Is WaniKani sub-optimal?

I participate in a chatroom for language exchange and I mentioned having a large review queue (I really haven’t been on top of things lately…) and this guy came in and started going in on me, talking down to me and saying I was using a “shitty resource.” He believed Anki decks were the way to go and that anybody else was misguided. He even claimed that he learned 2900 Kanji in a year through this method.

He said that you wouldn’t be able to read very much and that WK is extremely limited in scope. I countered with the WKStats page which says that you’d be able to read 99% of Kanji in normal materials by level 60, but he quickly dismissed it and posted this graphic:

The study linked in the photo can be found here on page 153

So now I’m kind of confused. Does this difference come from wkstats only tracking readable individual kanji versus vocabulary count?

I know I shouldn’t pay too much mind to random people being rude on the internet, but it was kind of demotivating (especially being told “I doubt you’ll ever truly be able to learn Japanese”)


I don’t see anything in that image about number of kanji.

And basically the guy is an asshole you can safely ignore.

That being said, WK is just the start of your kanji journey. Even for the kanji it covers, there is much more to learn. But the same can be said about almost any resource meant for non-native learners.


What he means is he ‘got through 2900 kanji in a year’.
And an attitude like that, just attacking someone else, tells me he probably knows very little. Just wants to act all high and mighty to make himself feel better, and justify the method he used, which likely didn’t pay off.


Yeah, that guy doesn’t know squat about 2900 kanji if he covered them in a year. That’s the number of kanji that appear on Kanken level pre-1, roughly, and if you only took a year to cover that ground you’d fail the test spectacularly.


He kept trying to challenge people to a Kanji quiz-off so that was the only reason I felt like he might have had any truth to back himself up… and I guess the bluff worked cause I really didn’t feel like it. If I wanted to do a Kanji quiz I’d clear more of my review queue xP


When you go virtually anywhere outside of a heavily regulated community, you’re probably going to be immediately jumped by people who firmly believe that their way to learn is the ONLY right one and anyone doing ANYTHING else will result in failure no matter what.

Honestly, regardless of whether they actually do know more than you or not, it’s pretty childish and self-centered. I pretty much write off the advice of anyone who comes to me like that, because regardless of their knowledge on the topic itself, they definitely don’t know much about learning.


Send him this gif and block him



Ask him to stream himself giving this a try.


Just reply

Troll harder, 0/10


Just saying, but the image he posted counts conjugations as different words… you can multiply every verb on WK by 4 or 5 to get an equivalent count.

(Plus WK isn’t a resource for vocab technically… but is still doing pretty well, according to that image)


Wanikani is an efficiency tool focused on minimizing the effort of memorizing kanji and their readings. It does that very well. You can learn faster by several other methods, but it typically requires a higher level of motivation, and a bit more work (maybe even a lot more), because Wanikani’s primary learning value is the organization of the material into progressive building blocks. People tend to underestimate the value of that.

Also, Wanikani uses gamification that has a high success rate at keeping people motivated when other methods have failed, and that is probably it’s second best quality.

The top quality of Wanikani, though, is the community. People here will keep you engaged in your learning journey. They will be valuable resources in finding other learning materials, answering language and culture questions, giving you moral support, and becoming good friends. You won’t get that from Anki. Just look at the personality of this Anki guy… I mean, he’d never make it around here. :grin:

(Anki is a very nice tool. Many here use it as a supplement to WK)
(Also, wkstats is only talking about kanji, not vocab)


Oh, I thought the image was saying all conjugations count as one word. You’re right though, 6000 vocab words still would be a lot even then, especially since WK is primarily for Kanji.


Right. Even then that’s 90+% on everything… In as little as one year too (but I don’t see any problem in going slower. Slow and steady wins the race) that doesn’t feel suboptimal to me.


I like to say I’m using Wanikani to learn the alphabet :stuck_out_tongue:
When I learned english, I didn’t need 6 months of studies to be able to look a word in an online dictionary in under 5 minutes.

As for Anki vs Wanikani, I don’t think WK really offers anything you can’t get out of Anki. The problem is you’re far more likely to waste your time on Anki. WK gives you a path through common Kanji, with vocab that help retain said Kanji. How would I know how to make my own path through Kanji when my japanese knowledge is (was) virtually non-existent? I don’t know what’s common or useful, or what I might confuse with each together. Anki, to me, was like trying to self-teach while I’m a terrble teacher.

Also I’m lazy.


I mean, it’s the internet, but usually people that talk like that don’t really deserve your time.

Honestly, frig that guy. I used WaniKani more or less up to the point you’re in right now, and it worked great for me, not having to study any kanji up to N4.


At the end of the day, maybe it is suboptimal for that guy. Maybe it’s suboptimal for a lot of people, but also a lot of people (like myself) can’t be bothered to set up anki decks and do all the legwork. That’s why I pay money for the Wanikani staff do to it for me, and I sleep fine knowing that


Some people read the backs of cereal boxes for while eating breakfast.
Leebo reads this.


Well, no, but I don’t claim to know 2900 kanji.


I don’t know 2900 kanji, but I do know the difference between kanji and ‘words’. It’s probably safe to ignore the guy.


Well, that graphic says you need to know about 14 728 words to read a newspaper, but counts different conjugations of verbs and variant spellings of characters as separate words. Even though WaniKani isn’t exactly a website built to give you vocabulary, I’d say it does a pretty good of expanding it anyways. So kanji and vocab words would count for a lot of that, and you gotta find stuff like grammar points from other places.
Also, he learned 2900 kanji a year with just Anki decks, and WaniKani isn’t nearly as good? Come on, if you’re expecting to just use one website for a year and get fluent … that’s just lazy. Let’s see how many of those kanji he actually retained :roll_eyes: