New Content not so Optional After All

Getting pedantic about the usage of fact (interpreted as the antonym of opinion when it was meant as just a turn of phrase “talking about the fact” where it just means situation or circumstances) doesn’t seem to be helpful either.


You are not the only one, and I guess we are a minority. I got really stressed at the beginning and thought about quitting, and I even complained in the Content Overhaul post. But then, I told myself “I can’t give up on my Japanese learning, and honestly WK is the best tool for teaching yourself kanji” and went with the current.

Re-learning the new radicals is a piece of cake after having given them a go, I can tell you that much. On the other hand, I did not really like the fact that many kanjis were changed to On’yomi, but I have just been checking the new mnemonics and they are really good.

I have mentioned in another post that not everyone will take or accept changes in the same way. But I can tell you that if you give it a go and see the benefit of it, you will end up being able to just keep learning.

It has been mentioned that the new radical names are closer to traditional names and more up to date when it comes to pop references, so it will prove really beneficial in the long run.

Hope I have helped :smiley: and keep in mind that I am an ex-detractor whose mind changed in just a couple days.



I don’t know. I kinda feel like this situation is analogous to when a new edition of a textbook gets released. The prof changes the required text. The students complain because it will cost them money (time in re-learning their respective number of radicals). The prof begrudgingly allows students to use the old textbook, but tells them that all of the page numbers will be based on the new textbook.

The students who shell out the money (re-learn the radicals) face hardship up front and smooth sailing afterwards. The students who want to save some money (hold onto their mnemonics/radicals) avoid the initial discomfort, but will then have recurring discomfort every time they go to do a reading because they’ll have to find everything on their own.

WK seems to have chosen choice - which feels like conscription - over prescribed change. Considering the number of people on these forums clamouring for change of one thing or the other (more kanji, more vocab, etc.), it’s probably for the best they didn’t spend too much time worrying about a seamless transition.

By the end of level 60 you’ll have learned 8804 (by’s count) items - the few (or couple dozen, whatever) radicals you’ll have to relearn are but a small fraction in the grand scheme of things. I’d say just bite the bullet :man_shrugging:

P.S. Small sample size I know, but I’ve personally found the new names to be beneficial.


I was always instinctively answering in on’yomi all the time so I am actually really happy that they are asking for on’yomi rather than kun’yomi now.

Apparently my favorite part of the update is someone else’s least favorite…十人十色 ¯\(ツ)


Same, I’ve always been annoyed when I’ve learned the KUN reading while learning the Kanji, especially when the ON is actually required in some vocab.

If all we were using this tool for was to get to 60 in WK, and we were done, the old way would be fine, but we are using this tool to learn how to read Japanese, and the real world doesn’t care how often a reading is used in WKs vocabulary list, it’s going to pop where used regardless. I’d much rather take the time to learn the ON reading here in a way that my brain can easily categorize it, rather than have to be confronted with exceptions that I have to look up in the wild to understand native material, when I’m expecting to already know it.

If the ON reading is only ever used for some obscure word that has to do with cleaning a temple or opening an ancient chest the right way, fair enough, but if it’s even used in one word that pops up semi-regularly, I want to learn the ON here so my brain can categorize it correctly.

I do hate the fact that they are changing the mnemonics and radicals, especially as I have put a lot of work in coming up with visualizations for many of them, but I’ll take the hit, if it’s more user friendly for the multitudes of people who are unfamiliar with American pop culture.


Except there are kanji where I haven’t learnt that onyomi yet and yes it just shakes when I put in the kunyomi but in the end I still have to get it wrong because I don’t know the new answer only the old. And there is no way to remove those kanji from my review pile and add them back into the lesson pile.

Interesting read.

Working in the IT field, there is often times where you implement a change to the enterprise environment that will impact your user base, generally for the greater good. Sometimes, there is just no good way to implement that change other than to just “rip off the band-aid”. Sure it means that 90% are fine with the change, but then you have the 10% who are unhappy. Within 6 months, it’s been forgotten and adopted.

It’s likely that Tofugu staff had the same feeling. In time, I hope that you won’t feel as sour about the new content and how it might affect your reviews today.


You can do like I did. Install the WaniKani Override script, which ignores a wrong answer and gives you another opportunity to answer correctly. This allows you to see the item info without failing. It’s considered cheating, but after all it’s better than opening another tab and look up the answer anyways.

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I wonder if there’s a difference in perspective between monthly-subscribers, yearly-subscribers, and lifetime-subscribers. Maybe if you’re paying by the month or year, it can feel like lost time having to learn different readings for kanji that you learned once, or radicals that you learned once. And then in it messes up your flow and thus your leveling-up groove.

I think that’s valid.

But I think once you start reading a lot more, or studying kanji in dictionaries or anything (if you aren’t already), the wisdom of the changes they made will become apparent very soon.

@tashimi76 I get what you mean. But just getting it wrong and then reading the new meaning and reading mnemonics during the review is effectively the same thing.

@Gabrielmpf I sometimes have “cheated” too, even though it’s not really cheating, unless you consider it cheating yourself. I don’t want to sound like “When I was a level something something” because it’s not like that. But the best part of Wanikani is it holds you accountable for wrong answers. With an update like this, there will be growing pains. But the more you expose yourself to reading real materials, as I mentioned above, I think you might see it’s worth while to just bite the bullet and learn the on’yomi for kanji.

I dunno just my take.


Thank you! I was beginning to feel like I was the only one not happy about the changes. I understand the new radical meanings are closer to the original meaning but it’s interfering with not only the radicals but the kanji and vocab as well. I reset the radicals to learn the new mnemonics but that doesn’t help with the kanji where the kunyomi reading was originally used. I’ve had a number of vocab come up now saying “you learned this reading with the kanji you should already know it” and I’m just there like what?! Also the argument that radicals are better with the more authentic meaning also confuses me. Why? Because the only purpose in learning radicals is to break down the kanji to make it easier to remember. It doesn’t matter what we call the radical, (which should technically be called a component since we’re getting technical with everything else).

You can’t even say it’s useful for reference as any kanji dictionary I’ve come across organised by radicals is actually organised by the radical not the English meaning of the radical.

To me these change only seems to benefit those that had prior knowledge of kanji before starting. In which case just make the other name acceptable don’t change anything for us dedicated members.

And for those people saying well even level 50+ members are saying they’re willing to relearn the radicals. Yes that’s cool, they’re at level 50 or above. They can do that without it affecting their progress too much but for those of us who are at lower levels trying to get to a point where we can understand a reasonable amount of Kanji (like me since I’m living in Japan and actually need too) it’s just throwing our progress of.

And refusing to accept the changed kunyomi readings in the reviews is just mean. How can you mark me wrong on a reading you haven’t taught me. Make the kanji re-settable too if you’re going to do that. They’re the ones we will actually need to know!

P.S. Rant over. Apologies. I had a particularly stressful review session made worse by the new changes and I needed to vent.

Also I haven’t checked this so there’s probably a lot of spelling and grammar errors. No judgement please :joy:


Yes to this. Although I don’t mind relearning radicals and understand the changes, and am all for learning on’yomi first, it seems there’s been a lack of foresight in how much it would affect kanji/vocab learning. I’ve now come across several vocab where there’s no reading mnemonics because supposedly “I’ve learned that reading already”, which I haven’t. Granted I could go back and look through all the kanjis I’ve already learned and relearn the new mnemonic/reading, but the reason I use wanikani is precisely because I don’t have time to do that kind of “manual” learning, and I trust the program to take care of my process when it comes to kanjis. An option to relearn the kanjis which default reading has changed would have solved that problem and saved a lot of aggravation on the part of users I believe.


…sooooo… people actually use the mnemonics for readings? I’m surprised, I always though they were useless. I installed the Phonetic-Semantic script a few weeks ago, and it’s been the best thing that ever happened in my crabigator journey. Wish I’d done that from the start.

I understand the complaint about kun’yomi not being accepted anymore, but it’s not like the site will mark your answer wrong, it will just request on’yomi instead. Which you should know from the vocabulary, e.g. 左右 (さゆう)tells you what both of those formerly kun’yomi kanji are read as with on’yomi. I say they should just kill the old mnemonics in those cases and be done with it.

Also, believe me when I say that this update will save you time in the long run. A lot of the radicals have had their meaning brought closer to what they actually are, which cuts down on a lot of superfluous radical names you used to have to learn on this site. I had the 本 radical sent down to Guru at least twice because of its stupid name (“Real”), until I gave up and just added “Book” as a synonym. Same for 文, 丁, 単, 里, 原 and many others. It’s much better to learn the kanji meaning right off the bat.

My advice: just dive headfirst into this new update. Relearn all radicals and ditch the old mnemonics. It will get you some pretty ugly review queues for a couple of days (I’m currently in the middle of a 350+ queue). but it will save you headaches in the long run. Especially if you’re still at a low level, in that case, you really don’t want to be stuck with legacy content for the next couple of years.

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Being level 60 and having unlocked all the kanji before this, I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me.

I’ll get burn attempts now and get them wrong because the accepted reading changed. That tacks an extra six months onto my finishing


All valid points but I’d like to add one correction though. If like me you’ve just learned a kanji with the kunyomi in the previous level (考 for example) and all the vocab in said lesson use that reading and then you get to level seven and start on the vocab there (after the changes) then you hit an annoying snag. 考古学 uses the onyomi reading of 考 not the kunyomi which I haven’t learnt a mnemonic for yet despite it saying otherwise. I use wanikani because I have very long hours working here in Japan and I’m tired when I finish work so I want to be able to study without having to go back through things I’ve already learned to keep going. Which up until the changes was going quite well.

That’s… Not really the point of ignore script. The point of ignore script is to ignore an answer if you know you got something right but it was marked wrong due to a typo or something.

And if I’m gonna be honest, it’s worse than looking it up directly. It gives you the illusion that you’ve learned an item when in reality you likely haven’t.

The only person you hinder by cheating is yourself.


This is a one time inconvenience. Everyone is going to whine about this for like… a month or so, and then we’ll go back to people just whining about whatever individual radical or vocab complaints they have.


I’m fine with that. It’s actually better than having too many leeches and unnecessary clog up my review queues. I get where you’re coming from, though. I’ll still see them in the wild and eventually everything will come together with time.

I couldn’t have said it better. That’s exactly my feelings :wink:

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You’ve hit the nail on the head. At least that’s exactly how I feel in terms of my current plan. I have a monthly plan, and yes I feel like I have to get the best of it. I don’t want to pay for lifetime, because my plan is to do this for about a year and be done with it. It wouldn’t be worth it for me and I can use that money for other learning resources, BunPro, for example.

Huh, I haven’t noticed at all so far but obviously I’m still early.