Just hit level 60 after 8 years

I started WK in March 2015 and just today I FINALLY hit level 60.

You might think it took me this long because I took a hiatus or I didn’t do my reviews consistently, but no: I took my reviews down to zero at least once almost every single day for the past eight years (only exceptions were when I was on vacation).

I’m not entirely sure why it took me this long, the front page of the site advertises “in just over a year” and I have no idea how that’s possible. Not sure if that means I’m a slow leaner or what. If I had to guess anything, it would be because after my first 1 or 2 years I adopted a policy of not doing any lessons until my apprentice-level items were less than 100 as I found that piling on lessons constantly led to an overwhelmingly large review queue. A few years later as I got closer to the end I revised this to less than 150 in order to speed things up a bit.

In these 8 years I have seen WK change a lot. From UI redesigns to content updates to the whole mnemonic switch a few years ago (still not sure why that was necessary). I couldn’t even begin to estimate how many hours of my life I have spent with my face in front of a screen doing my reviews.

My life has also changed a lot: when I started WK I was in my last semester of high school and had just barely learned hiragana and katana. Since that time I went to college, got a degree in Japanese studies, got a master’s degree, passed N2 and have lived in Japan for 3.5 years. About a year or so after I moved to Japan I noticed that my kanji reading had gotten to a point where I rarely ever saw kanji in the wild anymore that I didn’t recognize. That’s a pretty rewarding feeling and I owe it all to WK.

The journey is still pretty far from over as I still need to clear my lesson queue and eventually burn all items (curious how long that will take). But going forward I want to start refocusing my Japanese study to grammar and conversation as those are two areas that I have neglected a bit the past few years as I’ve focused on completing WK.

This was such a long journey that consumed a huge part of my life, but I’m so glad I did it.


Congratulations!! Your dedication for such a long time is very inspiring :blue_heart:



You might not be able to burn everything since WK adds new vocabulary on Wednesdays. There are people who have down in it a year, but those are the speed runners and nothing wrong with no being a speed runner. I too have been taking it slow and steadily (though in my case it’s due to health issues).

That’s really cool you got your degree in Japanese studies, passed N2, and had lived in Japan for a few years now. Sounds like you have accomplished a lot. Plus you were in college while doing WaniKani and college takes quite a bit of time out of your day anyways.

I keep running into vocabulary words in manga that aren’t in WaniKani so I hope they continue to do the adding new vocabulary words on Wednesdays.

I would say try MaruMori.io but you would have to wait until they do the N1 section. I think they are still working on N4 section right now. In the meantime there is Bunpo and/or Bunpro you could use for learning grammar.

Congratulations on reaching level 60! :tada:


Very cool!
Congrats on hitting level 60! So interesting to read about how your Japanese has improved along the journey too (and how much life has changed!) :slight_smile:


Nice to meet someone who believes in “slow and steady wins the race”.
I started around 2015 too, and I’m only on level 33.


Time is relative.

There are few things in life more rewarding than learning to read in any language, no matter how long it takes!

My understanding is that the speedrunners basically want to get through WK as quickly as possible so they can begin the real work of learning to read. It sounds like you took more of a parallel path. My own was kind of backwards: decades of learning a bit of grammar and vocabulary, followed by three years of finally learning enough to read a bit. There are many paths, but the latter steps along the journey are the most rewarding.


Congratulations! :crabigator: :cake:


Is this the current world record completion time? (for longest?) I’m looking to finish in about 8 (or 9) years myself :slight_smile:


Jesus, I’m drunk and removed my post by mistake.


Going fast is a waste unless getting the proper amount of immersion aswell. Doing sub 1 year WK is something that anyone could do. The problem is immerision, speeding through WK without immersion is a waste imo.

I would aim at 1hr of immersion for every 50 apprentice items you have at the very least.

I know because I did 5-8hrs of immersion on top of doing WK in a little over a year.

Doing WK asap and then dive into immersion is kind of dumb because you quickly realize that you forget about alot of it, especially the kanji in the later levels.

The real learning isn’t from WK and the SRS but from actual immersion. That is where the language is.

WK will not teach you japanese, immersion will. WK is solely for learning how to read.

Doing WK in 8 years sounds like torture to me, but I have no idea how much immersion you got during that time either, which is fairly important.


Nice. I started using WaniKani in 2017. I still haven’t made it to 60 but maybe one day!


I agree, although I think that “speedrunning” (or at least, going as fast as comfortable) for the first 20 to 30 levels makes some sense because that’s going to bootstrap your reading ability tremendously and make everything else easier as you won’t have to hit a kanji wall every time you try to read something. That includes stuff like textbook Japanese or Bunpro example sentences for instance.

Speedrunning all the way to 60 feels absurd to me, at least if you have no preexisting kanji knowledge. You’ll memorize a ton of advanced kanji that you won’t need for a while and will probably end up forgetting by the time you need them.

Personally my recommendation for WK is to start really fast to memorize all these high-frequency kanji ASAP, then progressively slow down and focus more on grammar, general vocab and, you know, actually reading Japanese.

To give a concrete example I just opened the top story on NHK Easy and unless I’m missing something there’s not a single kanji above level 40 (and the vast majority are below 30): 福島第一原発 24日から処理した水を海に流し始めた|NEWS WEB EASY

Even the non-easy version contains very few Kanji I can’t recognize, the first being 措 in the body of the text (which apparently is in my level 41 lesson pile, so it won’t be long…)


Totally agree.

Speed running to 30, makes alot of sense, which is something I usually tell people to do. That way they would understand the vast majority of immersion (jp subs with grammar).

The last 20 levels however (40-60) is abit shady.

Would probably recommend speed running 1-30 lvl and then read through Tae Kim’s guide, and pick up the 10k vocab deck along the way and get hours of immersion daily and you’re golden. Problem being that it’s damn near a full time job at that point though.

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Congratz on this great journey!!!
I will hopefully get up there early or late next year✌.

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Many congratulations!

Very good and interesting to hear your journey as a fellow slowcoach!. I did everything the wrong way round and, after spending thirteen years working in Japan, and learning very little language apart from enough to get me into and out of trouble, I decided in my later years to make the effort.

I also have the 100 Apprentice rule, clear it down every day and focus on learning thoroughly. Right now I am at Level 33 and coming up to four years with barely a day missed. In my late 60’s but hoping to get to Level 60 by the time I make 70. Then I’ll maybe move back :slight_smile:


Congrats! Nothing wrong with taking your time and spreading your focus more broadly in different aspects. Would love to hear a bit more about your 3.5 years in Japan and what brought you there!

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I wish I had study steadily for the last 8 years… I started in 2011, then again in 2016ish, and then again in 2020.


Just chiming in here to encourage the people who are taking it slow: I also started in 2015 and I’m only up to level 34 and I’m OK with that. I now have a job where it helps to be able to read some Japanese and level 34 is definitely enough that it helps! It’s not a race, it’s worth it even if it takes a while.



I first came to Japan in college when I studied abroad for a semester. I went back for a vacation about a year later and made the decision that I wanted to move here long term, having no idea how I was going to do so.

I ended up applying to grad school in Japan, I arrived in March 2020 right as the pandemic was starting to go crazy (literal days before the border closed) and the next 2 years my entire MA program was online. It was a very strange time to uproot my life and move across the globe.

I struggled with job hunting for a while but eventually I got an internship at an international non-profit shortly before I graduated and was able to turn it into a full-time position there afterwards.

Life in Japan has its ups and downs. Japan is a great place to live in many ways, but also a very frustrating place for a host of other reasons. My view on Japan has changed immensely since I first moved here. But I don’t regret moving and so far I still prefer being here than anywhere else.


Thank you for the detailed response. Fingers crossed you continue to enjoy it. I am working on doing something similar as well. Are you in Tokyo or somewhere else +

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Oh you arrived right as I was forced to leave (couldn’t get visa renewed in time). 1 in 1 out policy :joy:

Congratulations on reaching level 60. Getting the masters in Japan was a huge achievement.

I really love seeing people who stick with the programme over a long time. I started in 2017 and got to level 23? I think? before things fell by the wayside and I reset. I wish I’d kept plodding along.