Kana Vocab

No but MY opinion is the one that matters most. I’m the main character.

1 Like

Strange… I thought I was the main character and you were merely an extra :thinking:


As I said in the main thread I see the usefulness of Kana only vocab. It is important. I think it overall could be a very good addition. But I do have an issue with how it is being implemented. For me there is nothing more soul crushing in my reviews that having to transpose katakana to hiragana. I can read it, so for the love of Haruhi dont make me type it out in hiragana where I will inevitably miss a dash and have to retype it. its just such a waste of time.

The word selection, as others have pointed out, is also so incredibly basic that it defies usefulness. Who are they actually for? If you are learning kanji I am willing to bet your audience knows what こんにちは means. So again it takes time away from my intended goals. not a lot but it does add up.

What i think should happen is WK should implement a parallel track of kana vocab. The stated goal is to make people more proficient in reading and Japanese overall. Great! I can get behind that. Lets do it… But lets do in a way that makes sense. Do something similar to Bunpro. Have us learn the words in lessons, and then in reviews have us give the meaning, but also have us reproduce the word in a fill in the blank manner. That way we are using recognition and reproduction to learn words in context of example sentences. it also breaks up the some of the mindlessness i feel when i am just giving readings and meanings. WK has how many thousands of example sentences written already so why not use them. And I am willing to bet that most of us look at them once and never again when we get new kanji. It would be similar to what Bunpro does, and as an added bonus we might accidentally learn some grammar along the way.

Also something I would like to see is a sort function for order of learning. So you can order words by frequency, JLPT, or WaniKani order. Hell maybe you could even set it up so you do your reviews mixed between kana and kanji if you choose. Like you do your Kanji lessons and then your separate Kana lessons and you have to option to combine them in one review session. I see so much potential. But there just needs to be more thought on their end on implementation. because as of now this isn’t the way to do it.


You’re a party member at best, and an NPC at minimum.

1 Like

Totally resonate with the OP. I’m not against kana vocab on Wanikani, it’s actually a really nice feature for beginners.

The team needs stop making general assumptions. Enforcing beginner learning material to everybody regardless of their level is pretty narrow-minded. Learning tools should be as customizable as possible, since everybody has a different learning style and starts off on a different plane.

With a user base this big, there’s no way you can always get it right and satisfy everyone. That’s why customization is a must.


i hadn’t thought of it in quite that way, but that would also make sense.

my impression was that WK had a concept: teach kanji by increasing complexity, with mnemonics based on radicals. that had some consequences, some relatively rare kanji get taught quite early on, other much more common kanji much later (党 is in the 50 most common kanji, but gets taught in level 32). as a consequence we also get some quite difficult and rare vocab quite early on. but it works, because it’s a tool for learning kanji.

now WK says it wants to be a tool for learning to read. which is fine, WK can be a tool to learn to read. but it won’t become a tool for learning to read by badly shoehorning grammar words and random vocabulary into the existing structure.

if WK wants to lead the user to becoming a proficient reader, it needs to significantly re-vamp it’s whole plan. maybe teach the kanji by the grade they’re taught in school, so that they can map on to graded readers. maybe have a section for grammar which doesn’t rely on SRS, because SRS isn’t well suited for grammar. maybe produce their own graded readers, which hook into WK levels (they have characters and plenty of lore). i don’t know, there are many options.

but that would require someone actually knowing what they’re doing. which as far as i can tell isn’t the case. so yeah, that does mesh quite well with the idea that there’s nobody at the helm.

i have done just that. i year ago i’d have told people that WK had some issues, but was probably the best tool available for learning kanji. nowadays i tell friends who want to learn kanji that i can’t recommend WK anymore.


I’m sure that would be well-received…


As an aside, I have a strong suspicion that that is an artefact of a kanji frequency list compiled from newspapers. Newspapers have a lot of articles about politics, which means a lot of ~党. In this compilation of half a dozen frequency lists no other list places it anywhere near that high; the average is about 500th and one list puts it as low as 942. So in this case I think WK leaving it to a higher level makes sense.


that’s interesting, thank you!


An obvious and quickest way is to put links to Tofugu blog, where copyright and third-party won’t be an issue. Perhaps remove (hide) some nuanced vocabularies as well. SRS too hard on some items may backfire, or simply don’t help, with reading.

Then also, write new articles for nuanced items, but probably worth SRS’ing.

1 Like

Thanks for that essay there

These are fair points, but then about a year ago, they hired new people specifically for coding and moderation. I don’t think I’ve seen staff disappear from the staff list, but there are definitely certain staff we see a lot less of nowadays now that I think about it. :thinking:


Sounds pretty much like what renshuu.org is except there are also JLPT ordered grammar intros, grammar study, games to drill counters, crosswords, question and haiku writing prompts, and various charts showing your data.

Additionally, you can track your progress in knocking out various tasks that help you study with coins that you earn. These coins can then be spent on a garden, where you can buy cats, dogs, deer, turtles, etc to see a visual representation of your work.


Have different sections for each category; that’s a good idea.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing!

I would say I have to agree about the kana being insulting… I use WK to learn Kanji. I don’t consider it a comprehensive resource to learn vocab or grammar and my opinion is anyone serious about learning Japanese would not use WK as the sole method of learning (i.e., there should be other methods to pick up vocab and grammar). I think that the kana should simply fall outside the scope of what WK aims to teach.

Of course, I don’t plan to leave WK over this either. I was just confused and genuinely surprised when I came across the kana words. I had used this website many many many years ago and didn’t recall having sole-kana cards on a kanji-learning website… (I just started up again recently)

This is my personal opinion, overall I still think the benefits of WK are immeasurable :slight_smile:


I have never used it but I assume it is very similar to Bunpro. Which has a lot of things i like. Though how they gloss over how to conjugate verbs is pretty bad…I do like how they let you choose the order of how vocab is learned. alphabetical, dictionary, JLPT, Wikipedia, Netflix, and anime. I also like that it asks for recall via fill in the blank sentences. I think that would be a really boon for WK if they implemented that for kanji reviews.

1 Like

I don’t think it’s so similar to Bunpro, but that’s because renshuu has more features.

The creator of renshuu.org has talked about wanting to create a conjugation game and even got community feedback about it. I think he started working on it but he let us know it may take some time due to the coding needing to be different from other games he’s made. He often gives us predictions for when fixes will be worked on/made and estimates for new projects.

It is definitely important to continue voicing criticism until there’s been an adequate response. There’s still plenty of persistent issues from the (increasingly not so) recent update that seem to have been swept under the rug in order to push forward with more half-baked feature implementation. This is more the concern here I think…

I keep seeing people saying “it’s not that bad”, “it takes seconds to power through them” etc… and sure this is true (though at scale it probably ceases to be), but is this really the standard you wanna hold WK to? The “it’s not that bad, they can live with it” mode of operation?

I have no problem with them expanding the service but surely it needs to be done more professionally than this. What does dumping a bunch of beginner vocab into everyone’s lesson queue really achieve? The complaints people have about the kana implementation were very foreseeable and feedback could have been acquired without frustrating a lot of users. We shouldn’t be seeing anything until it’s in a more considered state.

Personally I’d like to see a separate track so people that are only here for kanji can keep it that way. The ability to ignore super basic words is needed regardless. Perhaps if they were in their own level system users could just ignore the levels they’re already comfortable with. This obviously won’t work if they’re just littered in with the kanji progression.

Anyway… no the sky is not falling and frankly nothing that happens on this website can negatively affect my life in any significant way - that is not the point. The point is we pay for this service and many are all in with lifetime subs. We should expect a steadier ship and criticizing people asking for that is just silly. If you’re satisfied then say so and move along.

I’m sure the devs are working hard and someone somewhere is collating all this feedback, but I think WK leadership needs to take a serious look at how they’re going about things atm.


I’m coming here just to complain, sorry if my post doesn’t add too much value to the discussion.

As a personal rule I try to maintain around 70-80 apprentice level items in my queue. Today, while doing my 10 new lessons, I was amazed by the fact that all of them were Kana.

そこ | ガラス | もしもし | ここ | まだ | どこ | でも | あの | その

I know that they are simple, and I’m really familiar with them, but some of them are a pain to type on my phone. Like あれ - "That one over there”.

Think I’ll just add a “.” as a synonym on the annoying ones and move on.


Likewise, I came on to do my normal set of lessons and found myself with a deluge of kana lessons…