Kana-Only Vocabulary Additions

It’s been said somewhere that kana vocabulary is vocabulary so it will have the same purple colour.


It’s been confirmed to be the same colour:

I’ll be displaying it in with vocabulary in Smouldering Durtles, thanks to Scott’s prompt, but it’ll be distinct in specific searching to make it possible to filter, for example.

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I think overall adding kana-only words has good potential
but I feel like if they’re going to go into regular lessons there needs to be a ‘I already know this’ button
I’m fine with that not being the case for radicals/kanji/kanji vocab because that stuff is cumulative
but I know a lot of beginner words like konnichiwa and I don’t really want to drag that stuff all the way to a burn to get rid of it
I’m fine with having to go through the lesson since there’s benefit to seeing the example sentences and things, but I just think kana-vocab benefits from a looser structure than kanji


Ill repeat my thoughts from the other thread, since apparently we should have left our feedbacks for this thread instead.

With goals of adding possibly thousands of kana vocabulary and more kanji vocab, im very surprised you havent chosen to go with multiple paths, opt in/out way or introducing “i already know this” feature. This might be nice change for absolute beginners just starting, but this will in turn turn away everyone who had spent at least few weeks on japanese elsewhere as they will already have hundreds of cards they need to repeat for no good reason.

Already as is, many people consider levels to be bloated with uncommon vocab, many people also complain that they know some basics and while WK seems appealing, they dont want to go through stuff they already know (since there isnt any “suspend card” option), this will possibly make both of those problems worse.

Also i feel like adding them this slowly isnt going to appeal to new users chosing their SRS now as it will take very long time for WK to work as regular vocab SRS tool too, but its also enough to make daily life of current users who know them a bit worse.

Im already done with WK so its thankfully not really affecting me, but i would like to at least be proud of saying i did WK and happily recommending it to people that need help with kanji studying, but currently thats a bit hard to do in most cases. I would have rather seen some features to better understand mistakes people make and teach them what they are doing wrong (confussion guesser and leech trainer), implementing some basic features like undo button or reorder script, etc., so you can dominate the kanji field before branching off to general japanese learning tools - the competition for that is quite strong nowdays.


Also, previous IBC pick コーヒーが冷めないうちに has a character whose ワンピース is her defining characteristic, so she’s described as wearing one every time she gets mentioned. :stuck_out_tongue:


Yes kana only vocabulary is still vocabulary, but not everyone is here for that. You have system in place that forces it whether people like it or not. It would make more sense for a separate track as then it gives people options.

Besides then you don’t have to worry about how to space out the kana only vocabulary words with the kanji if you have it on a separate track. Having a separate track just makes way more sense then spaces この and どの in level 6 and その and あの in level 7. Why not have them learned together?

これ at level 3 and あれ at level 6 it’s again just weird placement. This could easily be avoided with a separate track.

Separate track would be first choose and an opt out of kana only vocabulary be second choice. I strongly prefer the separate track though. Just makes the most sense.


Ok, I’m sold.

No, but seriously, as I mentioned elsewhere, I strongly believe we have to have “I know this!”/“Skip” button for kana-only. Even if someone starts from the very beginning of their Japanese learning journey, majority of those are very “skippable” even for newbies. Opt-in is called for.


Yeah at least at I know this button for the kana only vocabulary would be great as a lot of the vocabulary I learned while learning grammar somewhere else since WaniKani doesn’t do grammar.


I can understand WK wanting to expand, but most of these words are so common and basic that anyone with even as little as 50 hours of immersion would know them in a heartbeat. Sure, it may be “only” 60 words. I realize that in the large scope of language learning this will not be a significant waste of my time, but I can’t help but feel annoyed by the fact that I’ll be forced to learn and review these items all the way to burned status before being rid of them. Please make them opt-out in some way… These content additions are like a lesson on how to tie your shoelaces: surely useful for a kindergartener, but can you imagine many 14 year olds being well served by mandatory attendance of such?


From the wording of this announcement, even more so than was apparent from the “technical” announcement last week, it seems like tofugu is trying to radically alter WaniKani’s mission statement. It’s no longer supposed to be “just” a Kanji learning app, but wants to expand into other areas of Japanese language learning as well. I have my reservation about whether it’s going to succeed at it. Every path to learning Japanese is very unique, which is why there are so many different resources. But for some new users, this might work.

For me, though, the road with WaniKani ends here. I’m tired of the forced content, the inflexibility and the constant breakage of third-party tools. I’m luckily already done with all of the current lessons, so it’s not a big deal.


Currently there are some problems in WaniKani not properly solved. (Third-Party solutions don’t count :sweat_smile:) Adding more vocabularies aggravates the problem. (Over 9000 to burn?)

  • How to handle backlogs? What to do if someone forget a few days due to unexpected Real Life?
  • What to do on unexpected Level Up? Vocabularies first, or Radical-Kanji first, or totally random? Seeing a lot of vocabularies waiting is demotivating.
  • Anything helpful for Lifetimers and oldies? I can’t see old reviews needing mnemonics that much, but rather something extrapolated from usage. Reset isn’t satisfying. I am not a naïve new learner anymore.

Also, Kana-Only vocabularies don’t help with remembering Kanji, and probably also Kanji-related vocabularies. Oops, remembering Kanji might not have been helpful with remembering Radicals too.


It only takes 8 correct answers spread out over ~180 days to burn a given subject. Personally, I think I’d take longer to find a “skip” (burn immediately) button than just typing an answer I know immediately (and I hate reaching for the mouse during reviews). I definitely wouldn’t want a “burn immediately” keyboard shortcut – too dangerous.

I think most of us do about 120 or so subjects/day or 240 answers/day once we’re in the flow. Thats about 43,200 answers over the course of 6 months. The 480 correct answers for all 60 items in this batch are a drop in the bucket.


Many people have suggested maybe a “I already know this” button or an opt-out button, and I will suggest maybe shorter SRS timings? It’s much easier to remember kana-only words than kanji and the sooner they’re out of review piles, the happier people will be.


Would it really take you more time “to find it every time” than reviewing the card 8x? Also how would existence of that affect you, you could after all just study everything, noone would force you to skip anything?
Also why calc with 60 vocab if the total vocab estimate is in thousands?


This is a clear departure from WK’s original / main purpose, where vocab is primarily for reinforcing kanji and learning alternative kanji readings.

For this reason alone, all of these extra vocabs, whether they be kana-only or ‘missing’ kanji-based vocab, should be an additional feature that can be turned on or off as each user prefers.

Some people really want to stick to the ‘I’m just here to learn kanji only – reinforcement vocab is fine, but I’ve got general vocab covered elsewhere’ paradigm. Others will of course be delighted to get more general vocab in addition to WK’s bread-and-butter kanji content.

However, beware of alienating your longest-term and most ardent supporters (who may in fact not want this new feature forced upon them) in the misguided thinking that ‘growing the potential customer base’ is more important than ‘maintaining the hard-earned (but easily-broken!) sense of trust and good-will with the existing, long-standing customer base’.

There have been many examples in recent history of brands completely destroying themselves trying to appeal to a ‘new audience’ while completely alienating the hardcore fans that built up the brand in the first place.

Please don’t end up being one of those casualties of short-sighted marketing ideas that devolve into a ‘lowest common denominator’ product.

It should absolutely not be difficult to make ‘extra vocabulary’ an opt-in or opt-out feature. That’s like the most basic kind of user-setting there is. It’s a no-brainer if ever there was one.

Personally, I myself will actually welcome this new vocab. But I can guarantee for a fact that many many other folks will not appreciate the nuisance and – ultimately – disrespect of long-term customers that such a feature forced upon them would represent. Although I might personally enjoy this feature, I will fully sympathize with anyone needlessly burdened by such a feature not being optional.

Just my 2 cents.


I’m not sure your arguments holds up since they plan to add a lot more than these 60 words.

Who knows what “all the words…” really means since “comfortably” it’s so subjective, but it’s surely in the high hundreds or low thousands. That adds up to a lot of time.


This is one of the biggest ‘unforeseen’ consequences of ignoring the long-term supporters/fans/customers to a strong brand.

But it can easily be ‘foreseen’ if one just puts oneself in the customer’s shoes for a moment. “Hey wait a second? Would this new feature potentially be annoying and/or disrespectful to the time-commitment of our most loyal and supportive customers? Maybe not all of them, but a significant portion of them? Could it potentially harm or even ruin our most powerful form of marketing, i.e. word-of-mouth recommendations?”

“Don’t turn your best word-of-mouth-recommending customers into disappointed, disillusioned ex-customers.” should be one of the first things taught in Marketing 101, IMHO. Instead, just treat them with at least as much respect as you would any potential-but-not-yet-actual future customer you’re hoping to win over.


The more I learn about this, the less I like it. I’ve already written enough about why in the other thread, so for here, I’ll just say that this is such a shame. I really hope people can opt out.

I think I should be able to get to level 60 by the end of November, if not sooner. Hopefully the WK team won’t add too many before that point, or they’ll have created an opt-out feature. Now I feel like if I don’t finish quickly, I’ll literally never be able to. :frowning: If the intent is to add thousands of vocabulary words, I’ll just be buried under a backlog of lessons with every update. I kind of wonder if speeding through is worth it, but the thing is, WK as it currently exists works really well for me, so I want to at least try!


As a last little comment for now: I’ve been paying close attention to how a similar product, namely BunPro, has been handling its recent process of massively upgrading the website and app to be a lot more flexible and to incorporate new features. Specifically, they have also introduced a new vocab feature (currently in beta – i.e. acquiring valuable customer feedback prior to full release – which is already an opt-in system) which has already improved so much that – to be quite frank but honest – already blows this new proposed WK vocab feature out of the water. (Of course, there’s plenty of opportunity for WK to improve their ‘additional vocab’ feature to be on par with that of BunPro’s beta vocab system; just sayin’ that BP has a big head start, and they’re still ‘only’ in beta!)

There’s been a big, noticeable difference in the software development methodology being used between WK’s recent changes and BP’s similar recent changes. BunPro has adopted a beta system. They actively solicit customer feedback early, during development, not waiting until virtually the last minute before first release. And they noticeably listen to customer feedback. Sometimes it’s just to say, “Okay, we heard you and will attempt to handle that issue in the future, before final release, but we can’t address it immediately, due to other more urgent priorities. Still, thanks for your input!” But at least they are not seemingly sweeping negative (yet constructive) criticism under the rug, and assuming that, “Well, once we release the first version, folks will see how good a feature it is, and they’ll surely come around over time.”

They also provide advance notice of new features, months in advance – indeed, solicit customer feedback regarding the plans for future developments, and keep us informed about progress as they are developing things.

I could go on and on, but I think that’s enough examples for now. The point is that – as a former software developer myself – I have been consistently impressed by the mature development process the BunPro team have adopted over the years, and by the concrete, user-tested great new innovations and improvements they’ve been making.

I’m just saying that I’m not getting the same vibe from these recent WK changes at all. And I think that’s a shame and a huge missed-opportunity for the WK team to get the same kind of synergistic feedback and communication with their customers as BP has been fostering, as well as the benefits (in terms of app/site stability, customer satisfaction, etc.) as the BP team’s development process has garnered them.

I’m just trying to raise some warning flags before the WK ship starts heading too deep into ice-berg infested waters. “Hey, there are icebergs in that direction, just in case you weren’t aware of that! And there’s a well-charted channel in this nearby direction that will actually get you to your destination faster and safer, by the way. Just sayin’.”


Thinking about it a bit more, I imagine there’s immediately going to be a script for ignoring all kana vocab, so it would just push people into using that, and annoy the mobile users.