Kana-Only Vocabulary Additions

My understanding is that ドレス tends to be used for formal dresses in particular, like something worn at a wedding, whereas ワンピース can be used for everyday dresses. Google images makes the difference very clear, once you get past all the One Piece manga results (I searched ワンピース衣装 and かわいいワンピース to get around that issue).


Read what Japanese comfortably, exactly?


WaniKani doesn’t teach grammar. We have to go to other resources and words like これ, それ, あれ is what one learns very early on in grammar so most likely it will be more of a hindrance than learning cause we are already learning those terms through grammar resources outside of WaniKani.

To be honest it just sounds like they only want to cater to complete beginners (though they are going about it in a weird way.) They know the drop out rate is high so they just want beginners to come here and spend money before they drop out.

The reason they are giving ‘this is to help with Japanese fluency’ doesn’t hold up well as a justification for not doing a separate track or opt out. Not a good justification excuse at all.


I wish I was level 60 or close to level 60 as like you said this does feel all very forced. It feels like they are just thinking of people who are first trying out the website not the people who have been here for awhile. I hope third party apps that tsurukame just block the kana only vocabulary or have a separate section made for it so that way it’s not forced.


Exactly why there needs to be a separate track. The 60 number will then turn into hundreds then thousands of kana only vocabulary while I literally just came here for kanji and kanji only vocabulary. It honestly feels like it’s just going to get in the way and the excuse given for not doing a separate track makes no sense.


Likewise – after all, working through WK is expected to be a long, long time investment over the course of a few years. It relies on consistent study habits, and those rely on predictability from the site, which was formerly a strength. But given just the last few months, how could I recommend anyone new start a years-long program, when study features can be yanked on two weeks’ notice with no replacement in sight, API calls can be yanked on zero notice, and apparently now major unavoidable changes to the study process can be dropped in at any time? In the absence of any clear roadmap, how could anyone be confident the next short-notice-no-alternatives change wouldn’t interrupt their study?


Because only are 60 currently released. I know all 60 of those words quite well, but I suspect some of the “thousands” that are coming might be less familiar and worth learning.

And yes, for me personally, mousing to find a skip button (taking me out of my flow) would be worse than just typing the answer eight times over six months.

But that’s just my opinion. It’s okay to have a different one.


It wouldn’t hold up if the kana only vocabulary was ever an appreciable fraction of all vocabulary and always this familiar. I don’t expect that to be the case.

As I mentioned in my prior reply, I suspect that future kana only vocabulary will be less familiar to me than this batch, and stuff I want to learn.

(I’m relatively new here, but it seems like just yesterday everyone was bitching about the lack of kana-only vocabulary. WK can’t win.)


Is this the WK team’s new end goal? Can we get a roadmap please?


Yeah, I agree with the other folks here as someone who used to happily recommend WaniKani to people all the time, who now feels hesitant to do so. It was very helpful to getting me where I’m at today, but I think adding kana-only vocab as a mandatory part of the package is just going to dilute what’s so effective about WaniKani and make it an overall worse tool to learn kanji.

I think making this change is just going to make WK’s competitors, like jpdb, seem more appealing to people because they do the all-in-one tool thing more efficiently and in a way that is better tailored to an individual person’s interests. I like WK because it taught me how to learn kanji.

There are things that WK can do that jpdb (and other programs) can’t do as well, like teaching phonetic-semantic composition of kanji (assuming you have the keisei script installed, at least). This script is almost universally recommended here and is backed up by a lot of actual research, and dovetails quite nicely with WK’s established methodology. Why not work to incorporate that into WK instead? That would add a lot of value to the existing product and give people a reason to choose WK over other tools.

With that script, you are learning not only 2,000 kanji + 6,000 or so vocab, but you are also learning how to recognize the components that make up a vast number of other kanji, which you can carry with you once you leave WK and have to learn new kanji on your own. That’s what’s most important, I think. Giving users enough of a boost that they can go forth into the world and learn on their own.

As others have mentioned, fluency in reading what? Different mediums and different genres have different sets of most frequent words. The more you try to cover, the more words you’ll need to add, and the more bloated the program will get. It took me just over 2 years to reach level 60 with the current content. That is a pretty large clump of time!

I wouldn’t want to go any faster than I did because it was a lot of work every day as it is, and even so, I definitely started feeling the fatigue by the end of it. If you add thousands more words, that would extend the time it would have taken me by another year or two. Would I have made it to the finish line if I had to keep going like this for another year? I don’t know. Especially if by level 60, the kana words that are showing up are less and less frequent ones, which might not appear in the kind of media I read and watch.

Some people really like the idea of an all-in-one type of program, and I know that Kitsun has a pretty popular 10k deck, and programs like Torii exist to supplement WK’s vocab, so there clearly is interest in this sort of thing, but for many of us, we chose WK for learning kanji.

We have other methods for learning kana-only vocab which are better suited to our individual study plans, whether that’s learning that vocab through a specific textbook (which all teach things in a different order anyway), or learning it through immersion (which will also teach things in a different order than WK). WK’s implementation of teaching kana-only vocab directly clashes with both of those other methods.

If you make kana-only vocab opt-out, I’ll probably still recommend WK, but if it’s mandatory, I don’t know. I might recommend people give jpdb a try instead because I know that many people have used it successfully, whereas my own path through WK, which was successful, is no longer even an option anymore. How can I recommend a tool if all of my advice for getting through it no longer applies?

I dunno. I was going to leave a pretty glowing recommendation for WK in my level 60 post, but this recent update has got me unsure if the product going forward is even the same product I used to get here, and so I don’t know if I can recommend it anymore, because this is unknown territory, and everything I had to say about it doesn’t apply in the same way that it once did.


For everyone wanting this feature be opt-out, your chance to let the WaniKani devs know is NOW. Make forum posts, like other comments, etc.

Personally not in this group, but don’t let this be another summary page situation.


Consider adding (a kind of) “I know this” button

I know you guys have strong opinions on what should be part of WK and what shouldn’t. You’ve recently expanded your system that is a very limited version of undo or more specifically ops-you-answered-another-question-than-the-one-we-asked (which to be fair is a pretty cool system, but…). It is clear you aren’t planing to add undo. While I think it is a mistake, and there are plenty of good arguments for why (dyslexia, non-native speakers of English, the myriad of synonyms English has for basically every word, and more), I can accept that this is an area we have to agree to disagree.

But I think it might be important, as you enlarge the scope of WK, to ask yourself if all your previous policies still apply. And in this specific case, I’m talking about adding an “I already know this” option, at least for kana-only vocabulary.

I get (and even to a degree support) not having it for the kanji vocabulary. Since kanji vocabulary both reinforces and teaches new readings for the kanji.

But kana-only vocabulary is different. It doesn’t build on anything.

If you’re opposed to letting customers decide whether they know something or not (afraid perhaps that they will abuse it and then complain they learned nothing or similar), just make the “I know button” push an item to mastered or enlightened, and let the last 1-2 review stages prove or disprove their knowledge. If the “I know” button moves the word to enlightened, they won’t see it for four months. And if they can answer it correctly after four months without any reviews, then I think that proves very well they knew the word and burning the word seems appropriate.

(This could in a lesser capacity be implemented for kanji vocabulary, maybe pushing an item into guru 1 or 2 (or apprentice 4), so that if someone already knows the word, they won’t have to review it many times over a few days, but they will still get the benefit of reinforcement and learning new readings.)

Summery page

And just for the record. I never used the summery pages as much as some people. But I did check over my mistakes, and sometimes when I had similar kanji, I’d use it to compare them again to really nail down the difference (and no, all the kanji I think look similar are not in each other’s similar looking kanji, and sometimes they probably shouldn’t be because I just imagined they were similar but when I looked they were nothing alike :woman_facepalming:; and sometimes I’m noticing it while looking at vocabulary, and then it is suddenly a lot of clicks or searches I have to do to find the right kanji to see if they were in each other’s similar kanji row… (unless the summery page was back, because then I could compare them right there).

So I’m very much in favor of the summery page (after reviews/lessons) coming back for that quick overview of what items I saw in a review session and whether I answered them correctly or not.

Another reason to return it is that even a couple of months in, it still feels jarring to be unceremoniously dumped back at the dashboard the second I commit the correct answer to the last review.


I’m a big fan of kana-only vocabulary, but when introducing grammar related words, it’d be best to place them in the lowest levels. I (re)started studying Japanese around 20 days ago and my textbook has already covered all これ・この・ここ・どこ related words. I’d suggest moving those words down to the first three levels. Getting to level 7 takes at least around 35/40 days and by then most beginners will have learned those words.


While I like the idea, I have some feedback:

  1. I’m not sure I agree with adding more loanwords like ガラス or タバコ: Those are surely self explanatory (to an english speaker anyway).
  2. For me, the more useful words would be the onomatopeia, phenomime and psychomime words and those odd kana only adverbs that japanese has a lot of. Even in regular study outside of WK I have trouble remembering these. I only see a small handful in the list you’ve posted.
  3. I would also echo calls for a “just burn this right away” option. I’m level 60, and while I am happy to learn new words like ペラペラ, I don’t need to be wasting my time on basics like ここ
  4. 紛れ is already in WK, why add まぐれ separately? Same with する, you have to imagine people would pick up what that means eventually.

Oof marone, they want us here forever


Yes, it’s vocabulary. But, no, it doesn’t make sense to be a part of WaniKani itself, unless either opt-in or on a separate track. WaniKani is, and has always been, advertised and promised as a KANJI-learning tool. And, the point of the vocab was to REINFORCE what has been learned about the KANJI.

The argument that adding kana-only vocabulary into a Kanji-learning website is meant to help people get fluent in Japanese as quickly as possible is ludicrous. Fluency requires grammar, no matter how it’s learned. So, this is a throw-away marketing claim meant to placate, again. Stop placating and start listening!

Bad. Very bad! It should have been, at minimum, an A/B test. I don’t want kana-vocab on my kanji-learning tool. Never did. Let me opt-out, now. It’s only going to be a distraction for me. Given the way the API works, you can easily add this option in a day or two. ADD IT.

There’s already enough to go through to learn the kanji as is. This many words means that it absolutely should be a separate track. Otherwise, the scope of WaniKani will actually LOSE it’s strength: The focus on KANJI.

Since you’re not making this OPT-OUT (which it NEEDS to be), you are now forcing me to review all of these words that, thanks to my grammar studies, I should already have burned.

Things that I have to REPEAT

Wednesday, May 17 2023

Level 3: リンゴ - apple

Wednesday, May 24 2023

Level 2: おはよう - good morning
Level 2: ホテル - hotel
Level 3: いつ - when
Level 3: コーヒー - coffee
Level 3: これ - this one
Level 3: こんにちは - hello
Level 3: する - to do

Wednesday, May 31 2023

Level 4: うん - yep
Level 4: こんばんは - good evening
Level 4: さようなら - good-bye
Level 4: テレビ - television
Level 4: どれ - which one
Level 4: ノート - notebook
Level 4: はい - yes
Level 4: あなた - you
Level 4: いいえ - no
Level 4: コンビニ - convenience store

Wednesday, June 7 2023

Level 5: すみません - excuse me
Level 5: それ - that one
Level 5: デパート - department store
Level 6: あれ - that one over there
Level 6: カバン - bag
Level 6: この - this
Level 6: タクシー - taxi
Level 6: どの - which
Level 6: ドル - dollar
Level 6: ない - not there

Wednesday, June 14 2023

Level 7: その - that
Level 7: あの - that over there
Level 8: ここ - here
Level 8: どこ - where
Level 8: でも - but
Level 8: まだ - still
Level 8: もしもし - telephone hello
Level 9: あそこ - over there
Level 9: ガラス - glass
Level 9: キロ - kilo

Wednesday, June 21 2023

Level 9: そこ - there
Level 10: サービス - service
Level 10: しかし - however
Level 10: タバコ - tobacco
Level 10: ちょっと - a little
Level 10: とても - very
Level 10: パン - bread
Level 10: ビル - building
Level 12: もう - already

Wednesday, June 28 2023

Level 13: マンション - apartment building
Level 13: ワンピース - dress
Level 15: トランプ - deck of cards
Level 30: バイキング - buffet

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that WaniKani is trying to help students learn more. However, this is a feature that should have been Opt-In from the start! (At least for lifetime members who have already started or “finished” learning the very words you’re publishing.)

At the very least, give us the option to mark them as known.


To be fair, there’s nuance with the two you mentioned. For instance, there’s ガラス and グラス, but ガラス is the material and グラス is what you would drink from. Also I don’t know how they plan to teach it, but タバコ is both tobacco generally and also just cigarettes specifically (due to abbreviation).


I’m curious as to your choice of words.

  • Level 4: こんばんは - good evening is already taught as 今晩は
  • Level 8: もしもし - telephone hello is already taught as 申し申し

But two examples aside, what determines “all the words you need to be able to read Japanese comfortably.” Bunpro is currently implementing a system teaching vocab, the the N5 section alone has 1100 words, with some of the other levels having more than double that.


Missing the kana word that I’ve most often heard spoken by a Japanese person: やっぱり


Since a lot of kana-only vocab originate from kanji readings (they are just very uncommon and/or hardly ever used), it would be cool if you could add the kanji readings for them on the lessons or vocab page. For those like myself who are interested in/curious about that sort of thing. i.e 林檎 for リンゴ, etc.

I guess I could just google them as well, but it wouldn’t hurt to have them be inclusive within Wanikani.