Level 9 is my new hell

Anyone else get to level 9 and feel it be the most difficult so far? Seriously…this level can go somewhere. I thought a couple previous were difficult but good God.


For me the difficulty these past few levels is that you learn some more abstract words that have a lot of overlap and can be hard to sort out. Demand, request, necessity, order… To discuss, to tell, to say, to express… To fall, to drop, to go down, to fall over… Not the same thing, but easy to mix up in your mnemonics.

But then level 9 has 試験, which are two of my favourite looking kanji so far and a very useful word!

I’ve been using a couple anki decks for reading practice and grammar study (alongside Tae Kim’s course and bunpro) and I find that it helps because I get to see many of WK’s kanji in different context and in a more organic fashion.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this deck even though I don’t care much for anime: Japanese course based on Tae Kim's grammar guide & anime - AnkiWeb (you can edit it trivially to remove the ローマ字)


Depending on your speed, level 9 is considered one of the more difficult (in terms of the amount of reviews) because that’s often where people have an early workload peak. As to whether the individual vocabulary are difficult, I can’t really remember. :slight_smile:

Here’s an example from my workload graph (going at a considerable pace).


Yeah that’s a good point too, I’ve noticed that my review load has increased significantly in the past couple of weeks as I get more and more cards to Enlightened tier.

And the first burn is still three weeks away…

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I honestly have zero motivation learning this god-awful level right now. 20%, 23%, 19%…Not retaining a damn thing. I honestly don’t feel a connection with learning the kanji anymore. Nothing registers. Nothing makes sense. Mnemonics don’t work. I even took a break for a couple weeks to reset my brain because I fell into a drought.

I wish there was a way to delete the angering mnemonic phrases the creator came up with.

I think in Hell, if I can’t get out, I can at least try get comfy and see what Father Time can do to help

veritas filia temporis (Time is the father of Truth). (WIKIPEDIA)

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For me level 7 was the start of the pain. I fell off the wagon, for a couple months, reset to level 2, and now have a slow and steady pace. It was a good decision as those first first few levels after the reset were easy and felt like fun again.

3 years, 25 levels later, still going. Taking the slow road.


I felt the exact same way! The last two of the “pleasant” levels were quite unpleasant actually, but now I feel rejuvenated???

I guess the lesson is to just keep going! Persevere, and you will get through it!!!


Make up your own and type it in the “notes” section. If you can’t think of any, I’m sure some creative people around here will be happy to help out.


I’ve been struggling and haven’t even encountered the level 9 radicals yet. I’ve just been going through level 8 vocab for almost 2 weeks now. Sure there’s re-ordering scripts, but that’s what got me in this mess (plus not doing lessons regularly).

For me, there’s been a bump in old reviews so despite being behind there’s still the same number of reviews popping up. So maybe slowing down could help? Plus doing some focused practice on leeches.

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No silly, everyone knows that Hell isn’t for another 22 levels…

But in all seriousness, I sympathize. I definitely know what it’s like to be stuck on a level for an unbearable amount of time…



Your level-up times actually made me gasp aloud…I feel so vindicated, so thank you for sharing! Hopefully, you haven’t been stuck on levels like that since? :grimacing:

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Now is a great time to slow down and figure out what you might be missing. While up until now you may have thought memorizing general shapes was enough, now its time maybe consider really studying what parts are in the kanji and what makes them different! Have fun and its ok to take it slow for a bit!


Yeah … I don’t know why but up until level 9 all the kanji and radicals felt comfortable to me but at level 9 they all just look weird and I find it difficult to remember them. Also some of the kanji have interesting meanings like express, part etc … I’m almost through level 9 but I’ve been here for a while. :slight_smile:

Edit/update … Yay I’m now level 10 … um, I seem to have a large number of reviews and lessons …

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If I don’t like the provided mnemonic phrases, I either rework them or come up with my own. So far, levels 9, 10, and now 11 have proven to be the longest and most difficult levels for me. To get through them, I found myself spending a lot of extra time using the extra-study section. At least once a day, if not half a dozen times, I went through all the Recent Mistakes and Recent Lessons until I could get through them at 90% or greater. This made reviews a lot less painful for me.


I personally avoid the provided mnemonics completely (both meaning and readings) unless I really can’t come up with anything myself.

The reasoning is twofold:

  • Personalized mnemonics tying into your own experiences and anecdotes tend to work much better than generic ones

  • The reading mnemonics WK uses are overwhelmingly based on English instead of already taught kanji, which I find really bizarre at times.

For instance I just learned 放 with the ホウ reading and WK uses the English word “home” as a mnemonic when IMO there’s a much more obvious way: the 方 kanji which is the left component of this one has the same ホウ reading.

Whenever possible I much prefer to remember readings by using previously learned kanji because this effectively reinforces both kanji and avoids weird English pronunciations. In the example above it both reinforces my knowledge of the reading of 放 and 方.

Another example of a kanji I learned today is 植 which has the same onyomi as 食, so I made up a mnemonic using that (it’s a plant 植 that you can eat 食). This way it’s easy to remember the reading of 植 while at the same time making sure I won’t forget 食.

Also I don’t use extra-study but I force myself to write down every kanji on paper (with proper stroke order). I find that it really helps with memorization. Here’s a sample from today’s session:

When I do this I try to do it backwards: I start from the English word and try to remember the kanji.


you should change the title to “Level 9 is my first hell”

Because later on becomes way harder

jokes aside

9 and 12 were my worst levels, then I kept a good pace since.

Use self study quiz, I used it a lot before level 15.


Writing Kanji from EN is a whole thing that has both pros and cons, but I honestly think it is net pro. (Perhaps write vocabularies too?) Cons would be about EN, and being isolated from sentences.

Also, writing has its specifics. At the very least, each Kana and Kanji should be roughly in a square, basic strokes, and dividing portions (radical locations).

Vocabulary reading mnemonics can be made from other vocabularies as well. Perhaps you would eventually realize.

Perhaps closer to vocabulary meanings would be from example sentences, and trying to find what is implied. The role in a sentence can also be inferred, along with articles.

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Yeah I also practice vocabulary from time to time, but my objective right now is to focus mainly on getting to level ~15-20 in WK to get a very solid kanji base that will let me tackle real world Japanese. I don’t really believe in learning vocabulary purely from a word list without context, it’s too artificial (although it can still be useful to build core vocab, I’m not arguing against WK’s approach here).

My handwritten kanji are terrible, but I don’t actually try to learn proper handwriting, I just want to test myself and find out which Kanji I do know well and which ones I don’t. If I can’t easily draw the kanji correctly it probably means that I don’t know it as well as I could. On the other hand if I can trivially recall it I don’t need to waste a lot more time on it for the time being. It’s a good lithmus test in my experience.

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