My reason for quitting WK (no, not because of the reviews or the common reason)

First of all i’m not encouraging people to quit WK as well. Just my opinion.
I could save it for myself and just quit, but two things i know about myself is:

  1. I keep my promises better when i announcing my decisions, because i don’t like to cheat myself.

  2. I want to help other people. People who might struggle in the same or similar situation and thinking about leaving and quitting, but feel bad about it or fear or even guilty (more on that later)

First i want to list the pros of using WK and the cons. Of each pro i’m gonna say it’s con.

Pro :Very well organized, you don’t need to think much about the progress etc.

Con: It keeps you very strictly to their schedule (wk’s), unnecessary vocabulary, things that won’t really be related to your studying goals (anime, manga etc.)
And really everything is so inflexible and rigid.
It can be a good thing or a bad thing, depends on the individual.

Pro: Mnemonics. It easier when someone else already thought of a way to remember the meaning & reading, no need to burn yourself from thinking about those things, everything is just ready,
all you have to do is the lessons and reviews and read the mnemonic

Con: You paying a lot of money for those mnemonics and system’s structure of learning Kanji & Vocab.
Also it heavily relying on mnemonics too much, and this is unfortunate since sometimes the mnemonics became real bad and long.
If i said long, one more thing about the human’s brain…
The brain loves short things when it comes to remembering stuff, including story.
When there is too much factors and things to take into account, the next time you gonna try to remember this kanji or vocab, you will find yourself trying remember the mnemonic itself, which usually have a long story, effective but too long.
Then your accuracy is going down.

One more big con for me is the money.
Too much money and i don’t find it worth it sometimes, more than usual(good thing i didn’t do the lifetime subscription, because i knew that at some point i would find it very unproductive)

After the pros and cons has been listed (all of i can think of at least) There is really one thing you should really consider if you going to proceed or not.
And it all comes to your goals.

Is your goal to live in Japan as soon as possible because of work etc ? Or is it that you want to read that manga or novel or to watch that anime you really wanted to watch or read? Or is it to just to talk with different people, with different culture, talking with Japanese people? Or maybe is it that you just want to know everyday life Japanese to get you around when you gonna visit there for a long time?

Sit down with your goal and think. Because if your goal is that you got a job relocation offer to Japan in one year from now, then this is might be good for you (not including grammar of course) since it really focus on the everyday life in Japan, kanji and vocabulary. Same as if you just want to visit or learn everyday conversation in Japanese.

But if your goal is to watch or read manga in Japanese… Then quit now. Because it would be so slow and so ineffective to reach that goal. Supposedly you would reach level 60 and know those 2000+ kanji. The rest of the vocabulary? would be really 20-30% used in manga and anime, and 70-80% of completely waste of time and energy that could be wasted into vocabulary (and sometimes kanji too) that mostly used in anime and manga and maybe even talking with Japanese people casually, those vocabulary wouldn’t be used that much, all the stress and the energy and motivation would be wasted for nothing.

How do i know? Here is why:
I decided to Read all of the OPM series manga volumes.
Also i decided to complete much anime as i can with Japanese subtitles as well.
The thing I’ve noticed was really discouraging and making WaniKani seem useless at some point. After looking almost every second in the dictionary in jisho (both the English and Japanese to Japanese versions) i realized that literally 20-30% of the vocabulary from wk is used.
It doesn’t matter that i’m only level 19.
I saw on jisho, and wk teaches you some really uncommon words in everyday life and in manga/anime.
As i went on, i saw that everything i have done here in wk, was complete a waste of time. Sure, if you want to read news, again WK would be perfect.
But not for anime/manga (which it is a common goal here and in the world)

I started to add those vocab and kanji into Anki instead.
Customized it into the way i think it’s better for remembering.
And started to learn actually the vocab from that context(from the manga), which make it easier to remember and understand the meaning in context.
For example, we might have different kinds of word, written in different kanji as well, but might have the same meaning.

for example: 食糧 and 食べ物 both means “food” but will be used in different kinds of context.
Those examples that wk provide on each end of the lesson are not effective, because when revewing, there is no way for you to remember and take a glance at those examples.

Also it gives your English translation, which is really bad. Another example is 色々な and 様々 again, both means the same “various” great… Now lets figure it out when speaking to Japanese people if it would be appropriate in this context or not.

And it is crucial, since even if you won’t talk with a Japanese who knows some English, that would be very crucial, trust me, i’m talking with Japanese people and made that mistake a lot, which just took the whole meaning to a different place and got the all thing just like a broken phone call…

One more note on that matter… English translations…

It is so bad to get used to it. Trying to fit Japanese into another and so different language like Japanese.

And i 'tell you why, especially when reading is very crucial.

Imagine this: You reading manga, or even anime subtitles, or the news, or some article, whatever it might be.

And you encounter a word you didn’t learn on WK… What would you do?
Go to jisho or another dictionary resources, (you would probably also use the Japanese to English kind of jisho, which really result the same problem. But it is more understandable, even though try the best to use Japanese to Japanese jisho)

You look up the word you don’t know or didn’t learn, and there you go, you get the meaning, and trying to link the meaning with the context (Assuming you have a good grasp of grammar of course)
but it doesn’t really make any sense, does it? Sounds familiar?

This is because you are used to the English interpretation of how this Japanese word would mean in English, not in Japanese!
You got used to the English translations, and you know the meaning in English, but not in Japanese, great, but it wouldn’t help you understanding the actual meaning behind this word and the whole sentence.

If you immerse yourself in Japanese, it should be in Japanese.
How kids in Japan learn Japanese? By looking what’s the meaning in English? No, they understand it by seeing it in Japanese.

Anyways.
WaniKani helped me a lot in terms of how i like my studies to be, and i’m grateful for that, it is a part of the learning journey.
However, usually if you self -study, you should self-study and not using any systematic structure, may it be Japanese classroom or in this case WK.
Also you don’t want really those Textbooks that feels like they giving you an hand and won’t leave you ever (unless you are a beginner that needs that soft introduction to Japanese at first, you really should avoid it once you past over the beginner stage.
Which most afraid to do so, which i understand)

Summary: WK is great for those who needs and gonna live and work in Japan, the rest won’t be effective. Even though, i would even argue that it helps to those who want to live and work in Japan. Full immersion is needed when learning a language, i remember studying English at school while studying English alone, it wasn’t like in that way at all. And it was effective enough for me to talk with English natives speakers and resources.

But from here I’ll just leave it into your consideration and judgement.
I won’t be here to reply, since i’m quitting and my subscription ending in august. There is nothing left here for me. So i do apologize if some of you have questions. I won’t be able to answer them.
Goodbye and thank you.

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Regardless of whether you ever come back and read this, good luck on your future studies. Hopefully, your future studying methods will work well for you! :heart_eyes_cat:

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I’m actually reviewing what i wrote, checking mistakes. So i might see some messages. Didn’t expect anyone to read it anyways. Just wrote my opinion and decision.
Thank you.

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I second the good luck!

Interestingly, (and I mean this as a discussion comment, not an argument) I got the reverse impression from Wanikani - that it wouldn’t be vital for someone living and working in Japan but is extremely useful for people who want to read Japanese material.

The sheer amount of new vocabulary and expressions and grammar a new (and not so new) reader needs to wade through is definitely intimidating and sometimes discouraging, and it’s true from that perspective Wanikani is a drop in the bucket, as any single source would be.
But I think what’s been most useful about it for me isn’t the specific items, it’s that it helped prepare me to confront that bulk of unknown words on my own, both by making most kanji I encounter manageable, and by establishing a routine that helped show me how to start chipping away at learning the words I encounter on my own (which I wouldn’t have known how to do on my own starting out).
There’s certainly other ways to get the same growth that other people may click with more though, of course!

I respect your decision and viewpoint though, and again, wish you the best in your studies!
Thank you for the thoughtful postscript!

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i’m having the exact opposite experience right now, tried learning through reading only before (finished core2k anki deck first though), couldn’t distinguish between kanji, messed up readings all the time, meanings were okay though.

wanikani has already fixed the problem of distinguishing kanji for me and i already notice how the kanji i learn from wanikani just stick better, i really enjoy the approach they use, with radicals first, common reading for the kanji, then for the vocab.
overall i think the majority here realize that wanikani is a kanji learning tool first and of course you’ll need immersion to actually learn the language, but the routine and the program are good enough to make one part of the language so much easier.

it’s all personal after all, works for some, doesn’t work for others, i’d always be careful though with casting an absolute judgement over something because it works or doesn’t work for you personally, the kind of advice you give here is echoed often in japanese learning communities outside of wanikani and i listened to it and was bashing my head into the wall trying to learn this way, which just didn’t work for me in the end, wanikani on the other hand just makes it click and gives me motivation to push further.

that might change when i reach later levels though, but honestly i’ve already gotten good worth out of the website already, so it doesn’t bother me.

good luck with your studies, i’m glad you found a way to study that works for you.

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If you want to make an argument for quitting, that’s fine. You don’t have to pretend you’re not.

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hm quite strange to hear that about vocabulary. There are old/unused vocab words but the main bulk ( 4500-5000) are pretty much the same common words you gonna learn from any Anki deck specifically dedicated to common vocabulary. Wk only heavily lacks in common kana words department- they are not that many ( around 1000) and you can always learn them separately in another app like tori’srs or kamesama.

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It’d be interesting to know if anyone has ever done a comparison between the vocab in wanikani and that in the standard anki core decks/frequency lists. I can’t imagine they’d be that much difference. I’ve been working my way through Tango and a lot of the vocab there comes up in wanikani.

Anyway, I think Cure Dolly makes the point that if you want to watch Anime then study japanese though that, and if you want to read Manga then do that. Do what interests you. So I guess it makes good sense to concentrate on that then if that is what you are interested in. Good luck!

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torii’srs- vocab app- have an option to exclude WaniKani vocabulary from core 10k. The total amount of excluded words- 4300. Based on this we can estimate that Wani Kani teaches you around 1500+ words that are not very common.

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If you immerse yourself in Japanese, it should be in Japanese.
How kids in Japan learn Japanese? By looking what’s the meaning in English? No, they understand it by seeing it in Japanese.

I mean sure thats the best method. But dont I kinda need some baseline of understanding before i can even start to read/watch japanese media?

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You say it’s not a common reason, but this reason gets posted all the time and the answer is always the same. WaniKani is not a vocabulary app. Yes, it does teach you a good amount of vocabulary, but that’s not its goal, rather its goal is to reinforce the kanji and teach you how to read them and the combinations.

Luckily, as other users have posted above, most of the vocabulary will still be useful, but again, that’s not the main goal of WaniKani. That’s also why a lot of people recommend user scripts to ‘skip’ some of the vocabulary in favor of seeing new kanji first.

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Not sure where you’re getting this from.

People should follow whatever works for them. That could be a systematic approach to self-studying.

If WK doesn’t work for you, I’m really glad you figured it out so you can find what does, but many self-learners are self-learning on here by voluntarily thrusting their little hands into WK’s and letting themselves be led.

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It’s sad that I’ve found someone who started roughly the same time as I did (September 2020) but ended up differently. There’s so many things that I don’t agree with your post (or can be easily refuted) but this irks me the most:

The problem is, that’s effective FOR KIDS. Kids that have a lot of time to practice and are unfazed (and tolerated) of making mistakes. Basically, they brute force the language which is inefficient and not suitable for adults.

For an adult to immerse, he/she should have a foundational knowledge of the language (i.e. grammar and commonly used words) so that you can at least read low level material and improve from there. So, how do you get that foundational knowledge? When you were first starting to learn English, was it taught to you in English right from the start or did they use your native language as a scaffold? I find it strange that you don’t understand this concept even though you’ve learned a second language and is currently learning a third one.

I also don’t like your misleading title because you did quit WK because of the reviews (i.e. too structured, needs to adapt to a schedule) and the reason is quite common (vocab in reviews are not widely used complaint #2361365).

I don’t see a point about these kinds of threads. So you’ve made up your mind that you’re quitting and you want strangers to know about it. However, no amount of convincing will change your mind since, you’ve already decided to quit. It seems to me that you’re just looking for approval and attention for your decision.

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If you want to read manga or play games just start doing it. Get the dictionary out. Start with easier stuff with furigana for most or all kanji. In the early years of my Japanese studies I would spend countless hours with a dictionary playing through old Japanese video games. It was brutal, but one of the best ways to learn is to actually do what you want to do. So if it’s manga/anime for you then start studying directly once you’ve gotten to an elementary level (basic base of vocab, grammar understanding).

You could probably make your own custom Anki deck or something that is more useful for you than Wanikani. Combo of anki with reading actual manga and stuff you want to read - I did that for a time, but haven’t for a while now. (good way to learn vocab and everything that is directly meaningful to you though, and with anki you can customize just about everything with when things show up to how much you review each day, etc.)

I think combination of mutliple learning resources is key if you want a richer understanding/focus in certain areas. Some may disagree, and I do think the SRS system in wanikani is sufficient enough that I don’t use anki actively for Japanese learning (my ability at a level now I can just pick up new words and stuff similarly to how I would in English). But you’re right. Get exposed to real stuff. But I would say do not neglect studying of vocab/grammar if you’re lacking. The intermediate platteau is really where you just have to jump into real content (conversations with people, TV, radio, anime, games, manga, books, etc.) and grapple with understanding it.

For your point on translations, there are always differences in opinion. My philosophy is to keep the translation as close to the original meaning as possible (having done translation work for around 2 years now), and doing minor localizations or notes if possible to explain nuances (usually in brief parenthetical bits like this here). There will always be gaps of understanding due to cultural/social differences - that’s fine. You build a base, and then you move out and get exposure to the real culture/people/etc. and you’re base of knowledge expands into a greater understanding of the language and culture.

For 食糧 and 食べ物 on Wanikani it lists 食糧 as “provisions” which is true. 食糧 refers to emphasize the amount of food, whereas 食べ物 is just “food” in general. For 色々な and 様々, you are right there are likely nuance differences in how Japanese people use them – but you figure these things out over time with practical use. It can be difficult though, as most Japanese people will never correct you when you say something incorrectly (especially if its a little thing). I might be the same in English too though for someone learning English – it could be annoying to correct someone over such a little mistake or nuance weirdness.

For jisho words its good to consult the sentences section, and use online Japanese dictionary resources as well.

I disagree with your assessment of WK overall, but agree if you want to only read manga or do specific things in general then Anki and other resources are likely better (and cheaper, free haha).

Anyway, hope you well in your future studies!

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Even though I disagree with a lot of things in the post you’ve written up (and I’m echoing what others have said that the title might be misleading and the content has many contradictions), thank you for sharing your thoughts about WaniKani! In the end I think part of the learning process is finding the best resources that suit your goals and preferences! Good luck for the rest of your studies ahead!

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What about school? Not to pick on you about this but I’ve seen this sentiment a lot and I feel like it is leaving out the fact that kids spend a lot of time in school studying. They are following a regimented study plan in addition to immersion.

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I get the impression from a lot of these posts that people seem to expect WK to be a one-stop-shop Japanese program, when really it’s always been intended as a kanji program first and foremost. It is definitely a rather expensive one, so if it doesn’t work for you or you’re not getting what you want out of it, by all means don’t force yourself.

About the vocab, it’s true that it takes a long time to amass all the vocab you’ll need for native content, and WK does spend some time on words that are mostly only used in denser reading. But there’s tons of words that are taught on WK that you’ll hear in anime/manga, I know for me at least that I would often recognize words I was learning in whatever I was watching or reading. And when I first tried to play a game in Japanese, yeah it was rough and I had to look up a ton of words… but having a base for recognizing kanji and being able to guess readings was an invaluable asset for me, and while I may never finish the last 5 levels of wanikani (at the rate I’m going lol) it provided me with a great foundation to go forward with.

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Aye, I’d agree it’s mostly this. I honestly haven’t found a better way to learn kanji, at least for me.

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If that were true, I wouldn’t have learned English, because I first immersed myself in English in Portuguese, not in English. Now that I have 22-3 years of English practice and immersion, I can handle anything - youtube videos about any topic without subs, works of scholarship (I may not understand the actual ideas for most fields, but the sentences are not a problem), etc. When I visited both the US and the UK, I had no problems at all with talking, figuring out where to go, etc. What got me started in English were videogames, though. Perhaps you’re just not taking a really macro view of time. Also, the WK community is upfront in saying that WK is just the start of the Japanese journey. But still, do what feels best for you! As long as you’re learning, that’s what matters.

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As far as I know, you don’t need to have an active subscription to access (most) of the forum. There are plenty of people that don’t have a subscription and use the forum as one of their Japanese learning resources, or just to hang out.

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