Lifetime membership! Yikes! What to expect?


I have recently just purchased a lifetime membership. Yay!!! I really like the app and I am pretty slow at levelling up - so I thought it was worth doing. Unless, of course, I give up…

I hopefully won’t. I started studying Japanese quite awhile before I found WaniKani and I have persevered through woeful study methods. I actually really enjoy the app, so things bode well. However, I’m a little bit concerned about any significant ramping up of the SRS. I heard it can get much more demanding as you get around lvl 16? I just manage to squeeze in my reviews and about 10 new lessons a day at the mo. Is it likely to get much more intense?

Also, this has probably be asked before, but I wondered what the average outcomes are of reaching lvl60?

Im not sure yet if Wanikani deals at all with particles and I perhaps find these the hardest thing about reading Japanese sentences. The basics are straightforward but the advanced uses, compounds and interactions with stems, adjectives and nouns can be overwhelming!

I am under no ilusions that I will be able to speak fluent Japanese after reaching lvl 60. Understanding the jist of written Japanese in English is the least I would hope for though. Being able to read written Japanese fairly fluently and with all its nuances would be ace!



WaniKani will only teach you kanji and some vocabulary associated with the kanji you learned to help reinforce them, so you won’t see any particles here.

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To be fair, you will see particles, but only when they appear in expressions.

But yeah. Kanji website, not grammar.




What to expect?

It never ends!

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It will become more intense for two reasons:

  • you will eventually get your enlightened items back for review, which adds about 10% more reviews per day.
  • you will get to a point where you have learned a bunch of similar looking kanji, and will need to learn to differentiate them, or your review accuracy will drop. That, in turn, will increase your count of low level items and thus increase your daily reviews.

I don’t know about the average outcome, but the team said last year that in 2017, 22 users made it to level 60 per month on average. They may release stats for 2018 as well, but not sure.


Thanks for the response Napthalene. I didn’t phrase that very well when I said:

‘Also, this has probably be(en) asked before, but I wondered what the average outcomes are of reaching lvl60?’

I actually meant to ask for a general idea of what level of comprehension people are achieving by completing the course. I know everyone is different and probably using various additional learning resources but I just wanted to ball park my expectations.


If you want to learn particles, by far the best is Tae Kim’s guide to Japanese Grammar, you can either look at it for free on his website, or purchase the book if you “prefer to read dead trees” as Kim says.


I would suggest taking WK fairly easy and doing some grammar and everyday vocab. WK will take all your spare time and leave you no time for anything else. I really feel kanji in general is “high level” although some would disagree and consider it a vital part of learning Japanese from the start. I lived in Japan a year before I even considered kanji then only really studied it in part when I went to Japanese school for a year. Then another year in Japan without any further formal kanji study. Only now, 20 years later, have I made a concerted effort to be able to read it. Of course, over the years, some kanji has gone in and a lot of the vocab so it’s been a far easier ride than if I’d started with nothing - but it’s still been tough!! You have a lifetime sub so no rush.

Good luck.


There is a site called WK stats that will show all the information personalized for you. It shows when you are likely to level up and finish. It also has “items” which are personalize to show how far you are along for N2, top 2500 kanji, and Japan grade school. It also has “charts” to show what you will get at each level.

For example here is my chart for grade school. I know almost all the grade 1 kanji and half of Grade 2.


You need to stick in your API key, which you can find by going to your Dashboard, clicking your avatar, selecting “Settings” on the menu that appears, then click the “Account” tab on that page.


Well, in terms of kanji, that’s about (roughly) 90% of what I encounter when reading. WKstats says somewhere between 93% and 98% depending on the source, but I feel it’s a bit of an overestimate, since it averages over stuff aimed at kids which will have simpler kanji. The remaining unknown kanji usually have furigana anyway.

In term of general comprehension, WK will do nothing for you. It doesn’t teach you grammar, and does not teach you any hiragana only vocab. Also, it doesn’t teaches vocab with kanji that are not part of the program, even if the word itself is common.

So, long story short, you could be level 60 and virtually understand 0 Japanese.

What WK will do, though, is make it much easier to read material once you know the grammar and basic hiragana only vocab. It also helps you a lot to look up words you don’t know, since you’ll be usually able to guess its reading, while others would have to look up the kanji first and then the word. That, in turns, helps you a lot to do the actual reading (it’s much more comfortable), which then means you get more chance to be exposed to grammar point you learned, putting them into practice.

You do need to know those kanji to be able to read in general, and WK is very good at teaching them. However, similar to what @anon52074655 said, past the first 10 or 20 levels on WK, you’ll get to kanji that would generally not appear in material aimed at beginners, so you will have to first increase your general level so that you get a chance to encounter them. Otherwise, it might end up being a lot of time and efforts spent on learning trivia that isn’t useful to you.


as you progress through the levels, you’ll find there’s more similar kanji. not necessarily from looks alone, but those odd cases where multiples share the same definition.

you first find that with 場所 where “place + place = place” is funny and therefore memorable, but over time, you’ll encounter levels with 2-3 pairs of “sames”, and they’ll get more difficult to memorize if you can’t tell apart their nuances. just ignoring small differences doesn’t work for me, then my brain refuses to take them in, because it doesn’t accept half-learned input.

this is just another example of things that raise the difficulty level. none of them is too bad in isolation, so it’s best to sit down and deal with them the moment they arise.


Then you get words like 欠伸 - lack + stretch = … yawn?

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I do agree with this with less experience (I was only there for about 4 months while studying abroad), but I do feel like it helps so much to know the kanji. Right now, I’ve been learning Japanese for about 1.5 years formally in a school, but I feel like I have little practical knowledge because everyone and everything uses kanji. Obviously it’s not totally necessary, but it helps tremendously to know the kanji.

You can expect to learn a significant amount of business language that normal people will laugh at upon hearing come from your mouth, if you have the opportunity to speak with people in Japan.

Great app and appreciate it, but it is definitely geared for the Japanese language test.

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yeah, sometimes you have to think around 3 corners… and then there’s 当て字 that defy all that.

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Cool. I’ve seen the Tae Kim site. Seems really good. I also use Bunpro, which seems to link to it a lot to help explain grammar points.

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Cool. Thanks. I’ll check it out.

Thanks for the detailed response. I thought it might be a bit more complicated than simply getting to lvl 60 and then being able to read Japanese! It sounds like, given the increase in srs demands and the introduction of less common kanji later on, it might be best to take it slow. Especially considering I now have a lifetime membership!

Of course, that’s easier said then done with a SRS system. I guess I can just stop doing new lessons for a while if the reviews get too much!