If you could change anything about Wanikani, what would it be?

If you could change anything about Wanikani, what would it be? For me, I think it would be cool if they added the JLPT level to the vocabulary listings and gave a ranking of how common a word is. Like for example ranking it Very Common - Common - Average - Uncommon - Very Uncommon. This is because when I go to use some of the words I’m learning, they’re not the most appropriate words for a situation. While it makes my native speaking boyfriend giggle, I’d love to be able to get a gauge on whether I should focus on integrating a specific word into my regular vocabulary or not.


For JPLT level, there are no official lists after the 2010 revision. All lists are from before then, which is why スマホ isn’t on any of them, but テープレコーダー is. So they could go off of the old lists, but it would have to come with a big asterisk.

And for commonality, the issue is that it’s kind of impossible to give accurate descriptions, since any word outside of the most basic ones are going to vary in usage by medium. Some words are common in newspapers, but not spoken conversation. Some words you will hear all the time in high school anime, but in real life would only be heard in a high school context. Some words are popular among those under 30 but old people may never have heard of. Similarly, some things are used frequently by older people but may not be known to the younger generation.

So it would always be subjective, and likely be a source of headache for WK as people frequently argue that XXX should be listed as more common as you hear it all of the time in anime, or that YYY should be less common as you rarely hear it outside of newspapers. And so on.


I know WaniKani is teaching by radicals and all of that, but the order of kanji seems absurd sometimes. WaniKani teaches 彼, a kanji many of us learn very early, at level 35 - which means 1172 kanji (I think that’s the number) are taught before 彼. And the thing is, it consists of the radicals 皮 and 彳, the latest of which is taught on level 11. So why is it taught so late? I really doubt someone has ever learned it from WaniKani, people at this level definitely already saw it somewhere else. And the same with 髪 - hair, a basic word. At level 25, all of the radical it consists of have been taught, so why is it on level 44? Again, I really doubt someone learned the kanji on WaniKani. At such a late point of studying, they must’ve seen such a basic word somewhere else. And there are other rather basic kanji that could’ve been taught earlier, like 閉 and 窓 (level 33 kanji) and 緒 (level 38 kanji).

So as you can tell by my lengthy rant, I just wish WaniKani’s teaching order made more sense. Even if everyone’s goal is to reach level 60, it’d still be nice to learn at an order that makes at least a bit more sense. I’m not complaining about WaniKani teaching useless kanji, like many others have complained before. I just feel that the more useful kanji should be prioritized, once their radicals have been taught.


Reduce the burn interval from 120 days to 75 days and introduce a turbo burn interval that’s 180 days long.


Best course of action for me so far has been to go off of two frequency lists:

  1. A list that was created from all the subtitles files pulled from Netflix Japan.
  2. A list that was created from all the books in Aozora Bunko (well maybe not all the books but around 5000 books).

I’m limiting myself to only learning words under 15,000 for now (the list goes up to 60K+).

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  1. Link between related words : on vocabulary item pages, it would be neat to have a “Related vocabulary” section for vocabulary words and a list of other words on Wanikani that are similar (with a link to navigate to them if needed), together with a short one-sentence explanation of their difference in usage or meaning. There could also be 1 example sentence per word to illustrate the nuances. It could also be used simply to group words in a related lexical field (example : when on the page of a personal pronoun, show all other personal pronouns that are taught; on the page of “car”, show other ways of saying it or other means of transportation; etc.)
  2. If they did the previous, that could open up really cool possibilities for practicing applying our knowledge to specific content! For example, there could be mini-games that unlock as you go on with your levels. There could be a “fill in the right word” game where you have an example sentence with a choice of three close words and you have to put in the right one according to context. Or a game where you have to say if a word belongs to a specific category (ex: animals), with a new word appearing every time you get it right and the game stopping when you get it wrong. You could be timed and get bonus seconds with a right answer, and the objective would be to beat your own streak in the allotted time. The mini games could give points or other mini-trophies, parallel to our level achievements. I know this isn’t limited to kanji learning only per se, but since they do choose to teach vocabulary as well, it could be a great and very educational extension of their app.
  3. Wanikani, the B-side : I know there are other apps and ways to do this, but I’d love if WK allowed for reversed memorizing. Recall is way harder than recognition, and if you’re not living in Japan or exposed to the language all that much, you’re not getting a lot of memory reinforcement from just recognition in your day-to-day life. This could be something that’s optional and separate in terms of reviews etc. Like literally a “B-side” :stuck_out_tongue: If this would integrate our already-added synonyms it would be awesome, especially for us non-native English speakers!

Basically, I think if they found a way of adding some components to truly integrate the knowledge (instead of brute memorization out of context), with some problem-solving or way of creating links between what we know, it would make WK that much more perfect from an educational standpoint (disclaimer : I work in a field closely related to pedagogy, so I think about “how to learn better learning” a lot :wink: )

(edit: some formatting)


I totally agree with the bit about recall and recognition. As of now I’m making flashcards with only the definition and pronunciation in order to practice associating the sounds with the meanings as opposed to the kanji itself, but it would be super cool if there was a way to do this within Wanikani.

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Skip/suspend known vocab or redundant stuff

Teach vocab with i+1 sentence context like a Core or Tango deck, not the silly WK sentences, and SRS the full sentence.

Allow more kanji lessons per level if the user so chooses

Group visually similar kanji to help disambiguate

Better order, more according to frequency


Yes, I’m doing the same thing ! I export my finished levels as I progress and create Anki flashcards to use for recall and learning kanji stroke order (with the Kanji Stroke Order font). I want to add audio recognition (using the MIA Japanese add-on or OJAD’s Suzuki-kun for words for which MIA fails me), just need a couple of minutes of free time to set it up. But yeah, I agree, doing it within the app would save so much time and limit context-switching, it would be great. (Also, for them, potentially more revenue if people subscribe for longer ?)

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Group visually similar kanji to help disambiguate

Yes ! Especially when first learning a new kanji, it can get confusing when you learn a similar one later on. I usually go look up the previous kanji and compare them side by side, but it would be useful to have a built-in “Don’t confuse this kanji with these similar ones” section, even better if the differences are shown in a certain color or something.


Tsurukame has a built-in visually similar kanji section on the lesson pages. I would like to have the really similar ones grouped on the same level so I’m forced to distiguish during those early reviews.


Good to know, thanks!

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  1. An option to skip/disable items would be great. E.g. I don’t want to continue reviewing some vocab that I learned outside of WK and know perfectly fine already. It can also be used for getting rid of certain annoying leeches. Maybe you could temporarily remove an item from the review queue qnd come back to it later.

  2. Adding own vocab to reviews could be helpful. Especially on the later levels where some kanji don’t have a single associated vocab item.


I wish they would include more about the structure of the language and explain how the different kana combine with the kanji to create vocab words. Right now its either addressed with a silly mnemonic that doesn’t teach the general pattern, or they just ask you to memorize it.

I have a long list I’m writning up of about twenty things that suck about this platform but for now suspending kanji is probably the biggest one. Lots of vets (guilty) use this platform and waste time on known kanij, for one thing; for another, people get real leeches that the default mode is to keep smashing them into your face. That creates a block, not learning.

There are so many good suggestions in this thread, I wish the devs would listen.


How do you learn them without vocabulary😰

Learn? More like I keep forgetting them…

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The issue with Aozora Bunko is that it is all public domain stuff, which means a lot of it is old, and the language has changed a lot over past 150 years.

And pulling from Japanese subtitles is going to bias your selection based off terms that will appear most often most popular Netflix genres.

I just hold that frequency lists in general should be taken with a grain of salt, and one shouldn’t really pull from only one list. I would just think to go off of the 10k core list which pulls from newspapers, then maybe pull from a variety of others from less formal contexts if you want to keep on continuing.

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More etymology behind the vocab with counterintuitive kanji combination, and less Koichi just shrugging his shoulders and going “who knows?”.

Vocab for the dozen or so vocabless kanji.

那覇 and 札幌 as vocab items. And swap 淀川 for 三鷹.


I still cannot comprehend why they haven’t added 瑠璃.