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

I never attacked you. I was only pinpointing the lack of consistency of your argument. And if you do feel that’s an attack, it’s interesting that you don’t realize that you were the one who started the attack by using your teacher analogy.

What i find interesting is that you did not address the fact that you selectively quoted me to fit your narrative.

@marsh1834 @marciow1
:eyes: I feel like I need to bring up something important –

Just in case :yellow_heart:. Even when we disagree or feel not great, let’s adhere to the rules and hug it out, shall we? Interpreting tone and intent on the internet is super hard.

pema@anime | Anime, Anime hug, Cuddling gif

Peace アンド 愛


The capability to choose how many reviews you want to do in any one session can already be managed, albeit in a marginally slightly less elegant manner, in WK now. I do this all the time.

If I have 120 reviews in my queue and I decide that I want to do 40 this session then I just click the the button to wrap up the session when the count of completed reviews hits 30 (easy to see, the counter is always right there at the top of the screen). Often times I do not set a specific number of items but go by time. If I have 20 minutes to do reviews then I start my reviews and when I get close to 20 minutes I hit the wrap up session button. Of if I get the “dinner is ready” or “I am ready to go now” or the “the show is starting” call I reply with “be there in 1 or 2 minutes” and hit the wrap up session button. Caveat: if it is a really good show I skip the wrap up session button and just hit the home button at the top of the screen and stop the review session right away I will end up having to repeat one aspect of a few items, but no big deal.

Selecting how many reviews I want to do is already there.


Thanks for your input. I think we’ve sort of deviated in talking points from where we started and are even doing a little talking past eachother at this point but I agree with pretty much all of what you’re saying.

And yes, I read simias’s post! He’s a very intelligent and insightful individual so I tend to give his comments a read.


Yeah I think we can wrap this thread up on a high note.


I am pretty much given up too. The naming of levelling and the graphic are not encouraging and made learning not fun/enjoyable to me. I stopped reading the examples since very early on.

Thanks for sharing and good luck with your journey.


Feels like there’s some reasonable feedback in here but I’m taking away the crux of the matter is you don’t know enough vocab yet - manga taking an hour a page with a dictionary in hand is quite extreme and shows you need to go back a few steps. No shade, that’s just how the learning journey goes.

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I can certainly sympathise with the sentiments here. I have some issues with WK, mostly around them changing meanings of words pretty often and usually without warning, so I type in an answer I know is right only to get it wrong. Sometimes they say “we’ve changed the meaning of this”, sometimes not.

I also don’t bother with the example sentences at all as they often include kanji which are several levels above my current level, or are amazingly not on WK at all. They’re a mess.

But on the flip side for its faults, and the massive amount of time it demands of you is certainly one of them, it does basically work.When I hit level 30 or so I started reading manga in Japanese which I still do pretty much everyday. And as I get better books which I found near unreadable are slowly becoming understandable.

But I’ve also reaslised that even when I hit level 60 I’ll really only have scratched the surface of Japanese vocabilary. It’s a language with a gigantic amount of words, and WK really only teaches a relatively small sample of them. And so it goes on, but I keep at because I’ve come this far and I feel that my original goal - to be able to play retro RPGs in Japanese - is within grasping distance.

I just wish I could understand spoken Japanese better. Watching Shougun on Disney+ it may as well be in mandarin. Anime I can handle a little better, but still, I have so far to go.


Mmm… others will correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you ought to feel too bad about not understanding the Japanese in Shogun - they’ve used ‘old’ Japanese on purpose.
I read somewhere (or was it in an interview?) that the initial script was written in English, sent to Japan for a first translation in modern Japanese, then sent to another team in Japan for changing it to ‘old’ Japanese, then returned to the crew. And as an aside, it turned out a lot of content was changed versus the original script in English - in terms of meaning/indirect translation, that is.

Anyways, I am only a beginner so take this with a (huge) pinch of salt:
From Shogun I barely picked up a few words, while recognizing considerably more from other films I watched in the same period - mostly Kore-eda Hirokazu films where people speak nice, slow(ish) and clear :blush:


I haven’t seen more than a few clips on Youtube, but there is a specific way of speaking that signals “this is Edo period Japanese”, yeah. (Mostly it is keigo, plus some nonstandard sentence enders, plus some grammar patterns which today are written only.) This doesn’t particularly correspond to how people actually spoke back then, which would be pretty unintelligible to a modern Japanese person I suspect – it’s a set of dramatic conventions that got nailed down as part of the development of the 時代劇 historical film genre in the early twentieth century, and which you also see in dialogue in historical novels. If you’re interested in the genre then it might be easier to start with books, which give you more time to read the dialogue rather than muttering, shouting or slurring it, and which have more modern Japanese in between for the non-dialogue. Plus you get to pick up the genre specific vocab. My personal suggestion for a starting point is Akagawa Jirou’s Nezumi series https://learnnatively.com/book/598b1a4996/ because his writing style is fairly easy so you don’t have to deal with a difficult book as well as an unfamiliar genre. (They’re short stories about a Robin-Hood style “rob the rich and help the poor” thief in Edo.)


Bro announced his departure :skull:


I know this thread is a week old, but I just came across it and your reply. If you find reading things like manga frustrating I highly recommend the app TODAII: EASY JAPANESE. I have iOS, so IDK if there is an Android version.


  • Takes current news articles from NHK in both video (if there is one) and written form. They also have some articles from places like CNN, Asahi, BBC, etc. all in Japanese.
  • If you want to use the free version - you can read/watch 3 a day with a short ad at the beginning. The free version has been more than enough for me.
  • It shows you at the bottom of every article, before you click on it, how many JLPT 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 words there are in the article. So, if you want an easy article look for one that has mostly JLPT 5 & 4 words.
  • When you read the article you can highlight single words, word phrases, entire paragraphs etc. and see what they mean, how say/spell them, etc.
  • Then when you are done, you can take a short quiz on the article, go through flashcards that have words used in the article, make notes on certain words, and more.
  • On top of all that, there is a lesson section, JLPT practice tests (the free version has 16, paid has 32), a dictionary, and more.

I hope this helps you or anyone else who has become frustrated with being able to read and understand Japanese. For a free resource, it has been unfathomably useful in my understanding and confidence in reading Japanese.

PS: I read an article the other day about animals who have been caught booping their snoot to the gas range and accidentally turning it on with the push button. I never would have known that was an issue in Japan had I not read the article.


Hello again. I feel like I need to reiterate; I posted this in the feedback section. I wasn’t looking for advice - or a diagnosis! I am not experiencing any mental health distress nor do I have ADHD, ASD, PTSD, or any of the other things listed upthread. I just have a full time job and learn in a way that Wanikani doesn’t really work for (as the more perceptive of you cottoned on to). I asked for advice last year and got some helpful, some less helpful. It didn’t work. Hence this post.

I mentioned a lot of this in the original post. I really didn’t expect the… attachment a lot of you have to WK and its learning style. But then, I didn’t expect WK to make me as angry as it did, so maybe the combination of SRS and Kanji just make people have feelings.

As noted in the spirited discussion above, some of you need to work on the way you come across online. If I had a less robust sense of self some of these posts would feel like character assassination. Maybe just take the projection, and the implied and actual judgement, down a peg? We’re all different, even without diagnoses.

Conversely, some of you are very good at being supportive and engaged in an online forum. Thanks to those people.

Bro did in fact announce his departure - best of luck to those of you struggling, and congratulations to those of you who have made 60.


You are not looking for advice but I don’t think it’s a bad idea that people offer it, some other users might be reading this post and take the advice :slight_smile:
I personally think that WK has several flaws (to name a few: limited number of items that you can learn, mistakes punishing you from accessing content) and would not have kept using it as long as I did if only the vanilla way existed. But thanks to all the work this community did, I found ways (user script / apps / “cheating” methods) to tweak it so that it works for me and that I get value out of it.


Yeah, I misunderstood your first post then. I assumed that you meant it’s purely a study routine thing, but reading over it again I see that I just read that into it.

And I also agree with you there. You wouldn’t have a 50% accuracy just because of unoptimal SRS intervals.


WK is an ADDON, to facilitate Kanji learning. It cannot replace reading, and/or actual lessons about grammar + additional vocab study.

Yah, I know they market it as “2000 Kanji in a year!!11” but lets be honest here: learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint. So there is 0 reason to sprint into SRS burnout on the Kanji front.

I needed around 3 years to reach the level I have now (19) at roughly 5 elements per day with the occasional vacation slotted in. My retention quota is at an average of 90%. My Kanji knowledge is still way ahead of my grammar/general vocab capabilities. There are “lifetime” deals for a reason.

I currently project that I will be able to read / view Japanese media in around 10-15 years, given the hobby-esque pace I currently employ during learning.

As for the rest of the OP’s points: these are mostly YOU problems, not WK problems. Especially that weird whining about the numbers. Oo
Reassess your attitude, goals and align them with reality. Japanese is HARD. Especially for us westerners that are unfamiliar with the concept of Kanji.

What I do agree on though: WK really needs an [Undo Typo] button as well as some form of leech management. Some words just … won’t … forkin’ … stick. :'D

You are assuming people always move slowly and deliberately. When I do ~50+ reviews and I am sure of the answer, I type quickly and usually hit Enter right away. Since I am sure about the answers there really is nothing to be gained by re-reading what I typed, except a waste of time.

So yeah: I do maintain that WK really needs an [undo] button. KaniWani has it and it is great. Of course it requires stringent discipline of the user to only use it when it actually was a typo and not something one didn’t know.

  1. Poor error management: It’s been talked about ad nauseam on this forum, but the app needs a ‘whoops’ button. It also needs to engage in a positive, encouraging way with your ‘near misses’, for example where you type ‘せつ’ instead of ‘さつ’. At the moment it treats a serious but wrong attempt the same way as it treats me inputting ‘お’ in frustration because it’s the closest key to the enter key and I want to skip to the screen that tells me the answer. On that note, why do I have to manually open the info screen after an error, and then individually open reading and meaning tabs to review the item? There’s not even an option to fix this, it just assumes you enjoy beating your head against a brick wall. For me, I’d rather see near-misses bounced back with targeted guidance on what I’m getting wrong (maybe highlight the ‘せ’ so I know it’s meant to be ‘さ’?), or if I put a valid but wrong reading for the kanji in, a hint that it’s a different reading. I’d also like a setting that shows me the meaning and reading instantly on a wrong answer so I can refresh myself on it.

You-, you know you can just hit the “Refresh”, right? If you made a typo you can just refresh the page, and all the items that you haven’t submitted yet will be restored to initial state. I mean that’s kind of cheating, but on the other hand, if you want to cheat you will, so that’s whatever. Personally, I use it only when I know it’s a typo.

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Actually, I type all my Bunpro responses, same as on WK, this is configurable, and you seem to have changed away from the default way to do it the way you do. Please check the settings. I only ever type the JP readings and EN meanings, depending.


I get it, and your frustration, @nikuotoko. For me, some frustration set in in the middle tens already. One thing I had to learn, is manage to get to some middle ground in terms of reviews. I slowed down to not be bombarded by reviews, then, after a while I had to reduce the slack in turn.

Right now things feel manageable. I have a batch size of 5, WK recommends me to learn 15 things a day and lets me pick, and so it’s doable. My pace went up since I can prioritize particles and kanji over vocab, so I slowly work my way through the new kanji while clearing up the vocab.

If I understand it right, one of my major annoyances with WK has gone away. I could leave some vocab and still get my level progress or do it later. I haven’t done that yet. But it’s possible now due to the lesson picker. I also get to group my learning in a way I feel that day, like more words likely to be onyomi or all vocab containing a certain kanji, and picking my favorites.

I’m not meaning to say all is fine from it. Eventually the usefulness of learning in levels will go down, and even now I see more and more, that kanji I would find useful to learn now (because of their sound-meaning grouping, most often) are pushed way back behind others where I question the usefulness. I can’t reorder, I can’t peek ahead, I can’t say “Hey, let me do this one now as it is useful to me.” This is WK’s biggest flaw, this rigidity of having to unlock each and every kanji.

As someone remarked above, a lot of Japanese is kana and grammar. That’s why I don’t agree on the context sentences. They cannot be improved in WK, really. (Well, yes, they could be simplified.) But they’re really, truly useless without putting the other part in. And for this I do Bunpro, because you can’t just do WK. After about ten levels of WK I added Bunpro.

As for progress, I did realize it got a lot more modest than anticipated. I hoped I could do this in two years. I have now, after 10 months, done 20 levels. This is doable. My daily review rate is about a 100 reviews coming in, and if I start slacking on the new lessons, it lessens.

In Bunpro, I’m closing in on 6 months. In this time I’ve did the 120+ lessons for the N5 grammar, and was exposed to a lot of example sentences read to me. Right now I’m 20% into N4 and have really slowed down because some grammar points don’t stick well. So I can’t keep my modest “goal” (I wasn’t too serious about it) of doing 2 grammar lessons a day.

Bunpro is more flexible than WK, but it can be just as flawed. (I have given a lot of bug feedback, but you get the feeling they’re working through it.) I haven’t really used it for learning missing vocab - I feel like I’m hitting limits there.

After about a year with Wanikani there are things I can do and can’t do.

  • I recognize a fair deal of kanji on shows and can at times piece together words I don’t know or start reading some Japanese names.
  • I occasionally recognize words and constructs when spoken in anime. (This is thanks to the listening exposure in Bunpro, largely.)
  • I understand simple sentences in the typical Japanese terse style, most often on second or third try when rewinding. (I find the grandiose English translations really funny when so many Japanese replies only consist of a verb or a verb and another word).
  • I can’t read without immediately running into constructs I don’t know.
  • I find many constructs common in Japanese speech that either are translated very differently or I just can’t find as grammar points on Bunpro.
  • There are quite a few times when I struggle to recognize kanji and vocab I “learned” already on WK when seeing them.
  • Listening comprehension is in general very poor, especially telling all the onyomi words apart with their endless juu/kyuu and similar sounds thrown at you very fast.
  • When hearing a word I’m more likely to spell it just well enough to have a chance of looking it up on Jisho. But it’s far from reliable.

I was recently frustrated with my progress, and still am every other day, but not due to WK mainly, but due to the Japanese language being such an interlocking enigma where you need a lot of groundwork on several fronts (kanji, kana, listening, reading, grammar) to just make the next batch of progress. Once I make some progress, it can be liberating to some extent.

I know, for me, the next step is really get into reading, but I haven’t quite figured out how. Satori Reader has great support for learning and aiding you in understanding why something is the way it is, but I couldn’t just get into it yet. Maybe it’s the choice of stories. Reading through manga without electronic support in vetting out unknown words seems super-daunting, it’s slightly better for Light Novels. What scares me is that I might get basic JP right and then they throw slang and dialects at me. Don’t know how common that is.

I guess I just need to “man up” quite soon and go at it, figuring out between using Yomitan, e-reader dictionary support, “reading together threads,” and Satori Reader what will work for me. It probably will make more actual JP progress for me than WK or even, to some degree, WK and JP together. I have no idea when I will tackle speaking that damn language on my own. I put that way down my list of priorities because right now I have no need. Reading and listening comprehension are my goals.

Good luck. Don’t believe any hype about doing WK fast. Add in what is missing and remember your own goals, whatever they may be. :slight_smile: