More Vocab needed for later levels

So I’ve been playing around with statistics in excel for everything in wanikani, and I noticed the later levels start to get pretty light as far as new items per level.

The best way I could figure exactly how light the levels were, was to see how many cards extra would be needed to have a consistent flow of new items the entire time I used wanikani. I figured 20 new items a day was a pretty comfortable figure for cards per day, so I ran with that.

The chart below illustrates how many new vocab items would be needed to add to each level, for a varying degrees of level up intervals, assuming 20 new lessons per day.

This is of course, ignoring the possibility of speed running the 17 or so half levels on the back end, but even so, it shows a pretty hefty number of vocab that could be comfortably added.

I know that WK isn’t supposed to be a one stop shop for vocab, but I’m increasingly noticing common words in my other SRS systems that are using kanji readings that are completely unrepresented here.


Then people will whine about the words being too obscure and rare. When I speedrun through WK I ended up with 350-500 new reviews daily lvl 40+. It’s enough.

WK used to be only for learning to read, now they are trying to make it an all round process which breaks what WK was good at.

They should just have two different SRS, one for common vocab and one for kanji study. People going hard are using a seperate SRS for vocab anyway and mainly use WK for kanji study.


I used to think similarly but now that I’ve actually reached the last few levels I have completely changed my mind. There frankly aren’t as many generally useful vocabulary using the later kanji, and they were often grasping at straws when choosing the vocabulary that’s there already.

Regardless, there are much better ways go learn vocabulary than to learn vocabulary from a list. There are countless words that aren’t (or usually aren’t) written with kanji at all. If maximizing learning relevant vocabulary is your goal, then honestly, I’m not sure I would recommend doing vocabulary beyond level 35. It would definitely be far more efficient from a learning standpoint for me to completely ignore the rest of the WK vocabulary and devote that time to actually using the language at this point. Again, potentially as early as level 35 that was the case. The only reason I haven’t is because I set a goal for level 60 before November 6 and I’m going to achieve that goal.


I don’t want wanikani to be full of obscure words, but there are a ton of 3k, 5k, and 10k words that use WK kanji in ways that would be good to be exposed to during the kanji learning process. I’m not necessarily suggesting level 50 kani get the same treatment as level 10 kani, but I think there’s room for growth.

I get that no one wants to be inundated with hugely more reviews(although I’m not sure how you’re getting that huge number of reviews there’s 8 SRS stages so at 500 reviews, that’s than 50 new cards a day, assuming one mistake per card. At 20 cards a day, that’s 160 reviews a day, and it would only be 300 if you got every card wrong like 3 times.(sorry if my math is off there). It brings to mind the “switch” people are complaining for for the unsurmountable ~60 kana words that were added. Why not have a slider for that sort of thing? From “just the bare minimum” - two or so words per kanji, “a decent representation” to 5-6+ per kani, to “as many as we can fit within the X most common words” (this one might add 5-8k words, if we’re talking top 20k). It’d be interesting, if not useful.

41 onwards are half levels, meaning you can finish in 3.5 days, 150 items per level, that is 300 per week, or 42 cards a day, occurance of 3 times in 24 hours. It adds up quickly.

Twice a week of 150 reviews occuring three times in a 24hrs, that is alone 900 reviews. Granting that you have 100% accuracy, they also occur two days later, that is 1200. Add some leeches and older reviews.

So even if you had 100% accuracy you could easily rack up 300 reviews a day, and then add to that leeches and some out of synch reviews that batches, 500 is nothing extraordinary, I know because I’ve been there.

Didn’t happen all the time though, typically it was between 325-420, but damn me if I slept in one morning or had some bad batching RNG.


I don’t buy into the half level hype. I’ll do 30 cards a day, sure, but I’m never going to do more than 15 kanji a day. I’ll do 10, 10, 10, 10 if the radicals allow for it.

I don’t buy into the half level hype. I’ll do 30 cards a day, sure, but I’m never going to do more than 15 kanji a day. I’ll do 10, 10, 10, 10 if the radicals allow for it.

Am I missing something on the reviews? New, 4h, 8h, 1d, 2d, 1w, 2w, 1m, 2m. That’s 9 exposures per card times 20 cards a day, that’s 180 a day, including learning, of course assuming no flubs.

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Is your current level 11 representative of how far you’ve made it into WK or have you reset along the way? Because if it is your true level I recommend waiting until you’re around level 30 and then revisit the topic.

My personal take at this point is that WK has too much content for the framework and when you get to the second half of the progression it gets really noticeable and the little annoyances from the early levels become serious grievances, at least for me.

For instance adding even more content without being able to customize your progression just sounds miserable to me.


Alright, just explained how I got to the number of new reviews in a day that you criticized.

If adding new words (which are obscure btw) they would probably turn off the half level function, so people would take longer to reach 60 (essentially gate keeping progress with obscure words).

20 cards a day? I did 42, even with your math that’d be 360. But alright.

I’m not against new cards and content, just adding them to where they are not making sense. I would do all the cards anyway since I’m a completionist. Filling a deck with kana words and obscure words when the purpose of WK is learning to read is just wrong, but I’m not too invested anymore.

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This is interesting. Are you referring here to higher WaniKani levels specifically or in general? From a general standpoint one of the main selling points of WaniKani is exactly aiming at common readings so that would be unusual. For levels above 42-45 I can’t judge unfortunately.

I think it would maybe make a little more sense to look at the number of new cards in total and not comparing to a specific cap. While the numbers would probably align, there is unnecessary bias in using a particular cap.

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You gotta get there first.


So… To your first point. I’m working through the top 3000 by frequency on, (which is surprisingly massively different from the core 6k, so I’m getting tons of new vocab, granted I never FINISHED the code 6k… Only made it halfway…) And I’ll occasionally notice a word with a strange reading, pop the kanji into WK, and see it’s either represented once or not at all. Now it would have been much more productive if I took note of those words, but… Well, I’ll be sure to write them down from now on. None come to mind at the moment. Probably fewer than a dozen in the first 1500 words.

As for the numbers… I have graphs!

As you can see, you don’t have to get anywhere near 40 to see a pretty significant dip in lesson items and vocab.

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Good stats!

If these words are common, that’s pretty bad :frowning: . I would like to believe that each common reading is covered at least once.

From experience I can’t remember how many additional readings I learned outside of WaniKani, because it’s been a while and I use mostly Anki nowadays.

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Another factor to take into consideration is the level 50s vocab are generally so obscure that they’re very hard to memorize. And you don’t encounter them much in other sources to drill them with context simply because of how rare they are. So as far as workload goes, I don’t think they’re too far from early levels. You just spend more time for each word.


Unless you immerse in novels you’ll hardly run into them anyway, which means that you’ll forget them either way. It makes zero sense to add them.

That sounds like WaniKani would’ve been fine with 50 levels :joy:


Kanji-wise, not so much. But vocab-wise, arguable. Would still want them to add the rest of the joyo kanji.

Honestly got mindblown when they started adding basic kana words before going for the last joyo kanji, I have no idea what they were thinking.

Edit: Well I know what they were thinking, trying to satisfy the casual croud that wouldn’t reach the end line of the road anyway but get to 30 and reset to 1 over and over again, giving the illusion of progress yet go nowhere, that’s where the money is anyway. Preferable they’d want never you to reach the end of the road or even buy a lifetime membership but have it running month to month forever. The number of people that actually get anywhere is slim to none, wouldn’t be surprised that less than 5% actually reach level 60.

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Been quite a few years since I actually did the level 50+ WK vocab, but just scrolling through them and I see plenty of common words that it would be kind of silly to not know. There are uncommon words in there as well, but I wasn’t expecting to see basically anything worth knowing given the way the conversation was going.

Now that would be a good way to add some more super rare vocab. When can we learn 朕 and 国璽 please?


True, but atleast we’d be able to read them right off the bat. Would rather have that since WK is supposed to teach you how to read.

Find it interesting that they wouldn’t teach you the rest of the joyo kanji before going into basic kana words that people actually get taught before even considering doing kanji study to begin with. Maybe you think that learning kana words is somehow more important when you dive into actual kanji study.

Besides one of my complaints wasn’t the rare vocab in itself but that they added words where it doesn’t make sense, like kana words in a deck for learning kanji. I have no problem with rare words, I want to learn as much as possible, but I wrote that people would complain about words being obscure and that is how WK reasons. But even with that atleast the rest of the joyo kanji should’ve been higher priority than basic kana words that you learn before getting into serious kanji study anyway.

So in short, I have no problem with rare words. I will learn them anyway.

I have yet to encounter 朕 or 国璽 (or plenty of other jouyou-kanji words I studied for Kanken) in the wild.

But I like studying for Kanken, so I don’t consider it a waste of time.

Knowing those hasn’t helped me read anything though.

In that sense, they don’t seem like they would be well-received. Well… adding the rest of the jouyou is a common request from people, so a good number of people would approve of that change. But WK already having too much obscure vocabulary is another common complaint. Something has to give.


I’m aware, there are some kanji that rarely occurs in immersion anyway, but atleast you would be familiar with them right off the bat, which would make more sense for WK than adding simple kana words that most people get taught anyway, before even considering deeper study.

Would rather have them adding obscure kanji and words than common kana words, atleast it makes some sense. I have no problem with kana words, but they should be in a deck of it’s own.

Once you get into serious kanji study:

  1. You are somewhat familiar with kana.
  2. You are familiar with common kana words.

Which makes adding kana words to a kanji deck totally meaningless.

Atleast obscure joyo kanji (and words that contains them) makes sense in a deck that are teaching you how to read.

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