I am an Intermediate-level learner of Japanese, but I have to start from the beginning on WaniKani

I am an Intermediate-level learner of Japanese, but I have to start from the beginning on WaniKani. Furthermore, I can’t speedrun things due to to the spaced-repetition-system. Is this correct? Any way I can get to a more appropriate level?


There is no such way sadly, you need to stick to the progression it gives you. How long it will take you to see kanji or words you don’t know will vary depending on your knowledge, but going in order isn’t the end of the world, because you’ll be familiarized with the custom radicals wk uses.

The more exotic words/kanji tend to come up at around the level 20/30 mark, but you can browse through the levels to see, how long it will take you to see new ones.


Yeah, you shouldn’t use WaniKani. Drill the remaining kanji you don’t know with an RTK kanji deck, and either go through a Core deck or start making your own flashcards using one of the popular mining workflows (Migaku, mpvacious, etc).


Guessing I can’t get a refund on my monthly subscription I bought an hour ago…

On the other hand, I think learning Wani Kani’s way of doing things and replacing my old kanji knowledge with the ‘stories’ that they do per radical/kanji will fare better for my long-term


You have 60 days to ask for a full refund, no questions asked.

I still don’t recommend WaniKani for you, but it’s ultimately your choice.

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Nah, you can probably get a refund if you want one. Just send an email. They’re usually pretty chill about that.


There are some users here who started at a fairly high level, who definitely think that WK was worth it. Hopefully a few will put a word in here.
The WK method really does necessitate starting from the beginning. Many of the radicals are not standard, and the more complex kanji are built up from those. Some people start here thinking they know kanji, but then realize that they have never had to actively recall readings, and their knowledge is not as much as they thought.
I am sure that WK really is not right for some people, you just need to figure out if you are one of those people.

@Naphthalene perhaps was one of those people who started at a fairly high level?


if you are high level, you will lvl up every 6 or 7 days easily, then you catch up with your intended level


Yes, it’s here:


The thread got linked already, but yes. I started WK for real about one year after getting the N1.


Well only if you’re doing your reviews as and when they turn up.

You could literally have 100% recall on every single Kanji and never level up if you don’t do reviews, after all.

Imho the mnemonics are fantastic to remember the Kanji, but after a while you’ll forget the mnemonics. I started doing srs with another Kanji app to check how much I remembered of the burned Kanji, so far I remembered them all but there was hardly any kanji of which I remembered the mnemonic itself.

If you already know half the kanji then WK probably isn’t the best way for you. It would be great if WK would add a feature that would let you start from any level.


You can’t speed run more than some thresholds, and I certainly do Wanikani with complaints.

However, I can’t do it good enough from a Kanji deck. Vocabulary decks are just for different purpose. (Vocabulary learning order matters too.)

If you like Wanikani’s system; like, radicals, plus Kanji radicals and image radicals, are used to build Kanji; then reinforce with vocabularies; you should bear with it. (Why would you buy Wanikani at Level 1 before finishing the trial?)

In the end, you should be able to decide whether to use Wanikani’s radical “names”, or radical or not altogether. Also, what knowing Kanji and vocabularies means.

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I’m in the same position. I just subscribed for a year. I’m going to use wanikani as the framework to structure a year of Japanese immersion. I really need help with vocab, which I’m sure wanikani will really help with.

What does intermediate even mean in this case?


maybe he has N3-N2 vocab already.

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Yeah, maybe. Idk.

If I had a grasp of N2, I don’t think I’d bother with WK, that being 1000 kanji.

If I had a grasp of N3, I would probably consider WK, that being 650 kanji.

If I only had N4 or lower I would definitely go through WK.

Wouldn’t be much of an issue either way since speed running is a thing, and there is probably plenty of vocab not learned yet anyway.

It depends on if WK works aswell I guess.


Look through the listings of what is coming up on which levels. Figure out how much material you already know, how much new stuff you will get if you commit to doing WK, and when the new stuff starts kicking in. For me, the first 20 levels or so were largely things I already knew, but by the mid-30’s finding familiar words has become rare enough to be a welcome break from trying to memorize so much stuff.

If your ramp-up is anything like that, just do reviews each day while focusing on other Japanese learning as your main way to make progress, and after a while, WK will catch up to your existing knowledge and you’ll be right where you want, with no gaps like you would have if it let you start wherever you want.

If your existing knowledge is enough that payoff point won’t come until too far into WK to be worth it, then maybe a different method would work better for you.


I would have called myself an “intermediate” speaker for years, but using WaniKani taught me how flakey my kanji knowledge (and therefore my grasp of vocabulary and the sound-meaning connection) really was.

It was frustrating at the start going through “yama” and “kuchi” but even at level 12 I regularly see and practise items that, honestly, I encountered rarely if ever in my day-to-day Japanese. As a result, my functional vocabulary is expanding and I’m able to participate in deeper conversations.

I would say WaniKani is worth it if:

  1. your goals are open-ended (e.g. “solidify and grow in the language” rather than “N2 in one year”)
  2. you’re in it for the very long haul
  3. you’re happy to go slow and stick to this as your main kanji method

If however you have very good self-knowledge, a specific target (Japanese for x application) and the discipline and resources to make your own decks, doing that instead might be more efficient for you. Just my thoughts.


The answer is NO but I would suggest you to remain with WK, it will pay off in the long run. Since you are advanced, you can make full use of the example sentences for vocabulary.