Lack of Kanji

Why is there such a lack of kanji in WaniKani?

I’ve started trying to read some Japanese books and manga, and as I haven’t even finished WaniKani, of course there are a lot of kanji I don’t know yet.

I often come back to WaniKani to lookup the definition and meaning of that kanji. But a loooot of those kanji aren’t even in WaniKani.

Why aren’t those added? Even if new levels are needed, I think it should be essential to be able to learn all the commonly used kanjis here?


I haven’t really had the same experience unfortunately.

Wanikani has all Joyo G1-G6 kanji but one (silkworm 蚕), and a decent chunk of G9 kanji.
At some point it would be counterproductive to teach people more and more obscure kanji, as coming across them while reading is much more productive for the learning process

Do you have an example of some of the kanji you’ve come across?


Because while WK covers 98% of all kanji you’ll come across, those last few percent are in actuality thousands more! Often they only occur in a few words each. And which of those words you’ll actually run into will depend on what you read.

So basically, making sure you’ll never run into unknown kanji is a fool’s errand, or at the very least something that’d mean doubling or tripling the number of kanji taught, many of which you’re unlikely to ever see.

I still see new kanji every time I read a new book, and I think I learned something like 1000 more of them before I quit adding them to anki…


Also, there are rumours of content updates! They’ve added kanji in recent months, and I think they’ve said there with be more.


There were some odd gaps where actually very common kanji were missing (stuff like 叩く), but that seems to be continuously addressed, yeah.


If you have a specific kanji that you think should definitely be in Wanikani because you have encountered it that often, you can always email them about it through


Isn’t it fine? If you read a lot and bump into new kanji repeatedly you’ll remember it eventually. That’s how you are going to learn new kanji after lvl 60 anyway.

If you encounter a new kanji only once and it’s on WK or other things your read chances are it’s pretty uncommon so you don’t need to bother memorizing it at all. There are thousands of kanji. It’s not a good use of your time to SRS all of them.


I feel like I rarely encounter kanji that I don’t recognise and that are not in WaniKani, and if I do they’re usually a part of a proper noun such as a name, city etc.

What I do encounter a lot are arguably quite common vocabulary words that are not taught by WaniKani. In my opinion there are quite a few vocabulary words in WaniKani that are not worth learning (all the baseball terms, names of famous people etc.) which could be easily replaced by more useful words.

On the other hand, I understand that WaniKani isn’t a vocabulary app and that they can’t simply add the 10,000 vocab deck along all of the kanji you learn. And more often than not you’re able to guess the meaning of vocabulary words through the kanji(s) it’s composed of, which is what WaniKani does teach you.


Yeah, ~2000 Kanji is a good amount for WK to teach, because after that which additional ones you come across will really depend on the type of material you’re reading.

If we’re adding to the wishlist for a unified Tofugu SRS with WK and EtoEto, I’d like a bunch of non-Kanji core vocab added in a way where I can balance my amount of vocab reviews with the amount of WK/Kanji reviews instead of having to keep track of my apprentice count in several different SRSs.


There really aren’t many common kanji that aren’t on here? Do you have examples?


It depends on what you read I suppose. I see 貰う all the time when reading, and that’s not on WaniKani. Other than that, some of the words I’ve seen multiple times (贔屓, 躊躇う) aren’t even 人名用 (and the latter is often written in kana). Yesterday I saw 焙煎 without furigana, and the latter is 常用漢字. I also saw 辿り着く, and 辿 is 人名用 and not taught on WaniKani. That seems like a relatively common word (though I guess it’s often written as たどり着く too). I also saw 惹かれる, which is a pretty common word. 惹 is also 人名用.

Of those, I’d probably only add 貰 and maybe 辿 to WaniKani though. Since they added several common kanji a few months back, I don’t think they’re really missing that many super common ones anymore.


Sure, there are always kanji you can make arguments for, but when they’re not even jouyou kanji it’s a little tougher to say that somehow WK is more remiss than the compulsory education system of Japan.

It depends what kind of content you’re consuming as well. If you’re only reading novels intended for adults, you’re going to have a skewed idea of what is “really common.” If you’re seeing the kanji in things meant for young people and they have furigana on them, then that also doesn’t really mean much for WK adding it.


Yeah, for sure. You could always argue for “just one more” kanji being added to WaniKani, and before you know it they’ll have 300 rarely seen kanji.

I am curious what kanji specifically OP has encountered that they wanted added.


Sorry for the late response. And thanks for all the response you guys gave! Looking at it that way makes sense I guess. Adding too many might not be such a good thing.
I haven’t actually kept track of all the kanjis I’ve seen, but here’s only a few which I think aren’t that rare:

臆, 貰, 妖, 呟, 塵, 葛

There’s way more… I should start keeping track of them.
For reference, the book I started reading is the Re: Zero light novel. Also encountered some kanjis that aren’t in WaniKani when reading Kimetsu no Yaiba manga (Not including the old number kanjis)


I don’t know about Re: Zero, but doesn’t Kimetsu no Yaiba just literally put furigana on all kanji? So anything you encountered in there would have furigana on it. So, it could be a Kanken level 1 kanji and it wouldn’t really matter since everyone reading will be able to read it.


What’s the difference between Kanken and the JLPT?

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Kanken is the Kanji Kentei, a kanji reading and writing exam intended for native speakers. Level 1 covers every kanji that can possibly be typed on a computer (in a particular standard set of Japanese characters), over 6000 characters.


So then, JLPT is a foreigners way of listening and understanding Japanese. Kanken is JLPT on crack.
What is the purpose of Kanken?


They’re not really all that comparable… I mean, Kanken is a lot tougher than any kanji section on any level of the JLPT, but kanji is just a small part of the overall JLPT. You don’t need other skills beyond kanji reading and writing to pass Kanken really (well, a baseline of grammar to be able to understand verb forms as well, I suppose).

To prove proficiency in kanji? There are lots of tests for natives in other areas of the language as well.


I thought the JLPT was the baseline from which to grade my proficiency on Japanese. If I intend to visit Japan, what level should I aim for?

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