I've got 30 minutes/day to do Wanikani, Mon-Thursday. Should I give up?


I have 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week to do Wanikani.

Should I give up?

I’m all up for going slowly and enjoy the journey as I’m not in a hurry to learn Japanese, but I’d like to see ‘some’ tangible progress down the line, you know, after a year or so.

Right now, I only see stacks of reviews I cannot finish in one go. And I assume it will only get worse over time…? I mean, will it?

I’m not looking for words of encouragement but rather for honest opinions/advice from more experienced users.

Thanks in advance

EDIT: I am humbled by the number of responses this post has received and how civilised they all are.

I am also impressed by the quality of the responses. Thank you all so much for taking the time to write your responses.

All I can say is that I’m not giving up yet. It seems that with apps like Flaming durtles I should be able to squeeze in some reviews, even on weekends, and maybe even on weekdays, who knows. It’s also true that although my time is limited now for personal reasons, it might change in the future.

Thanks again for sharing your opinions with me. I’d better stop writing now and do some reviews. Have a good week!


I’m super far from expert (noob). There are some hiatus/vacation settings… But I just quit doing lessons for a while and then only had reviews, which tapers off without “new blood”…(it didn’t seem to mess up my standings; I went for 3 months with nothing). I think the key is to control the number of lessons you start…maybe experiment by doing only 10 (or 5) on your first day of the row and then let that process?? (The first few days take the most time for new material imho).

I’m so far from expert… Dunno why I even posted, but I feel for you!

Someone here did an amazing post with tips last year.


Why is the time that limited? That might help with giving you advice.
The first time I did WaniKani, I had a flip phone so I could only do WaniKani when I was at home. But I still spent hours on WaniKani. I was multitasking when I went through my giant review pile, though, so I could have gone faster to get through it.


You won’t be reaching level 60 in one year, but you’ll make definite progress as long as you’re consistent.


This is a very personal choice. If you are happy with it taking around 4 years or longer to finish just learning the kanji, then go for it! But learning a language is a very big commitment. It took me just over a year to finally commit to learning Japanese, once I had figured out what I had to do. It is one thing to like the idea of knowing another language and another committing time to it and actually learning the language. Of course, it depends on your goals and what you are happy with entirely, so if you are happy not being able to read most kanji for a few years, then keep at it! But keep in mind, you will have to do thousands of hours of grammar practice, reading, and listening along with just learning the kanji! So if this is just a hobby you do for fun, keep at it and keep in mind that you will get there eventually! がんばろう!

I did not mean to discourage you at all, but it turns out like that.

This amount of time is really not much. Do you study Japanese beyond WaniKani? If you do, then slow progress on WK will be OK. If you don’t, then 2 hours per week of studying Japanese will probably not bring you any satisfaction.

So, if you want to manage WK progress in allotted timespan, always start with reviews. Once you manage to bring reviews number to zero, add few lessons per day, probably no more than 5. 20 new lessons per week will make your reviews pile under control, but your progress thru levels will be super slow (6 weeks per level). However SRS works best if you do first reviews 4 hours after the lesson, so if you can split your 30 daily minutes into two sessions of 15 minutes. … Honestly, after writing all of this, I can hardly believe my own words. Personally, I would hate doing WK for that short amount if time, because without reviewing new lessons two times in the first 12 hours, I would not have a chance to remember it.
So for me with this time constraint, most of new lessons I would just fail on each review. If you split 30 minutes per day into 3 10-min sessions (lessons in the morning, first review after 4 hours, second review after 8 hours, it may work, but you need to finish all available reviews, so you have to be super fast.

There is a Drop app that teaches languages including Japanese, and it allows only to use it 5 min every 10 hours. It is in no way as effective as WK for teaching kanji, but it is Ok to drill furigana, katakana, and some simple vocabulary.


The WaniKani Heatmap seems to think I spend about 45 minutes a day on WK. Although that’s 7 days a week and while I make consistent progress it has slowed considerably since the early levels. I noticed a ramp up at level 7 and then another at level 13. The first 10 levels took 5 months, the last 7 have taken 9 months. Really looking forward to the Death levels. :slight_smile:

You can do it, but I think you’d need to go slower than I am, and perhaps turn on vacation mode for the 3 days a week you are away from WK.

Despite my pace, I do notice progress. At present my main concern is forgetting all the burned items before I finish.


Even if you go slowly you will still make progress. It requires a daily effort though. If you can’t do reviews at all over the weekend, you will have a huge pile by Monday. So you might want to find another study system if you really can’t devote any time to it on those days.

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The number of reviews is governed by the number of lessons you take on (and the number you keep getting wrong when you come to remember them!). So as long as you don’t do too many lessons, you won’t feel you’re drowning in reviews? I reckon keep at it and you’ll figure out a pace that works for you? Half an hour most days a week is quite a lot really and at least it’s consistent. You’ll get a lot further if you stick at it than if you give up! Think of how far you’ll have got in a couple of months. You’d be surprised. And that’s a lot further than if you don’t do any at all (and you might look back and regret that!) You don’t have to do all your reviews at once if you can’t bear to, if they stack up a bit over the weekend. You can chip away at them. Things may move a bit slower but we can’t all be speed runners or able to look at our computers 24/7. This might not agree with some (more experienced) posters above. But personally I have got a lot out of the stuff I have learnt so far, and especially when I see it ‘in the wild’, and maybe you would too? It’s not all about getting to level 60.
Don’t give up if you love Japanese! Good luck!!


Don’t give up.

I’d personally try to get more time in. When you’re sitting on the toilet: do reviews, when you want to use your phone for seemingly no reason: do reviews, when you sit on the train: do reviews. I’m sure there’s some dead time in your day where you’re like “what should I do now?”. The trick is to not see it as a chore but something to look forward to.



I don’t spend a lot of time each day on WK consecutively, but what works for me (and many others from what i’ve read in the forum) is the Do-10-Approach, though usually only with reviews, new lessons take a bit more time and you may want to do them on the days you actually have 30 minutes.

So: Waiting for the bus? Do 10 reviews.
Standing in a queue at the supermarket? Do 10.
Waking up? Do 10.
Going to bed? Do 10.
Waiting for the noodle water to boil? Do 10.

This is what works for me, i do a lot of batches of 10 during a day (not that i’m particularly speedy though) but i manage to finish a level every ~ 20 days which is a great tempo for me :blush:


The choice is yours, but here’s some food for thought:

  1. You have the option of doing less lessons, as those above mentioned. Progress will be slower but it is still progress. And you are less likely to burn out and quit language learning altogether.
  2. Quit now and try again later. Personally, I’m at a point where I’m not doing any new lessons because I have so many reviews to catch up on and little time throughout the day. I’m waiting for a time where I am less busy to continue learning. Am I upset about it? Not all all. This isn’t a competition and people can go as fast or slow as they want to. And they can take breaks if they don’t feel like they’re capable of making a commitment. Sometimes it’s better to just acknowledge you’re too busy for something, and wait for a less busy time to really give some time to it and not half-ass the job.

If you don’t mind me asking, why do you only have 30 minutes Mon-Thurs? Is there a commitment you can drop to make time for language learning?


You should do whatever you can take. Though the gap between thursday and monday is probably hurting you more. As on mondays reviews pile up over weekend.


I go also pretty slow. Doing around 15 min. on weekdays and 30 min. on saturday / sunday. So thats more or less the same time in total. To complete one level I take around 70 days if I stick to the routine. But I do the all the vocab before starting kanji from the next level. For me the kanji stick better if I see them again in the vocab.
Ah one thing I would definitely recommend is trying to get reviews down to zero every day first. And only learning new items, if you think you can handle more.
So if you don’t mind taking long, why not?


I have an app, so I can do reviews on the go (jakeipuu)
I can say I only want to do 5 reviews a time, so that makes it much easier to do in a break, or on the toilet, or just whenever I have some time left. or even before I go to bed.
That quickly adds up, I spent an average of 45 minutes on WK (according to heatmap). ofcourse that may become more when I level up and have more lesson.
I forget things quickly too, so a three day interval would make me go even slower than I already am.


I’m a lazy butt, so I only do Wanikani for about 15 minutes a day. I do only reviews until they’re completely caught up, then I go back to doing lessons, five at a time. I’m on level 31 right now, so I’m not making fast progress, but I’m definitely making progress. I encourage you to keep going even if you have only 5 minutes.


That’s about two hours a week across four days in a week. For how valuable that time is in context, many lower-level college/university courses meet for two to three hours in the span of a given week and may not be difficult enough to require much additional study.

It isn’t fast, but it’s certainly progress. The bigger question may be to determine whether or not the content you study will stick around in your short-term memory between sessions. If you feel reasonably confident about it, then you might give it a go.

WaniKani does a good job measuring your success, so it’s certainly tangible. Keep ahold of the email they send you about the different breakpoints in Japanese kanji proficiency; I refer to it periodically as a motivator and it’s been pretty exciting for me to get closer and closer to those skill levels.


30 minutes a day is doable. The problem is the 4 days a week. Reviews will accumulate during the other 3 days and in turn increase the time needed for the other 4.

If you can do 15 minutes a day every day that would be better overall even though it would be less total time per week.

Like @mitavo mentioned that’s going to be somewhere around 6-12 levels a year but you’re going to make progress.

The only way to do a split schedule like you have is to spend extra time on that Monday catching up on reviews.

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Super secret tip. Take your phone to the washroom with you (everyone does anyway), and get those extra review minutes in!!!
(Tsurukame is a really good app)


I would second a lot of the advice here, particularly doing the reviews on your phone as you have time. Typing on the phone can be a pain (I have entered plenty of typos on my phone), but you can either double check everything or download a user script to override WK when you make typos (I believe one exists).