Life after wanikani?


So I’m at a level, that I nearly finished wanikani and have grammar and other skills in Japan that I can read through a shonen manga and actually enjoy it because i know what’s going on and what they are saying most of the time.

My question how can i increase my vocab skills futher. Some of you will recommend to start using a dictionary and read but I think its a very bad exercise, because it takes away the pleasure of reading and make a behaviour that you will end up looking up everything. My friend started to read manga with littlet vocab he used to lookup the words now he has very high vocab but he can’t quit this behavoiur after 3 years he still reading manga and looking up at the same time, of course he can’t enjoy what he read because he lookups every little goddamn nuance which has no significance and max out the book Sometimes i don’t know every word in my own language too but i don’t read a novel in my language with a dictionary.

So no i don’t want to max out the books with dictionary I want another way to increase my vocab, while I continue to enjoy reading as a whole, and not a maxing books experience. Do you know a good method. I tried Anki but this was really complicated and I didn’t know which packages to download. My grammar in japanese is good and I can read with a decent speed and understand most of what I read in manga and light novel.

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I’m also curious as to what all of you level 60 people do after WK

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How about Houhou?

It’s a flashcard system like WaniKani, so you can still do reviews if that’s your thing. Personally, what I’ve been doing (and have started neglecting WaniKani for) is I read books and if I’m in the mood to look up every single word I do, and it goes into Houhou when I’m at my compute later. But if I’m feeling tired, or just want to enjoy what I’m reading, I only look up words if they get repeated more than once, since they’d probably be important.

Even though I would imagine that some people would view it as a crutch, I find that continuing to use an SRS helps me remember words that don’t come up very often, but are good to know. For example, right now I’m reading 「社会的ひきこもり」by環斉藤, and put the word 「自閉症」(autism) in the SRS because I know I probably won’t see it again when I go back to reading fantasy, and this way hopefully I’ll remember it a little better. This is also why I have been experimenting with books outside of my normal genres. I hate reading nonfiction in English, but in Japanese it’s so much more rewarding because I can pick up new words, so it’s not as painful if I decide to look up every unknown word that comes my way.

Does that make sense?


My life after WK started at around level 34 or 35. I’ve been reading newspapers and books since around that time and seen like 90-95% of the kanji before learning them on WK. I set my goal to getting the JLPT N1 as a bit of a challenge for myself, so I spent time doing JLPT specific courses on Memrise (you should check out, it’s way easier to use than Anki and has more fun and ‘gamefied’ approach). Quickly went from 3000 known words to about 20k known words. Kinda made Wanikani obsolete within couple of months.

The thing with SRS/Word list/Flash cards, whatever you want to call them, is that people seriously misuse them. Even WK is bad in this aspect when it comes to vocabulary learning. It’s a horrific waste of time to try and nail a meaning of a word without any context, isolated from the real world. You should just treat these Anki/Memrise etc. courses/word lists as just as a way to encounter new vocabulary. Focusing to nail down the meanings 100% of the time without any actual context is pointless and you will most likely never truly remember them, until you see them few times in real life context, in a manga or a news article.

Most importantly I recommend you do what you find interesting. I’m mordibly interested in the political and economical climate in East Asia, I read all the main newspapers daily and watch/listen to political shows on Youtube/podcast addict. Perhaps you’re not into that sort of a topic, but instead you should find something that you are interested in. Be it gardening, technology or bondage (I won’t judge). Just remember to keep yourself challenged, don’t stay with stuff like easy mangas and graded-readers (boy, do I hate graded readers… I don’t want this to turn into a rant so I’ll leave that for some other time). Don’t bother with the ‘easy for children’ content, unless you’re a child of course. Learning a new language doesn’t turn, in my case a 28-year old man into a 5-year old boy, neither should it turn you.

In summary: check out Memrise for quick and easy vocabulary accusation, you’ll be surprised how much you improve when you start increasing that word count. Most importantly, do what you do in your native language. Follow your interests, don’t be afraid of the language.

Edit: Here’s some neat Memrise courses that helped me along the way. Leaving out the simplest JLPT N5/N4 courses, you can search for them yourself.

(I don’t know how to not have those link boxes. Sorry for clutter.)


Oh and just to mention that I’m not a fan of language tests in general but they do however give you a nice framework of “things I’m supposed to know around this level”. They can also be a fun goal and challenge to set for yourself.

Sorry for going a bit offtopic, just wanted to clarify why the JLPT specific links.


I’m totally bookmarking your post because it was insanely helpful. Thanks a bunch. I’ve gotten to the point where I want to start reading more as well to “branch out” from wanikani.

I’ve only used memrise a handful of times and only with free decks, because reasons. The fact that they have JLPT specific courses, though, is awesome. It is my goal as well to do JLPT 1 in the future.

Thanks for the resources! I really appreciate it.

On that note, I’m nowhere near close to finishing, but I always enjoy reading the news and attempting to figure out what they are saying. Seems like good learning fodder. :slight_smile:

Glad if it can help you. :slight_smile:

If you happen to be a Twitter user, you should follow some of the main news sites/newspapers on Twitter and even just focusing on figuring out the headlines and little excerpts is really helpful and fun practice. It’s challenging stuff but less daunting of a task than going through a whole article.

For short and often bizarre news / Japanese Internet stories, my guilty pleasure is DQNplus. The comments are often really hilarious. (痛いニュース(ノ∀`) - ライブドアブログ).

Once you get to more advanced levels and really want to challenge yourself, I highly recommend different 特集 (feature) sections of news sites. Yahoo News 特集 stuff for example is truly fantastic journalism about the day-to-day Japanese society. Yahoo!ニュース オリジナル 特集 アーカイブ記事一覧 - Yahoo!ニュース


Very reasonable ideas, thank you for putting them into words.

Also… Just wanted to say I’m glad you won’t judge. <3

Thanks for the post, it is really helpful. Have you tried And what do you think about it?

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I only tried it for a couple of days over a year ago so I don’t remember much. What I remember was that
the interface wasn’t to my liking, and they are a bit too hung up on you getting everything right all the time. I don’t enjoy that, I prefer my language learning to be stress free (not to be confused with easy).
The main benefit of Memrise/Anki type of user-created content is the freedom it gives you. I don’t like when some program decides for me what are the words that I should be learning. Take the word “shoelace” for example, do I know what is it in Japanese? No, I don’t. Should I? I don’t know, I’ve never needed the word and I’ve never come across it while I do what I truly enjoy with the language. Having some app force-feed me shoelaces until I get it right 10 times in a row is in my books not fun, and it would make learning Japanese as a whole less fun for me.

Oh, I just realised that this probably sounds very counter-intuitive when compared to my post about Memrise. I like the freedom of being able to choose what type of words you want to learn. On Memrise you can find courses for very topic specific vocabulary. Like science, politics, etc, or you can cast a bigger net and go for JLPT lists or the Common 10k (I believe does this common 2k, 4k stuff). I just like the freedom of choice. In Wanikani’s case, we’re learning kanji and not focusing solely on vocabulary - so I think it’s a bit different.

The latest J-Test I took a few weeks a go had a fill in the blank question that was written such that it was pretty obvious they wanted you to write 靴ひも.

You could probably get away with just 靴, same as in English, but those test creators want you to know it Namste, haha.

Well I knew ひも for string at least - maybe I could’ve figured it out. However would I rather know 自由貿易協定 than 靴ひも, yes because it’s more important to me right now. Abe is on his European tour discussing possible free trade agreements with the European Union since the TPP fell apart and the Japanese are worried about the Chinese dominating the markets in East Asia.


To not have the link boxes (one boxes), you need to not put the link on its own line. Instead, use something like, “Advanced Japanese Vocab:

Wait there is a country where Yahoo news isn’t just trolling click bait articles half of which are really just advertisements; with comment sections that make you lose faith in humanity??? That’s some highly motivational information!


Your post is very helpful, thank you. You learned 20k vocab just from memrise. But how is this work? It also force you to remember like wanikani through reviews and SRS? After you finished you were able to read most things? Did you done JLPT exams too or you just learned the vocabs for them?

Was it worthwhile to continue through to 60? It always makes me happy to look up a word and see that “Wanikani level XX” on jisho, but at some point I feel like I’d be better off just working my to J-J and manually building my own vocab with anki. Are using pre-existing anki/memrise sets still worthwhile if I end up doing that?

Also, have you hit any cases with old/archaic or niche sets of words being a problem and if so what did you do about it?

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I am currently using, so I can give you my opinion. I think overall it is good, but it does have some flaws. It has a more varied approach that WaniKani does, which I think is nice. For example, for any given vocab word, during a review you may have to:

  • Spell or recognize the kana given the kanji+kana spelling.
  • Recognize the kanji given the kana.
  • Spell or recognize the kanji+kana spelling given an audio of the pronunciation.
  • [edit] Recognize the definition given the kanji+kana spelling or an audio of the pronunciation.
  • And a few other variations.

Having this variety is nice, but it is a double edge sword because you are not getting strong in any one aspect. For me, this most often results in me being able to know a word by kana spelling or sound, but I have more trouble recognizing it with kanji since that part isn’t tested on each review. That said, I do think I am benefiting from the introduction of the vocabulary, even if I don’t remember all aspects of all the words. It should help when I encounter the words in the real world.

There is a WaniKani-specific coupon good for a free three months which I think still works. If that doesn’t work, follow their English twitter account and look out for free month coupons.

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I’m replying just so I can get updates on this thread– these reources and perspectives are great!

You could just set your notification level on the thread by clicking the icon to the bottom right of the timeline :slight_smile:


I tried the WK coupon and it’s expired– do you know if they’ll post another one of these soon?