Is it worth learning all 2,000 kanji?

Simple kanji, sure - but you won’t find furigana just about everywhere as claimed. And even then, that just means you don’t need more than a bare minimum of kanji if you’re okay with having the reading comprehension of an 8 year old.

Which is fine if that’s your goal, but that’s a far cry from the “you don’t really need kanji, there’s furigana everywhere anyway” that was claimed by OP’s friend.


I believe 1945 kanji are necessary to have a smooth understanding of sentences.

Just like any language, after some years by encountering by chance you will learn eventually,

Even now after 15 years studying English here and there I find new English words in WK I have never seen before, ‘inseam’ I am looking at you.

I always thought sewing or sewing line was enough to understand the situation about clothes and fabric and how they are put together :laughing:

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Oh, there are so many sewing related words that I wouldn’t know as a non-sewing native English speaker. Like sure I recognize words like “bobbin,” “awl,” “grommet” and “gusset” as all somehow related to sewing but I would have to Google or ask my grandmother to figure out what they are and what they’re for. :grimacing:


Y’all are murdering this poor guy’s friend lol

Maybe he just meant it’s not worth learning all kanji (as in, all 50000 or however many there are) and OP misinterpreted that as him talking about the 2000-some joyo kanji.


His friend trolled us good. Over 40 answers basically saying the same thing and he’s probably just having a laugh, sipping a margarita on a beach.


Lol probably. I actually started to think there is no friend and the real troll is OP.


This forum has no idea how to let something rest lol. Someone will ask a question and the first 2 answers will be totally adequate but 70 other people will say the same thing anyway…


Todos queremos aportar nuestro granito de arena—por más redundante que sea 🥲

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WaniKani is all about reinforcing knowledge with repetition after all :slight_smile:


I wouldn’t study 1945 kanji. The toyo kanji list (the precursor to the joyo kanji) wasn’t establised until 1946, same year as the big kana reform. :stuck_out_tongue:


In all seriousness though, I’m curious why they recommended such a specific number that isn’t the jouyou total.

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The 1981 set of Jōyō Kanji contained 1945 Kanji, so I suppose a non-trivial amount of elderly people in Japan don’t know some of the 196 Kanji that were added to the list in 2010?


Aye, that. I happened to spot that number while confirming the dates of things.

Maybe the real troll is the 河豚 we learned along the way.


Yeah, I wasn’t trying to debate your main point, just point out that signs aren’t necessarily a great example

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this has me curious what an equivalent to the kanji list is in english? off to google yeah…as i kind of thought…massive lol. How many words do you need to speak a language? - BBC News

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Considering I know only around 200 as of currently, and whenever I try to read a sentence from anything I cannot read 95% of the kanji, I think it is safe to say the joyo 2k are very useful baseline :stuck_out_tongue:


well, you really need to understand 80-90% of the written text in order to start learning through context. And fluency starts around 98%+. Based on that numbers-
777 kanji gives you around 90% coverage. 1477- 97%. 2500 99%. So you can definitely see a diminishing return from certain points.

still, the numbers would differ somewhat from written language- for example, the top 10k words cover around 98% of all text in recreational media. But if you gonna read novels with tons of descriptive words and adjectives that are never used in daily life you probably gonna have to aim for 20k vocabulary to have the same stats.

Unironically those stats are very close to Chinese, but there you should aim for 3000 characters in order to have 98%+ coverage.

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By the time someone finishes WK in its current state (which is a very small percentage of all of people who start WK) they’re in a pretty good position to memorize new kanji they encounter by using the radicals they learned here. There’s no pressing need for WK to add hundreds more kanji just to fill things out. Also, a bunch of those kanji showing up in the 2000-2500 range are in names and place names. Learning them organically is fine.


I read all the interesting responses, and I have just one thing to add. Of course, it’s not a competition, and you’re not competing against everyone else to try to learn the kanji. But imagine two sorts of learners:

One is bright and extremely industrious, and takes a lot of time and care in her studies. She examines all kinds of other Japanese-language resources, and carefully studies sample sentences using the kanji that she’s learning. She picks and chooses the mnemonics that will help her the most, prioritizing the more difficult/challenging kanji and vocabulary over the ones she knows pretty well already. She supplements her learning by studying not only grammar, but also history, literature, culture and art, in addition to just the kanji themselves. She has a busy life just like anyone else, but she makes the time to learn because she is truly interested in and maybe even passionate about the subject.

The other is also bright, but a little lazy. He enrolled in the course, maybe even paid some money to become a member, not sure how long he’ll continue, but whatever, it sounded fun at the time. He sort of pays attention as he clicks through the lessons, and does OK on the reviews, but also misses a lot that he thought he knew. When he misses them, he doesn’t follow up to make sure the missed items are becoming solidified in his memory, because hey, who has the time for that anyway? He doesn’t do any extra supplemental learning, and chooses to cut corners whenever possible.

Which of these two learners do you think will have a better long-term success rate? My intent is not to imply you’re one type or the other, so please don’t take it that way. Honestly, we’re all over the map when it comes to how we learn, how much time we have, what resources we have, etc. I just chose the two types of people as an example. My point is that when it comes to learning kanji – or, actually, pretty much anything in life that requires an intense commitment – you choose your approach based on how it fits into your own personal life, and how important it is to you personally to succeed. If it’s really important, then have at it! Immerse yourself wholeheartedly, as much as you can. You’ll find a way to make time for it. If it’s not that important, then you might want to re-visit the reasons you’re doing it in the first place. But whatever the case, realize that learning kanji is a serious commitment, not a walk in the park. And of course, whatever you choose, I wish you all success.

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