I’m so slow!

Agree with others that going at a sustainable pace for you is important, and if you’re simply wanting to speed up to match what you’ve seen others manage, it might be a bad idea.

…that said, you expressed that you want to speed up, so if that’s truly something you want to try, we should help with that too. What I can tell you about speed is this: what matters is passing 90% of your kanji enough to hit guru level, and other than certain exception levels, you won’t have that 90% even available until you unlock more by doing the same thing with radicals. Knowing the system is useful, and 2 key takeaways are that accuracy definitely matters, but also that only certain items count for the important points.

What the latter means is that no matter how fast you desire to go, there’s no need to do 80 lessons at once every time you see them. The key to top speed is doing your radical lessons and the set of kanji that unlocks from them, as they become available (crucially, as long as you fit them in, the timing of the first set of kanji matter less), but that’s actually quite manageable while doing very roughly (but by default somewhat inconsistently distributed) 20ish lessons per day.

The question now is if 20 lessons per day sounds like way too much for you. I’m assuming it very well might, but there is of course a middle ground you can aim to be faster than you are now but not the fastest. If you do still desire that, the main thing to identify is if you are putting off your lessons a little too long, or if your accuracy is holding you back from hitting 90% of the kanji guru’d as quickly as you’d like. Either of those we could probably help you further with if you want to explore this in more depth!

That said, again, maybe you want to stick to your speed. That’s cool too.


Indeed, the real trick is to study in advance for the upcoming levels, and aim for a very high accuracy when that future levels actually come up. I wouldn’t exactly aim for the upcoming reviews’ point of time, as a few hours’ difference doesn’t account much. – It would take around 1.5-2 years.

Still, there are more to reading than WaniKani itself, and every focus takes energy… Too much seemingly meaningless focus will make you burn out, anyway.


This, definitely. Almost included it in my post already but in my view anyway, doing grammar study and the like alongside Wanikani will make for much better returns than singularly focusing on kanji, so I’d advise setting your pace to whatever allows for still doing other things in the language alongside it.


The point I want to make is, seeing that milestones are achieved makes it less likely to burn out, and ready for a marathon. (Like meaningful-to-myself, but maybe small, achievements.)

Also, I can’t edit the second reply of mine for some reasons.


What amazing answers, thank you so much to everyone! I guess I knew the answer was to do more lessons if you want to speed up but also it’s great to be reminded that it’s OK to keep at this pace. Thank you!


This, in my opinion, is one of the most crucial things for ourselves to notice. If you like to learn at a slower pace, I recommend saving up for the Lifetime account (usually there’s a Lifetime discount in December or near Christmas). I believe that learning Japanese is more than just memorizing kanji; it also includes grammar, speaking, listening, writing (if you’re interested), and a deep dive into Japanese culture and intricate linguistic details.

10 years seems like a good length of time to take in a lot of those things and more. Unless you’re in a haste to study or work in Japan, consider using WaniKani as a supplement to whatever else you can find to help you learn Japanese. My current set speed is 1 level per month, which I think is good enough to keep me motivated as I progress.

Even though I’m in no rush, reading the post below made me understand how Wanikani’s SRS works better and how to be efficient. One of the best speedy helpers in the forums:

And of course it’s best to learn from others who have reached the top too. Speed varies.

Last but not least, the cheerleaders of the slower Durtle speed:


TBH i think most of the tips people wrote in the comments are insufficient or not practical enough. imo there is a better way to organize the workload in wanikani, improve the session themselves, and reduce stress without necessarily slowing down. it can take a couple of days to set things perfectly, so don’t be afraid to set things aside for a while.

I’m level 8… took 3 months off and had to work through 900 reviews , and overall was never consistent long enough.
studying from flash cards just isn’t so interesting for me, and I have
a very hectic and loaded schedule. I always burnt out fast.

It took me time to set things technically, but I’m now cruising very fast and
with alot less effort because of some changes.
I manage the load better now, and I learn better.

Wanikani barebones didn’t cut it for me, at all.

What i’d recommend, (I’m now about to finish level 8 in just about the minimum time) :

*** Learn all WK radicals before** , using an anki deck, this isn’t hard to accomplish in 2 weeks, I did it in 4 days, and now when lvling and reviewing I have less workload + I can make my own mnemonics.

*** Invent your own better suited mnemonics** - I don’t like WK mnemonics that much, I invent my own alot of the time, make them more vulgar weird, rememorable - this has taken my retention to the roof.
f you feel even the slightest of “eh, ok? I guess I’l just try hard to remember this kanji reading and hope to remember the mnemonic” don’t, you should take the time to invent.
If you fail an item a couple of times , time to invent a better mnemonic .

For me :
たい - is taijutsu sometimes , like in naruto. because who the hell uses a tie?
はん - is hannibal . hansolo? I didn’t see star wars…
けん - kendou , or ken doll .
じゅう- jew , I’m jewish , and making racist jokes and stories work for me.
じょ - job.

etc etc etc
This is especially true for the radicals, the stories WK provide often times feel insufficient for me to have a strong memory of the radicals. you will get faster at this.

Install the chrome addon - wanikani notifier.

*Install these API -

Anime Sentence - shows you an example sentence with audio from anime.
with wanikani you don’t learn things from context, or either the context isn’t interesting.
These helped making study in wanikani worthwhile for me.
it added a spark wk never had imo.
When seeing a vocab card in the reviews, after answering - press F, and then space , this will open up all the additional info fast without using mouse clicks.

Reorder omega - When lvling up and getting 100 lessons, I want to start with radicals and kanji asap, so I can get most of them in one study session, and have them in my reviews.
With this , I prioritize apprentice kanji and radicals in reviews to show first, and and also in lessons. If you don’t have hours at a time to sit, this lets you get critical things moving.

WK ultimate timeline - set this to “SRS LVL” now you see when apprentice items are about to come up on a timeline .
look at it when done reviewing, and then set an alarm or put it in your calandar when apprentice radicals and kanji are available to review.
I know that tomorrow 10am I have 33 apprentice kanji and radicals that I can level to apprentice 4 , thus I’l check WK only tomorrow at 11amish. this takes off unnecessary reviews that aren’t critical, and takes off the heat.

Confussion guesser - If entered wrong answer, displays similar kanjis or kanjis with the reading you’ve written.

Wanikani double check - let’s you re-type your answer , if typo, or any none critical mistake was made.

Wrong of the day - shows a list of the items you’ve got wrong in reviews, but doesn’t refresh until you decide so. you can look at this like once a day and test yourself just by looking if you remember.

If you need help leme know.


Pushed myself too hard for a year… and i would say not worth it… yeah i got to a higher level but paid for it with semi-burnouts and time delay to recover (mentally or review wall kind)
So take your time


About the mnemonic and memorization, I put my recommendation in another post.

Try to make homophone-based mnemonics based on another Japanese word. Try to break down vocabularies into imagined origins (even if it is a false etymology).

It depends on your experience or previous memorization, so possibly

  • はん is probably (はん) (half)
  • けん is sword, as in (けん)

Confusions would be more apparent in higher levels. Try KaniWani, and you will see even more confusions.

Anime Context Sentence is good, but I think you need more than that - various groups of meanings, and sentence / phrase synthesis.

I also mentioned Goo JE in that post, but another thing would probably help is, Context > Pattern of Use.


I think I used to use Item Marker, but I don’t know what it is like now. ConfusionGuesser would probably be nice too.

In any case, try to learn more than merely SRS system allows.


I’m doing about 7 to 8 days per level now, don’t have any former Kanji knowledge. It’s absolutely doable but you have to do the reviews multiple times per day. I use a reorder script so when new Kanji and radicals unlock, I do those first and if possible as soon as they unlock so the speed keeps going.
Vocab is about 20 lessons per day and personally I noticed that vocab gets more easier to learn the more I do it.
If you have the time for it and are willing to dedicate some more spare time on WK, maybe you could double the amount of lessons you do to increase your speed to 2 weeks per level instead of a month? You could try it for a while and see if you can manage that without burning out.


I’ve edited and formatted my reply into a post, I think some of the stuff there will change things up.

also +1 to that. i’ve only started using a reorder script this month, and it made things more manageable day to day. wish i’ve done it when just starting out.


There’s about 35 kanji taught on average per level. If you keep up at your pace, you’ll learn over 400 kanji per year. That’s not a bad rate at all, especially if you’re keeping up that pace with your grammar and audio studies.
As for going max speed, I’ve seen some people do that, but say they still don’t have an N5 grasp of grammar. Well . . . I think I’m gonna reserve what I think about that. Of course, not everyone going max speed is like that.
I really don’t think you’re going slow at all. Keep in mind natives are taught kanji at an even slower pace that what you’re doing. Everyone has different levels of motivation, experience, prioritization, etc. that is difficult to take into account.


Welcome, @Leemarrett! I’m sure many people will reply with great tips for speeding up and/or making your learning process more efficient.

I just want to comment to let you know that going slow is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, several of us have decided we prefer to slow down enough that we can thoroughly enjoy the journey of learning Japanese, without the potential stress that can sometimes come with going at top speed. See :durtle_hello: Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route :turtle:, which I believe @distantflower has already posted a link to (in which case, I second the suggestion).

The most important thing, fast or slow or somewhere in between, IMHO, is to find a pace of learning and practice that is sustatinable, that you will be able to carry on going at a comfortable rate all the way until you reach your own personal learning goals. Going too slow could be boring; going too fast could be stressful or overwhelming. Just be mindful of how your rate of doing new lessons and the subsequent reviews is affecting your personal well-being, and you will be able to figure out the pace that works best for you personally. :smiley:

[Edit: I also second the idea to go for the lifetime subscription if you haven’t already. IMHO it’s a great deal, and eliminates any stress one might have about using their money ‘efficiently’, hence wanting to go as fast as possible. With lifetime, if you have to take a break or slow down, there’s no ‘penalty’ in doing so.
They have annual sales for lifetime subscriptions around Christmas every year, but if you just want to get it over with, it might still be a good deal to get it now. Just an idea! Of course you should check out the pricing and benefits and decide for yourself. :sweat_smile: Personally, I started around an October or so, hit level 3, and then just waited a couple months till December for the sale, so it wasn’t a terribly long wait.]


I don’t know how people do it inside a year (madness, I tell you), but I can tell you how I dragged myself out of a long, slow slump; I stared using the Flaming Durtles app on my phone. An alert goes off every hour I have a review, I do the reviews, I get on with my life. No more trying to remember to log into the website every hour or two, no more forgetting to check for a couple of days and having dozens of reviews to slog through. Whenever the number of reviews starts to ease up, I’ll knock out some new lessons. It’s not much, but it’s helped me out a huge amount.


Yes Flaming Durtles it great. Although for bigger review piles I do use my pc because I hate typing on my phone :slight_smile: BTW Durtles also has a nice widget which shows you the amount of reviews and lesson to do on your phone homescreen. I found that more convenient than getting the hourly reminder :slight_smile:


Absolutely! Thirded. I saved up and started with a lifetime sub, and it really takes the pressure off when you have a bad time and need a break.

Seconded. I don’t use it that often - I also much prefer typing on a real keyboard - but it’s one of the best apps I have on my phone.


How can we trust anything you say???
That being said, I bookmarked your post in case there’s something in there I may want to try. :sweat_smile:


If it makes you feel any better, I started WaniKani a year ago (exactly) and the culmination of school work and family stress ended in me taking month-long breaks, which is why I am now ‘only’ level 6. You did that in roughly 5 months! If, like you say, you’re not in a hurry then it really doesn’t matter. I personally am in no rush, and am now just trying to not get overwhelmed. I respect everyone who reaches level 60 quickly, but I have accepted that snailing is the pace that works for me, with breaks and vacation mode and all. Best of luck to you, whether you wanna speed up or keep going the way you are now!


I’ve been stuck on level 15 for almost a whole year, it never gets better.
People make it to 60 in a year because they have raw natural talent for language.


Or because we spend a couple hours on WK daily alone and do 4-8 sessions of reviews daily without missing a day. When did you do 130 lessons in a single sitting? I did that yesterday, for me that is normal at this point, even if you could spread it out, but it doesn’t phase me. If you are willing to put in the time and do 300+ reviews daily, so can you.