Learning vocab on wanikani

Hello! As you can see I am very new to WaniKani (level 1), I would like to ask if wanikani is enough for vocabulary, or should I use another source to learn vocab? I know wanikani teaches a couple thousand words, but im not sure how used those words are in daily life. I would appreciate it if someone tells me if wanikani is enough by itself for learning.

Edit: Thank you everyone! I will start using the drops app and the jlpt tango n5 anki deck for my vocab studies!


As most people (including site mods) will tell you, WK should not be your sole resource for learning anything.

For vocab, there are a LOT of other resources. So many that a Google search will hit you like an 80’s Mike Tyson uppercut. I like KameSame, because it’s styled like WK but has different vocab taught in a different order. The people that make the はじめての日本語能力慮試験 series publish a free app on Android and I assume iOS called JTango which divides the vocabulary by topic.

Anki is probably the most popular choice. The JLPT Tango decks, which I believe are also based on the JTango books mentioned above, include the vocab in sentences, which is really useful. There are also core vocab decks that are frequency based instead of JLPT oriented. Both are a great place to start.

And finally, sites like Animelon, which provide you the Japanese subtitles of the anime you are watching, are another great way to acquire vocab.


No, it’s absolutely not. First of all, there are lots of words that are just written in kana, without associated kanji, and you don’t find those words on WaniKani. Secondly, WaniKani doesn’t pick the vocab by commonness or usefulness, but they mainly use the vocab to enforce various kanji readings. Therefore, if a common kanji has many common words that contain it, WK will only show you a few, but you will want to learn the others as well.


WK only teaches vocab in order to reinforce the kanji that they teach you. The vocab won’t always be the most common, and they may not even necessarily be all that useful for what you want to learn Japanese for, and they don’t teach any kana-only vocab.

One way I learn vocab is with the app Drops (it has a paid premium subscription, but I’m pretty sure you can use it free as well, just with a few fewer features). They have vocab divided into categories and then further into topics which usually contain around 17 vocab items each. You can also toggle kanji on and off (though they don’t teach rarer kanji, or generally kanji for words that are written in kana only), and they teach some kana-only words (including a handful of onomatopoeia). They add new topics pretty regularly.


I wouldn’t say that WK is completely useless for vocabulary (I’ve seen some of the words I learned on it in Satori Reader stories for example), but it shouldn’t be your only source for it. Its main goal is to teach you the kanji that you will commonly see in vocabulary and it reinforces readings for them via its chosen vocabulary words. Even if WK itself doesn’t teach super useful vocab, learning common kanji will certainly help with picking up new words outside of WK.

I had originally started trying to learn vocab with a 2k core Anki deck, before hitting a wall realizing that not knowing any kanji made memorizing words much harder since the kanji in the deck were just jumbles of lines with no inherent meaning to me. So I found WK for learning kanji and also picking up whatever vocabulary words it teaches along the way. I’ve accepted that not every word it teaches will be immediately useful (looking at you, 金玉.) I suppose I could try jumping back into a core deck now that I’m learning kanji, but I don’t know of anything I can do to make Anki hold off on giving me vocabulary cards with kanji I haven’t learned yet :confused: I also just don’t know what core deck to try now, there are so many decks posted on Anki Web that my head is spinning.

And also yeah you’re going to want (nay, need) to look at other resources for learning vocabulary words that either are most commonly written in kana or just don’t have a kanji writing at all. There is quite a number of both. I’m just now working on that myself, and I saw mention of Torii SRS in an older thread. It has a deck of like 1200 kana-only words that I started chipping away at a few days ago. I’m hoping it’ll be worth my while.


I was going to suggest the same thing and as a free account user, it’s mostly the same, except limited to one language and a daily time limit (about 5-10 minutes). This time limit is really helpful I find though. Because it’s limited, it’s hard to burn myself out on it. It’s also easier to encourage myself to use that full 5-10 minutes because unlike WK, which sometimes feels overwhelming because I have hours of reviews and lessons to work on, it’s not so much of a chore.


I might check this out myself. Sounds like it might be promising.

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It would be cool if there were something out there that taught “core” vocabulary and also let you filter available lessons based on what kanji you do/don’t know. It would pair nicely with something like Wanikani that focuses on teaching kanji.

(And if there already does exist something like this, someone please enlighten me on it.)

they kinda have this with the beta vocab decks in bunpro although it’s still beta and needs a lot of work. I think you can also accomplish something similar on kitsun.

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