Is WK enough for Kanji?

Hi everyone, but specifically those of you at a high WK level,

I have been using WK since the new year and am currently battling my way through level 3.

The question I have is:
Is WaniKani enough to learn Kanji?

I fully understand it isn’t enough to learn Japanese, but is it sufficient to learn the written language? Have those of you at level 10, 20, 30+ needed (like, really needed) to use other materials to learn the kanji?

For some background: I am learning Japanese at night class using the “Japanese for Busy People” books (so am already covering things like grammar here), I can write in Hiragana and Katakana, but my class doesn’t cover Kanji for quite some time, hence WK sign-up.


Oops, should have said - the reason I am asking is because I think I am struggling and I wonder if it’s because I am not supplementing my study of kanji with other sources.

Someone who completes WK should be able to read over 2000 kanji, which is much more than the typical Japanese learner ever gets to. Whether the level WK gets you to is “enough” or not depends on how far you want to go. It’s certainly more than enough to feel comfortable on most of the kanji-related questions on JLPT N1 you’ll see. Is that enough?

If you want to do something like take Kanken levels above maybe… 7 or so, then you’ll need something to supplement it, because it’s not comprehensive enough for Kanken. But most people don’t care to get that into kanji.


Well, no. Even for kanji alone, there will still be quite a few kanji you come across (assuming you read stuff above beginner level) that aren’t on WK.

WK takes out a massive chunk of the kanji you need to know, but it doesn’t have all you’ll ever need to know.


So last Monday I had a online class with my italki teacher. Mind you, she’s native. She taught me a word written in hiragana that I didn’t recognize at first. I showed her the possible kanji version to make sure we were thinking about the same word. We told she didn’t know that kanji (she didn’t recognize it at first though)… WK really works, uh? :slight_smile:

WK is the best program for Kanji, for sure. You’ll still have to learn vocab, grammar, talk and write a bunch, listen and read a lot more… But I really think you shouldn’t be afraid about choosing the wrong option. What’s troubling you about WK?


Thanks. The ‘reading above beginner level and don’t recognise kanji’ will be a nice problem to have one day!

Since you are level 46, did you need anything other than WK to learn kanji to help you get to l46?


WaniKani of course doesn’t teach every kanji, but it’s definitely enough to get you to a point of comfortable literacy. Consuming other material, whether it be through grammar study and/or native material starting with things like easy news articles or easy manga will reinforce the kanji you learn on WK as well as expose you to new kanji not taught here.

I highly recommend supplementing your WK studies once you feel comfortable to do so – WK recommends starting beginner textbooks at ~level 5, so I’d say you’re on your way there ^^ but you can certainly start now if you haven’t already.

Once you start progressing and supplementing, I think that not only will you find that you’re strengthening your kanji knowledge, but will also start getting better at learning Japanese and your brain will adapt to all the strange foreign characters you’re putting into it and will have better retention overall :slightly_smiling_face:


Its more than enough, but I’m struggling with progress that it seems like a very distant possibility

Do you use WaniKani every day?

Yes. I do reviews in the morning plus a set of lessons if my reviews went well. Then I review almost every evening too.

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To help me get to level 46? Not really, as you can get to level 60 in WK while only using WK pretty easily. Well, I say “easily”, but what I mean is that leveling up doesn’t get harder. Level 45 was really no different from level 5 difficulty wise.

But just because you can get to a high level on WK without outside studies doesn’t mean I recommend it. Personally I think you should try and read and learn outside of WK, even if it’s not needed to get to level 46. Most of the kanji I learned outside of WK was from reading, personally, but some people prefer to just put them in a list in anki.

Whatever you choose to do, you’ll need to learn other kanji eventually. It’s just up to you when to do it.


I see that you’re registered on WK since January 3rd of last year. Do you mind me asking if you’ve been using WK since that time? I want to understand if the problem is that you have not realized that you can learn more and faster.

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I think what high level people need to support their learning is radically different from what you need at level 3.

What exactly is the problem you have? If it’s shapes look up the stroke order and experiment with practicing to write, if the readings itself don’t stick maybe get a better feeling for the language first by just listening to Japanese podcasts, subs, etc, or continue with your lessons first for a while.

Without any additional info, my first two pieces of advice would be:

  1. Spend more time on the mnemonics/lessons, and if you find that the WK provided mnemonics are not helping you out - create your own.
  2. Try to do your 4 hour reviews on time - I found that I don’t do well on that first review if I wait all day to do the reviews…

Oh, well in that case, still no. You shouldn’t need to supplement WK with anything in order to get through it, as I mentioned in my previous post. Changing how you use WK is what you should focus on.

Make sure you’re doing your apprentice reviews as soon as they come up and make sure you’re spending more time on lessons. Usually those are the main issues with people. Also make sure you’re actually using the mnemonics at first.


I’ve been on WK for a short while (L.9, although profile shows 8 :man_shrugging:), which other resources would you suggest someone use once they reach LVL 60 on here?, say to pick up those kanji which you say aren’t included in WaniKani.

Probably answered somewhere in a mega thread already, my bad…

Well, Im not level 60, but it mainly depends on what they have done during their journey to level 60. Some people will be done with n2 grammar, and some people wont be able to tell you what the volitional form of a verb is. Without knowing your level/gameplan its hard to say. In general, reading to pick up new kanji is what I recommend as it works for me and guarantees you’ll be learning kanji you’ll be running into.

If you want to give me a better picture and move this over to the resource thread or something, I’ll give my opinion. I gotta leave for class in like 15 minutes tho.


Ok, thanks for the insight. I’m far from that point right now so I’ll probably concern myself with that when I get there.

There have been at least a couple user-created levels above 60 that you could look into:

but as said earlier, generally by the time you hit level 60, you know more than enough kanji for your japanese level - and I find that I learn the few kanji that I don’t already know a lot easier just in context…


Yeah, thanks. To be honest, I’ll probably be far behind in grammar like I am now and it may just be easier to pick up remaining kanji when I come across them while I practice reading. Two birds with one stone that way, although I’ll probably check out the community level mods too.

I tried picking up Genki from the beginning, but it was much easier to get into after getting a few levels into WK. There is a sizable amount of words I already know and nearly all of the kanji as well.

While I do feel slightly behind in grammar, I’ve been keeping pace well enough. I feel that where I should be is finishing Genki I by the end of level 10. I’m only about 75% of the way through it, but I already skimmed over the rest of the lessons and don’t think it should take too long to do.

The biggest challenge for me has been learning how to learn and study. I reset from level 10 and I’ve jumped around textbooks until I’ve settled into a pattern I like. Before I was making very little grammar progress and hitting WK levels once every 3 weeks. Now I hit a Genki lesson each week and so far have hit WK 1-9 in 7 day levels. Yes, I have improved my skills in Japanese, but learning how to study consistently has been the much bigger improvement for me.

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