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

I think my big issue is that when they first show you a new kanji, they give you a reading along with it. Then you start learning vocab, some of which are just that kanji but then take a new reading, and it is throwing me off. I wish I didn’t have to learn a reading when first introduced to a kanji. I’ll probably keep going until level 3 and see how I’m doing then.

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I know what you mean but I think if you are going down that route, it would be simpler to learn the kanji meanings with Anki and the vocab with WaniKani. Does the reorder script allow you to simply skip all the kanji and all the radicals and learn only vocab, while getting the same volume of lessons per level? I guess I should look into this reorder script.

Wouldn’t you want to know all the readings for each Kanji? That’s the purpose of learning Kanji I’d think. The Vocabulary just acts as examples of all the different readings for each Kanji so in my opinion learning them is learning the Kanji.

Or do you just mean you want to understand only the meanings of the singular Kanji symbols and not their readings?

I also don’t find the vocab very useful on WaniKani since it only goes one way. I can recognize a word and pull out how to say it but not vice versa. I did hear their were scripts for that but it seems like a hassle.

I had the same problem as you, but with the ‘traditional method’.
At the end of lessons we got a list with a bunch of kanji with drills and listing different readings with examples that had words with other kanjis I’ve never seen in my life before.

Found this site, only at maximum 2 readings for both on’yomi and kun’yomi => I was overjoyed with the simplicity.
Vocab items strengthen the recall of multiple kanjis as well.

As someone who started out not long ago I can understand how you feel. It’s incredibly hard and incredibly confusing with all the different readings and confusing them all the time. However that is part of the process. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and just repeat it until it sticks. Don’t try to rush it. Don’t beat yourself down. 2 days later you suddenly remember the words that never stuck before and start to see patterns you didn’t even know existed. You will start making your own little hooks in your mind to remember things that gave you trouble and before you realize you level up and start it all over again. It’s a miracle how the brain works really. Just trust in the process and you will succeed.


You can reach level 60 in less than a year, actually. It took me 358 days, and I wasn’t even going full speed. The minimum is about 350 days, but only if you don’t value sleep :sweat_smile:


@TheMusicalNinja might have some insight on this.


But wouldn’t you eventually need to learn more readings to reach fluency?

You do learn all or most readings. That’s the point of the vocab. It teaches other readings used in words and reinforces the ones from the kanji lessons.

I have to admit I had a hard time writing a response to this.
You may think that learning kanji just by ‘themselves’ will be enough to get good at japanese.
However, I’d say that without learning at least some vocabulary items that really stick, you will be in for a hard time keeping track of all the kanji.

This article came to mind, I think I’ve linked it into another thread before:


maybe get to level 4 or 5 before making a decision on that. I think you are too early in the process!


I just started over from Level 17 after leaving my Wanikani in vacation mode for 5 years. Currently Level 3 in 1 week of starting up again.

What I really enjoy using now, and didn’t exist when I first started was . I switch it to apprentice level and begin studying in reverse right away, this helps reinforce things. Give me five-ten examples of vocab you are having trouble remembering and I will help you out. Usually it comes down to how you see it, so sometimes you need to invent clever stories or memories revolving around the word.

For example, you remember せい being used as a reading for this kanji right? Remember the mnemonic used Hard Gay? Well maybe you have trouble remembering what 入る (はいる)is. Well, here’s how I remember it with Hard Gay.

He keeps saying 入る 入る 入る!!! as he puts in the Hard Gay high octane gas. So you know this means to enter, because the Hard Gay fuel is entering the car each time he humps it. You want him to stop, but he won’t. He just says し (stop) so beautiful, isn’t she? TIME FOR MORE HARDO GAY FUEL!!! WOOOOOO 入る入る入る

You just need to take your stories to the next level. You’ll never forget 入る ever again, will you?


It’s a bad idea.

I mean you could… but it’s largely going to lead to a moment where you wish you’d just done it with vocabulary. If you only want to associate an English word with the Kanji then use Remembering The Kanji instead of WK. WK is an expensive means of studying if you’re only learning radicals and kanji meanings. ANKI would be better for this purpose as it’s free. It’s true that afterward you’ll be able to generally decipher rough meanings from a lot of texts, but it really doesn’t help you beyond that and eventually you’re going to have to learn everything anyway.

My brother started learning just the Kanji meanings about 3 months ago (using RTK). He’s now trying to learn Hiragana and is encountering how the kanji he learned are actually used in words. I’m sure he has an advantage now when it comes to learning them properly, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s gonna have to learn them properly anyway. He’s basically added an unnecessary step to the learning process because he thought it would be easier. In 3 months he could have really gotten a handle on all the basics and started using the language which would ultimately be more useful than associating kanji with words.


Hate to break it to you, but Hard Gay is gone. :cry:


I had the same problem as you when I first started and really didn’t see the benefit of learning two different readings when the first reading you get “isn’t used in actual Japanese” (is what I would say to myself.) But once you start getting more vocab words, you find that they really do help reinforce the kanji reading. By the time you’re learning the kun’yomi reading, you’ve already got the on’yomi reading down because it’s used so often in other vocab words.
The first few levels really were difficult (for me, anyway) because it was a whole bunch of different information all at once, but the further you get, the easier it starts to get to recollect the kanji readings as you’re using them so often.
So if you want to eventually be able to speak Japanese, don’t skip the vocab as that’s what you’re going to use to actually speak (and read) the language.

Not in my heart… :frowning:


@QuantumPie I agree with everything said here, I would add that from my experience, I didn’t find the vocab to be useful/relevant until around level 6/7 at least. Once you start getting pass the rudimentary early levels you’ll actually find sometimes the kanji readings are hard to remember or don’t have a strong mnemonic, but if you look ahead to vocab using the kanji - it’ll actually reinforce the reading - especially if you have prior knowledge of some japanese words via anime, travelling etc

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By studying vocabulary that incorporates the learned kanji, you’ll more quickly reach the point where you no longer need to recall a mnemonic first.


Ah this is wonderful, I don’t think I’ll ever forget 入る.
I was using the mnemonic of when you enter Rupaul’s Drag Race you always say “Hai Ru!”. But I think this is a more accurate example! :joy::joy::joy:

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