Level 60 - A lurker's perspective

Hey everyone.

It happened. Yesterday, I finally reached level 60.

Even though I have not been very active in the forums, I have always been impressed by the quick and thorough answers I always get whenever I have had question to ask. So thanks to all of you!

In that same spirit, I thought I might share a few of my owns thoughts on reaching level 60.

Progress and pacing

I was so lucky as to stumble upon WaniKani within the very first weeks of my journey into learning Japanese in the early spring of 2019, after frantically googling various variations of “how will I ever learn all these kanji?!”. Ever since then, WaniKani has been my anchor throughout this journey, continually giving me confirmation that I actually had learned something, even when I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere.

As might be evident from my level graph above, my pacing was quite inconsistent until about level 28. Looking back, I think there were several reasons for this. First of all, I spent a lot of time in the beginning on all the non-kanji things related to learning basic japanese, like kana, basic grammar, pronunciation, and (very) basic listening/speaking. So WaniKani was mostly secondary for me at this point. During this time, my pacing was about 10-15 lessons a day. I tried to keep the apprentice items to a level where I would have a maximum of 100 reviews a day.

Secondly, I was so lucky to be able to go to Japan twice, around level 5 and again around level 25. On both these trips, I was learning in so many other ways, so I spent very limited time on WaniKani. The second trip was sadly cut short by the pandemic, but when I returned home it felt like I had finally gotten a good grasp on most of the basics, so I started to focus more on kanji. At this point, I increased my daily lesson number to 15-20, and I have stuck with that until now.

In terms of pacing, I think my advice is this:
Realize how learning kanji fits into the rest of your language learning activities (being honest with yourself), and set the pace accordingly. The famous advice of “being consistent” is equally important, but changing your pace throughout the levels depending on your focus can be a good thing, and should not feel like a failure.

Another thing that happened around level 25 was that I started improving my WaniKani toolkit. Up until then, I had exclusively been using the “vanilla” (i.e. no scripts) website, also on mobile. My mind was blown. First when I installed the Flaming Durtles app for Android, realizing that I could undo typos. Next, when I started using scripts for web.

I’m currently using these scripts on web:
Keisei Phonetic-Semantic Composition
Niai Similar Kanji
Katakana Madness
Show Specific SRS Level in Reviews
Rendaku Information
Real Score (for motivation)

Mobile (Android)
I have used both Flaming Durtles and Jakeipuu extensively, and both are great. I think I’m currently leaning a bit towards Jakeipuu, since it offers a bit better overview of progress on the current level. Both are an improvement over the mobile version of the WaniKani website (which is, to be fair, actually quite good).

All of the above add a little something extra to the learning experience, and I would not want to be without them on WaniKani. It is so amazing to see how much time and effort you guys are putting into creating and maintaining these.

A great thank you to all of you creators out there!

After discovering WaniKani, I briefly thought that SRS was the holy grail of all learning, so I jumped onto Bunpro as well. However, I realized that learning grammar in this way was demotivating for me, so I cancelled my subscription again after a few months.

For my initial grammar studies I went through both Genki I and II. These books have been invaluable to me, and I still refer back to them from time to time when I forget the details on one the grammar points I learned from them. I would recommend Genki to everyone getting into Japanese.

After Genki, I dabbled in both Tobira and some JLPT targeted grammar books. However, I came to the conclusion that it would be much more valuable for me to get intimately familiar with the grammar I already knew, instead of continously piling more and more grammar points on top of a brittle foundation.

And this is basically what I am doing now. Through reading, watching movies and TV, listening to music, and interacting with native speakers online, I pick up new grammar points and vocabulary at something that feels like a natural pace. Needless to say, I find this to be much more fun than textbook grammar studies. Perhaps this is where I should add that I have no particular ambition of passing the JLPT at some level. Instead, I’m aiming for much more of a “working knowledge” of grammar.

My advice for grammar studies:
Once you feel like you have reached a certain level, ask yourself why you are actively studying grammar. Of course, if your ambition is to pass the JLPT, then direct grammar studies might still be very beneficial to you. But if your ambition is to just be able to “apply” it when reading/writing/speaking/listening, then maybe just try to do that and see where it takes you.

I remember being very surprised at how much grammar I already knew back when I really started reading adult-level native material 3-4 months ago (started with コンビニ人間, which I would definitely recommend).

What’s next
More exposure to native “material”. Aside from reading novels, watching TV/movies and listening to music, my greatest “leap forward” recently has been from dedicating time every week to speak with native speakers via Italki. It really solidifies my grammar knowledge, and (sometimes painfully :sweat_smile:) exposes the points where I need to improve. I continually attempt to use new words and grammar in conversations, and it’s all good fun.

Will I be burning every item on WaniKani?
My completionist brain tells me “yes”. My reasonable brain tells me “no”, since my time is probably better spent elsewhere.

But will I be able to just stop, after doing this (almost) every day for more than two years?

Probably not.

Thank you to the WaniKani team and to all of you for making this long journey conceivable for someone like me :heart: :blush:


First also congratulation for achieving this feat. Give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy your cake🍰


Congratulations! And well done! I think getting most of level 60 up to Master stage might be a good aim? Or else set a finite amount of time you’ll keep doing reviews every day?


Congrats! :partying_face: :tada: :sparkles: :cake:


Congratulations ^^

i always enjoy reading level 60 posts, and found yours quite interesting, in particular in regards to your approach to grammar. thank you ^^


Yes yes yes! I just finished Genki II about a week ago. So as I was taking stock of my grasp of the grammar points I’ve already learned, my conclusion was that I want to practice producing language using that grammar with ease. So that’s a lot more speaking and writing. And of course listening and reading too.

Here’s to getting intimately familiar with grammar!


That’s solid advice right there. I have a feeling I should be following it more often myself ;).

If you’re comfortable with “regular” books, check out Aozora Bunko. I think it might have some slightly older, but still interesting positions :slight_smile: .

おめでとう! パンケーキどうぞ!


First, congratulations on level 60! :tada: And thank you for your lovely post. I echo @AndyMender about appreciating your point in asking yourself why study grammar. I will also keep that advice in mind. :slight_smile:

Could you say a few more words about what the userscripts unlocked for you, please? I’m also currently “vanilla” and mostly visiting on mobile. But I’m looking at the mountain ahead and wondering if I should maybe have some better climbing gear, so to speak. :sweat_smile:


Thank you for this list and congrats! I have tried userscripts in the past, but gave up on them when I took a break for a while. They all look super useful, so I will apply them and it looks like they will help in ways I didn’t know were possible!


Congrats and thank you for sharing!

What’s your method for getting the most out of reviewing Genki? Just rereading chapters, redoing exercises, using the workbook?





And thank you so much for all that advice, it is deeply appreciated!




おめでとう!! This is such an excellent summary of a way to proceed as a self-learner.

I’m only at Level 20 right now, but that’s after a reset from Level 27 when I got bogged with over 1,000 reviews from not pacing myself.

I have a lifetime bunpro membership, and use it, but also find it demoralizing. Part of the problem is that the cueing is not very good. Try sorting out “like” (youna/youni vs souna/souni vs mitai vs mitainni - sorry no Kanji on this computer). It would be easier if I was following a grammar path for my textbook, but I’m not. (I’m using “Japanese for Busy People”).

Agree entirely about scripts!!

Thanks again! Only 39 levels to go here. :slight_smile:


Could you say a few more words about what the userscripts unlocked for you, please?

The scripts I mentioned unlocked a variety of things, so I’ll try to categorize them a bit.
All of them are linked in my original post.

Better review experience

This script has a lot of features, but the two main things I’ve used it for are:

  1. Undoing/correcting mistakes
    For my first many levels, I had a lot of extra re-reviews of items, simply because I kept typing them wrong. This was especially excruciating when I got the meaning correct, but had forgotten the correct spelling in English :see_no_evil: In later levels, I also started using this to undo reviews marked as errors if I believed my initial answer to be a synonym of the answers accepted by WaniKani.

  2. Automatically unfolding the details box on wrong and “bit off” answers
    Many times, I have had an answer being accepted by WaniKani as correct but a “bit off”, only to realize that I was actually completely wrong. Having the details box unfold automatically in these situations forces me to admit defeat an undo my “correct” answer to a failed review instead.

It is a hard fact that kanji “in the wild” are often not written in nice computer fonts, but in all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable ways. This script helps you to read the same kanji written in multiple different ways. I’ll readily admit that I have had failed reviews of kanji that I was sure I already knew, but where the changed font threw me off. To me, that means that it needs another round in the SRS machine.

Especially in the later levels, a lot of kanji are introduced that look very similar, and might even have additional vocabulary with identical or near-identical okurigana attached. When you get an answer wrong, this script tries to guess which kanji or vocabulary that you confused the correct answer with. This means the you get reinforcement of the subtle differences on the spot, instead of having to remember to look it up afterwards (or worse, forgetting/disregarding it).

Show Specific SRS Level in Reviews
This one is mostly for motivation, but it’s nice to see which one of Apprentice 1/2/3/4 or Guru 1/2 that an item was promoted or demoted to. I’m surprised that this is not already a feature without the use of scripts.

Better lesson experience

Keisei Phonetic-Semantic Composition
At some point in the later levels I started realizing that I could, with surprisingly high accuracy, start guessing the reading of new kanji introduced in lessons before I got to the “Reading” tab in the lesson. This is in large part due to the pattern of phonetic-semantic composition, where some radicals “guide” the reading (i.e. the phonetics), while others “guide” the meaning (i.e. the semantics). This script helps you recognize these patterns. Being able to guess the reading of kanji you haven’t seen before helps immensely when having to look it up in a dictionary, for instance.

Niai Similar Kanji
As mentioned previously, many later-level kanji look very similar. This script presents you with a list of similar kanji on each kanji lesson (and on the kanji page), helping you reinforce the differences with kanji you already know before you start confusing them.

Rendaku Information
Most of my die-hard leeches are due to me forgetting whether or not rendaku occurs in the reading. This script attempts to lay out why (or why not) a combination of kanji gives rise to rendaku, making these (slightly) less frustrating.

The rest
Katakana Madness
I often find it hard to get a lot of exposure to katakana, so this script helps with additional exposure. Also, onyomi readings are often written in katakana in dictionaries, so it also just makes a lot of sense to learn these reading in katakana on WaniKani.

Real Score
Because it shows me exactly how far I am from being all burned. Seeing a silly number increase every day is oddly motivating.


I think getting most of level 60 up to Master stage might be a good aim? Or else set a finite amount of time you’ll keep doing reviews every day?

Thank you!
I think setting aside a finite amount of time for reviews and lessons every day is actually a very good idea. Hopefully this should allow me to focus on other things, while still allowing for some progress towards getting to the end.

What’s your method for getting the most out of reviewing Genki? Just rereading chapters, redoing exercises, using the workbook?

What I usually do is re-read the sections that are relevant (not always the entire chapter), and then writing out some sentences relating to whatever context that made me go back to it. Especially when I find that a grammar point I already know can be used in way that did not occur to me previously.

If you’re comfortable with “regular” books, check out Aozora Bunko. I think it might have some slightly older, but still interesting positions

Thank you so much, I will definitely check out Aozora Bunko. From just a brief look, it’s looks like an amazing resource!


Congratulations! Posts like this always encourage me to keep going, so thanks for sharing!


Hearty congratulations @tdidriksen



Thank you so much for the extended explanation!

I’m taking notes so I can be ready when I hit those levels. :eye: :writing_hand:


Congratulations on making it to the end! :partying_face: :tada: Please enjoy this cake! :birthday:

Enjoy your time immersion learning and being able to read things more easily! ^>^


Turns out that by some crazy chance, today is my WaniKani community anniversary! :partying_face:

What better way to celebrate that and getting to level 60 than by having this magnificent mallard masterpiece of a cake.

Thank you! :smiley: