My thoughts, tips, and ramblings after reaching level 60 — long post


Very informative and encouraging. I love all your little tricks and such with the mnemonics. I’ve found that there are ways the brain works that are very odd sometimes.

As someone who has been studying Japanese for quite some time, I was gratified to find a really useful and well done SRS system for Kanji. Thanks for sharing your experience!


Congrats on the swinging 60’s achievement. As for your post I’d agree with most of it. Especially the bit about mnemonic inconsistencies. Some of the mnemonic choices seem just downright strange. 鳴
Chirp for example has the reading of ’な’ and the suggested mnemonic of ‘nature’. Now to my mind the more obvious choice would have been ‘natural’. Or even your own nananana batman example. Surely ‘nature’ on the other hand suggests a 'ねい’ response.

It’s only a small thing but wanikani is littered with them and I really don’t understand why. I understand it’s poetic licence but why go to all that trouble to devise a mnemonic that is suggesting a sound other than the one you want people to produce? I guess time constraints meant some of the readings were ‘rushed’ somewhat. Or perhaps the author doesn’t put as much weight on exact sound reproduction.

I’m not knocking wanikani. It’s awesome, I’m addicted and the benefits I gain from it’s use are huge. But yeah some of the mnemonics for reading are a little strange and like you I simply use my own.

EDIT: Soon after posting this I stumbled across the new kanji 転
Revolve. And in the interests of fairness and balance just had to share the quite excellent mnemonic for this:

For a man, cars and boobs are what make the world revolve. Without cars and boobs, life just wouldn’t be worth living. The world would stop revolving, and life would just cease to exist for men.

Made me chuckle and I doubt I’ll ever forget the meaning of this (nor the fact that the reading presents the more unbelievable scenario of てん sets of them). Good work. :slight_smile:


Thanks for posting.

You make excellent points, why a feature is needed for sharing mnemonics.
Whenever you are not satisfied with the mnemonic provided by Wanikani, it would give you the ability to pick another one created by the community. Maybe similar to what memrise does?


There’s a user script that allows shared mnemonics, actually. I think they may not want to implement it into the actual application though, because that would mean they would have to moderate them, which would take time and resources.


I wonder how memrise solves that issue, since their service is for free.
Adding a report feature to shared mnemonics might do the trick. If enough people report one, it will be automatically hidden but still available when clicking “show hidden mnemonics”…

I really believe that Wanikani needs to get the swarm intelligence thing going!


Wow this really inspires me to learn more and more kanji :smile:


I think swarm mind would just make things more messy and more confusing within a subject that is more than complicated enough.

Thing about mnemonics is that ideally they should be your own but that is not possible in this case because you don’t have the understanding, so Wanikani give you an example to help. If it doesn’t stick a mnemonic by a stranger is unlikely to be any better and would probably confuse the loosely structured ones given.

So, IMV, use their mnemonic or make their mnemonic your own. Other people’s will just confuse the issue.


I very much enjoyed this thoughtful posting. I have been doing WaniKani for some months now but am still hesitating about long term financial commitment. I have found the program to be excellent with one major flaw - the mnemonics are just too juvenile, often too unmemorable and - yes - too American for me. Perhaps they work well for younger people who are more in tune with American colloquialisms and culture, both of which I find irritating. I still think it’s the best kanji learning program around but I soon learned to make up my own mnemonics.


All very well but have to tell you that as a woman I find this a bit offensive.


Really, I thought the guys would feel insulted here (and not us ladies) for being depicted as awfully shallow-brained :wink: Well, so far it was easy for me to remember it, so thanks wanikani team :smile:
And congrats again @vargsvans for reaching the final level!! Hopefully there will be more levels added at some point so that your Wanikani journey can continue :slight_smile:


Could we please not have this discussion in this thread?

Pretty please?



Oh, I’m not all THAT offended. But some will be.
And I still find such stuff rather juvenile and crude. I teach Japanese
and have never needed to resort to the lowest levels of my own language to
illustrate a point!


Fair enough. One mans meat is another mans (err woman’s) poison I guess. I guess it amused me more than any thoughts of it being ‘offensive’ per se. Juvenile? Absolutely! Memorable? Completely.

Actually as someone who also teaches, and is a father (and a polyglot). I can tell you that ‘acting juvenile’ is a very valid method of studying another language. In my first year in Japan a friend and I used to have Japanese study sessions in local bars and izekayas where we’d basically take turns to come up with absurd, juvenile and yes often quite crude sentences. Sentences much akin to those in Waniikani’s sample sentences.

My son (though admittedly 3 years old) who is bilingual chinese and english takes great delight in forming his own silly and juvenile sentences (often involving the word ‘poopoo’). So I think this kind of playful experimentation with the language is a natural thing to do with language and is to my mind highly effective.



However, you can join our secret Level 60 Subforum where we talk shit about other people.


Secret, hu? Not any longer by the looks of it :angel:


Thanks for your share! But I would be hugely interested as too how proficient you are with grammar! There always seem to be 2 opinions around here.
One: Don’t move to fast with WK make sure your grammar keeps up
second: Just finish WK asap and then reading things will be much easier, so then you have enough time to focus on grammar. Maybe even by picking up while reading.

Did you follow any of these opinions? Or did you take some other way?


My situation here is not really the norm. I studied at a language school in Tokyo for six months around 2008. Here I picked up quite a bit of grammar knowledge, some more cemented than others.

This means that when I started Wanikani I already had a foundation, albeit a shaky and crumbling one. My production skills are not very good, as stated, but when it comes to recognizing and understanding I feel more or less comfortable with most grammar points on a JLPT N4 list.

If I would have to choose only one thing to practise right now though, I’m fairly convinced it would have to be expanding my vocabulary, since not knowing words slows me down much more often while reading than not knowing a grammar concept.

Knowing most of the kanji I encounter speeds up the process of looking up words a lot, but it’s still very time consuming.

I know that’s not much of an answer, but it’s the best one I’ve got.


(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)


Weird, all the chicks I know love boobs


Very enlightening post, I agree with your points and I find your suggestions relly relevant now that I just began wanikani recently, thanks for taking the time to make this post!