Level 40+ Learners, How Is It Going?



I’ve learning Japanese for more than 10 years, reaching N1 in the process. I tried a bunch of resources to learn kanji, including textbooks like RTK, actual classes and apps. WK has been the most efficient for learning recognition (so, reading).

It won’t help you much with the production per se, but when I was studying for the kanji kanken (only level 5, so just ~1000 kanji) I really felt that their set of radicals is very useful to remember the shapes.

I only have about 5 reviews on WK per week this days, and I’m not actively studying these days, but since you mentioned hobbies, I am reading ~2h a day (used to be novels but these days it’s mostly light novels) and up to 4h on weekend days. So 15-20h a week.

I just hit level 56 about 20 minutes ago. WK has been infinitely worth it for me.

Not quite level 40, but my current level was enough to comfortably know enough kanji for the JLPT N2 last week, albeit there were a couple of kanji I didn’t know. As other people have mentioned, WaniKani has been very effective largely because looking up kanji sucks. WaniKani has helped me be able to read through a text where I can recognise ~90% of the kanji and thus guess the meaning of words I don’t know, AND makes it very easy to look up words I don’t know. Without WaniKani, reading text would be much more jarring and hard to do.

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no yes that is why i did it to level 60 (not to sound sarcastic but there’s no way i can say it so that it doesn’t sound sarcastic) wanikani is literally magic just do your reviews and you get the kanji skillz of a god

like 15 maybe? 20? not as much lately tho because I have exaaaams coming uppp :grimacing:

j e s u s like a billion. JLPT Sensei, Kitsun.io, Duendecat, Japanesetests4you, Bunpro, Kaniwani, this, MATCHA, Maggie Sensei, JapanesePod101 but only their free stuff cuz I’m cheap, Tae Kim (basic) I did frickin Genki at a point, uhhh these readers from White Rabbit Press which are pretty n e a t, Imabi (my B :clap: I :clap: B :clap: L :clap: E :clap: ), man and these are just the ones off the top of my head.

:thinking: lol life’s greatest questions


To also give a longer answer, but since you already got many my focus will be a bit different:

Wanikani has been the core of my Japanese knowledge. It has made everything else easier, since learning kanji and vocab helps with listening, reading and learning grammar. For me, knowing kanji relatively well (compared to other learners who generally focus on things other than kanji first) and the sense of knowing the kanji gave me more confidence to tackle new parts of Japanese! I like feeling some familiarity with everything I learn now, whether it’s reading a book (oh hey, learned that on wanikani!) or grammar learning (oh! so にわたって comes from に渡って although there are better examples lol) and even watching things with subtitles!

Ah you asked some specific questions so: I used to study around 15 hours a week, but am now too busy so a bit less. I tend to read and listen more now, so my sources are youtube and books!! For grammar I’ve been using the shin kanzen master series and some sou matome, but I have to combine those with nihongonomori to actually retain the information

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Thank you! That is going to be pretty helpful since I am also cheap I will definitely use other sources to improve other parts of my Japanese!

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Thank you for your answer! I’ve been looking wondering whether WaniKani could be used as a core tool for studying Japanese. I guessed that knowing Kanji, the hardest part, would make it easier with everything else, and even during my free 3 levels I was able to find it useful, but hearing it from someone who has achieved level 60 makes my expectations come true. Of course, I will learn Japanese using other websites as well, but knowing that WaniKani could be used as a core really puts my mind at ease! Thank you again!


I don’t think kanji is the hardest part at all. The problem is that you need a regimented study which probably was really difficult before there were programs like WaniKani (and there are others but I don’t know them). Then you have to put a lot of time into learning because you have so much to memorize. I’ll probably get to level 60 at about 2 years of WaniKani-ing and a lot of my time over 2 years has gone into studying kanji. It is hard to remember all the readings. But I still don’t think kanji is the hardest.
Anyway, if you have a program like WaniKani then you just keep with the program and the work of keeping a regimen is being taken care of.
My other sources are みんなの日本語 and the frog graded readers. I think I’ll add more (like I have a book for shadowing on my wishlist right now, I need to focus more on grammar, etc) after I finish with WaniKani. Right now I’m just doing WaniKani because I’m being bad right now, otherwise I spend a few hours each day.

Ooh I’m so glad to hear that!! So your expectation basically aligns perfectly with my experiences!! When I started I didn’t expect wanikani to function so well as the core of my studies, but it really turned out like that.

I still have some lessons left, but then I’ll go on to find a new core! I think it has to be reading, especially to keep my kanji knowledge active!!

Interesting! I was almost sure that kanji is the hardest part when learning Japanese. I understand that some people may be better and others worse, but to be honest, it is mostly about training, practicing and memorization, unlike other parts of Japanese language, which require understanding of how the language works.

I will keep that in mind and won’t forget to train other parts of the language! Also thanks for the sources!

I am glad that it turned out well for you! Good luck with your remaining lessons and with finding a new core!

If you don’t mind, may I ask how would you rate your knowledge of the language overall? Have you tried taking JLPT tests (or samples)?

EDIT: Just noticed in another post that you have passed JLPT N2! Congrats!

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Thank you!! :blush:

I passed the n3 in July 2018 and the n2 in July 2019! I have practiced listening A LOT so those scores were always fine, but on both tests I especially noticed my lack of knowledge in kana vocabulary, grammar and as a result reading was also more difficult.

If you want to see other results, I took the J-Cat 4 times, so if you search for j-cat and my username, you can find an overview of how my score increased, also on specific parts!

Good luck to you too!! :muscle:

(I noticed your edit now!! Haha thank you!!!)

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Yeah, that’s where I make the distinction. The hardest part is remembering the readings. And in most cases, you can look it up. You need an actual regimen though, and not all will work for everyone.
If I had to say the “hardest” thing, I’d say (and this is just my opinion, I’m sure other people won’t find it as difficult as I do) is the different levels of politeness, like keigo, etc. There’s a lot to be conscious of when you speak Japanese, and this isn’t something that you can just look up in any dictionary.

Oh and if you don’t know what I mean by “frog graded readers” (when I read my comment over I realized it might be confusing), they’re graded readers that have frog illustrations on the covers. There’s various levels, from 0 to 4. Afaik, level 0 has no kanji so I started with level 1 (new users often ask about children’s books but if you weren’t aware, children’s books often do not have kanji. I recommend graded readers rather than children’s books). Level 1 is N5, level 2 is N4, level 3 is N3 and level 4 is N2.

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Why wait though. It prorates what you have paid prior when you purchase the lifetime if I am not mistaken.

WK is a perfect ressource for Kanji. At the beginning I did a level in roughly a week and quickly knew a lot of kanji. I took the JLPT N4 last year and kanji was a breeze.

You only need to keep in mind, that WK only teaches Kanji. As good as it does the job, it still is only one part. My Kanji knowledge surpassed my grammar/listening knowledge by quite a bit. I fear that if I catch up on that someday, I’ll forget some less used kanji.

uhm… Don’t assume that because you are paying it will motivate you to do reviews though. I have seen plenty of people using this argument an it doesn’t really hold up in practice. I mean I have paid a full year subscription and I didn’t even touch WK for that amount of time.
It’s kinda like people that buy all the expensive things “needed” for a hobby, and then abandon it after a short while,spending not a small amounts of money, like buying a Gibson guitar because you are all pumped up about learning guitar, thinking having it will help you achieve your goals.


WaniKani has been by far the best resource I’ve found studying kanji. It’s tough to keep going, because there is SO much to learn, but it’s been really worth it.

Do you know when the discount starts? Im on monthly right now and I might change to yearly or lifetime with the sale.

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Hey, how about those reviews? :grimacing:

I have your profile page bookmarked and been waiting for those 2000 apprentice items to go down.