I just became a subscriber ! But I just saw a video that threw me a bit off

If you want to learn to write kanji in parallel with WK, you can try my method: when I’m truly stumped and don’t know the meaning or reading of a kanji, I open google translate on my phone, and write it out. (I look up the correct stroke order on jisho.org, if I need to.) One nice side effect of using google translate is that the translation is highly unreliable, so you often still have to do some mental connections to arrive at the answer WK is expecting. And of course, I don’t cheat on the WK answer, so that the SRS timing remains intact.


For me, the ability to use an online resource with gamification is the reason I use WK. I’ve not personally used RTK, but I did try to use Kanji Damage and having the “hand holding” the WK system/SRS employs has made a big difference for the speed at which I learn. It’s much harder for me to remember to review information in a textbook or website where it’s all laid out (like Tae Kim’s grammar guide, for example), but being able to log on and see reviews and lessons every time I open my browser (I’ve set WK and my other reviewing websites as start-up pages) makes it much easier for me to maintain my habit of reviewing/learning every day.


I just use the built in IME in Windows. So I type きんじょ, press the space bar and voilá! Instant 近所.


Welp googeling how to install/use this witchcraft then. Ty ty

付近 bow to me mortals, for I have mastered the craft of Windows IME x) ありがとう!


You’ll need a Japanese IME (input method extension) for that. Then, you can write, say, fukinn and it will turn that into hiragana ふきん and offer different alternatives how that might be written in hiragana / katakana / kanji, e.g. 付近. See, for example, https://community.wanikani.com/t/japanese-ime-how-to-type-in-japanese/80?u=kiirala

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Thank you I’m looking into downloading it right now.

Oh boy, I saw his video and I kinda got a little pissed off.

I agree with him until the point he starts talking about WaniKani.

I’ll basically try to explain in a 4 mins read what he failed to explain in 40mins.

Kanji - Native speakers know around 3000. Japanese learners usually aim for the 2000s first.

How to learn kanji?

There’s basically two skills that involve knowing a kanji:

  • Recognition
  • Recall

Recognition: Recognition is a response your brain gives to a certain stimulus. You see a kanji, you compare it with information stored in your brain and you’re able to identify it. This is basically what WK is based on.

Recall: The process of recalling basically consists of being able to retrieve information from one’s memory without having any basis of support. This is basically being able to hand write a kanji (RTK’s way).

Observation: Being able to recognize a kanji does not imply that you can recall it (and vice versa).

How WaniKani approaches kanji:

Like I mentioned above, WaniKani consists of developing your recognition skills to identify kanji. You see a kanji either alone or in a word and you’re able to know its main meaning(s) and reading(s). Wanikani uses 3 main steps to help you memorize this much amount of info:

  • Radicals (not the official Japanese radicals, but fake ones): Think of a kanji like a treasure map. They’re full of weird lines all messed up and you simply can’t figure it out. Now, imagine if someone divided the treasure map in more simple and smaller maps. You would analyse each new part to then be able to make sense of the whole map. This is how radicals work with kanji.
  • Kanji: Each kanji has several meanings and readings. Not only it’s a mess to be able to identify them, but memorizing this much at the same time? むりむり!What Wanikani does is that it only gives you the most common meaning(s) and reading(s) when you’re learning a kanji. It’s a selective method. You’ll be able to know 80% of it with 20% of the effort.
  • Vocab: We’ve finally reached the 3rd phase. This is where Wanikani gives you an extra reinforcement of the readings through vocabulary and also shows you less common ones. Remember when I told you that during the learning of Kanji, Wanikani had to be selective? Now since you can already identify the kanji learned, you’re more comfortable learning that extra % missing.

What he fails to recognize:

  • He fails to recognize that RTK only teaches you meanings: since you’re on Genki 2 already, you know that you need to learn how to read kanji too. Also, not all the kanji parts’ meanings will tell you the meaning of the actual kanji nor the kanji meanings will tell you the meaning of the word. The author of that video also confirms this in another of his videos.

  • He fails to recognize that not only Wanikani teaches you the kanji, but also teaches you 6000 words. Yes, those words are not the most common ones. However, the whole goal to learn kanji is to be able to read the words that use them. Learning 2000 kanji and then only learning words that use 1500 of the kanji is ridiculous. Why would you learn those last 500 kanji if you’re not learning words that use them?

  • He says we learn vocab out of context. Well, it’s not like we have example sentences for every word on WK. Even if we don’t like them, we can just go to an online dictionary and check for more example sentences. Even then, exposure through reading and listening wins every single time. Why? Because words can be used in different ways, depending on context. This will have to happen throughout your learning journey though. You can’t expect to memorize everything at once. RTK also doesn’t teach you any words, so there isn’t this extra reinforcement.

  • He says RTK can be completed in 3 months. Sure, just check the internet and read the stories of people spending 4h a day to complete it in 3 months. All that hard work and 3 months later and they still can’t read. I’m aiming to finish Wanikani in exactly 366 days with 1h of usage per day. I wrote a post about how to do this here. HOWEVER, I’m just doing it for the lolz. You simply don’t need to speed up your kanji learning. There’s so much more to Japanese than knowing the kanji. What’s up with having a N1 kanji knowledge if you’re still learning grammar from JLPT N4? (In case you don’t know, the Japanese proficiency exams go from N5 to N1, the latter being the hardest). Reaching to a N2 level takes a couple of years, even for the most dedicated. That’s how much time you have for kanji.

  • I’m not even going to argue against the idea that Wanikani needs to be paid for. 1. RTK is also a paid book and 2. if you’re not willing to invest money in your education, you already lost.

The only thing that’s beneficial about RTK method is that it apparently teaches you recalling (hand writing kanji basically). Well, even if you live in Japan, you rarely need to hand write things. When you do, it’s always the same stuff (address as an example). We live in a world where everything now is computerized, unlike when RTK was written. At that time, handwriting was indeed a priority, but not really anymore. Indeed, I advise you to learn how to hand write kanji because sending postcards to Japanese friends is the best thing ever!! However, handwriting is not necessary to learn kanji itself.

I might add some extra info later on. These were just some ideas I remembered right now.


Btw while we are defending Wanikani with all our might - Have you read the Guide and FAQ? :3


I’m 26 minutes into the video and he goes “also, because we don’t know Japanese yet, we can’t use Japanese words or kanji readings to make unique cues to recall characters” when he’s defending why the keywords in RTK suck.

Wait, why don’t we know Japanese yet? Like, is he actually advocating doing RTK first?


Thank you Jprspereira, I agree with you. I was wondering if that book only teaches you to write the kanji and the Keyword how will the individual learn how to read then.

So what do people that follow this method actually do after it ?

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Should you not do that? I remember Koichi saying that you should learn Wani till lvl 10 before you pick up your first text book to have an easier time reading everything. Atleast so far I’ve only been learning Kanji and am now only slowly going for grammar/genki/etc. Probably not the most efficient way but I didn’t want to struggle with kanji eh.

Or am I missing your point?


Does he actually say that? Then I (and I think a lot of users, since we often give advice directly contradicting this) heartily disagree.

Kanji is just one aspect of Japanese, and learning it with no foundation in the actual language seems backwards.


Hey Alan, I also just learn the hiragana and katana in the genki books with the vocabulary in Hiragana. That’s why I came now here to learn the kanji. Was my method flawed ?

I am afraid that I misphrased him, I’ll check the email. I think it was “how you will learn japanese in 2018” or something.

From his email:

(WaniKani) Level 10:

I tend to recommend that people reach at least Level 10 (preferably level 20) before picking up a Japanese textbook. That way, in terms of kanji and vocabulary, you’ll be able to read pretty much everything in any beginner textbook you use


I’ve used RTK many years ago and honestly it was a really fun and I thought I was learning, but the process just took too long. I’m actually learning more with wani kani because it shows me vocabulary that I do see in daily life since I’m living in Japan,


Nonono you’re fine lul. In the beginning getting a good understanding of hira and kata will help you a lot in the long run x) Also you’re probably way more profficient in Japanese than me if you’ve gone through genki 2, don’t take me as a teacher and listen to the 60’s and leebo ^^

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This video is waaaaaaay too long. I didn’t watch it.


Ok, but isn’t Leebo lower than you ? It has number 6 besides the wolf picture, you have 10.

Hahaha, He’s like the biggest guru on this website along some others and a long time level 60. He sarcastically changed his level from 60 to 06 so that noone could say that he’s using his higher level to promote his opinion.

Humble Leebo beneath me :o

P.S I disagree, that’s definitly a wolf.
P.S² TIL Huskys look identical to wolfs.


Yeah, I wouldn’t listen to me if I were you. :smile:

PS it’s a husky