Is using Kaniwani bad? Interfering with WaniKani's SRS?

I have recently started looking at other alternatives platforms to learning japanese and one interesting one was:
and another one was

I have look at bunpro and tried it out for around a week and it’s meh. For the past couple months I have just been grinding WaniKani and finishing up Genki I. I have started looking into KaniWani and I don’t know if it will ruin the purpose of SRS.

And then I thought about this: if I continue reading easy japanese literature, it will also ruin the SRS of vocab and kanji that I have learned.

What do you guys think?

I think I should do KaniWani and continue learning grammer from literature and genki books.

There’s no real way to “ruin” an SRS. SRS is designed to help you memorize stuff efficiently by spacing it out to the maximum amount of time you’re still likely to remember it, but the actual teaching of materials is done by just seeing it over and over again. An SRS just manages your time effectively by showing it the minimum number of times you need to still be able to memorize it.

So seeing an item more often doesn’t really “ruin” the SRS, it’s just bonus exposure. If you read something in Japanse, see an item in the wild, or use KaniWani or any other service, it won’t really mess with the SRS, you’ll just be seeing items more often than the bare minimum requirement.

The only way you could feasibly “ruin” WaniKani’s SRS would be by looking up answers a few minutes before they come up in reviews, in which case you won’t actually need to memorize anything, you’d just trick yourself into thinking you know them. But reading, or practicing using any other material won’t do any harm in the slightest. So if you want to start practicing with some other materials, I’d say go for it.


Kaniwani is great. Make sure to set it up so only burnt Wanikani items appear so it will start learning an item after you burn them on Wanikani. If at some point on Kaniwani you struggle with a word consistantly, consider unburning on Wanikani.


Another member wrote a detailed post on why there is no such thing as cheating yourself in SRS. I pretty much agree with what was written there, as the mechanics and theory of SRS was something I posted on here before (and indirectly how I got my Sect Name / special title), but @MegaZeroX went into much greater detail.

Think of SRS as the minimum effort necessary to retain new knowledge. Anything beyond that is mostly beneficial.


I’m no more an expert than yourself, but a second reason for SRS (I’d argue the main point) is that it embeds kanji in long term memory and extends out the forgetting curve. This is likely the reason OP is referring to as why kaniwani might “ruin” SRS.

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Hey @BlsTheAnswer thanks for the explanation. Like @Akanbe said I’ll prob only use kaniwani for items that I have burned since it would strengthen the memorization.


Thanks for including that post. I now agree with you that there is no such thing as “ruining” an srs to a certain extent. If I haven’t look at a kanji/word for a long time and then I review you it like 20 min before a review session on wanikani, it’ll ruin the purpose. For KaniWani, I’ll just put burned items.

I think this achieves this though by making sure you see an item at least once in a specific amount of time. For example, if you see an item 10 times on one day, then you might forget it a week after, but if you force yourself to recall it 10 times spread out over several months, then you’ll probably remember it for way longer. In which case, seeing an item in between review sessions wouldn’t really harm you, you’d still be forced to remember it 6 months after you’ve learned it, at which point you’re probably not likely to forget it any time soon. Then again, I’m not a memory expert, so I might be completely off.

Yeah I don’t know either, I’ll need to go read more :sweat_smile:

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Yeah I’m just basing it on personal experience as well. But I’d hate to spend two years doing something differently than WK wants only to find out it made things worse… :wink:

That’s kinda what happens, but not exactly. SRS itself doesn’t embed anything in long term memory. Manipulating information within your working memory (visualizing, mnemonics, integrating with previous knowledge, writing, etc.) is what stimulates the creation of long term memory. Short term memory is actually only ~18 seconds, so if you’re recalling meanings correctly when completing your lessons, you’re probably already outside of the short term memory window. There is a minimum amount of stimulus over increasing time intervals required to continue strengthening long term memory. What you are aiming to do with SRS is increase how often something gets recalled into working memory, but no more than a theoretical minimum. This is for the sake of efficiency (effort / time), not because you will actually harm the development of memories. The more often you pull something into working memory, the stronger the long term memory pathways become, enabling more rapid recall in the future.

General topics I’d recommend reading are:

  1. Working Memory and Baddeley’s Model of Working Memory
  2. Long term memory, particularly the divisions of long term memory

Yeah, I feel exactly the same that’s why I had doubts about “ruining” srs

Learning a language is about so much more than these flawed SRS mechanisms.

The burn mechanism seems only to be there as a way of suggesting that SRS only works to a certain degree. Learning vocabulary involves getting as many ‘touches’ as possible with items, and especially in rich and meaningful ways. From my understanding Kaniwani also addresses the kanji from a different approach, so getting more touches that way isn’t necessarily a bad thing…

…but… there is a question of time management, however… and, for example, I’m doing the Kanji Look & Learn workbook now because I realized that I wanted to have a deeper and more ‘active/productive’ understanding of kanji than what WK alone was giving me… and Kaniwani is not how I personally want to spend my time… but for some people, it sounds like a worthwhile (and customizable) endeavor.

From what I’ve seen, no where in any literature or research on SRS, Spacing, Leitner Systems, Working Memory model, etc. is there such data that supports the idea that additional exposure is harmful. In fact, recent research is even presenting evidence that there may not even be much benefit to spacing at increasing intervals.

A majority of information that we’ve retained in our lives has been memorized without the SRS system that we’re using for WK, and without daily exposure. This is why I encourage people to actually read some of the research and literature that’s available that actually describes how long term memories are formed. There is no magic to SRS.


Burning an item shows me that if I see it in blue/pink/purple on WaniKani, I can recognize it accurately.

What it doesn’t mean is that I am truly fluent in that item in a holistic sense. I may not be able to write it or use it accurately in a sentence, or compare its shades of meaning to other similar vocabulary items or assess what connotation it has or understand its antonyms… or even produce it out of the blue in my own diary or sentences or in typing.

that’s kinda the goal here. it’s kanji reading learning site nothing more.

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Ok, fair enough. I definitely believe that items people have “burned” are going to have stronger retention than if they crammed RTK for two months, but I still see “burned” as “yay, I don’t have to review this anymore!” I don’t really take WK into consideration when learning or reviewing things on other resources, or worry about whether or not I’m going against its design. Some students (myself included) enjoy learning to write kanji, so the idea that we’re not supposed to look at kanji on an individual basis outside of the app kinda goes out of the window. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


yay MIA reference :stuck_out_tongue:

yeah that would be kinda absurd, it’s like saying don’t read. but i would still argue having two srs with very close schedules be very bad(wk and reverse wk) since it becomes a cram before the srs.


I promise this was accidental :joy:

This I strongly agree with. In fact, I just avoid using other SRS systems, because I think too much SRS’ing / flash card studying can be bad for a student. Bulk knowledge loading is very helpful, but it’s also very important to spend time “playing” in the language too. I’ve seen too many people get burned out from juggling 2 - 3 SRS systems (myself included). I’ve probably gotten more benefit from writing in my journal than I have from adding a second SRS system.

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