Kanji Level Ups and Stuff

So I started december 17th 2020. Basically it took me 2 weeks. literally 2 weeks to hit level 4. thats not so bad i dont know how many vocab and kanji are in each section but yes it varies. so i been hearing after a certain level it starts to slow you down? i’m trying to get it done by end of 2021. but not sure. took me 2 weeks to hit level 4. pretty average if u ask me.

will i be able to read signs as well in japanese?

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Sure. If you want to get an idea of what you might be in for, open up Google Maps, plonk the Street View man down anywhere near a train station in central Osaka or Tokyo, and just wander around looking at things.


What about reading? Someone told me wanikani takes to n2. But I heard this site doesn’t go by JLPT. I don’t know if all the kanji here is what the natives learn but by the end of high school Japanese will know 2000 Kanji

If you’re willing to mess around with API keys, wkstats.com has some nice charts for this.
Here’s a quick overview of the most pertinent information for your question, though.

The current charts show this:

  • All kanji for JLPT N2 are covered by the end of Level 51
  • 99.45% of all kanji learned in Grades 1 through 6 are covered by the entire app.
  • 86.37% of all kanji learned in Grades 1 through 9 are covered by the entire app.
  • 99.57% of the kanji needed for NHK Easy are covered by the entire app.

Essentially, the two worst values are these:

  • 79.06% of the kanji needed for JLPT N1 are covered by the entire app.
  • 80.88% of the 2500 most frequently used kanji are covered by the entire app.

That’s the overview. Now, for a more detailed explanation. What you’ve heard is kinda-sorta correct: WaniKani does not prioritize kanji based on JLPT order, though it roughly does follow it.

  • After Level 16, you should have most, if not all, of what you need for N5.
  • After Level 27, you should have most, if not all, of what you need for N4.
  • After Level 51, you should have most, if not all, of what you need for N3 & N2.
  • See above for N1.

You’ll know about 97% of N3 kanji by level 40, and around 80% of N4 by then.

However, for the N5 kanji, if you’re using other materials, you’ll probably pick most of them up before you actually come across them in WaniKani. (For example, there’s probably only 3 or 4 kanji I don’t know from N5, but many of those that I do know won’t open for quite a few more levels. The kanji I mention here that I know are kanji I picked up from Genki, and from reading Japanese subtitles while watching anime.)

Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about whether or not this pattern of osmosis would hold for N4 or higher because my overall level is still closing in on the last parts of N5. Though, I suspect that it would.

So, in summary, WaniKani does take you to N2, through an order that follows (but doesn’t prioritize) JLPT. Not all of the Jōyō kanji are learned, but what is left out is a small percentage that can be added to other study decks and/or methods. And, if you are studying the language holistically, you’ll likely pick up some kanji before you come across them in WaniKani.


I wouldn’t take this number seriously. There’s no official list, and a lot of the kanji you find on these unofficial N1 lists seem ridiculous to me.

A bigger concern with N1 is that you’ll recognize the kanji but not the specific words on the test if you’ve only relied on WK.


Yeah, I agree. I generally treat numbers like these, especially when they have decimals like that, as estimates. I had hoped that the way that I phrased things in the bullets would carry the connotation that the numbers are all approximations, and that such was true throughout the post.

Nevertheless, I still think they can help give a good relative idea.

Honestly, I think this is true throughout WaniKani in it’s entirety. The focus of the site is, of course, to help you learn to read the kanji. But, that does mean getting strange vocabulary sometimes, and often getting words usually written in kana.

If I ended up suggesting that it covers the vocab as well, then I certainly didn’t mean to do that. I certainly believe that one would need to add both grammar and additional vocabulary to their studies.

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I just get irritated thinking about whoever thought people should actually study stuff like 弘, 宏, 笹, 洲, or 洸 for N1, which I’ve basically never seen outside of names. There’s no way they’d ever ask you about how to read names on the JLPT.

Just a thing I get irked about when I see those lists. Some of the kanji are worth knowing, but there are those crazy ones mixed in too for who knows what reason.


More than likely, they’re made by having bots scrape websites and anime without regard to structure. Names are super-common in credits and by-lines. :rofl:

And, of course, a significant ratio of the vocal population of online Japanese language learners are very into learning various extremities of the language for learning’s sake. (A game, if you will.)

But, none of that really excuses those lists. Especially if it’s true, which it seems to be, that kanji in names can have rather obscure (to Japanese language learners) readings.

All of that, though, is why I’m taking a different approach this year, and keeping my goals to myself, except for admitting to others that I have goals. (I don’t want to be pulled back into that game culture.)

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I was looking through some of the N1 kanji not included in WK, and there are definitely some oddballs in there… :sweat_smile:

Kanji for the twelve zodiac signs, kanji for specific plants, like 蕗 or 椋, and then just straight out oddball kanji like 麟 and 爵.

I feel that. Reminded me of this TED Talk from a while back. I haven’t really done much research into the science behind it, but it was interesting to hear NOT to share our goals when I’ve heard the opposite most of my life.

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But you can’t say 麒麟 without 麟. :stuck_out_tongue:

In all seriousness, though, I’ve always considered 麓 a curious omission - it’s Joyo but not JLPT, so not entirely relevant to the current conversation, but still. I’ve encountered it more than once in Yuru Camp, though I will admit that perhaps Yuru Camp is not the most representative example of common usage.

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Of the ones that are on that list, I was actually a little surprised that 逐 and 嚇 aren’t on WK. I forgot I didn’t learn them here. Those are both jouyou and appear in words I’ve encountered with enough regularity that they just feel common to me.

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That doesn’t seem oddball to me. I’ve seen it so much in words it was immediately recognizable, even though I’ve never explicitly studied it.

Or maybe it has to do with my LN choices :sweat_smile:

Where my Hamefura gang at?!

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Reaching level 4 in 2 weeks is literally the fastest one can do it.

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It could be the fact that I don’t know the kanji themselves. :sweat_smile: Simply searching the kanji on Jisho provides almost no results for both of them. :sweat_smile: Maybe 2 - 3 words each, and neither of them having anything that common. (At least in my eyes. :sweat_smile:) Maybe they’re common in names?

What I find intriguing is that Jisho doesn’t show 麒麟 if you search just the last kanji. So I guess giraffe could be a common word depending on where you look. :sweat_smile:

Guess it turns out that Jisho will omit a lot of words if you don’t wildcard the kanji. I can see 爵 popping up a bit more now. :slight_smile:

Hmm, did you search in the correct way? There’s quite a few pertaining to ranks.

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Yeah, the default search is only words that start with what’s in the box.

(Also, my comment was a joke. キリン is usually written in kana. :slightly_smiling_face:)

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You might see it when buying beer too.


The thing about learning lots of Kanji is that it helps when learning new Kanji.

Let’s take 麒麟きりん as an example. As noted, it’s usually written using kana alone, but it’ll be a fun Kanji to remember.

The left side of each is 鹿 (deer). WK Level 36

The left Kanji then has what WK calls the “crab” radical. WK Level 12

Four of the Kanji that use that radical are pronounce き so that’s a natural connection right there.

The right Kanji has a part that shows up in 隣 (neighbor). WK Level 40

Four out of the five vocab on Wanikani use the りん reading, so again, easy to remember.

And that’s how, even without studying phonetic components directly, you can guess a reading with a fair bit of accuracy once you learn a lot of Kanji.


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