Level 60! (And my cracked out advice) :D

I will split this post into two parts. The first part will be my reflections emotionally on this experience and the second will be advice about how I think Wanikani would be approached for the best results long term.

Part 1:

So here is the soft stuff:


My name is Alex!

Wow, what a crazy 3 years.

You know this is a surreal feeling getting to level 60. Everyday, Wanikani would be the first thing I did when I woke up, and the last thing I did before bed. As you all know that isn’t easy. There are days where you can’t seem to recall a kanji you’ve seen a hundred times and get leech after leech after leech. So many mental battles had to be fought to get myself after a long day to do that 250 card review pile.

But perseverance, my friends. Perseverance has the ability to overcome all obstacles no matter how large. A small stream has the ability to carve a mighty chasm if given enough time. Overcoming my procrastination and winning those daily battles over and over again I think really did something to my mind that I will carry with me until the day I die. So beyond all the kanji I’ve learned, the most important thing I will take away from Wanikani is this:

I can do anything I set my mind to.

You can do anything you set your mind to.

We are so much more capable than we think we are. I never imagined I could have reached level 60 but here I am. For that reason Wanikani will be very bitter sweet to say goodbye to.

My Japanese learning adventure is however just beginning and I am super hyped to go full force into grammar and immersion now that I have the literal superpower of knowing how to read 2079 Kanji.

Part 2:

I did Wanikani differently than 1Y speedrunners, and I want to explain what results were yielded to me by taking it slower on purpose. (okay sometimes it wasn’t on purpose but still haha).

  1. The ability to parse the language
  2. Decent listening comprehension
  3. Stroke order intuition
  4. Upper intermediate grammar skills
  5. Basic verbal communication abilities.

I achieved these things by doing a couple of things alongside Wanikani:

1. Anki + Migaku Immersion powered SRS. (Sentence Mining for those who don’t know)

I’ve been sentence mining since the beginning of Wanikani (Yes, even before I knew any kanji or words, (we need to start somewhere)) and I can honestly say without these side by side, I would’ve been hurting.

I have this theory (probably not my original theory) that when I see the same piece of information in two different places, it sticks way way way way easier. Finding a word while mining that I have already seen in Wanikani makes that word stick nearly perfectly to memory. On the other hand if I already mined a random word and it comes up in Wanikani, I can expend nearly 0 effort getting it right each time. Every leech I have is always a word that isn’t cross referenced.

When a word is cross referenced, it is embedded deeper into my brain, and I can actually do more than just recognise it. I can RECALL it. In my mind it is no longer in Wanikani land or in Anki land, it is in Japanese land, integrated and usable. I feel like if I had started mining after Wanikani, I wouldn’t have been able to utilize these aha moments that not only make the process more bearable, but also create those all so valuable neural connections.

Example: of an Anki card combined with WK

To rephrase and give advice:

Humans do not learn well through lists and cannot acquire the nuances of a word in a vacuum. When seeing a kanji or word for the first time in WK, don’t kill yourself over the exact meaning of it as long as you have the reading and general idea of it down. (for example “Brew” is close enough to “Brewing”, “Dignity” is close enough to “Self respect”. So on. Don’t waste your time and effort with those particularities, mark them right and move forward.)

Wanikani SRS is about creating what I call “hooks”, essentially a carved out puzzle space for a vocabulary word before it gets acquired through immersion. WK will never make you fluent in Japanese, it will just make learning it way easier by clearing the trees and roots for when the road crew eventually comes through.

After completing Wanikani and having made 4000+ anki cards, I now have the ability to parse the language, pick out a vast amount of words when I watch anime, and I am even able to produce some verbal Japanese.

2. Writing the Kanjis when I do lessons:

I made this thread a while ago about writing out kanjis for fun when you are doing lessons.

This is not completely necessary, but putting on some inspiring music, lighting a candle, and pulling out my brush pen every morning was something positive I looked forward to after waking up. I found the reviews to be a drag, but writing the kanjis made me feel more connected to the process and made me appreciate the beauty and art of Japanese calligraphy. This also helped me develop a great intuition for stroke order and allowed me to practice my kana a ton. I don’t think that I can produce all the kanji I learned on WK, but if I see any kanji (even kanji I don’t recognize), I will know exactly how to write it.

What I got out of this for the most part was fun. I liked this part of Wanikani. Maybe give it a try and you will find yourself looking forward to doing more lessons.

3. Game Gengo Grammar.

I started learning grammar with Genki at the beginning but it was really boring to me. I found this channel called Game Gengo which uses video games to go over all the N5, N4 and N3 grammar points.

Crazy metaphor incoming:

Doing WK / Sentence mining is like collecting raw materials for our Japanese house. The grammar is the supporting framework required so that we actually know where to put or what to do with the raw materials.

So, to rephrase, we need materials (words / kanjis) and a frame (grammar) to build a house (Japanese). But I and many language learners run into the problem where they can’t remember the grammar points! This is because the frame is ALSO composed of materials! The grammar uses kanji and vocab and if you haven’t learned them, the grammar points are just sounds, they have no internalized meaning.

This is why we need to collect materials, and build the frame at the same time! Appropriate level grammar + a collection of the relevant vocabulary and kanji.

Take 為に for example. This grammar point means “for”. Trying to connect 為に and “for” in our native English minds is relatively difficult because there is no greater mental structure supporting it. But, having done Wanikani, we’ve learned that 為 means “sake”. Now we can infer that 為に means “to the sake of” / “for the sake of” which allows for much more mental stability regarding its internalization. We can then watch a grammar video about the grammar point, see it explained clearly, and then support that knowledge with immersion based context and BOOM, a piece of the Japanese house is set and unshakable.

The structure is set and now it is ready for the next layer! Using the grammar we have, immersion becomes more intelligible. Since we acquire words through “comprehensible input”, and structure helps us ascertain meaning, the more grammar we have, the easier we can internalize the contextual meanings of words and kanjis, so that we can learn more grammar, so that we can ascertain more meaning, and so on and so forth.

This look goes on forever until we are fluent.

The point is we must balance all 3. Immersion, kanji, and grammar, all are required in harmonious balance to learn the most effectively.

Final words:

Nature is a grand teacher. Limiting reactants prevent the chemical reaction from yielding results at its optimal rate. Not having enough immersion can prevent you from learning kanji. Not having enough kanji can prevent you from learning grammar.

The goal is to learn Japanese. Not to see a number on a screen go up, even though that feels really good and is a great motivator. (Thanks to the Wanikani team for the emails, they really kept me going).

We must overcome our desires to level up as fast as possible and really try to absorb the content of the levels! We must find that intuition within ourselves that can guide us towards finding balance between immersion, flashcards, grammar, and finally speaking.

Thank you for reading and good luck on your quest towards Japanese fluency!!!


Congratulations! :crabigator: :cake:


Congrats! It’s great to hear your story! :slight_smile:


おめでとう! :crabigator: :crocodile:


This is awesome. Thank you so much. I think I will also try writing out the kanji as I am learning them during the lessons like you have. I don’t know, I just think that writing them out is incredibly fun for some reason. Writing in general during any Japanese lesson also does help me remember things more easily.


First Congratulations for finishing all levels in Wanikani. It wasn’t an easy Job and you should praise yourself for reaching so far because there are many who give up midway, so what you did is a real achievement. Second I wanted to ask if it is possible to share your Anki deck. I know that you have made a great effort and spent a lot of time making it but if you can share it I will be grateful.

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Thank you so much!

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I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank you!

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Yes it is so fun! Thanks for the response!

Thanks so much!

As much as I want to show you how good my Anki deck is, it is my deck. And that is not to say it is my deck so you can’t have it lol. I mean this deck is perfectly curated towards me. Its filled with words that specifically I need to know, and missing words that I already know.

When making an immersion deck it’s important we mine cards from content we personally enjoy, and form an associative relationship with the word or sentence.

If I gave you my deck I would be robbing you of creating the perfect deck for yourself that would be 1000x better for you than mine would be.

Check out the sentence mining link in the post above and learn how to use the VPN, Netflix, Migaku + Anki combo to make your own. It is hugely powerful!!!


I totally understand you that’s great. Also thanks for the recommendation.

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Eyyyy, we gotchu! Congratulations on reaching level 60! I’m sorry that we don’t have any more emails to send you! :cry:

Good luck on your journey from here on out. We are rooting for you!

-Nick at WK

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