I Don't Think This is Working for Me

I’ve been stuck at my current level, 24, for over 100 days now. When I first hit it, I got hit with a lot of RL issues, including my pet cat dying, that kept me from keeping up with the reviews at all. And now I have a stack of almost 400 reviews sitting on top of me without even having started learning the Kanji at this level.

But what’s worse is that I feel like I haven’t learned nearly as much as I should have by this point. Most of those reviews are “Enlightened” or “Guru” items that I simply don’t remember. It’s not leeches, they’re just things that I retained long enough to get them right a handful of times, then forgot, and now when I review them, I get them wrong. None of the little techniques used, the mnemonics or the radicals or anything else, have helped them stick in my brain. I’ve just been trying to brute force memorize everything up to this point, and as soon as I fell out of a rhythm because of stuff out of my control, I ran smack into a wall.

I feel like my only option to get back into the rhythm is to reset some levels, but I have no idea how far back I would need to go to get onto a solid foundation again. And really, I’m not sure it would help in the long term, I might just run into this same problem again five or ten levels from now. I just don’t know if my learning style and Wanikani’s teaching style mesh very well.


When wondering how many levels to go back, an extra 5-10 levels to be sure isn’t much in comparison to the time you’d be wasting on constantly reviewing things you’ve forgotten. It’s always better to go over a few levels of stuff you remember because those levels will be quick and easy.

I was stuck on level 37 for something like 800 days with a 2000+ review pile and after trying to reset just a few levels, I ended up going back to 15, which helped a lot more than the previous reset attempts. If you remember very little of your enlightened, even going back to 5 may be good.

And I’m sorry about your cat.


its frustrating to feel like you’re not making progress. I can totally understand that. it takes years to finish Wanikani and in that time, plenty of life events will happen and disrupt your learning flow. I myself go through a period of feeling stuck every 10 levels or so. its all part of the process. I also have certain kanjis that I feel like I’ll never be able to remember! (looking at you, 和 and 知!!) Be a little forgiving of yourself and don’t be afraid to slap on that vacation mode! give yourself some time to process your loss and then come back to WK with a clearer mind. dont worry how many days its been since you started the level. WK is a journey. My advice? Put on vacation mode, turn it off to complete 20 reviews at a time (or however many you feel capable of doing), then turn vacation mode back on. repeat until you’ve tackled that review pile to 0. Never do more than 5 reviews a day! Keep your apprentice numbers below 90. WK will feel much more manageable after that. Good luck and hang in there!


Level 21 took me over 100 days to get through and I was doing reviews daily. Occasionally I’ll get a little behind on reviews. When that happens my goal is never to power through all the reviews. I just want to finish the day where tomorrow morning’s review count will be less than this morning’s review count. If you do that consistently eventually you will catch up.

As to what I refer to as item churn, I’d guess my burn rate is well under 50%. I just look at it as those Master and Enlightened items want a little more attention and try not to let it get to me. I think this is natural if you aren’t living in Japan and aren’t encountering learned kanji in the wild.

That said, I fell off the wagon when I was at level 7 ended up with a huge review pile, couldn’t remember anything, and so I reset to 2, and it was the right thing to do. It absolutely helped get over the level 7 hump, and going back felt fun because it was so much easier. I figured I have lifetime, as long as WK keeps paying their hosting bills it’s all good.



You mean lessons, right?


I am terribly sorry for your cat. Please take care.

For your problem, I don’t think it will necessarily be a problem in the future. I tend to have the same problem as you and reading some stuff is really helping. It really “consolidates” the word in your memory. If that makes sense ? Seeing the word in context, using it makes a huge difference. Even if you reset, try to read a little. I am pretty sure you can handle NHK easy Web News. One article a day will be more than enough and they are really short so it shouldn’t take much of your time :slight_smile:
Good luck !


You’re level 24, which is probably half way to 60 or very close ( when you factor in that a lot of the later levels are “fast” levels, so 30 isn’t really half of 60 in this context).

That tells me you’re very capable and could get to 60 (or even 30, which teaches you 80% of stuff) if you tried.

Sometimes life gets hard, you lose someone you care about, or an important relationship ends, or you lose your job. It’s unpredictable and it can really throw off balance what we are used to. It’s demotivating and sometimes really difficult to deal with.

I don’t blame you for feeling this way, I think you could honestly get back on track with WaniKani and succeed, because you’re level 24 which means somethings working.

As far as struggling with items currently, that’s ok, and it’s ok if brute force isn’t working. I find it a lot harder to learn when I’m feeling down or if stuff in my real life is out of balance - or feels out of control.

I bet you know a lot more than you realise, but in the context of WaniKani it’s hard to gauge your progress.

So here’s my suggestion, reset a few levels maybe down to 20 so that you’re still at a nice spot. Take it slow, don’t overburden yourself and see if there is anything new you can find alongside WaniKani such as a book you’ve really wanted to read, or a podcast that looks interesting. This will help you see how much you really know (and you might surprise yourself!) and it will help reinforce the stuff that you’re struggling with.

Sorry for such a long post :grin: - I hope everything works out for you.


If life is just too busy use the vacation mode if you must. Real life should always take priority.


So sorry about your cat. I lost mine 10 days ago, and I’ve been struggling with life in general since she got sick a couple months ago.

Strangely enough, I got stuck at level 24 too, a couple years ago, and I reset all the way back to the beginning (it worked out pretty well for me over time, I’m not saying I would necessarily recommend it for you or anyone else). I can’t offer much practical advice beyond what others have said here, but just wanted to give you my sympathy and hopefully a little encouragement. Hang in there.


Sorry to hear about the loss of your cat :cry: I’m sure they had a real nice comfy life with you!

On Wanikani if you are 20+ levels in and don’t feel like it’s working for you, it might not be! And that’s totally fine - there are so many tools and methods out there to learn Japanese that there isn’t really a need to stick with something that you don’t find helpful.

What other methods are you using for learning Japanese? Textbooks, other apps etc? Are you engaging with the language through reading or watching content in Japanese?

I know that at one point when I was having a hard time, what worked for me was to put all the SRS (including wanikani) on vacation mode for a month or so and just to focus on reading something in Japanese every day. I appreciated it because a) I was able to use what I’d learned and see vocab etc in the context they are used, b) it was a way to keep in touch with learning Japanese at a time when active study felt too much, c) it gave me a chance to use the time where I wasn’t doing any SRS to decide which ones I felt worked for me (for me, it turned out that I picked another SRS based tool back up, but not wanikani) and d) it led to me falling in love with reading in japanese because it is a whole lot of fun!

Depending on how much you read in Japanese already and whether you’ve done any grammar study, maybe giving yourself a similar break from WK could be an idea? Wanikani is a great leaning tool, but there is certainly more to learning Japanese and many more options out there. So yeah, it might be that you just need some recovery time and after that you can pick up WK again, or it might be that in the end you drop it. Neither is the end of the world! I wish you the best :slight_smile:


Thanks everyone for the thoughts and well-wishes. I posted this at I think close to 1am my time so I wasn’t in a super stable frame of mind, and I appreciate all of the encouragement and perspective y’all have given out. I think I’m going to try to reset back to level 10 or so, that should give me a pretty fresh slate but still leave me in a solid place to move forward on. I don’t think I need to put it in vacation mode just yet, but I’ll keep it in mind for right now; I do have other ways I’m trying to learn, I have some textbooks and I watch JP-only gaming livestreams daily, though I don’t have any JP reading material outside of that. A reset should help me put the focus on broadening my knowledge of the language and put more of the Kanji into context, I think.


400 reviews is a couple hours at most. Don’t worry about not getting them all right. You will likely have to relearn some since you’ve gone ~100 days without clearing out your reviews but that’s not the end of the world. Just review the mnemonics and continue on until you get them. Not to tell you how to feel, but you might be making a mountain out of a molehill; you shouldn’t feel this overwhelmed with only a few hundred. I practice a couple times a day and occasionally have 100+ to review and can knock them out in one sitting. Don’t give up.

EDIT: Reading some of the comments, I’m genuinely shocked how anyone could be “stuck” for months or numbers of days that add up to years. I started a trial of WaniKani years ago but then stopped and forgot about it until a couple months ago. I wasn’t stuck until now, I just wasn’t studying Kanji/Vocab for all that time. I think the more honest answer is you haven’t opened the app or visited the web page in that many days. Just don’t stop coming back! Don’t miss more than a couple days and you can get through this in a year and a half or so, it seems. I’m only level 8 so maybe I haven’t seen how rough it gets but, hmm.


I’m really, really sorry about your cat.

Life happens. Take care of yourself. Most of all, I would say that you need to take Japanese less seriously. I’m not saying not to study a lot and not work hard but know that there is no one who is going to criticize you for making mistakes, not learning something the first time around is fine, and there are no bad grades that you are going to receive if you make a mistake. Japanese shouldn’t be a burden in life but a fun hobby.

If you are worried that Wanikani just isn’t cutting it for you with the style of memorization, try what Matt vs Japan offers too: https://refold.la/japanese/deck. This deck is meant to be brute forced memorized so that you can dive into slice of life manga. Based on what you’re talking about, you could use some Yuru Camp, or Aria to read.

Have some hot milk with sugar and vanilla and take it easy :slight_smile:

That’s an easy one. Once you get into the 40s people tend to just spend time getting reviews down before pressing forward. My friend is also doing WK and once he got to 44 he said the reviews were just a lot and wanted to solidify what he learned so far.

While there are a lot of reasons, people get stuck at any level.


If you feel like you need to reset, then you’re more than welcome to. However, I don’t think you need to. I think the other’s have the right idea. Seriously, don’t do any new lessons until you finish your reviews. There’s no rush. There’s no deadline. Just sit down, and do as many reviews as you have time for. If you run out of time, then just put it on vacation mode, and then continue doing the reviews tomorrow. Just keep doing them until you get those reviews to 0. DONT worry about how many you are getting wrong. This is NORMAL. The entire point of the SRS system is if you get something wrong,you’ll be seeing it again so can keep learning it.

To put this in perspective, not everyone does that crazy speed run they do through to level 60. The people who spend only like 7 days on each level until level 60 are the exception.

I spent 113 days on level 20. Here I am still here at level 23 without having to reset. It was painful. I suffered a huge amount of reviews, getting loads wrong. But I just gritted my teeth, got through the reviews, and now I’m on track again. I am going slower than I used to, and that’s simply because I’ve now transitioned to learning japanese by reading. The time I used to spend on WaniKani is now spent on reading but I’m getting through WaniKani piece by piece.

Now, remember, the most important thing in WaniKani is to keep on top of your REVIEWS. Don’t worry about lessons if they’re going to overwhelm you. You do the lessons when you’re ready, but if you neglect your reviews they come back to bite you like you’ve just noticed. I don’t do lessons every day anymore because I need the time to read, but you can damn well be sure I’ll do my reviews.

Either way if you reset, or tackle your reviews, just remember you’re normal, lots of people have this problem at some point. But above all else, I want you to know that you’ve got this!


You’re a genius :rofl::rofl::rofl:

I can manage like 100 reviews/hour being in absolute focus.

But in the other hand, I agree with most of the people in here: Reset 10 levels or so, limit to 50 reviews every day for some time and learn new items at a slow but regular pace… That’ll do the trick.

Learning a new language should be a fullfilling experince, not a burden :thinking:

Two weeks ago I was finally able to finish almost overdue 800 reviews accumulated while changing jobs and working remotely from my home country for a while… It was a massive hurdle, but I’ve got by taking it easy and doing whenever I felt it was the right time. Some days I’d do a hundred or so, some days 20 (which meant I was just adding more to the queue factoring the mistakes I was making whilist trying to remember the content)

Now, one thing that made it easier for me to crunch it down, is that I was already comfortable with the n5-n4 content (which I know it is not a big deal, but that’s not the point). At your level I assume we are mostly talking about n3-n2 vocab? But you have to remember wanikani will only help you identifying vocab so much, you also have do read content to be able to solidify it all together if that makes any sense.

Best of luck to you

By the time you’ve reached level 24, you’ve done 75% of all JPLT N3 Kanji and 40% of all N2 Kanji so anyone who makes it as far as OP has done quite well for themselves. Though I am worried some people on WaniKani are taking too long to start reading and studying grammar. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will forget things from WaniKani but will simply reinforce them by reading lots and lots. So I definitely agree with you.

Just remember everyone forgetting things is normal. But by learning something once you’ve created the neural pathways that make learning it again easier.

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I’m not shocked that people can be stuck for long periods on a level - I’m more shocked that people can be consistent with WK over months and years, moving forward at a relentless pace. I think that slowing down at times to deal with real life is a VERY normal thing to do, and a healthy way of living. Learning a language is a long-term commitment and must fit in with fluctuations in life or it maybe it becomes an obsession. Good luck to OP and all the rest of us plodding along. I’d a dog person, but I feel for anyone who loses a pet.