Is WaniKani sub-optimal?

It’s not technically random (that’s why I wrote “more or less”). I meant it more in the common sense meaning of “unpredictable” (which is actually closer to the actual technical definition of random but I digress). Yes, if you look precisely at what’s going on you can exactly determine why postponing lessons on day X lead to no lessons on day X+N, but if you look precisely what’s going on, you can also predict perfectly well what side a die will come up with (it’s just Newtonian mechanics, after all).

And I don’t think what I want is really achievable with the current system. You can go slower, but as soon as you spread out your lessons, you get penalised because will end up stuck on your current level for a few extra days. So you can either go slower or faster than you want to, but not at the actual desired speed.

I don’t mean to sound too negative about this because overall I still think it’s a good system but I think tackling this issue has a chance to make it even better.

I’m not sure the minor effort needed to make on-time reviews 6 or so times in a week is quite the same as knowing all the conditions for a dice roll. I can tell you exactly when I’ll level up with if I maintain punctual reviews. It’s right on wkstats.

The system is predictable though.

Perhaps you can expand what exactly you want to do. It may actually not be possible but more likely than not it probably is. Also, you keep using the word penalised but I fail to see how youre being penalised.

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The real question is how do I get one of those highlighter-ink kanji calligraphy pens in Matt’s video


I agree that it’s probably good from a learning perspective too keep people from learning too many definitions at once for every kanji. But that neglects the reality that some kanji mean very different things in different vocab. A simple examples would be 調. The WK approach I feel is correct here, requiring only one definition for reviews, but informing the user: ‘watch out, this kanji might mean something completely different’.
I don’t have any trouble at all remembering one meaning plus the fact that there are other meanings. After a few reviews the alternate meanings are in my head anyway. Going out of your way to expose yourself to only one meaning seems counterproductive, like learning incorrect technique of a musical instrument; you have to correct it sooner or later.

And the other discussion:
The only thing that makes leveling up random is your own performance. I don’t think that’s a great attitude…

Randomness is not a binary property.
Lesson days are less random than a dice roll but more random than Wednesdays.
And, yes if you keep up with the system 100%, it is very predictable.
I’m explicitly talking about the (for me) realistic case where that is not possible and every minor setback has consequences down the road in a way that is both difficult to predict in practice and hard to keep track off mentally.

I have good days and I have bad days; all I’m really saying is that it would be nice if I could do lessons on good days and not do them on bad days, without having to worry that not doing lessons on a bad day may lead to me not being able to do lessons on a good day.
(Not that it has to binary either, maybe I’ll do a few lessons on a bad day and more on a good day, etc.)

The radicals actually saved me. They make studying kanji a million times easier for me so I’m really glad wanikani teaches them thanks wanikani

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i personally dont give a feckle about the community aspect lol, tho i vastly appreciate how it might have led to hell, even my main online dictionary cites wk levels. i think thats pretty neat

wanikani has a sort of monopoly on quality kanji/reading/vocab learning, thats why its even more annoying that it refuses to let its users meddle with their own algorithms and cards. if wk could have a little button to press that’d forcibly release batches of 5 cards from the current level thatd be so nice, and once its out of cards for the level, another press could force the treshold lower so that the new level can enter earlier, while keeping the review schedule of the previous level intact, oh gosh, a bit more overlap yess, that should keep the ordering algorithm satisfied if all you’re doing is lowering tresholds for release, man i can dream

This is why I use @seanblue’s Lesson Filter script:

This way I can tell WK I want to learn 10 items in which 3 are kanji and 7 are vocab (or 6/14, or 2/3 if I’m pressed for just one batch), and I find that that keeps things rather even with regarding to how many new lessons I have waiting for me.


It’s good to hear you made it to the end (of WK) with that! While I do sometimes remember mnemonics especially for the pronunciations, mostly I do the same. Was kind of afraid it might become… too much? at later levels learning more and more Kanji that might be similar in meaning/form.

So, thanks! :smiley:

Also, I’ve been doing Kanji first (after Radicals of course) using the reorder script, which means really on the first 2 days after lvl since I try not to do more items than 25. (if most of the radicals are ‘the same as the Kanji you already learned’, well, I sometimes do a couple more :stuck_out_tongue:)

But really, I just realized (:sweat_smile:) I can actually spread them out evenly over the first 3 days until the 2nd batch is unlocked without affecting lvl up time in the slightest, averaging about 10 per day most levels probably. I think I’ll try that this level. :slight_smile:

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It’s also worth mentioning that I haven’t used mnemonics since “graduating” from WK, and it’s still working fine for me :wink:

I wouldn’t worry about it being a problem unless you start to feel it’s not working well anymore. But then, I’m not one to anticipate problems and take measures before they happen.


:+1: :sparkles:

I like that approach. It makes the procrastinator in me very happy. :slight_smile:

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“I want to go slower but I don’t want to level slower” bruh…


Anyone who tells you there is only one way to do things is usually short sighted. Someone that degrades you for doing something a different way is not trying to help you.

Like others have already said it’s really about what’s best for you. In the short term I can learn Kanji faster by looking at them on Anki or looking at flashcards. However I burn out and I won’t learn kanji vocab as easily that way. WK keeps me more motivated to study. It also keeps me honest with what I know and what I don’t know. I feel more pressure to keep up with WK and more motivated to do so. The forum helps a little too. Is WK perfect? No. IMHO it has many flaws and for the cost of it I feel like it should be a better product. However there isn’t a better option out there for my needs. I also respect that it seems like a small team working on WK with a niche market.

As for learning 2900 Kanji in a year…sure it’s possible, but who really knows what he means by learning that much Kanji (maybe he only knows what it means and not the reading or any vocab), how much time he’s spent on studying, if he’s had other advantages (he knew Chinese before studying, he’s living in Japan, he’s really good at learning these types of things), if he’s just a troll (maybe just to be a jerk, maybe he couldn’t afford WK and was ashamed so he hides it with anger), or maybe he has some legitimate issues with WK, but is unable to communicate that properly. You should do what works for you. It’s about your journey. It’s good to hear what others have to say, but it’s important to form your own opinion based on your own experiences.

1 Like has a great selection of brush pens. Shipping might be a problem depending from where you live, but you will at least know the name of the pen!


Is WaniKani sub-optimal?

lol I read this as:

Is WaniKani sublingual?

Yes, since radicals are small molecules, kanji (and therefore vocab) can be decomposed in order to be absorved sublingually.


This made me think of this video I saw recently. His point is that almost any method likely works.

If you enjoy it, you’ll stick with it and see results, if you hate it, it doesn’t matter how efficient it theoretically is, since you’ll not be doing it in the first place.

It’s like they say about exercise: the best exercise is the one that gets done.


I came across the same situation on reddit. Probably the same guy, since it sounds just like that. Honestly do what works for you. Anki wasn’t working for me, and WaniKani is. The guy kept saying how I was stupid for wasting on money when I could be using Anki to do the same thing for free. But because of my bad attention span and stuff I needed more structure and pretty colors and levels.


This! Exactly what I was talking about!
Huge thanks for the video!

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If Wanikani is sub-optical, you can enlarge your font. :wink: