Immersion Alongside WK

All over I see the AJATT method and how it produces great results. I’m not here to doubt that, in fact the opposite. I want to immerse as quickly as possible and in most cases people following that method have chosen RTK. Apparently it just arms you to learn vocab easily by understanding what most kanji represent.

I know WK works for me. The system has me coming back and I’m enjoying it. The issue I have is that the vocab is not in context and the progression is slow. I’m sure I’ll eat those words shortly and I get why it’s slow because it’s really working. But for the point of getting to material and understanding as much as possible, I feel like WK may not be the best option. Mainly because you aren’t seeing it anywhere other than via the srs. Or at least I don’t see many people discussing how they used WK to transition to native material. The general track I see everywhere is RTK > Tae Kim > Immersion.

How do you all, as fellow WK users, incorporate WK into a similar study plan that maximizes immersion. Because I’ll be honest all I see is RTK everywhere when it comes to immersion talk lol
I’m sure there’s a way to make it work, considering we have advanced reading groups here tackling LNs. I just don’t see it discussed on the forums very often.


Get home before lunch ends :rofl:


Nah, I am here for the day. It’s ok. I got some work done that would have been difficult to do from home.

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My first suggestion is always to join a book club here on the forums. The Absolute Beginner Book Club [ABBC] and the Beginner Book Club often pick manga (because it’s difficult to find books that are short and easy), but sometimes a book is picked. I like manga, so having manga come up often works for me personally.

One of the prior ABBC reads, Rental Oniichan, uses 71 of the 168 kanji (42%) covered in WaniKani levels 1 to 5.

Simply reading manga, I’m constantly encountering words I recently learned in WaniKani lessons, and often see words that WaniKani doesn’t teach, but that use kanji learned from WaniKani.

Aside from that, I’ve recently started watching anime with Japanese subtitles, and have been sentence mining from them into Anki them using Migaku’s tools. (Note: Some of their tools for this workflow are still in beta for Patreon supporters. Once they are out of beta, they will get a free release.)

As for RRTK (recognition only RTK) the way it’s recommended today, I expect to see it fall out of favor in the next few years. The reason? Tools will come out that make it easier to do RTK-style learning in context of vocabulary. And it’s best to learn vocabulary in context (such as immersion), meaning I expect we’ll see the kanji-learning stage to merge into the immersion stage. (But I’m bad at predictions, so…)

By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out for the current culmination/evolution of information that was previously known as “AJAAT” and “MIA”.

Edit to add:

While I’m firmly in the camp of needing to immerse to really get to know a language, I would be remiss not to mention expectations versus reality of immersion results. There are a lot of young people who are able to spend many hours a day immersing in material. A combination of being young (easier to learn new things) and putting in the time (five+ hours per day) can produce amazing results.

For older learners who don’t have as much time, the results will not be anywhere near as amazing in the same time frame as younger learners with a lot of time on their hands. Thus, it’s important not to expect exactly the same results unless your situation is exactly the same as those whose results you’re seeing!


I thought I was in Polls…sorry!


I started with RTK, then found WK. My very first thread was if you can use both at same time :wink:
But yeah, while you can, WaniKani is MASSIVELY superior so I never went back!

RTK teaches you one general meaning per kanji, and quickly turns to “make your own mnemonics”, which, for me, didn’t work. I got to around 600, at that point they are basically only giving you the parts and one meaning, you do all the rest yourself. And you know nothing about how to read them (until book two, so WK feels allot more instantly useful since you get both)

So while you CAN learn a general meaning faster using RTK, most either take longer anyway or give up at a certain point to look for a better source.
You don’t learn any vocab using it, just one general meaning per kanji. WaniKani on the other hand arms you with both reading and how it combines to other vocabs.

It doesn’t hurt to use it, but, even already owning the 3 book set and a huge flashcard box, I haven’t touched it since starting WaniKani, since it is vastly superior.
Many talk about RTK because it is older and more widely known. I stumbled across WK by chance and felt I found a hidden treasure (to the point I feared it could be something stupidly bad, luckily it wasn’t, it’s amazing! )
I’ve been bad at using other materials on the side, keep pushing it off. My grammar especially. But I have joined all the book clubs! (well, all the ones I found interesting and then some!)
At first it was only what now has been renamed the Intermediate Book Club, and it was WAY above my level! But I picked up the book and read more than half of it, catching only an odd word here and there, yet I found it entertaining enough and the pleasure you got when you caught a gist of something was worth it! I have since gone down to lower materials to work my way up.
But through WaniKani and immersion alone I have now reached a point where I can actually understand quite a bit when I read!
I still need to work on my grammar (though with all my immersion it should be easier to learn now) and more vocabs not on WaniKani, but just by doing WaniKani will take you a long way!


You don’t need to pick just one path, you can pick and choose bits of different methods and combine them as they work for you. I’m doing WK alongside classes with a tutor and a textbook, but also increasing amounts of immersion through youtube and podcasts and I’m halfway through reading my first novel. Before sitting my N5 I listened to a lot of podcasts and watched a lot of youtube aimed at japanese learners, and watched native content with English subtitles; after the N5 I took the plunge into entirely native content. I’m not sure how much benefit I would have gained from it before then, but 18 months later it is clearly now paying off.

The point of the vocab in WK is reinforcement of the kanji pronunciation and meanings; it’s up to you to go elsewhere to find it in context, and the more immersion you’re doing, the more likely that is to happen. Certainly the words I remember the easiest are the ones that I’m regularly coming across in native material outside WK - I’ve even forced this a few times by searching for particular words on YouTube just to try to find a context to help me remember them.

I personally don’t see any conflict between WK and immersion, only Immersion with a captial I as it’s specifically practiced by some of the more prescriptive methods of learning Japanese.


You wrote that you don’t see the Wanikani vocabulary/kanji in context. There are a lot of user scripts out there to help with that.

This userscript puts one of the context sentences Wanikani has in your vocabulary lessons underneath the vocab word during your reviews.
[Userscript] Simple Show Context Sentence

This script makes you work from one of the context sentences during your reviews. It does not show the vocabulary alone but it does highlight it in the sentence. Be careful if you have poor grammar, you could easily mix up some of the verbs during reviews if you don’t know how to different verbs that have the same kanji are conjugated differently.
[Userscript] WaniKani Context

This script is used only in lessons but it will highlight all the kanji you already know when you look at the vocabulary context sentences during your lessons. That way you are encouraged to practice your old kanji while doing lessons.
[UserScript] Advanced Context Sentence

I use some of these and they really help. After doing all of your reviews with the kanji appearing in a sentence it is a lot less intimidating to see them in the wild. I hope these scripts help with your immersion.


When I’m playing games I often see wanikani words come up.
Wanikani is like a cheatcode for my brain. I realize that I have seen the word before and now I can see it in context.

Also the opposite happens. I’ll learn new words outside of wanikani but I’ll have trouble memorizing them with anki. Eventually I will see the words at a higher level in wanikani and then it just makes my reviews so much easier. I can finally memorize the word.

Hope that made sense.

  1. Wanikani kanji helps me recognize words in wild
  2. Difficulty remembering new words outside wanikani until I get to the right wanikani lesson

some of these scripts are truly game changers. thanks for sharing these

This is essentially how I think about kanji as a native Chinese speaker (one kanji, a few basic meanings), but I guess it’s not always easy to come up with a way to remember a new character, especially when the link between its components and meaning is not clear. That aside, I think the main reason kanji stick when you learn them this way is because you get to use them and know how to read them: I really doubt that I would have remembered any of the characters I had been taught as a child if I hadn’t immediately been given explanations and examples of how to use them. Divorcing meaning and reading seems to work fine for some people, but it’s unimaginable for me, especially because I tend to try to find ways to link readings to meanings immediately.

@korrupt247 I think the fundamental question to ask yourself is what you’d like to immerse yourself in. What do you enjoy doing in Japanese? Watching anime? Watching dramas? Listening to music? Browsing YouTube? You can do all of those, of course, but you can start by picking one to focus on. The ideal would of course be to choose something that uses the kanji you’ve already encountered on WK. I have no idea if there’s something like that out there, but at the very least, there are graded readers. I think that the people on these forums often recommend Satori Reader for that purpose, which does offer some free content that you can try out.

That aside, I think making use of media for which translations are provided can be very helpful, which is why I think anime is a great resource, among others. I often compare what I hear against what’s written in the subtitles (we need to remember that they’re not always very literal though, in order to avoid confusion), and I also tend to look for transcriptions for anime that aired after 2013 by googling ‘[anime name] [episode number]話 anicobin’. (Anicobin is a Twitter reaction compilation blog that captions screenshots from episodes with the dialogue that occurred. Around 70-90+% of the dialogue of the anime I’ve watched is transcribed there.)

I think that songs are also a very good resource, primarily because they’re short and you can listen to them on repeat. Studying the grammar used in songs can help you absorb it for future reference, with good examples to boot. As an example… I believe Nihongo no Mori (a YouTube channel) did a breakdown of Lemon, which is quite famous in Japan.

That’s about all I can think of right now, unless you’re prepared to tackle newspapers, in which case you could start with NHK News Web Easy and move on to full-length articles when you’re ready. In short, however, you just need to block off some time each day (or every week?) for immersion with something you enjoy, ideally with a good dictionary ( or, which I prefer) for the words you don’t know and an internet connection to look up new grammar. I think that will be helpful. In the case of songs, you can even just leave them on repeat in the background (if you like them enough) so that you get used to the rhythm of the song and the language.


Yeah I know 100% in my case the answer is going to be anime and manga. LNs would be amazing too but goodness knows how long that will take! All of this is content I like to consume in English but have put on hold until I can start to consume it via Japanese. I feel like once you get to a point where you can do the things you enjoy in Japanese (to a certain extent you will always have to look things up) it will feel more like smooth sailing.

As of right now though, I might as well read with a dictionary in one hand and the book in the other. People say immerse from day one, which I can understand. But I feel like at first the ratio of study:immersion strongly favors studying. As you gain more of an understanding the balance starts to shift in the opposite direction toward more immersion.

I intend on using that for sure. I just wasn’t sure when the ideal starting point was for using it as far as WK level/grammar is concerned.

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Not gonna lie at first I thought you were trolling. But figured what the heck lets encourage them to go home on their lunch.


I agree. It takes time before immersion is really productive. Still, trying immersion from day one with stuff like subtitled anime can still be helpful. It’s just that what you take away from it changes over time: when I first watched Konosuba after starting Japanese, I understood almost nothing, but I noticed that a few words were familiar, and some phrases stuck, so that helped me to get an idea of how everything worked. I also started to have an easier time perceiving the syllables in each word, which made listening much easier to do. Subsequently, I started to pick up more and more vocabulary and to understand more and more when watching anime as my Japanese progressed. Eventually, I know there’ll come a point where I’ll have to put down my textbooks and work with nothing but a dictionary and native content.

I wish I could give you advice on that, but I have no idea. Like I said, immersion bears different fruits depending on your Japanese level. I’d say that you should scale the difficulty of what you do as you progress. You probably can’t do a ton with just N5 grammar beyond simple readings and sentences for tourists, but at N4 and above, understanding simple stories should get easier, and at N3, a lot of the gist of things should start to click, I think.