Is WaniKani sub-optimal?


Well, I started WK right after learning the kana and that, as well as some grammar study, was just what I needed to be able to start reading. Sub-optimal or not, it obviously can work if you want it to work :man_shrugging:


Assumed known words : 150,859

Wow I’m good :+1:


Let’s see this claim, taking an SRS spacing of initial learning -> 1 hour -> 1 day -> 1 week -> 1 month and giving a very generous low estimate of 300 seconds per kanji for initial learning and 60 seconds per kanji for reviews.

So we have 11 months to cover these 2900 kanji in these conditions, how much time do we need?
The initial learnings net us 2900*300=870,000 seconds or 14,500 minutes. Reviews will net us 2900*4*60=696,000 seconds or 11,600 minutes. A net total time of 26,100 minutes across 11 months 26,100/335 = 77.9~ minutes of studying per day. This goes up with mistakes, but it’s not totally out of the realm of feasibility.

Even if it is possible, demeaning someone else like that is pathetic behavior.


Anyone who makes a blanket statement that anyone else’s opinions are misguided before actually knowing what every single other person’s opinion is… is… well misguided.

Wait a sec… :thinking:

Anyhoo, if it makes you feel better I used to use Anki for Kanji (I’ve even written multiple guides on how to use Anki) and dumped it in favor of WaniKani.

So now you have at least one opinion of some random dude from the internet disagreeing with some other random dude on the internet and claiming the exact opposite thing, while also making the same claim that the other guy’s claim is rubbish.

^ _ ^


Let’s say that he actually knew what he was talking about and he genuinely knows 2900 kanji. And he memorized them all in 1 year + vocab. Whatever method he used obviously worked for him and that’s great. What I can advice is to try other methods as well and see if they work for you. I personally tried plenty of Anki decks but for whatever reason they didn’t stick with me all that well. I’ve had better luck with Kondasha’s Kanji Learner Course and WK, but I don’t expect this to magically work with everyone else.

Don’t just write off the guy because he’s a douchebag either, you could ask him about specific resources and see if they are good for you. Once you get those you can forget about him, because dealing with insufferable people is not fun.

The short of it is: Try other methods as well, some may work for you while others don’t.


Forgive me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this work out to like 9 minutes of study for each character total? I know that SRS means you are trying to be efficient. If all you were trying to achieve was being able to do the equivalent of WK kanji reviews (give an English gloss and one reading) then yes it would be believable.

But any further, deeper study would be unfeasible. (i.e also having an appropriate number of WK vocab style reviews, even)

So, if someone knows the English gloss and a single reading for 2900 kanji, does that really count as knowing 2900 kanji? It’s not that it’s not impressive… it’s just an extremely broad range of knowledge at the cost of any depth at all.

It’s like someone who can name the mascots of all 350 D1 college basketball teams or something, versus a TV basketball analyst. One certainly knows a small amount about every team, and the other actually has depth of knowledge.


Wanikani gave me confidence to start. It makes it a valuable resource. Anki decks are an option for me now, not before…


It does work out to 9 minutes per kanji. For sure it’s not a deep learning by any stretch of the imagination, however having a broad but shallow understanding does help if you’re trying to go through the “brute force japanese by reading until your eyes bleed” route.


Those are basically family and place names (鈴木, 浅草, …) You don’t really need to know those words to understand the article. So instead, they are just “assumed known”. (There are a few more things in that category, but those do not matter either)


Man, I don’t know.

Maybe he’s just that good and intelligent

But, anyway. What’s the point if he has such attitude, for what I’ve seen people who actually know a lot share a lot of their knowledge and don’t belittle others, i could add that everyone has their own opinion on what is good to learn something. Because nowadays the amount of resources out there are just too many, no one can really test them all, that would be insane, so you just find something that works for you and stick with it.

Forums are made presumably to help each other, so even if he’s the most intelligent learner around, attacking others to raise his own opinion is just plain arrogant and a loss of time for anyone listening.

Internet has just too many people like that, ignore him


Let me guess, he’s doing AJATT.

On a side note, I do think wanikani is sub-optimal for someone ready to spend 12 hours a day learning japanese.


This is a very good point and something that a lot of other tools miss out. Manageability is built in, even if going max speed is pretty intense. I wish someone would build a similar programme for vocabulary, the 10k but with progressive building blocks, limits on speed and gamification.


That graph was also posted at 4chan’s “Otaku culture”, which is a strong indicator what you are dealing with there :wink:

From my experience WK level 30 brings you quite far for reading, I’m not even sure what the hundreds of important non-joyo kanji are supposed to be.

Btw, saying to use “Anki” is like saying to use “books”.


Yeah there are probably on the level of “dozens” of important non-joyo kanji, and then lots that will just be a nice extra to have in your arsenal.


Define, sub-optimal, I’d say. ^^

People already brought up that it depends on you learning proclivities, or how much you have time for in life.

It almost sounds like this individual is conflating kanji knowledge with Japanese knowledge.

If they have a strong ability for rote memorisation, it’s easy to tell themself that they’ve made great strides. But I find it very telling that they were challenging people to a kanji quiz. If they are so adapt at Japanese, there was one very easy way to show the efficacy of their method; switch to Japanese to show the actual proof of their progress.

In less than 11 months on WK, I got to level 33. Apart from that, I’ve taken on a lot of N5 and scattered N4/N3 grammar points. I can read the simple Graded Readers with quite some ease, and am now playing through a JP visual novel - with difficulty, mind you, but I would never have been able to a year ago.

WK kept me engaged, making it easy to first set up a daily kanji-learning routine, and then daily a Japanese-learning routine. Any way of it being “sub-optimal” is mitigated for me by the fact that I’m doing it. Not saying it can’t be done with just Anki, but I know I didn’t manage to find my groove when learning just with Anki or Memrise. I did now - without being able to over-burden myself in the initial motivation boost that had me taking on way too much way too quick. Then I would burn out because I got beaten down by the amount of mistakes I made.

I’d also consider it very short-sighted (dare I say downright ignorant?) that this person doesn’t seem to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all learning method. And if they have somehow cracked the code on learning kanji (I can’t say for sure this person is learning Japanese, because there is no proof of that), this person needs to understand that attacking and condescending is not how you teach. They don’t deserve people’s time and attention if they cannot communicate their educative ideas properly and respectfully.

The fact that you took to pondering and examining your learning habits when an internet troll vomited forth unpleasantness shows that you don’t have blinders on with regards to WK. You’re clearly open to considering other methods, and that will make it likely for you to try something if it takes your interest. Nothing wrong with looking around at other things, but also nothing wrong with continuing that which works for you. You know if you’re making progress, and the troll can just keep memorising their kanji lists under their bridge of superiority complexes. ^^


Absolutely. Like I said when I reached level 60. The best learning method isn’t the one that is the most efficient, it’s the one that makes you stick with it. For me, for kanji, it was Wanikani. For others, maybe not.

If you like WK keep doing WK. If you don’t, find something else.

I’m sick of people going on and on about RTK vs WK vs KKLC or Genki vs Minna No Nihongo vs Tae Kim vs… It’s just nonsense blathering that confuses beginners and let’s them procrastinate on studying/starting by incessantly telling them: “This is the most efficient/fastest/best/whatever route possible and all the others are horsepoop.” “No this is the absolute greatest\perfect\most efficient mehtod, and your method is horsepoop and you’re horsepoop for even using it.” “No yours!” “No yours” x1000

Hey beginners: Try a bunch of different resources. Try different study routines. Pick what works for you. Stick with it. End of Discussion.


I don’t know if Wanikani is the fastest possible method or not (since it worked so well for me I honestly never got to try many others), I just want to say that I learned to read so many kanji in such a short amount of time using it that one of my native Japanese friends thinks I’m a literal genius now. I didn’t even go at max possible speed, I went probably 20-25% slower than you could theoretically go.


ぺらぺらですね! :joy:


It is sub-optimal in that it’s optimal to subscribe to it.


I’ve had discussions with guys like that on reddit. They know it all, they are fluent, they have the best resources and us idiots here on WaniKani are just wasting our time and money.
You can’t even have a discussion with those people since we’re all just stupid fools that have been played by a smart marketing team and arguments like the gamification and community aspect seem to not get through to them.

I think it is a good thing to think critically about a resource that one is using so intensively as we are using WaniKani. I’ve considered quitting around 2 or 3 times, I tried alternatives, I took breaks. But in the end, I came back and consider this the best tool for me. And now I just shrug when someone tries to tell me about how my foolish soul can be saved by RTK.