Learning grammar is way more important than learning Kanji, so you’re on the right track! Grammar studies will always be more important than wanikani because without the grammar knowledge to put the words you’re learning here into useful, natural sounding sentences, you won’t actually be able to do anything with the words you learn here.
I could also make the case that if you know a lot of grammar but no vocabulary you won’t be able to communicate because you won’t know what to call things.
Most studies suggest that early on Vocabulary is actually the most important thing for communication. Even if your Japanese sounds broken because your grammar is weak, if you know the vocabulary for things people will still be able to understand you. If, on the other hand, you don’t how to refer to the things around you, grammar won’t help you at all!
It’s pretty tedious to try to read something when you have to look up nearly every vocabulary word even if you understand the grammatical particles. On the other hand, having a decent vocabulary will make going through something like Tae Kim’s guide much easier since he uses tons of kanji.
He said “kanji,” not “vocabulary.” This isn’t a site intended to teach vocabulary usage. Yes, vocabulary is taught, to reinforce readings (and in some cases teach readings for the first time), but usage isn’t taught. Just knowing an English gloss isn’t enough to guarantee you actually know what the Japanese word means and how to use it.
There are other resources to get your vocabulary study done.
Yes, WK is not strictly for learning vocab. But something like Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide (a heavily recommended resource) is kanji heavy so saying that kanji is less important than grammar is not strictly true. Knowing kanji greatly improves being able to actually read the sentences in that guide because otherwise you are constantly looking up words at the start of a section due to a lack of vocabulary base. And that was my whole point.
I mean, for that one particular issue, isn’t Rikai-kun or Rikai-chan more efficient, time and money-wise, than WK? I’m not advocating not studying kanji, but there are tools to ease online kanji consumption.
I started working through imabi while having very limited kanji knowledge, and just wrote down the supplied furigana for kanji I didn’t know from the early lessons and gradually began writing down kanji as I learned it. In the beginning there was almost none:
There are so many benefits for this. For starters I don’t have to do a huge amount of grammar catchup now. I’ve learned lots of words using kanji I know from here but with vocab that is not taught here that I’ve added to my own personal anki deck. Also, the motivation boost I get when I review grammar material and physically see how far I’ve come from chapter to chapter is very rewarding.
When you’re doing grammar with vocabulary you dont know, as long as you know which Japanese word corresponds to which English word in the example so that you understand how the grammar works, that’s all you need. Looking up every word as you go is a waste if time. Just have that focus for what part of Japanese you’re studying, and over time it will all slowly fall together. Reading the vocab example sentences in the same way (skipping over words or grammar you don’t understand) will have the same effect; you will gradually notice that you just get it; a lot more frequently.