Keeping fresh on Kanji after WK

So I just managed to do the math and I’m probably going to be done with WK sometime this January or February. So that’s pretty exciting. Problem is, I didn’t commit to the self study I was doing when I started WaniKani, I started studying it at University. They stuck me right in a first year Japanese course since in my year of self teaching I didn’t get any opportunities for conversation practice (even if I read the whole textbook). So I’m learning pretty basic Japanese right now in a class which uses Kanji, but not very many of them.

It finally occurred to me that if I just keep in my current trajectory for learning Japanese in school, I won’t be using anywhere near all the Kanji I learned on WK for several years, probably not till my forth year or even out of college completely. And there’s that whole “use it or lose it” deal with memory. So I’m very worried about forgetting most a lot of them. Because my grammar isn’t at super high a level, I’m not all that comfortable reading books, and the ones with grammar simple enough for me to get don’t use much Kanji (which is the part I actually want).

I really don’t want to have to reset WaniKani. It might be just because right now I’m pulling about 300 reviews a day (sitting on 30 as I’m writing this and will have 180 in the next 4 hours), but it just sounds so exhausting to have to do the entire thing again. I’m beyond grateful for the service and glad I’ve made it this far, but again? That sounds awful. But I’m really worried about forgetting a lot of kanji. My school teaches about 150 kanji a year, so what I’ll learn at school won’t make up for what I might forget if I don’t find a way to practice.

Anyone have any advice? I wouldn’t say it’s super urgent but it’d be nice to have a sort of plan for what to do after.


While you might do poorly on a WaniKani review, or you might forget how to read a word when looking at a Japanese sentence, if you’ve set aside studying kanji for a year or something, you haven’t entirely lost it.

Getting back to where you were is never as difficult as getting there the first time. It’s like your brain leaves signposts even if the road gets covered up.

That being said, you don’t necessarily have to resign yourself to that. You could use an app like Kanji Study for Android which has super quick multiple choice quizzes which incorporate similar looking kanji. Spending 5 minutes a day doing that on random sets of the kanji you know will keep most of them fresh. It’s not as good as actually consuming lots of Japanese content, but it’s a viable way to keep them in your mind.


You could study grammar on your own so that you can get to reading more quickly, and use the classroom solely for conversation practice and asking the teacher questions. I’ve never taken a Japanese class, so I can’t really give any better advice than that.


Is the prof aware of your WK studies? You could speak to them about supplementary materials / bonus assignments to help you keep your kanji knowledge exercised while your grammar catches up. The prof will probably be pleased to see that you are such a motivated student who started with self-study and would be happy to help.


I stopped studying kanji for quite a bit - like a year? Two? I was only around level 10. Went through about 200 or so reviews when I came back, and was quite surprised at how much I was able to remember (ended up resetting down a couple levels for the sake of slashing my numbers a bit so I could get through things)

You’ve put a TON more time into wk, and you’d probably be surprised at how much it sticks with you. Find some flashcards (or make some), or use a wk script to study kanji that’s burned so you can keep up with it. Find ways to study and integrate it on your own time.

But… Most importantly… Just because you’re taking a class, doesn’t mean you can’t do supplemental activities on your own! Jump ahead! Talk to the professor like Rowena said, they might have some other resources and things for you to practice more!

(as well, in a lot of universities you can jump to more advanced classes with the permission of the professor. if you practice a lot of grammar on your own to catch up with your vocab knowledge, you may be able to take this avenue in the future as well)


You could also practice writing the Kanji (if you’re at all interested in that skill). This way you can go through (all? many?) Kanji again with a different focus.


What textbook are you using? Does it use furigana, or does it just not show the kanji at all? Early on in my grammar study I got into the habit of defacing my Minna No Nihongo textbooks (quite kanji heavy) by crossing out all of the furigana. You get the benefit of having to read the kanji, while not having to deal with unknown grammar.

Furthermore I want to echo Leebo and point out kanji apps. Kanji Study also lets you practice writing kanji, which could bring another level into your kanji studies, and make it even less likely you will forget them.

And to echo other commenters, if you can handle it, work ahead in your textbooks, or ask for additional resources. I know Minna No Nihongo has specific workbooks for extra reading practice, with increasing grammar to go along with their basic textbooks.

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I think I’ll do that too.
Someone posted this site with sheets for writing practice, maybe this is helpful to the OP


You could study grammar on your own so that you can get to reading more quickly

I agree with this.

Get some grammar under your belt. Once you have some, pick up something relatively easy. Graded readers are awesome to start with.

I would recommend a couple graded readers so they are fresher than just re-reading the same one.

I also recommend grabbing the KKLC Grader Readers. The KKLC readers can be boring but they only use the Kanji you should know up to that point (if you were doing the KKLC which you aren’t, you are doing WK style). The first book covers only 100 Kanji so it should be nothing to go through for you, at least from the knowing the Kanji in the book perspective.

Because the KKLC only use Kanji you should know, the sentences in the first graded reader can seem basic. Eventually you get more complex passages so it helps you grow and continue using Kanji so you don’t forget them.

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