New Content not so Optional After All

So, I don’t know how everyone is taking this new content overhaul, but for me it’s been a nightmare.
It was said that relearning the new radicals would be optional and we could continue to use the old mnemonics. Half-true. While it’s up to you to relearn the radicals, if you choose not to, to continue that way would feel like WK is broken, which has been my feeling since Wednesday.

Why? Because even though you can use old mnemonics it doesn’t always work, because now they’re forcing On’yomi readings almost every time. If an old mnemonic is based on the Kun’yomi reading, good luck getting it to stick, because on the reviews it will ask you for the On’yomi, rendering the old mnemonic useless. Even for items where you already learned the reading, if it’s Kun’yomi, chances are you’re gonna have to look up the On’yomi reading if you want to progress. And since in that case you’d need to learn the new mnemonic, if you use the old radical names, it won’t make sense to you. So, again you’re forced to relearn the radicals… See the contradiction here?

Why not accept the Kun’yomi reading on the reviews as well? This would prevent a lot of these problems.

This content overhaul was supposed to be seamless. Well, maybe for those that chose to accept the new content. For the others, they are left with a broken service. Maybe they were thinking that everybody would embrace this new content with open arms and no problems would arise but, alas, not everybody likes changes to their routines…

Why not make this new content only available for new users and leave everyone who already started to finish it how they started? What’s changed in the original vision? Why are the old radicals not useful anymore?

So now, I feel very disappointed and unmotivated, because I don’t know what to do. Relearning new material would put an unnecessary strain on my review queue, and to continue like this 'till the end would be like swimming against the current.

You guys didn’t really think this through, haven’t you? What a mess this caused.

Sorry for the rant. Really hope I can solve this problem and continue to use the service I so loved.


They did the changes they did because they believe it’s for the best of everyone, including those that have already started. I’ve seen a couple of people level 50+ saying that they’re willing to learnt the new radicals, even when they no longer need to.

I haven’t checked the renamed radicals, but I definitely agree with the changes they did with the kanji readings. Due to the nature of the kanji and the vocab that exists for them, the new readings make so much more sense.

One of the good things about Wanikani is that they actually have a knowledgeable team making the decisions for their users. It’s all laid down for us and we just need to show up and do the work. The results will come. That’s why it works wonders. This is just another case of that same principle.

Just take your time :v: You’ll change your mind in the long-run.


Yeah, they did it on a whim the other day. Didn’t even ask Koichi.


Actually, I’m pretty sure they locked him in the alligator pen so that he couldn’t interfere.


He clearly spends too much time practicing kendo.


I think you’re overestimating how much work it is to re-queue all the radicals and just learn them. It takes two seconds to review a radical. The “new” kanji readings arent really new, just different ones theyre asking for. If you don’t know them, just fail it until you do and count that as learning.

Its’s a little more effort up front, sure. But “nightmare”? Good grief.


Alligator pen? Back in the good old days, we locked Koichi in the raptor cage, as one did. But I bet kids these days don’t even know what a raptor cage is. :older_man:


Guess I’m in the minority or maybe the only one… If everyone agrees why would they make it different? Readapt or give up, not a good choice either way…

1 Like

I get your feelings. Was about to burn some kanji like “left, right”… But well, they changed the requested reading, so those items are now back at Guru instead of being burned… To be honest, at first I was p…d…

After sleeping some nights, doing my reviews and lessons, my feelings settled a bit. And hey, honestly I don’t care. It may be that I need to “relearn” those items now, but instead of labelling it as “relearn”, I prefer the label “hey, now I am going to know both readings, just need to put the new one in store”…
I hope you’ll reach this stage sooner or later, and get back to have fun. :slight_smile:


I agree that is seems broken. What I wanted was the option of ignoring the changes all together. If I were level 5 I would have no problem relearning the radicals. However at level 27 I am close to half way. A lot of Kanji I’ve learnt are based on the old radicals and old mnemonics. If I learn the new radicals then the old mnemonics won’t make sense any more. It will just be confusing.

They have given me the option of only retaining the old mnemonics but not the radicals. So now when I get new Kanji the radicals are listed with the new name but the mnemonic uses the old names. How is that supposed to help?

What happens in the future when there is Kanji that uses both old radicals and new radicals I haven’t studied yet? If any of those radicals have changed then I will be completely stuffed as the new mnemonic will include readings for existing radicals I don’t know but the old mnemonic will include the old readings for the radicals and I wouldn’t know those either.

Seems like I am going to be forced to relearn the radicals and just give up on using mnemonics for anything I’ve learnt to date. Thanks WK


Thank you! You understood my original idea. What sense does this all make for those that don’t want to relearn all these new radicals?

They didn’t leave much choice for those that didn’t want this. It’s optional, but you’re still forced to relearn these new radicals if you want to continue going forward. Otherwise things won’t make sense anymore. It’s completely frustrating. There should be an option to completely ignore all this nonsense.

It works perfectly if you go along with it. If you don’t, well too bad for us, we’re in the minority… so we’ll have to readjust.

1 Like

You still always have the option of making up your own mnemonics. More often than not, something you come up with yourself works better anyway.

I can understand the frustration, but they made this change based on feedback they’ve received over the last few years. It wasn’t on a whim. It might suck for those of us who are in the middle of the content, but as was already mentioned, learning the new radicals really isn’t that much extra work. “Nightmare” is quite an exaggeration. Inconvenience, maybe. But certainly not unreasonable considering the greater good for the site overall.


I will say as someone who initially thought similarly, several of the new radicals make much more sense as you continue to level up. (the radical for ghost IS the kanji for circumference which you learn in a few more levels, so making that mental connection earlier probably helps).

The different readings for kanji make things more difficult but there are several later vocabulary terms that use the on’yomi instead of the kun’yomi that are harder to individually memorize.

It’s definitely a bit of a pain to have to stop and adjust in the middle of progress and people levels like 8-18 probably feel this the most, but ultimately it will make your kanji knowledge stronger.


Well, I too was p…ss.d at first and I had to take a day off to let off some steam. What is done is done however, and there’s no going back I think.

There are possible solutions here, that can actually boost your learning effectiveness:

  1. Make a habit of adding your custom synonyms to all radicals, not only the old ones. Radicals are not real words, so why not? Add synonyms that don’t even match WK or Wikipedia or anything else. Look up first in what words in future they will be used.
  2. Always try to come up with custom mnemonics. Creative thinking boosts your learning effectiveness greatly. At some point you abandon the mnemonics anyway.
  3. There are always jukugo words (e.g. 左右 [さゆう] or 兄弟 [きょうだい ] ) that all have on’yomi. It shouldn’t be that hard.

I still like the new updates. The new radical seem much more logical and easy to work with, and in the long run, I think it will definitely pay off. I take extra effort to review kanji with changed radicals when they come by in my reviews. And consistently having onyomi will make me able to use the correct pronounciation of kanji in words much more correctly.

I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but at level 11 I honestly think you’re better off relearning the radicals. I haven’t checked out the new mnemonics (I probably won’t be using them), but everyone seems to agree they’re better, and you still have most of WK ahead of you, so it might be a good idea.


Any mid-stream content change like this is bound to be a hiccup - maybe it feels trivial, maybe non-trivial, depending on the person.

I think perspective is important though. Right now, wkstats projects my finishing WK with everything burned around June 1st, 2020. 541 days from now. If this change sets me back a week or so - in the grand scheme of things it’s inconsequential IMO.


Even for kanji where we learnt the kunyomi before the onyomi we usually had to learn the onyomi at some point for a word of vocabulary. In the end we were learning both readings.

Now we still learn both reading but in a different order. And the good thing is that when the order is reversed if you guess wrong and enter the kunyomi instead of the onyomi it’s not counted as wrong but the window shakes and gives you another try.


I’m level 51… It doesn’t seem that bad honestly, even though I have a lot of radicals to relearn. Maybe I’m just at the point where I already know the definitions of some of these radicals by themselves and it makes more sense for them to be listed in that form? It doesn’t take too long to re-review them though, radicals are the easiest things to learn for some reason. Probably because they don’t ask for a reading. :stuck_out_tongue:

As far as kanji on-kun correctness switching, the way I see it is if it’s in an important reading and I fail it in a review, then it’s probably good that I relearn it. This IS a kanji learning application, and if I don’t know a kanji, it’s good for it to come to review again. Maybe at my level getting a kanji wrong isn’t so painful because I’ve gone through so many at this point, lol.

Generally if you put in the wrong type of reading, the screen will shake instead of marking as wrong.

But yeah! Keep going! Don’t give up! :high_touch:


Yeah… most of the transition has been handled pretty well, I think, but this does seem like an awkward point that the authors haven’t acknowleded.

I made a list of kanji that had changed reading type over in Tested on readings you haven't been taught - there are only 16 of them after your current level, so at least you know that the scope of the problem is fairly manageable.