Lvl 60! Reflections and some handy habits I learned along the way

I really enjoyed your post.
I have just started, but have already decided on abandoning the WK mnemonics for my own, so good to hear that other people use WK like this.
I really like the way the website works, but some of the content seems unnecessarily convoluted and time-wasting. I really find it silly to use pop culture references as mnemonics, i.e. Charlie Sheen, who will be an irrelevant figure for much of the world outside of a certain age group. I understand the theory behind making something outrageous to stand out in the memory, but when it takes an effort to remember the twists and turns of a mnemonic, it isn’t helping.
Luckily there is space for own notes and also that using own words as answers works, that was what pushed me to getting the lifetime sub during the sale.
Good Luck and thanks for your insights.

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It’s hard to say without just seeing what sort of mistakes you’re making. By the looks of your accuracy rates, they appear fairly consistent. They probably also explain why your levelling up rate is half as fast as mine. Everyone has a different speed and short term memory capacity. I generally have very good recall up until about Enlightened. When I try to get from Master to Enlightened, I think my accuracy drops to about 90%. From Enlightened to Burned, I think it’s another 5-7% drop in accuracy.

Have you always been doing as well as you’re doing now? Or have you gotten better or worse recently with your reviews? Do you notice any improvements from the earlier levels and have you changed how you use WaniKani?

I have also been doing WaniKani now for twice as long as you. This may explain the difference. I spent a year with the trial version up to level 3. A year getting to level 21. Then a year getting from 21 to 60. My first year would have had an accuracy rate of about 92%. The second year it dropped as I became overwhelmed with more kanji. But this last year, I really committed to being thorough with my notes and efficient with my reviews. That’s where I learned basically all the tips I wrote out in my post.

100% agreed. The WaniKani mnemonics may work for some, but it can only get me so far. I literally NEVER leave a notes section blank. Even if it’s repeating the same information e.g. an obvious reading. I just write the little kanji maths down so that I know explicitly what the structure is: hand (手) + sack (袋) = glove (手袋). Te + fukuro = tebukuro.

Making outrageous mnemonics works only when they’re few and far between. Charlie Sheen on a unicorn is not memorable if there’s Shouguns playing volleyball and dinosaurs in top hats. I really encourage people to pull out a Japanese and English dictionary and find mnemonics that make sense. I recently came upon ‘shell/husk’ (殻) which has the kun’yomi ‘kara’. Guess what? There’s an English word, ‘carapace’, which means shell (e.g. of a turtle or crab). So easy to remember!

Only when the reading or meaning has no entryway into something remotely familiar in English should you rely on the super tenuous and fantastical imagery of WaniKani-style mnemonics.

I’d even be happy to open a WaniKani clinic on sensible English mnemonics for anyone struggling and who would like a suggestion. I can also do Spanish, but not nearly as well.


Congrats on hitting that sweet 60! And thanks for sharing so much useful advice. You’ve confirmed some points I considered trying before but held back from because I thought it would make the memorizing process more difficult than helpful.

[quote=“Demarco92, post:4, topic:48487, full:true”]The biggest thing i’m having a problem with now is trying to remember words that end with
う or お and words that don’t have those. for example the on’yomi for group (組) is そ. the on’yomi for mutual (相) is そう. There are tons of examples like this and i find it discouraging when i’m off by that one kana. any tips for this would be appreciated.
This might not work for all of them, but what I do to memorize a word with that extra う, I try to use emphasis in my mnemonic for that sound. For example, for my mnemonic for 早 (そう): It’s SO early! I don’t want to wake up!"

Or with your mutual (相) example: “If our mutual friend is SO cool, why don’t you hang out with her?!”

It helps to make it a dialogue you could hear yourself say so you can recognize the emphasis.

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How do you install the ‘ignore wrong answer’ button. I can’t seem to find any info on it, but it would be very useful since I often type too fast…

Here you go: [Userscript] Wanikani Override ("ignore answer button")

Congratulations on 60!~~

for the fulfillment of the thread may be do a re-login would put your level badge to yellow 60

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:crabigator: Hooray! :100:


Very helpful, thanks and congrats.


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Congrats on the Lvl 60!
And thanks for the Tips, namely in the and the wkstats!
Didnt know that i could look up my progress with this neat site :slight_smile:
I`m at Lvl 7 atm with 1/10 of the learned Items and i´m very dilligent atm.
I will see how i fare at around lvl 20.

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No worries! I’d also recommend using the Google image search function to help yourself distinguish between kanji that are very similar and would be better understood with a picture result when you enter the kanji into the image search. For example, this thread on the difference between 跳ぶ and 跳ねる, both of which mean ‘to jump’, but actually mean different kinds of ‘jumping’.

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Thanks :smile:

Out of curiosity, what have you held back on and what made you think it would be more difficult?

congrats and thank you for the tips.

i am very very eager to know; are you a fluent speaker now?

If yes, will you endorse to say if you get to 60, there is no way at all you are not fluent.

My goal for WK is to speak fluently more than to ace vocabs and grammar.

Thank you.

No, it’s not like that. Wanikani will teach you how to read Kanji. It’s not going to teach you how to speak fluently other than indirectly by helping you to be able to learn more by reading.

However, most level 60’s are likely to have at least an intermediate level because it takes so long to finish and during that time they’ve also been studying.

So if I have understood you correctly, by intermediate you meant some fluency.

i get you that it helps with Kanji readings and not geared towards conversational proficiency. but i am just curious what level 60 entails besides the milestone?

The milestone isn’t enough?

hey c’mon don’t get me wrong. its a great feat and i truly am impressed. i know, i am laboring at infancy. but i am genuinely interested to know, in general, what a graduate of lv 60 have attained as a student? speaking fluently? able to read the newspaper? happy tokyo holidays, etc etc.

is this a wrong question to ask?

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It’s kind of the wrong question, yes.

Level 60 means that you have learned 2000 Kanji and 6000 vocab to a fairly high degree of recall. No more, no less.

To do either of those well, you would need a decent grasp of grammar and more vocabulary than Wanikani teaches.

You could probably get though some of the NHK Easy News articles with N5 grammar and level 10 or so on WK, so you don’t have to wait to 60 to start reading.

And like I said before, many people who are level 60 may be able to speak fluently and many more can certainly read the newspaper.

But that’s because they were learning other things in addition to Wanikani as they were leveling up since even a moderate pace will probably take about 2 years to finish.

So the right question to ask is “how much can I learn in two years?” And the answer is: quite a lot.

I’m not trying to discourage you; I just want to set the proper expectations. :smiley:

Learning Kanji through Wanikani is significant part of learning Japanese, if you want to read at least, but it’s not the only thing you’ll need.

Unfortunately, no. But I hear there’s cake :wink:


this is a well thought and insightful reply.

i thank you alo for your willingness to do it.


So, Alo pretty much explained it all. Getting to level 60 on WaniKani means that you can recognise and know how to pronounce a good amount of kanji.

This doesn’t even mean I can recall it. You can ask me what the Japanese word for ‘goldfish’ is and I might struggle to think of it. But if I see the kanji ‘金魚’ I’ll almost immediately say in my head ‘kin gyo’ and then think: ‘that’s goldfish!’

Writing the kanji is also not something WaniKani has taught me. I can recognise a picture of Nicolas Cage but I cannot draw Nicolas Cage just because I know him when I see him.

I’m actually someone who did not study much Japanese grammar or speaking while doing WaniKani. Which means that I have a big bank of words in my passive Japanese vocabulary, but would not know very well how to string them into a sentence. If someone spoke to me in Japanese, I might be able to hear a noun or verb they said, while the rest of the words they said would be almost meaningless to me. If I tried to read out loud some Japanese, it would be approximately correct but likely sound off to a native speaker.

It’s kind of like learning the periodic table. Or like learning the name of every Pokemon. Now you can point a Japanese word (in kanji) at me and I can guess decently well what it means and how to pronounce it.

There are however a few things I can do now that I would have struggled with earlier:

  • I can read hiragana pretty effortlessly by just scanning my eyes across a string of text.
  • I can read some Japanese sentence in my head and when I get to the kanji, most often I will glide effortlessly over it as if it was another string of hiragana.
  • I’ve learnt to distinguish Japanese nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs more intuitively based on how they end.
  • I have a better grasp on how Japanese people think about concepts. Especially more complicated ideas.
  • You can show me a kanji I’ve never seen and sometimes I may have a strong feeling about how it’s pronounced based on some of the patterns I’ve picked up learning 2000 of them.
  • I can kind of ‘understand’ why Japanese sounds the way it does based on the patterns I’ve picked up in Japanese phonetics. It’s hard to explain. But like, Japanese words that relate to things hitting or colliding have this ‘ta’, ‘tsu’, or ‘da’ pattern to them. Japanese words that relate to ineffable concepts are generally vowel heavy (I think because they come from Chinese). Transitive verbs are more likely to end in ‘su’ rather than ‘ru’, which is more often for intransitive verbs. You get this weird ‘feeling’ for the language after seeing/hearing so many words for so long.