Is the WK system flawed?

Wow totally didn’t know about the resurrect feature, thanks for that!


Oh man, I’m waaay past N5 kanji and so are you. The kanji on that test was virtually nonexistent.

I think you’re right about on focusing on already learned. The gamification has a way of making me want to progress more than learn, and I’ll try to curb that feeling from now on.

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So, I have played two games in Japanese so far and read a small number of texts/books before I found WaniKani. I spent a LOT of time drawing kanji into Google Translate before I could get the kanji I wanted, before writing out an entire sentence to get the meaning of what I was reading if I didn’t know (often I would know the sentence but I didn’t know the kanji readings). It was this process that lead me to WaniKani in the first place, after spending a lot of time on

So, for me, it is not imperative that I remember the exact meanings of every vocabulary word or even kanji, as long as I can find it when I do contextual studying without aid through books and games and TV and so on (note; I do not count the dictionary as aid, I find that the process of looking up a word helps to make it stick and after a while you will not need the dictionary). If I am in any position to advise on anything, I would say to adopt the same mindset.

I say this for two reasons:

  1. Effectiveness - going through all your burns again and again with custom scripts is never going to be as effective a learning method as encountering these words “in the wild”, you have sort of already proved this and I have long suspected it will be the same for me. The good news is as long as you know just one reading of a kanji you can look up the word and the chance of it sticking the more you encounter in the wild is far greater.
  2. Your time - At some point in your journey you will have to learn from these “wild” native resources by way of consuming that material without any aid. You can do it now, as a non-fluent, and learn from the experience despite it not being as ‘fun’ as when you have some form of aid. Or wait until you have rinsed every study book and learning resource out there and then dive in. One of those roads is shorter than the other, and arguably not as grueling, but certainly takes just as much effort.

This is just my opinion, and everyone learns differently, but I’m certain that this method would work for everyone. So many famous Youtubers who are great at Japanese (i.e. not Chris Broad) learnt through immersing themselves in native material and spending hours going through them to drill in meanings and nuances.

I hope that helps in some way, happy to discuss with anyone that has thoughts on that because I would also like to learn from other people’s experiences! :bowing_man:


Lol… haha, I meant to type N3 and went back to edit that just after reading your response.

YES, the gamification urge in this department is STRONG, lol


Haha makes sense! Thanks for your response :smiley:

How many hours a day are you spending reading?

You definitely need to read more than just manga. Personally I don’t even read manga I started with children’s stories and then moved on to light novels.

I also spend a few hours a day reading subtitles (as in watching Japanese media with Japanese subs). That also really helps.


What kind of media? Where to find it?

Netflix is a great source IMO - great Japanese subtitle support on Japanese shows.

I’ve been requesting a “no burn” feature for a long time. Periodically forums posts that request it appear. One year ago they said they were considering it, but they’ve been ignoring any further attempts to get more info on it. TBH I’m pretty sure they’re not planning on implementing it anytime soon.

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Right now, just anime. Shounen anime mostly since that’s what I enjoy.
(I’ve heard slice-of-life anime is best to learn everyday Japanese but sadly I can’t stand them lol)

Anime is just very easy to get a hold of.

I get the videos on torrents.
Then get the subtitles on kitsunekko.

Most of the time the subs will have to be time-shifted since they don’t match, so I use aegisub for that.

I also pre-make sentences decks for these anime using subs2srs. I’ll pick one or two shows per day and really actively read the subs and try to pick out any good sentences I can use, then add them to an active deck in anki.

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Huh. Sounds cool. That part concerned me the most. Thanks for that info.

Thanks. Though it is a pay to use service which I never used. I will give it a try when I run out of ideas.

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I tried a few practice tests and did way better on N3 than N5 specifically because of the lack of Kanji in N5. I call it the WK effect. :wink:

This happens to me alot but I find that it’s most often because I couldn’t recognize a Kanji surrounded by other words and because I had gotten used to seeing the shape on its own.

It’s especially apparent when I can read most of the sentence but I’ll have to look up one or two Kanji and then realize that I knew those all along I just didn’t recognize them.

Every system is flawed. Just gotta know how to use it. Focus on your strong points first, tackle weaknesses afterwards.

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I was doing about two hours fo reading a day up until recently. I tend to read higher level, adult-oriented manga, and don’t always have furigana, so that is especially difficult. I’m working my way through Junji Ito’s stuff now. Of course the grammar tends to become limited when you’re reading comics so I take your point and I’d agree, I should be reading actual fiction, even if its low level, and moving my way up from there.

As for subtitles, I read them on netflix reality shows, like Terrace House. I usually will watch an episode with english subtitles first, and then watch it again with japanese. Perhaps I should start just jumping in with japanese first.
Feel free to recommend any books you found useful, I live in Osaka so I can find anything with relative ease.
Thanks for your reply!

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Yeah this is consistently happening to me. Totally clueless when I see an individual kanji, but read with ease when a compound word. The 練 in 練習 gets me every time lol.

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Yes, the burn system assumes that you maintain exposure to those characters/words by reading/viewing/etc, which is only really feasible to the extent your grammar is up to speed. It also assumes you can find relevant material for your WK level, which WK offers no help with.

Inexplicably, WK doesn’t give you the option to not burn an item when you get the burn-level correct. So if you burn something that you’re not that comfortable with, bad luck. Compounding that, there’s no built-in way to review burned items.

I’m surprised no-one has mentioned It’s a great way to review what you’ve learned in WK, and you can easily set it such that you only review WK-burned items. You can do your day’s WK (and grammar and whatever), and then assign any spare time to Kamesame, reviewing burned items.


I’ve ran into this same problem a while ago and what helped me overcome this issue a bit was installing the Self Study Script with Additional Filters

Here I’ve created presets of previously burned items. For example like this one:

When I was reviewing this list and came across something that I had completely forgotten and felt like it was needed, then I’ve just resurrected only that.

Of course you can fine tune this approach with setting only radical/kanji/vocab type, or related kanji content.

I admit that this is truly a tedious thing to do on top of regular reviews and lessons, however, with this approach you can easily do a self-check and see how well you’ve burned those scribbles :slight_smile:

Edit: I’ve just read the second post of this thread and realized I’ve just repeated the same stuff :sweat_smile:

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Two hours should be plenty imo.

Wish I had the ability to read real books/manga for that long, currently most of my time is in reading subs as I mentioned. :sweat_smile:

I think you should just accept that you will forget kanji and vocab, and then naturally pick them back up as you read. Let your reading be your SRS after wanikani burns the kanji/vocab.

Also I read on my web-browser with yomichan installed. Makes look-up very fast. It does work on the bilingual manga site as well.

However since manga are scans and hence jpeg images, they don’t work with yomichan. Plus the text isn’t selectable so I can’t easily copy it to jisho or sanseido (a simple j-j dictionary I’ve been experimenting with). Same deal with physical books and manga.
That’s why I’ve stayed away from manga, apart from the ones on bilingual manga.

What I’m trying to say is that at the beginner/lower intermediate stage (I’m myself a beginner since I only started 6 months ago) I’ve found it much more efficient to read online, rather than use a physical copy. It’s not a big deal if you forget a kanji or word when it takes 1sec to look it up.

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Yomichan, eh? I’ll check that out.

I did my MA in Russia so I learned Russian while I was living in Europe and while studying that language I found bilingual books to be a poison. This may be personal issue, but I found my motivation to really try to understand, to parse out the meaning of a specific phrase, went down when I could find a nice translation on the opposite page.I ended up getting rid of all my bilingual books and just focused on the original material.

About reading scans, I find my ability to recall is improved when reading physical items. I read an article about it once, I cant seem to recall where though. Something about spatial pin-pointing and how it relates to locating something in your brain. I forget :smiley:

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