Level 60 users, was there a point where you experienced diminishing returns?

Hey guys,

I just had a quick question for all the lvl 60’s or really, any high level users here on the forums.

Was there any point in your WaniKani journey where you experienced that the kanjis you were learning wasn’t all that common? Or were there always a few kanji that you learned each level that you also encountered quite frequently in the wild?

I am asking because I am hoping to reach a point in my WaniKani study where I can slow down my pace a bit and take that time to focus on other parts of Japanese, however I still feel that most of the kanjis I learn (not surprisingly being level 17) I encounter very frequently when reading or playing games. So I am asking to kind of gauge where a good “slow-down point” would be?

Thank you very much!

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50ish is my guess

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The thing I loved most about learning the kanji was just the concept of learning new kanji. I kind of learned them in a void, with only a little extra vocab and grammar at that time.

I think there were always some fun kanji in every level, level 60 for example contains (きつね).

However, if you’re using Wanikani purely for increasing your reading and writing abilities, at some point you might indeed get diminishing returns. The levels contain more obscure kanji over time, and sometimes contain kanji that are not actually used in normal writing. I have however found that they help a lot in understanding grammar points, so that’s something at least.

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Oh I do too, and I very much intend to hitting 60. I am just curious to what you 60’s had to say about this and if it could help my long term study schedule be a bit more efficient to other parts of Japanese, grammar, listening and reading for instance.

My idea was to hit a level like 30 with my current pace at around 9-10 days and then slow that down to around 14-16 days. This is me hoping that after level 30 I’ve covered quite a few of the most common kanji and could immerse myself a bit easier in reading native content and study grammar that way. But this is basically what I’m asking, if assuming this is silly haha :slight_smile:

Appreciate the reply mate, thank you!

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I think that’s a pretty good cut-off point. 35-38ish is a lot about baseball as well, which is quite a chore to get through if you don’t know anything about baseball :wink:

I went full speed though against my own advice, which made me crash and burn around level 50. I was just so hungry for new content.

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So far I still encounter common Kanji at level 40-ish 涙-tears, 棚-shelf, 刃-blade, 趣味-hobby. It’s difficult to say where the diminishing return, because kanji distribution per level looks random to me haha. Anyway, level 30ish looks safe to me to start focus on other aspect. 80-20 rules

I remembered when I am level 10-20, it’s so exciting with a lot of common kanji :laughing:

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Yep can confirm, me who have no idea about baseball like: really? :sweat_smile:

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I went through the 30s levels while reading Yougisha X, and I would ever so often learn a new kanji in the morning and see it in the book the same afternoon (or maybe two or three days later), but literally every day I thought “wow, glad I just learned this kanji we have here” :slight_smile:
Also, I wish I had known all those baseball kanji when I was reading Hakase :sweat_smile:

So, for me, the 30’s levels were still incredibly useful.

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Some of the kanji definitely get more obscure once you pass 50. That being said, it seems like every time I learn a kanji and think, “I’ll never use this”, low and behold, the next thing I read that kanji shows up. If I were to implement your strategy, I would wait until then.
For me now, whenever an unknown kanji pops up, it’s often some Jinmeiyo kanji, possibly with a meaning and reading that mirrors a kanji already learned in WK.

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I definitely felt some diminishing returns in the early to mid 50s, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until then to slow down. I think I slowed down somewhere between 35 and 40, which worked well for me. In general, I think somewhere between 30 and 40 is a good point to slow down and spend more time reading.

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I was going to suggest this just for statistical reasons.

The upper 30’s gets you pretty close to the 1000 most frequently used and reading easier things with intention should be possible and will quickly fill in some of those missing ones. 込 doesn’t appear until 32, but I probably knew it before I hit level 20 just because it’s on almost every page of everything I’ve ever read.

Glancing ahead, I see 窓 coming up, which I’ve known forever and 喋 and 遅 and so on. Many that I wish would have appeared earlier, I’ve just picked up by reading.

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Thank you everyone for all the amazing answers, this is very useful!

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The WK Stats really helped me understand what you’re asking. Check out the Charts and you’ll get a much better feel for where those diminishing returns are.

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Hey that was pretty much my approach, speedrun till 30, afterwards slow down.
3 lessons a day might be a good pace after hitting 30, or 5 lessons every other.

It’s enough to get a good headstart, but you will find that you still wish you knew a few more characters. And there were quite a few more useful ones on the rest of the 30’s.
We cant have it all tho and its better to get exposure at that point than do isolated kanji recognition exercises.

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My thinking exactly, but getting to a good starting point here on WK seems like a good call.

Cheers for the reply!

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I actually slowed down once I hit the fast levels (44 and up, minus a few) by keeping my leveling speed the same or slightly longer. That’s the point where I started reading too.

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Not 60 yet, but from my personal experience I feel like there is a drop off at 40 and another one at 50.
When I was around 30, most Kanji I’ve looked up were in the 30s and a few were in the 40s.
40 - 50 even has some pretty common ones like 誰、匹、歳、箸.
I think I can count the 50+ Kanji, I’ve encountered so far, with two hands.

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I’ll add that wkstats has comparison charts to show at what WK level you’ll complete N3 of JLPT or all of the 500 most common kanji.

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I still find “Oh I JUST learned that kanji!” in the wild!
And feel the kanji I am currently learning are just as useful as the 20’s and beyond!
Yes, first 20 levels contain those absolute most common kanji, or at least a high frequency of them, so common you might know some before you started even :wink:
But I definitely feel even these are common enough to be worthy!

I just learned the holy kanji for WaniKani! (the kanji short time ago, the vocab for it this morning! :wink:

Fox is in lvl 60, holy important kanji! Lots of fox folk lore to be read!

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No matter what method you use, you’ll start to see diminishing returns. A small overall percentage of kanji account for the vast majority you’ll encounter on a regular basis. Then you need another thousand or so more to make sure you aren’t having to look things up too often.

At that point, somewhere in the 1500 range, I think just learning things that appear frequently in the content you are interested in is the most efficient.

Of course, some people (>_>) just enjoy knowing more kanji regardless of how useful they are.

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