Hump Day, Passing Level 40 & Beyond

When I hit Level 30ish something happened…every Kanji started looking like every other Kanji. I couldn’t tell them apart!! And everytime I turned around I was saying one thing, but remembering how that was the meaning for vocab from a previous Level as well, creating this crazy chaotic web of pronunciations in my head. So I had to stop everything and rethink my strategy. I couldn’t keep using the same mnemonics for like…ten separate Kanji. That’s when I discovered Memory Palaces and it’s been a real game changer for my recall that I’m actually going back and creating Memory Palaces for old Levels or just tweaking them a bit. Its hard for me to pump the brakes on my Leveling up, but once I complete Level 40, I am going to take an entire ten days to try and review all my hard cases instead of just simply saying “okay, go go photographic memory.” It’s just too much material at this point.

To those high rollers out there, also with an Enlightened Pile that’s way over their head, never signing off on anything to be burned just yet, what advice do you have for me?


I wish I could tell you it gets better but … :wink:

Yeah once you start getting to kanji that are only one radical off from previous kanji you have to start reorganizing how you store the kanji in your head otherwise you get both the new kanji and the old enlightened kanji mixed up when they come around.

I personally just go off of my first impression of the kanji based on ones I know. For example, the 曹, 槽, and 遭 series.

曹 is learned last but I went back and recategorized my mnemonics of the other two so that all three fit the same narrative.


I am not that advance from you but what i did was to kinda make mnemonic of the one radical that is different
識 discriminating 言
職 employment耳
織 weave 糸
With that being said it didn’t really work for these three for me so idk what else


しき…yes… I struggle with remembering the difference between ritual and discriminating. Ha! If I rush through I will instinctively mess it up. With “employment” I imagine I’m at a gas station working and a customer rolls up and asks how I like the job. They ask (radical: say) and I’m just standing there (radical: stand), but the guy is a jerk (radical:drunk) and he says some condescending crap about “keeping his ear to the ground for me” (radical:ear). It really was a bad job and the comments like that were basically mean. Now the kanji weave? That’s with the same level as “angry” Kanji right? They work together. Well that one takes place at a bar. I imagine Cardi B (radical:woman) wearing a weave(radical:thread), sitting on a stool (radical:stool), drunk (radical:drunkard), talking crap (radical:sound) (radical:broken heart) about how men are dogs ど。She’s eating oreos (to weave:おる)
and just rapping loudly, but how discerning(しき) could Cardi B possibly be of people anyway?

I’m actually on Level 40 now and I was sick a few days so my Review Pile hits 600 every other hour it seems no matter how often I tick off a 25-100 Reviews in a sitting! ARGHHHH… Yes, we are still in Hell, but I hear that Paradise is right around the corner. We just have to claw our way through this a little while longer. Have you tried Memory Palaces?


Fear… any advice for someone just starting out?

I’m on Level 40. (no idea why its posting 39) Its easy to get overwhelmed. WaniKani covers a lot of material and if you allow it, it can consume all your days, nights and weekends in a blink. You’ll be doing reviews while on the toilet, while eating breakfast, while your significant other is nagging you to watch a movie with them. You’ll do reviews on Christmas, on New Year’s, on your birthday. The more you push it, the more it pushes you, plain and simple. You decide how easy or how hard you want it to be by the consistency of Lessons you do daily, weekly and monthly. If you want to get the most out of WaniKani, set goals for yourself. Set a goal for when you want to finish the program, the units, the Levels, the vocabulary of each Level, the Kanji of each Level, the radicals of each Level. You have to think big, then you need to break it down and keep things realistic day by day after day after day. Keep a journal. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Write that down. Be a problem solver of your own learning disabilities unique to you. My biggest problem is that I have an excellent memory, a photographic memory. This is a major handicap because you get in the habit of saying “oh, I’ll just snap a pic of that” in your mind rather than putting in the world to really put it to memory. The further along you go, the bigger that pile of “exceptions” gets and you can easily screw yourself. So take the time to understand the radicals and bring them to life, taking all radicals in each Kanji into account because later on they will have lookalikes and those lookalikes will scream readings that are just totally wrong or painfully similiar and confuse the heck out of you. So in recap, dream big, set goals, macro/micro, be consistent, be realistic, and don’t hesitate to check back with the community. Whatever your problem, most likely someone else went through the same problem as well. You got this!! We were all there once before.


Is that a food? たべもの?
No i have no idea what is that

heheheh…Okay… prepare to have your mind blown. Basically WaniKani uses an elementary technique for memory retention, mnemonics, simple enough. Memory Palaces are mnemonics on steroids. Pick up the book “Moonwalk with Einstein” and learn about Memorization techniques. I seriously would not be a polyglot or a coder had I not read that book. Changed my life.


K will check it out thanks

Don’t worry about it too much :wink:

By the time you get to the point where you have to recategorize like this, you’ll have at least 6 months to a year of kanji learning under your belt so you should be comfortable with how you remember things and be able to modify your method accordingly.

Best of luck :smiley::+1:


I had to do that too with the wait, temple, time, special, poem family.

I know that you can go to the page for the kanji after it’s unlocked and see the similar kanji, but I think it would really help if there were a special review mode that targeted similar kanji. Actually a drill mode of any kind would be really cool to see


totally agree. What I do is I study from a 3rd person app on my iPhone called Tsurukame as well as on my macbook with wanikani & midori. When something is iffy, whether I answer correctly or not, what I do is take a screenshot right away and then look up the similiar kanji as well, and take a screenshot of that. sometimes I will even exit the study session (which luckily means I do not loose credit for what I have finished because of the parameters I put in place in the app). Then I make an album of all these screenshots after a couple of days of reviews go by (I have a 98% pass rate, so I need the pile to really add up) I then test myself on my “similiar kanji.” If in these custom iPhone album Reviews…days removed from the last time I saw these Kanji, are still giving me trouble, then I add those to a separate deck for creating more detailed mnemonics or relearning them altogether in my next Level’s memory palace. It’s a tedious process and its very easy to get backlogged. Just don’t rely on WaniKani to teach you the difference in these similiar kanji. Take the initiative and find something that works for you. I noticed that what is a “similiar kanji” for one person, isn’t necessarily a trigger for me, personally. To create such a platform within wanikani would be riddled with bugs. Maybe a way to easily resurrect similiar kanji of your choosing at the same time you intentionally miss these hard cases perhaps? That could work maybe?

I can’t remember a specific example off-hand, but I’ve run into this as well.

I’m not opposed to coming up with my own solution, but I feel that this is going to be enough of a stumbling block for users that it’s worth designing something in the web UI.

the ‘visually similar kanji’ relationship is part of the database. I am proposing to use that relationship data to build wordlists to pass to the quiz engine with the apprentice->guru-master-Englightened-.burned score keeping logic turned off.

As an example:

WK has these kanji tagged as similar:

So, the wordlist is already there. They would just pass it to the quiz class as if it were a list of vocabulary ready for review. Finally, they would most likely turn off progression tracking, as this is meant for drilling and not the normal SRS

I think most of the logic for this is already going to be in the codebase

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It is Wednesday, my dudes!

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like I said, your “similiar kanji” will not be my “similiar kanji.” From a coding perspective, you are talking about one serious level of customization which I absolutely love so I will try and figure this out. I would love to design something like this for you, but I will have to noodle on it for a while in order to increase accuracy. In the meantime, I would suggest adding alerts in your “meaning” text box. Write verbatum the Kanji fail followed by “often confused with:” and then the kanji you see as similiar. In the meaning text box it would read as follows…
持 is often confused with: 特

Do not use the word “similiar” because that won’t help me with the data search if I try to present said data to someone at WaniKani. There has to be a sizable amount of cases of this with you as well as other users to justify such an overhaul. I’m thinking a patch could work if there is a way to add a front end tag feature, so you actually tag Kanji fails and then input the kanji that “is often confused with:” It could even include a list of potential Kanji based on the “similiar looking Kanji” list you love so much, but to just haphazardly throw in the entire list would cause the entire algorithm to seize to be consistent. What Level are you at by the way? This was supposed to be a post for people who are Level 40 and beyond. “Similiar Kanji” ends up getting pretty elaborate Level 30+. It isn’t just simply one or two, its 20+ sometimes.

I highly suggest starting a new topic and copy and paste this information into the introduction so we can see if we can locate other members annoyed with this gap in learning as much as we are. Then just add a link to that post in this string and see who’s interested in working on the project

This could work on so many levels, not just for “similiar kanji” but also for those who want to use wanikani for special concentrations or even a way to encorporate kanji that are not even part of the program at all… or even a “Hints” Hidden/Show feature that allows you to see your “similiar kanji” without seeing the answer to the review.

thanks for all your efforts!
Loren the Swan

If you are strapped for time, its actually a book that works well as an audiobook despite being very visually geared. You can sign up for if you do not already have an account, and check “Moonwalk with Einstein” by Josh Foer as your first credit of the month. The key is to go to bed…like…fifteen to thirty minutes earlier than you normally would. Set the timer to however long you feel comfortable with (forty-five minutes seemed to work best for me), then just close your eyes, sit back and listen. What you learn is that memorization is a lot about spacial reasoning & visualization so by purposely “reading” this book this way, you can really get the most out of it without hampering your other daily committments. And if you are anything like me, you need every minute you can get! My only regret is that I didn’t check this book out sooner…like when I first heard about it a year ago! But some of us are super arrogrant and stubborn. Keep me posted!

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I bought it. Read up to chapter 5 until now i think it is pretty good so far. I don’t seem to have time to read it so this

Seem so appealling rn however i still have doubts about whether i would do it or not

hey, I can only lead a horse to water…

I started reading this book based on your post, and wow it is fascinating! I had no idea this whole inner world could exist to store information so efficiently.
I haven’t finished the book yet but am curious how you can include kanji in it? Do you picture the meaning + reading proposed by WaniKani?

I’m so sorry! didn’t see this as a new post! (I only go on the community after I complete several levels or even a block at a time because the notifications an be distracting)

Hopefully by now you have finished the book! “Moonwalk with Einstein” I think I will start a new posting so I can help others such as yourself memorize faster. As you can see, I am on Level 48 and I believe I was on Level 38 when I posted this back in May. (It’s end of July) I’ll add a link when its posted tomorrow as I want to take my time and be succinct.