I'm giving up on WK, and here's some feedback after making it to level 20 in three-ish years

企 is extra annoying because it has two corresponding verbs with completely different readings: 企てる(くわだてる) and 企む(たくらむ) which are both reasonably common and mean pretty much the same thing as far as far as I can tell. Wanikani only teaches the former though. So not only can’t I readily remember the キ on reading, I also struggle with the kun readings. Terrible kanji.

More generally the issue of kanji being only supported by a couple of vocabulary entries is certainly a growing problem when you progress in the levels. The problem is that the more niche the kanji become, the more likely it is that they will only be used in a handful of common words. As a result the WaniKani system makes less sense for those in my opinion: if a kanji is predominantly used only in one single common word, you’re probably better off learning the vocabulary first and derive the kanji meaning/reading from that, not the other way around.

That’s a good point, I didn’t really think of that because I spent a lot of time doing writing practice (as in, handwriting the kanji from memory) which helped massively with distinguishing similar kanji but also added ~250h of extra study time over the past year…


I agree with most everything that’s being said. However, a lot of the problems I think, are caused by either not reading, speaking, or listening to japanese outside of wanikani. I’m having similar problems, but I suspect they would be greatly lessened if I did anything with my japanese other than listen to ASMR and watch anime. I don’t read very much in japanese on a daily basis, and I haven’t started learning grammar or doing outside study of any real substance yet.

I do have issue with saying that wanikani should have a solution for the 50-60% review success crowd. I’m not particularly good at learning japanese, though I do have a lot more time to do so than others. I average 12 day levels, and only started september of 2023. I can’t ever recall a time when I was anywhere even remotely close to 50 or even 60%. The lowest I think I ever was just ONCE was 82%, and that was because I was tired, and just wanted to get through the reviews and didn’t really care, and I’d let them build up to about 300, which was miserable. I would say about 90% of the time, I’m at or above 85% success on reviews.

I agree with whoever else here said 50-60% success indicates wanikani isn’t the problem. Everything else you mentioned I agree with.

I do especially think they should remove the advertising on the website about “in a little more than a year”, isn’t fastest theoretical in 420 days(7 days per level)? It might be technically correct, but it’s not feasible for anyone who’s going to be using wanikani. If I kept up my current pace(which I won’t be, I need to slow down to make room for starting bunpro and grammar, and additional time for starting to actually read japanese), I’d finish in almost exactly 2 years.

Keep in mind I’ve been watching anime for about 12ish years at this point, and I literally sleep listening to japanese ASMR, so I’ve got more japanese exposure than a lot of others would who start wanikani. If I’m not doing it in less than 1 year, it’s not something that should be advertised.


I forgot 企画(きかく), but 企業(きぎょう) is relatively common.


The key word here is Advertising, truth in advertising is a very different beast and in WaniKani’s case it’s not even a stretch, people did finish it in a little more than a year you can take a look here My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 ) and it is not an anecdotal example.
The point of advertising is to make you look and to entice you to give it a try, the reasonable consumer will check the data beyond the advertisement in order to make a more informed decision. It’s nothing more than that.

Is it annoying to know that it is possible to reach level 60 in a little more than a year, that people did this successfully because they can? Probably, sometimes, depends on what headspace one’s in.

Is it super annoying how advertisement works on one’s brain when it’s something they already wish for? definitely. The problem is that saying something like “in a little more than a year up to 8 years!” might be true in actuality but as an advertising point, really falls flat.


Please do not take this the wrong way but really? I have been studying Japanese for 31 years. When I started the internet as we know it did not exist. My study materials were actual books and homemade flash cards. You do not even know what frustration is. Try making thousands of individual kani flash cards and carrying them around all day to study and trying to organize the cards so that you get rid of stuff you already learned and trying not to duplicate cards you already made.

Japanese learners today, including myself, have it so easy. The amount of online material available at your finger tips with a few keystrokes is mind blowing.

I have made it to level 60, took about 5 years I think, then reset. I am up to level 15 now on my second time around.

Learning something difficult like Japanese take time and patience. Sushi chefs in Japan spend 5 to 10 years as an apprentice mastering one thing in order to progress to the next level. If one of these apprentices read your post I am sure they would find it hilarious that you give up so easily.


I can vouch for that as well. Endless content, OCR and digital dictionaries containing every single word and expression in your pocket at all times. Pre-internet were the dark ages for language learning. Back then it was even difficult to find varied English books in my middle sized French city. For Japanese you basically had to book a plane ticket or pay through the nose for mail orders.


Bless your Heart :rofl:


I TOTALLY agree with your basic sentiment here, but not with your conclusion! NOTE that OP is NOT giving up, just going to a different app, Bunpro.

The internet still blows my mind away when I think of what I can do and learn from the comfort of my chair! Just imagine the millions of people who don’t use the library anymore or possibly have NEVER been in a library to do research on something of interest!

And some people have trashed talk WK blaming EVERYTHING on WK for their lack of progress or making it hard for them to learn Japanese, etc. Fortunately, those treads eventually go away either because they left WK (or at least the forum) or they stop because of all the grief they got from the rest of us.

BUT the OP is NOT one of those people! Just read what OP stated below my post.

Yes, OP lists all of the personal ‘dealbreakers’ that were the source of frustration for OP, but sharing those were for feedback to WK for them to consider improvements as they see fit and to fellow users who might feel the same way. But you’re telling OP to suck it up because we’ve got it so easy now!

It’s been stated so many times in this forum that we all learn differently. Think about it. Why did you choose WK instead of Duolingo or Rosetta Stone or some other app if you happen to use these two? Most people will look into how the app works and decide which one seems to be the best fit for themselves. And after trying it out, there is nothing wrong with deciding that it’s not working out. OP should NOT have to stay with WK just because it’s so MUCH EASIER to use than the pre-internet days.

I chose WK, I use it daily, I still like WK and I don’t like it when people blame WK for all THEIR faults. But the OP clearly is NOT one of those by acknowledging the usefulness of the app, that it did work well for the kanji learned and that it’s NOT a bad program…it’s just a bad program for OP. And there’s nothing wrong with deciding that something is no longer working for themselves.

A long time ago, people had to gather kindle to start a fire to cook their food. So, if someone buys a used home that came with an electric stove is that person obligated to keep that stove because it’s so much easier than before? Or can that person decide to get a gas range because it suits their cooking style so much better?

Just food for thought :blush: and PLEASE remember, I do AGREE with your basic sentiment!

OP’s post showing why OP is NOT a WK basher!


That’s one I have never been able to remember.

And that’s one I have never been able to forget.

In the book 魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service), just after Kiki arrives in Koriko, a hexephobic citizen says to her,


from Chapter 3, page 56, column 9 of the red paperback edition
published by 服印鑑文庫(ふくいんかんぶんこ)Fukuinkan Bunko (2002)

So the first time I saw that 企む was read たくらむ, it was instantly burned into my memory.

I am doomed. :crying_cat_face:


I have a Post-It on my monitor with my worst leeches which contains 企む, 企てる and… 潔い.


Don’t forget 装い


How about 工夫(くふう) +()てる. There might be a better real etymology, but I don’t bother looking up.


I couldn’t find the etymology but it led me to the Japanese definitions of both words:

「企てる」→ 計画を立てる、またはそれを実行しようとする。

「企む」→ 悪事を計画する。

So たくらむ is explicitly negative, while くわだてる is more neutral. Until now I just memorized both as “to plan” but 企む is probably better memorized as “to plot” or “to scheme”.

It also makes sense that the author would use たくらむ in that Kiki sentence @nemurineko mentioned.


(たくら)む seems to be from (たく)む / (たく)み.


Hey all I wish you would have migrated the leeches discussion to the Confusing Mnemonics and Leeches Help Thread.
There’s a good chance that users that will find this super helpful are missing out on the discussion because it is so off topic and some users put this kind of WK feedback threads on mute.


I remember those well, the first time I started to learn Japanese (and Chinese) for a work assignment, a long time ago. And audio cassette tapes. Lots of audio cassette tapes. Hit play, hit pause, hit play, hit pause.

Your forgot the ultimate in frustration. Dropping your deck of flashcards and having them scattered everywhere, getting down on the floor (waiting area at the airport in one case) to pick them all up and then sorting them all - again. Ahhh, the good ole days :smirk:


My study/language exchange partners were all by handwritten letters via the postal services back then.


Thanks for sharing your feedback on Wanikani. It’s clear you’ve encountered frustrations, especially with certain aspects like difficulty spikes and lack of context integration. Your insights could be valuable for both developers and fellow learners. Best of luck with your language learning journey!


Wish I could heart this ten more times. I remember making those damn flashcards. not only did you have to do hundreds of them by hand but then they were in my terribly handwriting and they did not track your results or give you dopamine from “leveling up” lol. So glad we have wanikani now.


Also Japanese has a HUGE amount of online material compared to other languages (especially for its relative size). If you want to study something like Korean, Russian, Arabic etc. there are far fewer resources. There are still plenty, of course, but compared to Japanese (which is only spoken natively by a small amount of people and is really only spoken in one country) its kind of amazing how many resources there are out there like WK.