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

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.

this weird feeling that she mentioned…

I think this is an excellent summary of what WaniKani will get you, as well as its limitations unless you also/eventually supplement your learning with additional grammar, speaking, and listening exposure and practice.

Can I recall the 2000+ kanji and 6000ish vocabulary with very good accuracy when I see it? Sure. But if you asked me what the specific word was for something, as well as what kanji it consists of without any reference in front of me, that’s a totally different story.


as somebody who reached 21, suffered from an incredible 1k ish review wall and after months of pushing it off just opted for the nuke of resetting to 18… listen to this man.
What happened after the nuke was an 800ish review wall. And now that I’ve cleared that one I’m cruising through these levels because I actually still know most of the stuff and know how to use WaniKani. 20 is the halfway point. don’t you dare give up!


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