I'm "slow" at Wanikani, and I'm ok with it :D

I’ve been using Wanikani since the end of June 2022, and I’m currently on level 9. I do reviews every day, and lessons maybe every other day (sometimes more/less depending on how much free time I have). I like taking it slow because I don’t get overwhelmed by reviews and I can make sure I actually remember the words I’m learning. Is anyone else like me?? Lol, it’s weird because, I feel like a ton of people on here talk about finishing a level every 10 days, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if that’s what works for you. But personally, I feel like I would be overwhelmed if I did that! Sometimes I feel pressured to do Wanikani “fast,” but I’ve realized that it’s totally fine to go through it more slowly. I made this post in case anyone else feels the same way :smile: What do you guys think??


While I’m against people going too fast I am not really against going slow sometimes, especially if its because your using your target language more. There is probably gonna come a time you want to pick it up a bit but until then just keep doing you.


When I first joined WaniKani, I tried to go fast, somewhere in the 7 to 10 day range per level. But, I got entirely burnt out somewhere in the teen levels, and started forgetting many things. I felt it would be better to rest and reset.

This time around, I’m going at a pace this seems to be around 15 days per level as well. Though, I somehow jumped from Level 8 to Level 9 a bit faster than that. It was a bit surprising/jarring (in a good way…).

So, I get it. And, I agree. You should definitely go at a pace that is neither too slow, nor too fast: your Goldilocks pace, so-to-speak.


There’s this thread that might interest you


I’m about the same level as you, and I wanted to go at mach speed but I also got burned out after a few levels. The way I do it is, I make sure to learn the radicals first before ANYTHING, and after I learn the kanji and I don’t do the vocab till it locks me out of the radicals and kanji off of order. I feel less stressed out.

1 Like

I’ve never heard of this group of “Durtles”! Haha, amazing - I just added my name to the list!


Like others who have commented, when I initially got into the flow WaniKani I was doing 7-10 days per level… but also got burnt out at various points and had to use vacation mode and reset a few levels.

Now, my ideal pace is somewhere around 24-32 days per level, and I’ve realized that the average overall is creeping up to 20 days and probably will be that by the end…


Been clearing my reviews everyday for nearly 8 years and am now on level 56. I have no idea where the “in just over a year” timeframe comes from which the site advertises. But I’ve been making slow and steady progress all these years and think I should hit 60 sometime this year.

I think my slow pace may be because I take great care not to learn new items until I have my apprentice-level items at a manageable number. I found that constantly trying to keep my lessons queue at 0 would greatly overflow my reviews and leave me overwhelmed.


It’s technically possible and some users have done it, but they are definitely the exception.

Still, in my experience I’m certain my kanji knowledge and Japanese level would certainly be much lower had I not used WK to force me to organize my kanji learning. I’m approaching 1700 kanji introduced and guru’d (a bit lower for burned) in about 3.5 years, which is about as fast as I hoped when I joined. Clearing even 1,000 was a monumental concept for me.


Three years here. Working through level 27. I do reviews daily without fail. We seem to be on the same schedule.


Kinda surprised they’re pushing the “just over a year” tagline, their FAQ says:

Getting to level 60 in a year and a half or two years is a much more reasonable speed.

The cost of a lifetime membership (when it’s not on sale) equals 2.75 years on a monthly sub or 3.3 years on a yearly sub, which sounds pretty realistic IMO.

I joined nearly 10 years ago, but I haven’t been consistently studying that whole time.


Yeah! Glad to meet another fellow scenic route durtle! The one thing I might suggest, if you’re in the position to manage it, is to get a lifetime subscription. This eliminates one of the remaining ‘pressures’ to ‘go fast’ – the feeling that one is not getting one’s money’s worth if they are paying monthly or yearly and not using that time ‘optimally’. Just an idea!


I have personally been taking a different approach, my average is about 8 days and I am currently at level 41, I agree it is not the best approach when it comes to retention but I would rather get through the Joyo kanji quicker and move on to reading which would definitely make things more fun.

It does mean I have been spending 3-4 hours a day on Wanikani+Kamesame alone, and whatever time I had left on immersion, which I am aware isn’t feasible for everyone.


I started wanikani back in July 2021, then cancelled my subscription at the beginning of 2022 because I was using other resources, now I’m back with a lifetime subscription and after resetting back a couple levels am taking it nice and slow. I view wanikani simply as a guided way to build up on my kanji vocab alongside all the other immersion resources I’m using to really learn the language (Japanese Uncovered, Satori reader, and watching anime with and without subs to name a few)

If your goal is just to get the shiny 60 next to your name then great, go fast, but if you want to really learn the language and actually be able to use it I think it’s critical to take enough time to let the language sink into the subconscious. I’ve noticed in my own journey that vocab truly takes on it’s own meaning only after you have heard it in multiple different contexts. One example that comes to mind from recently would be 約束(やくそく)which means “promise” and off the top of my head there are 3 places I remember it clearly:

約束忘れない – do not forget promises from a worship song
約束契り – Full Metal Alchemist ED1
約束の日 – The Promised Day – Full Metal Alchemist, toward the end of ‘season 4’

And a number of other times I’ve heard the word also come to mind just not specific enough that I can name them. So at least for me I’ve found that taking it slow and looking for a word in multiple places really helps me understand that word in Japanese rather than just translating in my head.

edit, it was FMA ED1 not OP1


Well, I feel like the people who are most ok with going slow probably wouldn’t go out of their way to tell anyone about it, but I mean I guess I agree with the sentiment that there’s nothing inherently wrong about any pace slower than average. It comes down to what you want to do and the amount of work you’re willing to do. What you end up doing is just gonna be the lesser of those two.

I do disagree with the idea that going fast works for me or something along those lines or just 90% of what people say when talking about “what works for them”, though. I feel it’s the other way. I work for my pace, my pace doesn’t work for me. There’s a buncha slower paces I could work at and maintain, but I have goals I want to reach, certain time frames I want to reach them by, and standards I hold myself to when it comes to studying Japanese. Me and basically anyone who has been in the fast group has had to give a lot of time, effort, and sacrifices. We made it work.

I can’t speak for all fast people , but because of all the sacrifices I have made and what I’ve seen Japanese has to offer, this lifestyle and pace is not something I recommend lightly. I don’t think you have to worry about any of the really fast and dedicated people judging you. We know more than anyone that it’s just a really big tradeoff and not inherently “better”. No need to feel pressure and the only opinion of your pace that matters is your own. In terms of if you will meet x goal in y time frame there is more room for criticism from those who came before you, though.

P. S. Some people wouldn’t even consider 10 days a level fast, especially if thats the only studying you were doing :slightly_smiling_face:


I am learning that speed wise I am pretty average. Sometimes I’ve been done in 7 days other times 14. A big thing I keep in mind is that the goal is to try and learn the material and not just speedrun levels and I’ve already learned a lot just 4 levels in.

However long it takes is as long it takes, the important thing is I do it everyday. I basically am trying to the point I know the Kanji reflexively, so I just blow through the lessons to gauge how reflexively I know the material and let the accuracy fall where it may haha.

1 Like

I take it real slow too. I set up rules for myself after getting overwhelmed early on. I keep my apprentice < 50 and my overall number of reviews for a week around 350. If either of those exceeds the boundaries, I don’t do any lessons until they’re back under control. I never do more than 10 lessons a day - usually fewer, because I don’t want a big batch coming back around at a future time. I find myself having way better retention this way, and it really allows me to work on leeches. I am on Level 15 after 10 months (my profile shows differently because I joined years ago but never used it).


Set a goal for a finish date, and try to get there. You should be able to finish in about 4-5 years, which is a totally reasonable pace.

I’m actually super glad I took it slow. I’ve been using Wanikani for, gosh, nearly 5 years now. My slowness, especially at the beginning was mostly just me being very inconsistent about doing my reviews lol and sometimes going months without touching them. However, I’ve been very consistent about studying Japanese the whole time, so my language abilities has steadily progressed overall.

I think as most people know, the vocab WaniKani teaches you is there to help you learn the kanji, not because it’s necessarily useful vocab. As a result, WaniKani sometimes ends up teaching you lots of kanji-filled formal/academic words and skipping a lot of kanji-less useful everyday words. If you speed through WaniKani, you can often find yourself in the position of having an overall relatively low level of Japanese, but knowing all these high level vocab words, leading you to misapply them and causing awkward situations (see: that time my N6 ass tried to use 助言 in conversation after learning it from Wanikani)

Because I’ve taken WaniKani so slow, I’m now in the 30s (WK level wise) and prepping to take the N1 this summer. The kanji I’m learning is largely a mix of N2/N1 level kanji, which is level appropriate (if a bit of a review) and the vocab WaniKani is teaching is actually useful and appropriate for my level. I’m really glad I took WaniKani at a slower pace because I feel like it’s put me in a position to get a lot out of WaniKani at my current level. Even now, I move at a consistent but comparatively slow pace because I spend more doing other forms of studying/practice and am very happy with my rate of progress.


Happy to meet you as well, fellow durtle! I totally agree about the lifetime subscription thing; there have definitely been times where I thought to myself, “Dang it, I should have worked harder to get my money’s worth for this month,” lol! I can’t afford it right now but I plan to eventually buy it, it just makes sense for me since I’m planning to continue Wanikani at least for the next few years.

1 Like