I'm about ready to give up

I started my Wanikani 16 months ago, and I have used this site religiously every day since then. I’ve finished all my reviews every day at least once no matter how many hundred were there. Tomorrow is my 500th day in a row! Wanikani offered me something constructive and impressive that could be used as an external motivator for other things in my life as well. Studying Japanese has become like a symbol of a desirable mindset to have in life (to me at least). That mindset is that, even though I might have to work harder to get where others are, if I work hard enough I can achieve my goals. I’ve done Anki, textbooks, classes, language exchange, and I’m doing a homestay program in japan to hopefully solidify it through my uni next year. But, nothing so far has compared to how much Wanikani has helped me. I had teachers and friends asking what method I used to study kanji so effectively and I would always tell them all about Wanikani and how useful it has been to me by keeping me in check every day to work even just a little bit.

But… The past 3 months have been terrible. I’m getting sometimes 60% on my reviews, not to mention getting around 250 reviews a day, which normally wouldn’t bother me, but it’s all old material. It’s words or kanjis that I might have seen up to 100 times that I make the same error on OVER and OVER. I often mix up the meanings of things like 熱烈 and 強烈, 勝敗 is still constantly in my reviews (apprentice right now) because I always say it is “match” or “game” instead of “win or lose”. Things from absurdly low levels that I thought I had mastered are all coming back to bite me in the ass right now, like 写 vs 与 or 察 vs 寄 for some reason. And when I take new reviews its less like I’m getting new kanji and more like its just one more potential thing to confuse with something else. Sometimes it just makes me incredibly angry. And as a result, I don’t take new reviews from levels, and levelling up is slower than ever. I’ve been on level 42 for a week now and still haven’t taken any new lessons despite not having less than 150 apprentice. Basically all my reviews are just leeches.

This all just makes me feel like giving up. It used to take me about 8 days to level up now it’s starting to look more like 30, and level 42 feels less like 2/3rds of the way and more like I still have 70% of the way to go. Which feels really bad. Like, am I really going to spend another year doing this even though I’m so high up? Not to mention I’m a pretty broke ass college student so another year of WK subscription is nothing to sneeze at. And, as I get older, I’m very close to graduating from my undergrad but things are going to just get more intense from here in my life as I am trying to get into a good law school, I don’t know if I should be spending an hour and a half every day doing this when I could be studying for my regular classes or for the law school admissions test.

Another thing I think about is, I read a lot of people saying that it gets easier the higher up you get. And I guess that was true to an extent about kanji, like it’s easier to remember one once you have the foundations of what radicals stand for or what a radical might tell you about how it sounds, for Wanikani it couldn’t be further from the truth and “Paradise” is more like the second level of hell for me. I could do more to review the kanji I have by reading but I don’t do it much, I read twitter comments or wikipedia articles sometimes but only when it’s because I’m doing it for some other reason, not because I’m trying to practice. And my listening comprehension is absolute garbage so tv shows are difficult unless someone’s put japanese subtitles on them so I can pause it every 10 seconds and just read what they are saying instead… ugh.

I guess in summary I just feel like giving up. I feel like I’m just getting nowhere!! But at the same time I just can’t because my brain likes seeing the big number next to my streak and the review calendar full of blue squares.


Have you been doing any type of leech training? Because, I think from lv 30 and up that becomes pretty important to keep those confusing items in line. There are multiple scripts to help you cram specific items among your reviews, so it’s a matter of putting extra effort on those items, while letting the rest get taken care of by the SRS.


I do have some script that displays leeches, but its more like a list of things I look upon sadly because I don’t know a script to review them specifically. If there is a script for that I’d love to see it

Well if that scripts is the Item Inspector, then you can just click on one of the menu icons to either quiz yourself on the entire table or just the page you’re looking on. the item inspector should be paired with the Self-Study Quiz-script.

The Shin Wanikani Leech trainer* is more geared toward confusing items, so that might be even more effective, though it’s slower to use. Though, I think the Item inspector also allows you to do quizzing on visually similar items? @prouleau might be better at describing how you do that.

If you need more inspiration on how to tackle leeches, you might read some of my study log posts. ^^


Wow, I installed it, and I have like 300 leeches :grimacing:
Came to WK forums just to complain and got good advice from very smart people in return… this is why this site is the best





Just to add my 2 cents, I feel like you’re looking at this the wrong way, I understand being that high up and you think there’s absolutely no way you should slow down now, but, I think you should ask yourself, what exactly changes for you if you finish within a few months or a year? Is there a massive difference between the two?

You’re probably tired of seeing a lot of “It’s not a race” type comments, but I think it’s better for you to just stop doing your lessons for this level, use the leech training that was recommended to you and get rid of them, clear out your apprentice pile and you will be feeling a lot better. You don’t have to fully stop if you don’t want to, even 5 lessons a day is fine, point is, you need to slow down a bit, just for a little while. 16 months in and you’re already level 41, not many people can have that pace. I’m about 9 months in and at the end of level 15 only.

I spent 61 days on level 12 because I wanted to clear out a backlog of lessons and just help myself out a bit, after that I sped up. You can do the same, obviously 61 days is a lot more than you need, I just neglected WK a lot of those days. Anyway, it’s just one level you have to do this, and you’ll feel confident and refreshed. You can go back to your pace after and finish WaniKani strongly.



Wow, that’s really impressive!

I’m not sure whether I am able to give you any advice, but I can tell you a little bit about myself, and maybe you find something interesting or helpful in there. (If not, I hope it was not too boring after all :sweat_smile:)
I joined WK (and started to learn Japanese) about 4.5 years ago, and as you can see I’m still not level 60. One of the reasons is that I’m not young any more, and I don’t learn as fast any more, but an even bigger reason is that I get bored after about 4-5 months of doing the same type of studies. So over time I’ve done WK, grammar, vocab, and I learned how to write kanji. I cannot do all of this in parallel because it simply overloads me, and I get burned out. (And believe me, I tried!) So I cycle through these phases one after another and back again. And a little bit of slack is always in order.
But the most important thing for me is that I constantly reward myself for my studies, mostly in the form of reading books (in Japanese, of course).
This is of course a way to trick myself, because reading books - for me - is a condensed form of study in and of itself :joy_cat: Still, it gives me something to look forward to and to measure my progress with.

How about you, do you sometimes reward yourself for your studies?


After level 20 (or 21?) I stopped doing lessons with the goal of getting my Apprentice+Guru less than 500. It took me around 30 days and although I was working on some leeches it was a huge break for my brain.

Stopping lessons, really gave me the clarity to “see” the leeches better. One thing that really surprised me though was that once I turned lessons back on with a clear head and clearer backlog I was super efficient and passed the next couple of levels much faster than my average.

Of course, my Guru count caught back up to where it was before but I’m happy to say many of those leeches of old are not an issue now. I’ve got new one’s to work through and I’ll take another break after level 30.


Don’t beat yourself over it. You don’t have to equate your progress in learning Japanese so close to your WK results. I feel like most of the stuff you are describing doesn’t even have much to do with failures in the language. The fact that you don’t remember some English equivalent or mix up a few kanji out of context is irrelevant in the big picture. You will make those mistakes for a long time, but they will eventually solidify.

Contrary probably to others, I would not recommend leech training. I think this where the whole WK system breaks down a bit when you have a lot of leeches. It’s just super inefficient to try to pound words into your brain that it doesn’t want to learn. It’s just a huge timesink, and why my strategy with Anki is to just automatically suspend leeches with a really low threshold. You don’t have to learn everything through SRS; a year from now if you do regular immersion and reading, you will look back and wonder why you ever had trouble remembering 90% of those words. Your brain will learn them when it’s ready.

If you are worried about finances, you are at a level where you could just ditch WK, read a lot and insert those words into Anki if you feel like it. Actually, that would probably be a lot better than trying to waste time learning those leeches through WK SRS. Overall spamming those same words is not gonna improve your language ability too much. The words could probably even be irrelevant for quite a while.

Don’t feel like you are chained to WK, but don’t give up. Good luck!


My recommendation for items you have problems with is to do a dictionary dive, especially in a monoJP dictionary to figure out why certain vocabulary items don’t stick. While WaniKani focuses on the 1:1 glosses for English meanings, one can add synonyms to ease up on that a little. That’s what I usually did.

Worth doing the same for kanji. The WaniKani kanji meanings are not absolute and it’s okay to come up with synonyms as long as they still represent the kanji :slight_smile:


I use BishBashBosh for leech training. It’s a separate site rather than an add-on script. Just mentioning it to give you another option or an added dimension to your studies. Best of luck!

One thing one could do, it strikes me…

…is to just punt some of the most annoying ones.

Hear me out!!

You could set synonyms for the wrong answers you keep providing, — Hey, I said head me out— and just get past them that way.

Now here is the hearing out:

The goal here is to learn Japanese.

The bulk of that is going to come from actually reading Japanese books and actually talking with Japanese people.

If you have some mistake here in the reading, you are going to be corrected pretty quickly by the context. And then repeat exposure to the context is going to set your mind straight.

So there’s no real reason to stress for some common mistake that is going to sort itself out anyways over time. A variation of “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

Okay, flame on. :fire: