Is skiping the vocab and learning it later a bad idea?

Hey! I’ve been using WaniKani for a few weeks now but I personally feel that the vocab lessons aren’t very helpful to me. I heard there was a reorder script so you could push back the vocab and keep learning new kanji but is that a good idea? I feel like I’d learn better if I built a solid foundation of kanji and their radicals and then learned vocab through software like Anki. Let me know what you all think!

If you just want to learn the Kanji skipping vocabulary shouldn’t hurt, but I find the vocabulary very useful because I keep coming across the words when studying grammar and it saves me time having to look them up which helps keep me more focused.


I think that’s a bad idea. In my case, the vocabulary reinforces the kanji.
Also what is kanji without vocabulary. It’s like you learn all the letters of the alphabet, but you still can’t read anything.

Plus I come across a lot of vocabulary that I need during my other studies. I also do vocabulary studies through Iknow, where I also see new kanji, which then helps me learn then here and vice versa.


I definitely agree with that but I’m having a lot of issues remembering the different readings and I feel it would be easier for me if I learned the readings by associating it with a word instead of a kanji.

That seems shortsighted. Especially when you start reading.

Not really. When you are reading, you aren’t reading individual kanji in isolation. You are reading words. Also, by neglecting your vocab, you neglect learning and reinforcing different readings used in different words.

That’s just gonna make your learning take longer it sounds to me. The sooner you want to be able to read, the sooner you should be immersing yourself in actual words like you would encounter in writing.


That seems shortsighted. Especially when you start reading.

I’m having issues keeping all the readings straight and I just feel it would be easier for me if I separated the two processes into two different applications. I learn to recognize what the kanjis represent with WaniKani and then learn how they are used with vocab in Anki.

But the whole point of interleaving kanji and vocab is so that you learn to keep the readings straight. What you’re wanting to do leaves out the vital reinforcement step. But it seems like if you are going to do that, that you might as well just use something like Remembering the Kanji instead of WK. Since from what I’ve seen it does the exact process you want.

Plus, RTK may be faster for you then doing WK.


i won’t debate as to whether or not that’s a good method to learn, as others are doing that already.

However, if you decide to learn that way, then I have to say that using WaniKani solely for learning to recognise the kanji would be a waste of your money because you’d be paying for the 5/6 services that WK offers but using only one. You’d be much better off using RTK or something like that.

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I guess an alternative to what I’m thinking is could I not learn THE reading when learning a new kanji and instead just wait to learn the readings as I learn vocab? In the end, I think that’s what is tripping me up. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a script that can do that.

Yeah, but honestly it sounds like you are using the wrong tool for what you want. That’s why I think RTK may be better suited to how you want to learn. WK is not going to be the tool for everyone, and trying to use scripts to force a square peg into a round hole doesn’t seem optimal.

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Isn’t that focused much more on writing though? I like the idea of having a digital SRS. Not sure how adaptable the book is to that.


There are Anki decks to go along with RTK. So you can still get the SRS aspect you want. One such deck that orders things based on RTK’s process:

Thanks for the link! I’ll just have to look at what my options are and figure out what to do from there.

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It’s difficult to overstate how much vocabulary aids in kanji retention.


No prob. Just remember that one RTK book is less than 3 months of WK subscription. And WK even at the fastest pace is going to take you slightly over a year. So like udonbaka mentions, I think you’re going to get more for your money by going the RTK route since it’s process matches more closely to how you seem to want to learn.

I’ll second @athomasm.

Short answer to your original question is “Yes.” I wouldn’t say you need to learn every single vocabulary word before going to the next level, I don’t, but I catch up soon afterwards.

If what you’re looking for is just Ideogram Recognition, begin with Heisig in an Anki Deck. There are plenty, I recommend NihongoShark’s deck which includes other mnemonics in addition to Heisig’s, while also correcting some of his mistakes.

Doing Heisig on Anki previous to WK has helped me decode the images better. I still retain newer Kanji better here if I have already previously learned it through Anki.

However, what WK provides, Heisig does not, and WK is more complete, so it’s the end goal for me.

Vocabulary here is essential to solidify the readings. It may seem overwhelming at first, after all, you’re on your first level. But it gets better. The more you know, the easier it gets to absorb the next batch.

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Hi @QuantumPie! Welcome to WaniKani.

I think that you should give the system a try until level 3 and see how it works out for you. There was a lot of thought made on the design and the effectiveness of the program, I think it should be given a chance. If by level 3 you still experience the same issues, then maybe address them at that time? I think that at level 1 you need to go through the motions and allow the system to take effect. Sometimes you will get the hang of it and then this will not be an issue.

I think that the system just needs to be given a chance to demonstrate itself. Since the first three levels are free, all you need to invest is some of your time. If level 3 comes and you are still unsatisfied then go ahead and explore other options.

Just my two cents. Hope this helps you somewhat.

:nerd_face: inspectatoro :steam_locomotive:


Thanks! I’ll definitely consider that as well


When you say “learning the readings” do you mean that you’re trying to make sure you remember every single one for each kanji with the kanji? Because I’d say you really don’t need to. If you can input one correctly, the rest will get learned with vocab.

I’m also unsure what the point of learning kanji with no vocab is unless you’re just looking for a rote memorization challenge with no other real world impacts. If you are trying to learn Japanese and having a hard time keeping things straight, I think your best option is to just slow down on lessons.


You learn most of the different readings for kanji as you do the vocab. It trips everyone up at first but then you start to see patterns and even (sometimes) guess how to read a kanji before knowing what it means. The けん and はく ones are pretty easy to guess.