Kanjis not at the appropriate levels in wanikani

For example I’m very surprised 遅 and 寂 are in levels 35 and 56 respectively
Considering how common they are in everyday life I would’ve thought they would be at a lower level. I’m currently at level 12 and feel there’s already a few kanjis and vocab which I probably will never ever use.


i think that rather than how common they are, kanji are ordered in levels by how … complex they are? like amount of strokes or radicals. how squiggly they are


Both of those kanji are taught in middle school in Japan, so neither of them appear within the first 1000 kanji that Japanese people learn, through formal education anyway.

Not that their placement in Japanese education should match WaniKani exactly, but it’s not like these are among the first things people learn.

I’m curious what those are, if you have any examples off the top of your head. And by “use” do you mean “see in written Japanese?” That’s the purpose the site creators had in mind. It’s kind of difficult to imagine anything before level 12 being so uncommon that it’ll never appear in Japanese texts.


WaniKani organize kanji according to the radicals they teach, and generally keep in the order of JLPT/frequency/strokes. It’s true that there may be some seemingly common kanji or vocab found in later levels, but there has to be a compromise between having a system and just throwing in whatever they want wherever. Also, like Leebo said, the point of kanji is to be read, and WaniKani is first and foremost a kanji learning program. The common spoken vernacular will be different from the common kanji you’ll see, if this is the metric you’re going by (i.e. 綺麗 is not taught until level 29, but you’ve probably heard きれい before. You’re also much less likely to see 綺麗 than to hear it or see it in its kana form).

Regarding the vocab: they’re there to help you remember the kanji, and sometimes that means you’ll be taught vocab you’ll barely ever use in day-to-day things, if at all. There are some funny stories related to this, with the best one being Naphthalene’s experience with 里心.


As a level 60 user I can assure you I have looked up around 100 kanji that werent in wanikani just from one novel. None of these kanji are useless, you (and if not, many others) will see them in some text.


The earlier levels probably feature simpler kanji overall, but it feels like the later levels start throwing very simple ones back in. For example, my current level (52) has 呂 and 乃, which are radicals taught in levels 22 and 10. I don’t super mind this, but it does feel kinda strange. The vocab these kanji have don’t have any advanced kanji either (乃 doesn’t even have vocab currently) so I don’t know what the reasoning is.


Not really. 努 is level 11, while its upper part 奴 is level 34, so frequency is definitely used to some extent.

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WK teaches you primarily based on a method called input hypothesis, where it starts off easy and then slowly builds on top of what you just learned. However, WK doesn’t use this method alone, otherwise, you’d be learning kanji like 呂 and 乃 early on too, as you’ve observed. So the “fewer strokes” first isn’t a hard rule, but rather a rule of thumb. Instead, it seems more like WK is trying to strike a balance between “ease” and frequency of the kanji for how they structure their levels.


That would explain the wanikani squiggly department…


Pretty much this.

I just got 込 just this level but I’ve seen it so many times I had intuitively come to know what it means plus it’s reading (well at least the こ reading) just through immersion.

I think don’t think it’s a bad thing though. In fact it’s almost ideal. There is no way just WK (or any other book or app) can really teach you kanji without you actually reading and immersing. WK is just a tool to make it more efficient.

So it’s always nice when I come across a new kanji in WK that I already know or I’m somewhat familiar with. For example I got 複 and 雑 this level as well, which I already kind of knew since I know the word 複雑, but I hadn’t really internalized the kanji themselves.

Or the opposite, when I come across a word in immersion that I already learnt in WK but now actually see how it’s used in real writing.


Looking back at the level 12 kanji, these are all really common…


The real answer is that WK introduces kanji based on a combination of radical usage, JLPT level, Joyo grade, frequency in text, and subjective opinion. The text frequency can be broken into formal appearance (Wikipedia and Japanese news), and informal contexts (manga, light novels, and novels in general). The former is why there apparently is a lot of “legalish” vocab in the 20s and the latter is probably responsible for all the school stuff in the first 20 levels. But the frequency stuff is, again, balanced with the other factors.

I think that also accounts for a lot of the military terms as well considering the news headlines at the time (late 2000’s to early 2010’s)

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Do they do squiggly walks through the office? They should!

It is a part of the hiring process that you must be able to form kanji with your body. You have to sign a waiver against damages…


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