Level 9 Dump

So I just hit level 9, and have been moving at a nice steady pace up until now of progressing past a level at nearly the fastest speed possible. However, I noticed that soon after hitting level 9, an absolutely MASSIVE dump of about 200 new vocabulary words got poured on me in a day or two. So much so that I’m actually unable to even get to the new radicals and kanji, because the vocab is coming in faster than I can learn it. New words is nice, but every second not reviewing a radical/kanji is wasted, since the the 4th/5th practice of those takes so many days to come around that I feel like I’m wasting weeks because I can’t get past this vocab dump.

Is it normal for this to happen at some levels? For a wave of seemingly hundreds of new words to come at you like a tsunami overnight?


Yeah, you get an influx of the first half of vocab for the new level and then another set when you complete the remaining kanji. But even though they’re technically listed for level 9 vocab, a lot of the kanji featured in the vocab are from older levels, so it’s actually to help you review some of the old kanji (and provide kanji to help prevent potential leeches when the old kanji comes back in your reviews).

For example, I accidentally hit level 11 today (accidentally meaning I was trying to delay the level up so the new vocab doesn’t flood my lessons before I finish like what happened to you), and I got about 90 new items including new radicals, half of the new kanji, and some of the new vocab. One of them was 食べ物 which is a level 11 vocab item, but features kanji from level 6 and 9 respectively.

If it overwhelms you to deal with the vocab, you can always use the reorder script to tackle the radicals and kanji first. But know that there’s probably a lot of vocab that have kanji you should be able to read by now!


If you are planning to do Wanikani at full speed, you really are going to come across tons of lessons and reviews. A reorder script can push radicals and kanji to the front, but abusing this can result in an overwhelming backlog of vocabulary.

I think this is the wrong approach to learning Japanese. It sounds like you’re placing higher priority on winning at Wanikani than on learning Japanese.

Every second you spend on vocabulary is increasing the amount of words you’ll be able to recognize when you start reading real Japanese material.


I agree with this, I usually have several days after the new level is unlocked where I go through the remaining vocab of the previous level, trying to stay consistent and do 10-20 lessons per day, then I do the new radicals and kanji over a day or two, and then I can’t do any new lessons for several days. It’s less about progressing through the levels and more about having to adjust my learning speed all the time and struggling to make this a habit.

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I reorder to do radicals immediately, then do 5 kanji and 15 vocab daily. This seems to keep you roughly on track for most levels, and you finish a level in 7-9 days.

Once the radicals are done, I sometimes do all kanji if I want to rush things, but sometimes I’m too busy.

I really love and really hate the vocab. It’s extremely good at reinforcing the kanji, but there’s SO MUCH of it. (And every reading is an exception or rendaku…)


Can’t remember much if Lvl 9 in particular was huge, but my rhythm is pretty much do all reviews, then chip at the lessons.
It can be insane at times, if you miss a day you can end up super buried in reviews (highest I’ve been is like 400 reviews and 70 lessons, took me a month to recover being in full time work), best thing to do is maybe set a target of 30-40 per hour until you catch up then crank through the lessons. I find that learning kanji slowly but vocab quickly is the best for me, because the vocab reinforces the kanji and are often fairly easy to figure out, so don’t be too put off by a huge number of lessons if a lot are vocab because at least half will probably be super easy to remember and help with those annoying leech kanji

I guess I should have also mentioned that this is totally new, and no level-up has caused this issue before. Just this specific level seemed to cause a vocab avalanche. The pacing is a bit inconsistent when most level-ups cause a moderate influx of vocab. I prioritize learning above all, but a large enough vocab “flow rate” cause eventually impede learning of any new kanji, such that it prevents a person from practicing any new kanji at all for a week or two.

Incidentally, I can’t find any option to re-order the new lessons in the options. :frowning:

Hm. New levels do tend to have large lesson spikes especially in vocab. Since you’ve got vocab from the kanji you just finished + new radicals + new kanji + new vocab from old kanji. At around the level I’m at, a new level is usually like 110ish added lessons which is too much to handle immediately so you have to put stuff off.

But in terms of pure number of new vocab words lvl 9 shouldnt be very special. wkstats.com is a great resource for keeping up with all the material at each level. Just put your v2 key into the site and go to Items->Wanikani and you can see a nice chart with all the items in each level. Lvl 8 has 132 vocab items and lvl 9 has 124. Pretty standard going forward but also about the same as lvl 5 and 6. Maybe lvl 9 just has a lot of immediate vocab unlocks? Or perhaps the later lvl 8 kanji just have more vocab items? I havent done the math.

In either case, things arent gonna get any slower from here. Unless you’re trying for WK world record, you should be spending the time you need to go through the vocab. Personally, I dont have a set number of lessons I do per day I just do lessons when I have space and try to keep about 120 apprentice items at the most. Some points you do have to slow down and just finish off some vocab. I can’t say its not frustrating to have to wait on new material but its better than drowning in an ever growing pile of reviews and lessons and just burning out.

yeah, it will become tough,

nowadays I usually have a pile around 80 lessons because I have to keep my apprentice below 90, so I spend days without any lesson now, just doing reviews (and getting them wrong :sweat_smile:).

it is part of learning IMO.