven’t stopped in 187 days now, according to my wkstats.


There is no question that WK has tremendously improved my reading ability. I was able to dive into Tobira without struggling too much over the readings. Of course, I do have complaints, though. I wish the vocab would be introduced in a way that is more useful than WK’s stated goal of just reinforcing the readings. That’s fine in the early levels (and it does work), but once I got into the 20s and 30s, the workload became so high that it actually started to subtract from my overall Japanese learning. I tried once unsuccessfully to integrate WK and iKnow, but it didn’t stick. I’m going to try again with Kanji in Context, so we’ll see how that goes. I expect it will be better. The plan is to keep using WK for radicals and kanji, but move the vocab/sentence SRSing to KiC/Anki.

Having said that, if I could back in time to when I was a beginner, I would do WK in its entirety early on. At the intermediate level it’s hard to dedicate so much time to isolated vocab while also finding time to read, learn grammar, practice conversation, etc.


It’s allowed me to read a lot faster and pick up vocabulary - It’s also helped me retain my knowledge of certain words that I would have forgotten by studying another way. I love that it’s helped me when I get stuck on a word I haven’t seen before (but recognize the kanji separately) which ultimately made it easier to search.

I started WaniKani after the free levels while I was in my first Japanese class in 2016 and it saved me a lot of time to focus on improving my grammar and reading ability in class.

Of course, I wish I was farther along with levels wise here (had to pause and reset a couple of times - but of course it’s not a sprint) but every time I’ve returned to WaniKani, I’m reminded how much I’ve retained.


Arabic native speaker here. This exactly me especially the subtitle thing XD

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To be honest it pretty much killed any other Japanese studies. Now that I’m done I’m looking forward to starting studying grammar again.


I’ve learned more in studying Japanaese this past year than I had in the previous 5ish. It’s great! I already had a decent grounding in grammar and vocabulary, but was pretty blind without kanji. Also stuff like book clubs got me reading native material and now I can read a whole volume of manga in a single day. I think I could get through a LN if I had the time but Japanese grad school got me busy with other things.


Wanikani completely changed the game for me. I had started from scratch six months before using the Japanese From Zero books. My vocabulary was frustratingly small, and trying to memorize all-kana words from the books by rote was hopelessly ineffective. Kanji were intimidating and I misunderstood that they for only for advanced learners because I observed other people struggling with them.

I started WK in last February knowing nothing, and now my Kanji and vocabulary have skyrocketed. This directly improved my reading because I can access native material now. My conversation skills also improved because my vocabulary was so minuscule before. The SRS allows me to turn small amounts of time throughout the day into study time, which is an indispensable technique.

I’m convinced I would still be wading in the shallow end without WK. All hail the Crabigator! :crab::crocodile:


The biggest thing WK has done for me, beyond its solid Kanji learning method, was giving me a cadence to structure my other studying around. For example, I stack WK with BunPro for grammar, and Kitsun for Genki Vocab in the mornings. That only has stuck (imo) because of the initial habit that started with just WK.