I feel slightly held back

Hey there,

I stumbled across this site looking for lists of kanji to memorize, and I thought i might give it a shot. I absolutely love the mnemonics idea, but I feel held back in what I can accomplish with this site. Mainly, I’ve been using this site for two days now and all the program has let me do is review the same 20 or so radicals that I already had a decent grip on before I started using WaniKani. I’m ready to start learning some kanji and vocab, I would suggest that the program adds a feature where the site will “test” your initial understanding and vocabulary prior to the first lessons, so that any new user with an intermediate or advanced handle on the Japanese Language can immediately use this site to its full potential. This is one of the most ergonomic, efficient, and beautiful language learning sites that I’ve come across, but I’m just disappointed with the ground up approach that the site is requiring. Please inform me if I’m using the program wrong or if there is already a similar mechanism in place, but if not I think it would be a great addition to your site.

Thank You


Please read the FAQ: WaniKani Knowledge | What is WaniKani? How do I do this and that? What is life? Find the answers here.

Please read the Guide: What is WaniKani? | WaniKani Knowledge

If you still didn’t find your answer there, please let us know ^^ but the answer is there.


A quick search would have told you this comes up all the time and has been extensively answered. It’s also covered by the FAQ.

It has been answered plenty of times as to why you can’t skip the early stages.

The point of this site is to help with long term recognition by building up on levels from radicals up to kanji up to vocabulary. Basically anyone can cram 50 kanji and repeat them back straight away but that isn’t the point of this site. As above read the FAQs and the guides explaining how the system works. If you feel you know the early stages in and out and have memorised the mneomonics used by the site then you can always fill your time with grammar studies / reading practice. :slight_smile:


Gotta hand it to OP for being so polite about it though. Usually the folks making this suggestion are complete D-Bags about it.


I think the biggest reason you have to start over, is because WaniKani doesn’t teach you radicals and kanji in the same order as textbooks or JLPT materials would. So even though you know all of these radicals now, when you advance to level 2, you might be surprised by a kanji or vocabulary word or two.

Since the first three levels are free, please try it out and see if you still like it?


I get it. But I have done it the other way too.

WK gives new items at a long term sustainable pace.

When I try to go so fast, a pace where I don’t feel held back, I end up doing all the work for nothing because I usually end up stuffing my brain too much and I don’t learn anything.

If you think about this in the long term you get reviews at… 3 hours, 12 hours, one day, two days, a week, a month, and four months. I’ve now learn around 700 different items in only a month. Every day I get reviews from at least three different level. You don’t have past levels that need to be reviewed in order to maintain the learning, but when you have 7 levels of past reviews to do you won’t feel held back.

TL;DR, this is about the long term. If you want to do other studies then go for it. No one is stopping you. We live in your computer we literally can’t stop you, but at least finish the trial and then come back and talk.

Trust the long term process. All I can say is that I don’t feel held back at all at level 6.


People also think that they’re going too slow without realizing how powerful WK is.

If you level up every 10 days, that means that you learn on average 3,4 new Kanji every single day.
If you level up every 10 days, that means that you learn on average 10,5 new vocab every single day.

If you level up every 7 days, that means that you learn on average 4,8 new Kanji every single day.
If you level up every 7 days, that means that you learn on average 15 new vocab every single day.


While I agree that WaniKani is a very useful tool once you reach a level consistent with your current Japanese skill, for an intermediate learner just joining WaniKani this is absolutely untrue. Someone who has finished up to Genki II is still very much a beginner in kanji, but will learn basically nothing from WaniKani for almost the entire first month.

What I hate is the way it’s just kind of handwaved away intermediate learners, like “If you don’t have the patience for the first few levels, maybe you don’t have the patience to learn kanji.” Just because someone doesn’t have the patience to go through a bunch of stuff they already know, doesn’t mean they don’t have the patience to learn kanji. It’s the sign of a system that could be improved.

There’s no reason someone who’s finished Genki I or Genki II or even more, should be spending a week on the first level, or two months going through the first 8 levels of WaniKani under any circumstances. And people say “But SRS!” Well then, give people the option to take a quiz without going over the lessons first. If someone knows a kanji or radical without ever being taught it, stands to reason they don’t need to go over it four times before unlocking the stuff it’s connected to. Keep it in the system, but skip it right to Guru instead.

Even if an accelerated program was only available for the first 10 levels, that would exponentially increase the number of people who could gain from WaniKani. As it stands, I just can’t recommend WaniKani to anyone who’s even finished Genki I … the time investment is just too much for any serious learner.


How would you suggest that to happen?

Could just give people an option to select any level they want, then in the database set all items up to that level as Guru or Burned…or whatever you want with a timestamp of that moment. Technically it would just be the opposite of the button we now have to lower our level.

BUT 99.9% sure they are not going to do it…it’s been this way for years at this point and they have never showed any interest in changing it from the all or nothing method. And if you do implement that system…people are just going to abuse it to flip around what level they want to be at, then complain that they didn’t learn and blame the system. Not letting people change their level (up) forces people to follow a set leveling time/metrics…and will reduce the number of people who can say they used their system but learned nothing.



At best, you would have to do thousands of reviews for the system to know where your knowledge is. Not a funny option either.

Pretty much would have to blindly trust people and then live with the backlash of “I USED YOUR SYSTEM AND AM FAILING ALL MY REVIEWS…IT SUCKS”, because they skipped to level 20 and found out they didn’t “know” as much as they thought.

But I would give the option to skip right to level 4 to anyone who wants to pay right then…cause why not.


Waiting is part of the training. So the system is fine for the long haul. But at the same time I see that, and indeed it was my experience as well, it’s slow in the beginning. The reason is that there are no failed burn/enlightened/master- re-reviews to keep you busy.

The first 3 levels are accelerated. Still people thinks it’s going too slow. The best remedy, I think, is to do something else to kill the time (for instance breadstickninja’s memrize course). But to have some sort of test to qualify you for acceleration of additional levels… although it’s probably best the way it is, it’s worth considering.

Proposal for Koichi and team…

Everyone who posts a stupid thread about them knowing stuff and “WHY SHOULD I START OVER WAAAAAAAH” gets put into level 60 with all items on apprentice.


Nah, it’s isn’t just hand waved away. WK apologizes about this in the guide, they just haven’t found a good alternative. I knew a fair amount of Kanji from college, but each level is always sprinkled with new kanji and new vocab.

Where is the cut off though? If you know at least 50% of the kanji from level 1 to 10, and 80% from 1 and 2should you start at level 1 or Level 3 or Level 10? Just because you know some doesn’t mean you know all the vocab and readings. I dunno. It’s complicated.


I don’t know, maybe it could work if someone could take a test at the beginning of a level and if they do well enough, simply unlock all the lessons in that level so that you don’t have to wait as long to prove to the SRS that you already know the kanji. That way you can still learn the radicals for mnemonics, and you can move a little faster through the stuff you already know?

I don’t know, I can’t actually relate haha. I’m haven’t even been learning Japanese for a month yet; WK is going at the perfect speed for me.


Then they can use KLC or at least be less stupid and read the FAQ before trying to use something they clearly don’t think is appropriate for them.

If they’re that level of “smart” they probably didn’t retain most of Genki anyway.


The thing about WK is that it actually asks you to show that you know stuff. My guess is that the average person who thinks they could just jump to level 10 without doing any of those lessons actually doesn’t know all of that content as well as they think they do.


I mean, even simple words like 日本語 I like to review them. It takes me like 5 seconds but who cares. It’s still exposure. Even if it takes a while to get on a level where you’ll start learning new stuff, there’s always other things to study.