I thought I'll never finish Wanikani, but 3 years later, I'm here

So I finally reached level 60, after 3 years since starting, and 1 year of actively learning japanese. Here’s my story, and some stats at the end :smiley:

My story

3 years ago, on the 4th of December 2020, I was a bit skeptical about this website called Wanikani. A website that promises you to know all kanji in just over a year, for just 300 dollars lifetime, or 10 dollars a month. When I started it felt really slow. I wasn’t really into japanese media anymore, all I was doing during corona was just reading books and trying to finish my major.

In the back of my head I still wanted to learn japanese, maybe it felt like a challenge. I tried many ways to learn japanese over the years. Anki, writing, other free apps, but none of them worked. So I thought maybe I can give WK a shot and see how it goes.

Things started well, slowly the reviews started increasing, and for 6 months I was able to reach level 25. But I didn’t feel a lot of progress. My japanese wasn’t good enough and i couldn’t really read anything. Wanikani was the only thing I was doing, so since I didn’t really see any progress, I slowly stopped, until in July 2021 I burnt out and stopped doing it daily. University was also getting very stressful at the same time. So slowly but surely, I stopped doing it altogether. I tried getting back and resetting to level 20, but it was still hard to keep a streak again.

Last year, I finished my major, and got some more free time again. I had still a lot going on beside work so i still didn’t have the motivation or a reason to get back to wanikani. I thought I’ll never finish it. Reviews were accumulating. getting back to it was very hard because I’ve forgotten so much. I didn’t want to reset to 0 so I just continued not doing Wanikani.

Until December of last year, I had some free time and I had a good idea: How about I reorder my reviews by Wanikani level, and start doing them day by day? It felt much more doable. At the same time I was planning to move to a big city, so to kind of destress from the moving I started doing Wanikani while organizing my life and looking for a new job.

After restarting Wanikani, I also started looking into other resources. I started doing Anki Tango N5, and also started many other apps, none of them stuck with me except one, Jalup, or Nihongo Lessons. So over the last year, since the end of last December, I’ve been using Wanikani, Anki decks, and Jalup. In the last summer I finished Tango N4-N5, and on the 2nd of December of this year, I reached level 60 of Wanikani. Almost exactly 3 years after starting it.

At some points while doing Wanikani over the year, I started having some issues with it. And also it started causing me some physical issues. I was using Tsurukame on iOS, and my phone was small so I was basically typing on a very small screen. Since I’ve also been doing Anki, I thought wouldn’t it be nice if WK was like Anki? And that’s when I switched to Anki Mode.

Anki mode decreased my accuracy, but also gave me control over my learning. One thing I disliked about Wanikani is how it asks for perfection, it asks for an english translation of the word, and it felt a bit weird after a while. Sometimes I would have an image of a word or the kanji, but I wouldn’t be able to express that, and if that image almost matched the meaning, I would take it. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t take it.

Another part that Anki mode gave me, is control over accessing vocab. In other methods of learning japanese, you would learn the kanji through the vocab, and that was nice because you can reinforce a kanji meaning through vocab. This is one of the main selling points of WK, but until you reach the vocabs, you’re expected to perfectly remember the meaning of the kanji, even though it’s usually easier to just learn it through vocab.

Overall, despite those small issues that I got over, Wanikani offered structure and helped me slowly progress through new kanji and vocab in a very friendly way, so I’m very happy with that.

My current japanese level

So how’s my japanese level now after 1 year of actively learning japanese again? Well, it’s okay. I can read a lot of what’s thrown at me, thanks to Wanikani. Can I understand everything? it depends on difficulty, but after some lookups I can understand what’s being said in a book or an article. I played some games where I would also understand the gist without having to lookup much.

That said, still have a long way to go to reach my japanese goals, like reading without lookups, but compared to a year ago, I’ve made a lot of progress and I’m extremely happy with it. I’m slowly transitioning to reading more books in japanese, and also mining words and sentences.

I’m very thankful for Wanikani and also very excited for my japanese learning journey going forward.

Here’s also some stats


RIP Heatmap, at least I can see when i leveled up.

My account was made in 2019, but the heatmap says I started doing wanikani in December 2020, so I went with that


Congratulations! :crabigator: :cake:

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Very well done, and since your reset there are some very consistent levelling up times till the end.

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Congrats on reaching level 60, candus1! I’m a little late to the party but I’m trying to make it up by offering this lovely cake!! Enjoy, hope you like chocolate from the 1960’s!


-Nick at WK

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