Level 4 advice

I feel really bad, it seems like such a low level to hit a block on. But man I am strugglebusing. Getting into the vocab for energy, letter, life, substitute, and a few mixed others has me hitting some serious doubt. I can’t keep any of them straight, except a few like the birthing verbs, and i get my readings all mixed up just because of the ways the readings get tweaked a bit for some of them. Any advice for this roadblock?


I feel this. I just hit level 4 myself a few days ago and now that almost everything seems unfamiliar, it feels like I’m pushing my brain to its boiling point every time I attempt learn a new set of things. I’m trying to balance wanting to move quickly with managing my sanity so I try to give myself some time to cool down every 5 or ten pieces of new material. I’m just kind of under the assumption that as all of the new stuff enters review it’ll pound its way into my brain somehow. Here’s hoping for the both of us. =)


This is my exact idea for learning kanji tbh.

I learned all the radicals at once. Now im going through the kanji and let them hammer my brain for a few days if not a week. Then do the vocab.

I’m sure this isn’t efficient but as they say, it’s a marathon not a race. My goal is just to learn, I’m guessing maybe a year or two will be enough.


I’m level 4, but I did get to level 9 like two years ago. My advice is to spend more time drilling in the stories for the kanji when you learn them, really imagine the scenarios and get them familiar the first time you learn them. The vocab I don’t worry too much about, if I get them wrong I just review the story and try to sink it in more. They eventually get into memory if you review them enough. Knowing the kanji super well is helpful. Also trying to see patterns in groups of similar words, like the same kanji word but one has ‘re’ in the middle while one doesn’t… usually the addition implies something like it’s a more indirect version of the verb. Like ‘to stop’ vs ‘to stop something’.


I feel you, what helped me was
a) studying similar kanji (the ones that look deceptively similar) together. The comparison helped to remember them better.
b) Also, I made sure to be kind to myself and not stress over getting all the reviews correctly. If they go wrong, I accept it and just move on with my usual plan without stressing over the leeches. Eventually, by relearning them every once in a while, memory got better.
Wanikani is a long journey, be motivated by looking at the bigger picture. You will get there, one day. Wish you good luck!


The 生 hits different bro, especially with 牛(cow) and 矢(arrow) and a whole much of others that all look the same to me. Like previously mentioned it helps me to go the extra mile and visualize the entire scenario given with a new kanji. Even then some kanji don’t stick, so I write them out on paper or draw a little silly cartoon.

Some people use a program called Anki, where you can make your own flashcards and practice as much as you want! I’ve heard great things and even downloaded it but never used it.

Another place you could get extra practice is with the Beginner Book Club here on the WaniKani forums. I participating in レンタルお兄ちゃん right now and it’s been a lot of fun.

At the end of the day, even getting the answer wrong is still practice. I would argue that getting something wrong helps know it even better. The WaniKani community is extremely friendly and helpful too, so you always have us for backup or just need a good rant. Hope you stick around!


I forgot to mention there’s another site called KaniWani that can be linked to your WaniKani account. Basically it reverses your reviews and lessons so it’s easier to come up with a word for something off the top of your head.

For instance, a WaniKani review would give you the kanji and ask for the sound/meaning. 年 = ねん/year

A KaniWani review would look like this: year = 年

Using this helps too!


I agree KaniWani helps a lot. When you are giving the english and have to produce the Japanese it test you brain in an extra way that really does help a lot, but it adds a lot of extra work.

I will say that these levels are the worst in my opinion because all the vocab are so similar. When things get more complex it’s actually a little easier to remember.

I would take you times and get these kanji down though. You are creating a new way of thinking and it’s reasonable for you brain to request time to adjust.

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Look at all these level 4’s come out of the woodwork lol. Hello and welcome.

Doing it in a year IS going as fast as possible, and that’s with the 3.5 day fast levels. If you’re looking to take it slow then give yourself a few years at least. Of course this depends on what we define as slow. If you take 2 weeks a level then you’re looking at reaching level 60 in ~2.3 years.


The way I see it there are two strategies, however they can be implemented in many different ways.

・Increase review frequency (review items outside of WK reviews)
・Dig into the mnemonics and put a strong effort towards imagining them, seeing them, feeling them.

Try something new, and if it doesn’t work try something else. Your time studying will never be wasted. You are the only person who can discover what works best for yourself.

Don’t feel bad. Your brain will get better at this. Believe in yourself.


Honestly, the earlier levels are a lot harder because you’re not just learning new radicals/kanji/vocab, but you’re also learning how to learn them. It’s brand new in everyway for English speakers, which definitely doesn’t help anything. My advice is to

a) if you’re feeling rushed or like you’re hitting a block, just slow down, take a breather, and focus on why you’re getting them wrong. And
b) you need to give the SRS time to do it’s magic. Especially because you’re being dumped with a lot of new stuff. The more you learn, the more things are gonna build on each other and it’ll just keep reinforcing your knowledge.

For example, you’re gonna learn really quickly how common kanji like 生 are used as you’ll see them all over. 牛 looks super similar, but after seeing it enough, you won’t think life, you’ll just think cow. Moo. And for readings, you’re gonna start to pick up on patterns as you get more exposed to different kanji. I remember when I started out, I was super annoyed at how common it was to see しょう as a reading. Like, everywhere. Which is why it’s so important not to skip your vocab in order to rush through kanji and radicals. Make sure you’re doing them in order so that learning vocab not only expands your, well, vocab, but also reinforces the kanji and the readings. Keep at it. And best of luck. I look forward to seeing the number on that badge of yours to keep getting larger!!

Also, question for you, what does your schedule look like/how do you approach learning on WK?

edit: well, @74nm41 leeboed me and basically said it way better than I did. And in fewer words. Solid advice



I started in June of 2019, got to level 7 in September of 2019 and then burned out. In February 2020 I reset to level 2, promised myself I wouldn’t get upset about my review percentages, but rather that I’d just let the SRS system do it’s job. And 209 days later I’m working through level 15, have well over 2000 items in the system, can read a surprising amount of native material despite being only level 15, and just keep plugging along. Day in, day out. Some levels take 30 days, sometimes I get energized and they take 10 days. It’s just going to be what it’s going to be and as long as I’m not dead, and Tofugu pays their hosting bills it’s all good.

To keep myself engaged outside of WK, I am translating Yotsuba! and Alita - Rusted Angel (銃夢 - 錆びた天使). And I don’t beat myself up about not understanding sentences there, especially Alita. I use jisho.org, ichinome, hinative. It’s all good, it’s all reinforcing what you are learning here.


I started to do Kaniwani, in Memrise - which reinforces the Kanji going the other direction. You really only need to spend an additional five minutes or so on Kaniwani. I think it will make using the Kanji (and associated words), easier in the long term.

As a level 21 myself and (not a super great achievente at all) an N5 Japanese learner, the best advise I could give you is to study kanji slowly everyday but focus on Japanese grammar and listening.

Understanding Japanese grammar will help you understand kanji readings easier every time.

greeting from Mexico!

Oh my god and 失 (fault)…

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Legit bro, the 半 and 来 one too :sob:

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faulty(失) arrow (矢) and husband (夫)from heaven (天)too :roll_eyes:

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We dont talk about fault and husband T_T You have no idea how long it took me to figure out a way to remember the different between the jet radical and husband radical its really so sad


I don’t mean to discourage @InnocenceExo in any way… It is a struggle and an achievement in itself to compare the similar looking kanji and trying to memorize them initially. But you will soon come to appreciate it when you encounter and read a couple of them.

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My advice is to relax and try to start getting used to Japanese. Is WK the only thing you’re working on right now? Maybe start with some grammar to slowly cement Japanese concepts so as to make WK less alien looking.
The key is not to get too stressed. However, you also need to keep in mind that this process, although easier the more you do it, will be like this for a year or 2. This will be a tough one so prepare yourself! Best of luck!