Is WaniKani sub-optimal?


I’m not interested in knowing how many kanji someone else knows. It’s useless information to me. If someone else knows 2900 kanji, it doesn’t make me able to read. And if somebody else knows zero kanji, it doesn’t make me fluent in Japanese.


You’re missing the point. He learned 2900 kanji in a year while you’ll only learn 2000, hence he’s more efficient and his method is better than yours (that’s the point he was making, not that’s true by any mean)


But that’s his method. It’s a method that works for him. There’s no guarantee that the method works for me. Hence I’m not interested in knowing how many kanji he knows.


I know 151860, catch up mate.


We don’t know that his method is more efficient, just more effective.


Well he’s saying he learnt 2900 in a year, so I guess technically speaking it’s more efficient. But is it more fun? He doesn’t have this forum. Or the poll thread so who is he really kidding?


He could have spent three hours a day to learn only the 2900 kanji, for all we know.


Yep that’s true… So even though it took him a year to learn more kanji, he could have woke up in the morning to sit in his apartment to learn kanji, and went to sleep. Brutally inefficient


Yes I agree, but you can’t dismiss it entirely though. Just because results may vary from person to person, doesn’t mean his method is not overall better and will not improve your learning if you switched to it.

Again, not saying that’s the case here. But refusing to listen to any advice only because there isn’t a one size fits all style of learning sounds like a missed opportunity.


Things that sound too good to be true are usually bunk. Especially things that some internet stranger brags about.


The guy probably doesn’t know the meaning of 鰐 but we do.

We also know over 2000 made-up radicals, the kanji pets. We are awesomer because of it.


Tell me I’m not the only person who mumbled 文学の天才 to himself then wondered if that was even remotely correct?


purely in terms of learning only kanji, not readings, not words, anki is faster. you really can learn 2900 kanji in a year with no problem, if thats what you’re into, and post-wanikani everyone here could readily use anki to work in more kanji, as well as vocab, cause you’re no longer following the strict linearity of wanikani and have to be adult members of language learning society

in terms of memorizing readings, you really need to do it along with the vocab to be optimal, and who has the time to manage all that? wanikani is optimized for exactly one thing, and the ordering algorithm is that thing. even porting all of wanikanis cards into anki wont give you that effect, trust me i tried. the care thats put into ordering and annotating everything cant be replicated as such

i really do wish there was a fast mode for wanikani, though, for those who may have used the heisig/anki combo before arriving here especially. you’re guaranteed success here, but not speed or freedom or options. in that way, i miss anki a lot, the way you become part of the algorithm and is in total control of every card. anki is optimized to optimize you, and trust me its beautiful and magical, its like being part cyborg


I had everything in Anki. The kanji, stroke order, examples, readings, mnemonics, audio… (sorry wk team; but I did not share that deck anywhere…). And it STILL was not the same. The levelling up system and community aspect of WaniKani are what make it so unique in my perspective. It is not just about the content and whether the website looks nice or not.

WK will always come before my Anki reviews because it does a significantly better job at motivating me to do so. That is what makes it the „optimal“ solution for me.


Another point is that WK is not just reviews. All the items are nicely cross-linked, you can browse kanji along radicals and check all the kanji that look similar, or go from vocab to other words using the same kanji, …

Learning kanji is all about finding connections and shortcuts, “just Anki” doesn’t really help you there.


This is an excellent point… no other resource lets you customize the experience like WK does.

Arguably Anki has some rudimentary level of customization, but I found that I probably spent more time tweaking Anki than actually using it. When I wasn’t tweaking it, I was fighting bugs. At one point, it completely screwed up my deck and the status of each item and I haven’t used it since.

I’d say overall, in language learning its about finding the least sub-optimal way.


Even if his method makes him learn more Kanji (with Anki?), us WaniKani users have thousands of radicals that help us learn Kanji, even ones that are not in WaniKani. Also, WaniKani is just easier to use, you have more control, and there’s a huge community that makes you feel great and comfortable. I doubt he knows
2,900 Kanji. You should test him (and watch him). Don’t listen to him. Follow the way that makes you feel the most comfortable and happiest. :smiley:


@snow-pine Is he the random guy who owns this youtube video? I saw some nasty comments from him on some vloggers who are also using WK like us.
Here is the link.

And here’s the counter from the WK guy:


Even if you give into his framing and Anki is superior, optimization is not the goal of language study, period. The end goal is fluency in the language and no matter how you wind up learning how to speak/read/listen/write Japanese, as long as you’re furthering yourself to that goal in good faith you having nothing to defend as that in and of itself is the best defense I can think of. It’s not like you’re trying to engineer the next innovation for a marketable product, you’re trying to learn something.

Expanding on that last point, who is to say that Anki is the optimal approach for YOU personally? Let’s say you’re trying to lose weight and someone you know lost a bunch of weight eating nothing but one kind of food. Sure that might work for them personally with their unique tastes and nutritional needs, but to say it’s the end-all-be-all of dieting is an insane claim. What if you’re allergic to one of the key nutrients to this proposed diet? By definition it’s not optimized for you. Don’t let people trick you into doubting things that are working.

If WaniKani is sub-optimal for you, then add or replace it with other resources to reach your optimal approach. Even granting him his framing, it is unwise to unilaterally mock something that by all rights and accounts has yet to be shown as harming people.

Finally, let’s look at this excerpt from the conclusion of this study. Pg 358

  1. Most of high-frequency and mid-frequency Japanese words are composed of limited number of Kanji, therefore, the burden of learning Japanese vocabulary may not be heavy as expected from the text coverage studies, once the learner knows:
    a)the most frequent 1,000 to 1,500 characters.
    b)forms, meanings and compounding rules of Kanji.
    c)metaphors of Kanji compounds.
    d)different readings (e.g. On-reading and Kun-reading) of each Kanji.

WaniKani likes to advertise based on learning “over 2,000 Kanji.” Also, in the Tofugu Podcasts, Koichi and Kristen (sorry if I spelled your name wrong!) claims, and I am paraphrasing here, that they are more interested in getting you to reading as fast as possible so you can be learning Japanese from Japanese resources. Either way, I’m pretty sure with the research and intention put into this program, those 1,000 to 1,500 are covered. In other words…

I can cherry pick data points too.


This here is a great point. If I hadn’t at least lurked on the Wanikani forums, I wouldn’t know all that much about the Japanese resources that others have recommended. There’s even a thread specifically for outside materials that you can study including places to learn even more kanji than you learn on here. Heck, I didn’t even know about the JLPT before coming on to the Wanikani forums (not that I’ve TRIED to take the test yet).

P.S. It’s nice to listen to others and their opinions from time to time. But what do YOU think. What is your opinion of Wanikani? Has it helped you? Have you been able to read more? Ask yourself the all important question before anything: What do I think? I love Wanikani, but there are some who don’t and prefer to study in other ways, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just keep on the journey and don’t give up. And above all remember: