I FORGET burned items!

Well the title says it. I just found out that I have no idea when I saw 指 alone. Hopefully that I can remember the kanji when it comes to reading

Maybe I should read more to reinforce those burned items and those I’ve learned? Doing review sessions every day actually takes time (1 hour/day for me. well it really is some time…). I’m panicking a bit

What should I do?


This is quite normal actually, I can’t even count the amount of people I’ve seen that have said they forget burned items. It’s to be expected honestly especially when you don’t see them for a long time. The best way to help this really is just reading native material.


I think there’s also a script that will let you un-burn them and set them back to guru. YMMV with that route.


Your brain constantly cleans up its storage. If you don’t read, kanji are basically useless trash ready for garbage collection.


Read. That enforces the words you know, lets you recall them faster and faster, and overall use Japanese in a practical sense as opposed to just memorizing answers for a question.


You know those times you look over your steering wheel and wonder what happened between when you left the house and when you got to work? Yeah, that’s your brain forgetting stuff it thinks is useless.


oh rysingdragon are you the guys just asked things about umai and oishii in english japan exchange discord? I’m the guy who talked with you there :hear_no_evil:

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very imaginative I would say. so true, and I think I have to find way to read more.

Play your games in Japanese. (Well, depends on the game, I guess)

It’s ok to forget. :wink:
But this should bring the question of:

I’m forgetting because it’s one of those wacky WK vocabs that are somewhat of an stretch to use a particular reading? :thinking:

or, it’s a really common word and maybe you haven’t done much reading (immersion)?

I would only worry if is the latter, and the fix should be pick up your favorite series of books, game, manga, etc… and enjoy your hard work :hugs: … that sensation of kanji amnesia will go away sooner than you might think.

Edit: besides you’ll be glad to realize that books and other materials are much more forgiving than SRS apps (specially WK). You might miss the particular reading at first, but knew the word, or the kanji, and infered the word… etc. With time and repeating exposure, you’ll feel that you are just reading and not so much testing yourself :blush:


Yea that was me, wow small world haha

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programer spotted :coffee:


ya lol. how is it going at level 38?

As others have said, I think this is fairly natural. After I hit 60, I started progressively un-burning kanji in each level. The regressed items seem to have fallen into several categories:

  1. Fairly uncommon kanji that I’ve just outright forgotten. Lots of my material such as graded readers don’t use a wider variety of kanji, so it is a problem that even with reading practice I just don’t encounter some. Lots of material will include up through 6th grade kanji, which is a pool of kanji that doesn’t map well to WK’s levels.

  2. Kanji that have either similar meanings or similar appearance that are easy to mix up. I think that depending on how long it has taken to go through all levels (3+ years for me), it is possible that these aren’t at play at the same time, so the particular kanji stunt double has to be re-learned.

  3. Kanji that are very difficult to remember on their own, but easy to recall in vocab. I’ve had a shamefully low retention rate in some levels in the teens and twenties. (I’m up through about level 26 in resurrecting - I try to do a level a week.) However, if I see the vocab, I very often just know what it is. In some cases #2’s kanji often are easy to mix up on their own, but since they have the same reading, the vocab is easy to retain. I also find I learn the items much quicker on the second go around.

Also, I’ve found that when reading at a natural pace that some words pop into mind very quickly, but in my un-burning process, were not easily retained out of context. Therefore, my advice is to practice reading more at lower levels in spite of encountering a lot of unknown kanji along the way. Read online with an extension to help there, and/or get a Kindle Paperwhite with several dictionaries to help. My biggest frustration here is comprehension of what is being said - it is easy to get wrapped around the axle and focus very much on reading, but not retain what is being said well enough to make it enjoyable.

It is a really tricky balance of speed of WK, study of grammar, reading practice, and speaking practice. I think finding the right ratio that works for the individual is something to strive for - always re-evaluate what you are doing. In conclusion, don’t sweat it too much, even Japanese people regress on kanji!


Another tip (besides lots of reading of course) - If you use KaniWani, you can make it so once you burn an item in WaniKani, it pops up in your KaniWani lessons pile. That way, it stays in your WaniKani/KaniWani reviews longer and also allows you to focus on production after comprehension.


Have you started though kaniwani or kamesame to bring back up many kanji’s and improve your recall. I think this would be beneficial especially for burned items.

Like others saying reading is probably the best too. Putting in your brain the context and this isn’t just some random fact you remembered but is really a part of something big.

I’m not at the level or have the grammar knowledge to really take on reading, but hopefully soon. Still struggle with verbs idk why but anki can probably fix that when I get around to it

As others have said, just keep up reading. It’s only natural you’ll forget something if you don’t encounter/use it for long stretches of time. The only reason foundational kanji stay foundational even for native speakers is that they encounter them so regularly; try to put them in the same position for yourself.

Try reading manga (with or without furigana), easy news, Japanese media with Japanese captions turned on, etc. Anything that’ll get you exposure to a large amount of kanji. At level 30+, assuming you’re doing grammar study along with Wanikani and are overall somewhere roughly intermediate, none of those should be outside your comfort zone.

And yet another proof that the whole concept behind ‘burning’ is flawed. Sadly reading more is not a solution as the more unusual kanjis don’t show up often enough to be kept in memory that way (unless you life in Japan and are continuously exposed to kanjis throughout the day), but they still show up at some point bringing only frustration as it was too late for them to be kept in memory. By reading you just ensure to see most kanjis at some point, but more often than not it’s not enough not to forget them, but just to feel the frustration of ‘I once knew what that was :confused: ). I reckon there should be more SRS levels, or the option to be tested on ‘burnt’ kanjis older than a given amount of time. If the test fails they shouldn’t be brought back to apprentice level (the only option we currently have with burnt items), which is way too harsh, but just be brought back to enlightened.


I agree that having the concept of burning is the flaw of the system. I would much prefer the items to just remain on Enlightened forever and retested every four months.


Maybe every four months is a bit too often because ideally memory retention is longer than that. Having 8000 items tested every four months would mean an average of 2000 per month, or 60 per day, which is maybe too much in the long term. I think having them tested every year or tw is good enough, as only the ones you actually struggle with would be asked more often, and the likes of 人 or 大 wouldn’t need to be asked that often at all. Having an average of 10-20 reviews per day is sustainable in the long term and would only take a few minutes.