Is WK a viable main study resource

Nurarihyon goes to visit the big boss of another region’s youkai due to the current conflict. Said boss is a tanuki. They’re kind of known for it. Poor Nattou kozou doesn’t know.
Source: ぬらりひょんの孫


I just wanted to say the Wanikani Community is a valid main study resource. Where else can we find a world of people who share a common goal, and who are constantly looking for new resources and study partners. Who are constantly developing and sharing new tools. Who are actively helping each other.
The community here is the hub of my studies. :slight_smile:


I guess pretty much everyone using WK right now uses it as a main resource, BUT not the only one. That should be the focus, because kanji is probably the most important part of the language, however one wouldn’t get far without having other ways to put that knowledge to the test. You should have a nice balance with grammar as well, whether it’s through books or the more convenient way, BunPro.

I can recommend you an app that I’ve been using for a while and I think it’s a great way to use your kanji recognition skills: ClozeMaster - This app has a few different ways to present you with a ton of sentences where one word is missing and you have to choose which one is the correct one. If you don’t like multiple choice you can use the option for input and write the answer. There’s also an option for listening skills where you’ll hear the sentence first and then choose which word is missing.

The app is mostly free, and you can do small chunks at a time. Each round is about 5 minutes or less, but you can do multiple vocab rounds (you can only do one listening round each day). Your played sentences will come back as reviews as well, which is great. A warning, though, the app is quite addictive, because of the way it gives you points and levels you up.

Happy Studies :wink:


I’m about 2 years into studying Japanese come April/May. I think Wanikani is about 5% of my total Japanese study… So I definitely don’t think of it as my main resource. Because Wanikani is one part (kanji) of one area (reading) of Japanese. I think my main resources from most used to least are as follows:

Reading (Through this I am learning kanji, too)
Anki: both making and reviewing

I would suggest listening and reading as much as you can with Wanikani as a supporting factor.


I’m somewhat surprised to read this. I think as an adult learning a language kanji learning it’s a great way to gain the ability to jump into age according material promptly (which will have progressively more kanji).
Bit I think the focus always should be immersing (listening and reading). Otherwise it’s easy to burn yourself trying to “master” anything before putting into use, and then it’s way easier to know what’s important and not, and direct your studies along the way.

It’s easy to fall into setting that you have to “master” kanji and grammar before getting in contact with any kind of native media. A couple of searches related to language aquisition should prove more enlighting than anything I could put in a post though :sweat_smile:

WK currently it’s way below lots of activities in my case: reading books and watching shows been the number 1 activities, vocab learning 2nd, dedicated listening training then… and then WK :yum:. (though at the beginning probably was higher in my activities, but never before vocab / immersion).


I scrolled through here and I saw a lot of convoluted answers so here is my personal noob methodology I have put together to tackle the exact concerns you are bringing up:

Kanji: WaniKani (with self study script and additional filters script which gives access to audio only drills and leech training) + Kaniwani

Kana: Anki Katakana Core 10k deck shared

Grammar: Bunpro, LingoDeer (offers listening drills), Genki, YouTube.

Chrome extensions: (makes it incredibly easy to practice reading with a great UI), Yomichan (anki connect which allows super fast vocab import to your deck with audio samples and more!)

Custom Content: Personal Anki Deck for verb conjugations, grammar, additional core vocab, and pronunciation training. Screenshot Note: yes there is a crappy attempt at a mnemonic.

WaniKani Scripts: Picture of my WaniKani Home Page + the scripts I am running to improve my experience. Jitai changes the fonts and is really useful recognition.

Final thought: I’m only a month into learning so I plan on working for a few months like this until I feel ready to pay for lessons via iTalki. I have tried plenty of additional resources not listed here but a lot of them I find strenuous to comprehend and nowhere near the polished level of WaniKani. Cough Cough Tae Kim. I know people get a lot out of other well shared resources but you have to find what suits you through experimentation. Japanese is hard :exploding_head: Good luck fellow learner!


Thank you 皆さん!You made some really good and useful points.

  1. Studying with WK > not studying at all, so I’m sticking with it when I’m on the run… I’ll try to incorporate more of the other things into my routine when I’m at home and have more time. But I won’t be too preoccupied with that until I start approaching level 30:

It seems pointless to study kanji beyond that without a lot of context to reinforce it, but until then a solid foundation can’t hurt.

  1. I’ve been contemplating joining the beginner’s book club for しろくまカフェ and now you convinced me to join! I’ll be ordering a physical copy this time (I bought the previous book they were reading in e-book format and didn’t like it (the format) too much, as the pages in physical and e-book version didn’t match :confused:… Which led me to give up pretty early on). I watched a few episodes of the anime with just japanese subtitles and it was a bit too hard, but with the support of the bookclub and the slower pace you have while reading I hope I’ll be able to follow.

  2. I guess I’ll have to invest some time into building a routine for other fields of study… I really like kanji but the other reason I mostly use WK is the convenience/routine I already have.

This is a really good point! I learned quite many synonims but didn’t give much thought to what situation would each one be appropriate in.

Heh, I’m a shy person and this post is a part of my sneaky little plan to get myself to interacting with the community (after just lurking around for a while :sweat_smile:)… I think you guys are really nice and friendly and of course we all share the same interest in Japan :slight_smile:


I feel personally attacked


I find that listening actually does become a bit easier for kanji compounds when you can take a guess at what kanji onyomi readings they consist of.

For instance, I heard ちゃくだつ they other day and after a bit of thinking came to the realization that it must be 着脱.

Did I unwittingly stumble upon an anecdote? XD

My learning is pretty imbalanced towards favouring WK, so forgetting words is definitely a concern I have. I’ve been trying to keep up better with regular native reading.

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That is true and I guess saying that “kanji did not help me in any way in that area” is not 100% accurate. However, I usually don’t find myself having the time for taking guesses at kanji compounds when conversing :joy:

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Let me rephrase that :stuck_out_tongue:
Kanji should be your main focus IF your primary goal - like mine - is to read native material, like manga and novels. I don’t really plan on speaking right now, even though I shouldn’t neglect that part completely. It’s just that my energy and motivation is going towards kanji learning and grammar, which forcibly will include vocab along the way.


It depends what you mean by “main study resource.” Tofugu themselves don’t intend for WK to be the majority of your study.

However, in the “which comes first, the chicken or the egg” problem of bootstrapping inter-related things off of each other, WK is a good place to start and to measure your timing against. No matter what you pick to start with, vocab, grammar, kanji, you’re going to have to go through a phase where you just learn some disconnected things and trust that it’s going to be important later. It seems pretty effective to start with WK’s kanji and small amount of vocab. In the early 20’s of WK level, I’m starting to see those everywhere reading, in grammar lessons, etc.

Then you start to get a feel for what area is suffering the most. When I start seeing a bunch of adjectives, etc. I don’t know on BunPro, time to hit the vocab. When I’m reading and know the words and kanji, but still can’t figure out what the sentence says, grammar time.

Plus, the answer is always ‘do more listening’ which WK does nothing for.


Self study quiz script, set to audio only. Problem solved.

Eh, yeah, that helps a little, but has the synonym/homonym problem KaniWani has with no context. I also need practice recognizing and parsing words out of a stream which, for me, is harder. BunPro’s example sentences with audio are a little more helpful for that, but I haven’t found a single go-to for that yet.

I didn’t think about that. Bunpro is good but it also lacks lesson structure that I really enjoy from LingDeer. LingoDeer is also only on mobile devices which is not ideal. I feel like Bunpro shows me grammar points in context but lacks instruction, it just off loads all that to third party sites that are in themselves poorly put together.

I think LingoDeer handles teaching grammar better than anything else but it doesn’t have a web based access and I really hate learning via mobile device.

I might be old-fashioned, but I still kind of feel like nothing quite lives up to a book (full textbook or JLPT prep book) as far as self-study for grammar. I think you really need both testing and more detailed and contextualized presentation than an SRS site can provide–which is fine for review.

@ctmf: Have you tried iKnow? It has audio for all its vocabulary, as well as example sentences (where you’re asked to fill in missing words, with proper conjugation, during regular study, and you can also do a full-on word-arranging “sentence training” mode as a bonus), and since it’s structured around usage frequency, you’ll get a better sense of how “ordinary” each word feels between its placement in the overall curriculum and the sentences it’s used in. I’ve found it to be a really good secondary SRS application to Wanikani.


I haven’t, I should give it a try. Worst case, it might help with those sentence rearranging questions on the JLPT that drive me crazy.

I actually think kanji and vocabulary study should be the main thing on any learner’s plate. As soon as you know most basic grammar forms 98% of the situations where you won’t know what is being said are going to be due to vocabulary as opposed to unknown grammatical expressions. Kanji and vocabulary study is the main hurdle and getting better at it unlocks the ability to read novels and complicated pieces of writing, which is the fast track to fluency.

Vocabulary knowledge also improves listening skills. You can “hear” words but the only way to actually listen is to have an understanding of these words.

So yes I think WK is a good main ressource. It should be complemented ideally but it will get you pretty far along the way imo

I don’t think it’s a good main resource, per se, but I would say it can be used on it’s own after learning Hiragana and Katakana until you’re about level 20-30 where you can pick up a text book to learn grammar and fill in what WK can’t teach you.
I more or less used it on its own before finishing Genki as, before WK, I was getting stuck on kanji and vocab and wasn’t able to fully absorb the grammar that was being taught.

If I pull up an old email from Koichi, he advises people to pick up a beginner level textbook (such as Genki) and level 10 or preferably level 20 and should pick up an intermediate texbook such as Tobira between levels 30-40.
This is so most of the vocab is something you won’t need to pay attention to, so you can just focus on the grammar lessons.

WK does teach different forms of verbs (intransitive and transitive) but doesn’t really go beyond that, so you’d need a textbook or other resource to fill in that information.

Good luck!

EDIT: Whoops thought this was a new thread, after posting my post I realised I actually answered this thread a month ago. However, this new post has…different information I guess, so at least I’m not repeating myself.