New People Questions! ~~~<3 [Lost?! Confused?! We're here to help!]

It’s really hard to convey that kind of humor over the internet. My suggestion is to use emojis, lots of them, to indicate that the tone is supposed to be humorous. :sparkles: :sparkles: :grin: :+1:

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Your emojis didn’t work. I feel dark and cold. What did you do to me…

Oh no :pensive:

:cat: :cat2: :durtle_cat: :crying_cat_face:

How exactly does studying separately work with the SRS intervals? If I practice handwriting the level one kanji, will it somehow mess up the SRS? I just want to be cautious here.

I’m not sure how much I should write here, or even if I ought to start a separate post altogether. I’m a month in, and feel overwhelmed, rushed, and unteachable.

I spent over a week on level 1 and was alarmed by my inability to associate the wild stories with the random shapes. My reaction when I made it to level 2 was ‘What? I don’t know level 1 yet!’ I’ve been 19 days on level 2, unable to associate the mnemonics to the kana; the kanji seems impossible. I did one more lesson (51 more to go!?!?!?!), because I felt that one review every 12 hours was in my ability, but I was wrong.

I’m not dismissing the technique, and I’m genuinely trying to let the SRS work its magic, but I didn’t feel I was learning until I started writing the kanji, English pronunciation, the kana, and English meaning down. Even then I find that I have to look up more than I remember.

I’m not really looking for sympathy; I’d dearly love to learn what successful people are doing to make Wanikani work for them. I surely haven’t found the key yet.

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Do you mean additional studying on the WK items or other parts of Japanese?

You can form a study routine by doing (some) reviews on WK first and then do other stuff, e. g. practice handwriting, reading stuff, study grammar… You can also do both ~ WK and non WK studies ~ separately. No need to follow WK SRS intervals with anything else than your reviews here on WK.

As for your concerns the following thread might be interesting for you:

Whats your question in particular? Everyone has different ways how to study and what works for them. If it helps you to write things down there is no reason not to do it. Some other durtles also created sheets for printing, in case you are interested:

If you want to learn about how others study feel free to check out “study logs”. We also have the following master list although not everyone enters their study log in there.

In general, one week per level is very fast. Reading your comment gives me the impression the mnemonics don’t work for you. In that case you can create your own. Something that makes the items more tangible for you.

Do you already know one of the kana systems? Otherwise I’d recommend to learn hiragana first before jumping too deep into kanji.


That’s a very interesting thread, thank you very much. I guess it is sort of silly to assume that studying MORE would somehow hurt recall. I was worried that I would somehow be cheating myself by learning to write the kanji separate from Wanikani , but the thread resolved that issue. I guess if I really wanted to be prudent I could just practice handwriting them after I burnt them.

Besides, it’s not like the kanji don’t come up in the other ways I study to begin with.

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Cool :slight_smile:

Actually, practicing handwriting is a different skill. So, if you want to learn how to handwrite kanji you can incorporate into your study routine at any time, I think.

I sometimes do handwriting when I have trouble to differentiate two kanji. Following the stroke order makes me spend more time with these items and to focus on details. I don’t do it to learn handwriting as a skill though since I don’t have a use case for it. But that’s a decision everyone has to make for themselves.

Anyways, good luck with your studies and always feel free to ask when some questions come up :four_leaf_clover:

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I think it takes a while for your brain to get used to this, so don’t be too hard on yourself?! Also, feel free to make your own mnemonics that connect the sounds to the meaning (learning the radicals is good though, even if it feels stupid and annoying at times). My accuracy has gone down since I’ve been busier at work. But I feel like it’s got a lot easier as I’ve got on, because my brain knows what to do now. When you start realising what the reading might be of vocabulary, without being told - it’s such a revelation. You’re only on level 2 - my advice is to stick with it and it probably will get better. And don’t worry about getting things wrong (the things you get right will go away and leave you with space to add new lessons). I always write it all down. But I don’t cheat and look things up - I give my brain a chance to struggle to remember. And if I don’t - well the SRS will eventually take care of it. Good luck!


I got an email when I hit level 10 saying that’s around when I should start burning items. But I’m level 12 and my first burn is 85 days away. Have I missed something?

When I do reviews, I see soundless shapes. What attracted me to Wanikani was the idea that someone had worked out effective mnemonics to give sounds to those shapes. While I could make my own mnemonics, I thought I’d try to get the value out of Wanikan. Since plenty of other people are finding success, I assume my inability is…mine.

I looked at several study logs, but I’m not seeing any particular technique for using Wanikani. It seems that most people find the mnemonics good enough to actually remember the kana that make up the sound of a kanji.

At the moment, I’m writing everything down. I think my recall is a little better, maybe from 30% kanji reading accuracy to 34%? But I’m still looking at the paper for almost every kanji I review. I keep plugging along because the advice is that SRS is working even if I don’t think it is.

The thing that startled me was the ‘promotion’ to level 2. I absolutely feel like I learnt almost none of level 1. I can’t work out if I should take more lessons, to make the review periods closer together, or keep failing at my current 12 hour spacing, hoping that SRS is doing its thing in the background and it’ll all pop together at some point.

Welcome to the forums! You haven’t missed anything, you’re just going a bit faster than others at this point. It’s possible to get to the mid 20s without burning any items- if yours are due in 85 days and you’re happy with your current pace and number of reviews, then great. Hope you’re enjoying the journey so far.


While the mnemonics are part of the appeal of Wanikani, they do vary pretty heavily in effectiveness for different people. By the end of my time with Wanikani, for example, I was largely ignoring them and throwing together my own quick mnemonic in the notes and typing the reading a couple of times. It might just be the case that something hand-crafted for yourself would be a lot more effective than something general.
People or places that mean a lot to you, for example, are often more memorable than generic everyday items Wanikani can provide.

The part where you mention:

I think is normal - and you can think of the SRS reviews as a way to repeatedly associate that shape with a sound until down the line, they’re so closely associated that they do feel like they have a sound, so to speak.
So a couple points about that:

  1. Even if recall isn’t effortless, you might still be learning.
  2. But if the mnemonics consistently aren’t successfully getting you to the reading to associate with the character, then you may need to experiment with other ways to try to do that.

For point #1, if you’re at level 2, then surely you got enough answers right that the kanji got to guru-level, right? Were you looking at your paper during reviews in order to get them right? If so, I’d advise against that, but if not, then while you may not have learnt those items in the sense they’re etched into your bones, surely they’re a bit farther a long the process than they were when you started, and that’s all that’s expected at that stage.
The goal at that level isn’t to get things right every time, or to have every item be an easy correct answer, it’s just to let those association connections slowly form as the items move through the SRS stages.

For point #2, I would say anything below 50% accuracy would be a sign of a problem, but not necessarily an unfixable one.
Are you having any trouble recalling meaning, or is it only the reading? What about vocab readings, or radicals?
If you can identify a particular aspect that’s working least for you, that might tip you off as to what to do.

Anyway, good luck!


Thanks for the warm welcome and yeah I am enjoying it a lot. I am completing each level in around 7-10 days and don’t feel like I’m grinding too hard so I think I will stick around :slight_smile:


Thanks for elaborating. I wasn’t really getting what the question / issue is from you previous post. That’s why I was asking.

How do you tackle foreign languages in general? Again ~ to be able to give you meaningful advice it helps to understand how you in person are functioning :slight_smile:

In that case ~ honestly speaking ~ you might want to reconsider. What works for others does not necessary work for you as well. Have a look into the following thread:

The reason I’m mentioning the thread in here is that different durtles have different needs.

Maybe it is helpful for you to form a basic understanding of the language itself before tackling kanji. Again, do you know hiragana (by heart)?

If you like, have a look into irodori tesxbook before proceeding with WK. Maybe it helps you to be able to understand how to “use” words before learning how to “write” them in kanji…

Anyways, good luck with your studies :four_leaf_clover:

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I’m usually making my own mnemonics at this point, which is level 12, but I have been doing it since maybe level 7 or 8. Once you get more comfortable with Kanji and using the WK mnemonics, it becomes easier to just make your own that stick with you better. You may read the hiragana and a different word or idea is conjured in your mind before you even read the wk mnemonic, and you use that instead. I also highly recommend setting the vocab to play the audio reading every time a new vocab word is opened in your reviews.

The point of mnemonics is to creat multiple connections to the word in your brain so that it sticks better. The more connections your brain makes to something, the faster it is able to conjure it up when you need it. For words that I am struggling with, I will usually go an extra step. I create my own mnemonic and I close my eyes and visualize it. I try to think of smells, see myself interacting with whatever mnemonic I have made. Reach out and touch it, or imagine really fine details. Sometimes I will take 4 or 5 minutes doing this. The key is to emulate a real memory. In an actual memory, your brain remembers how you moved around a room, what the kitchen tile feel like under your forearms, what the popcorn smelled like out of the microwave etc. Try to bring these things into your own mnemonics and visualize them as thoroughly as you can.

Good luck, and more than anything, try to have fun with it, even if it is hard right now.

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[quote=“rodan, post:2239, topic:16421”]

  1. Even if recall isn’t effortless, you might still be learning.

For point #1, if you’re at level 2, then surely you got enough answers right that the kanji got to guru-level, right? [/quote]

Yes, but I already knew my numbers cold, so I had a head start. It’s…interesting to go on faith that somewhere down the line the associations will be solid enough to begin reading entire sentences, but I’ll keep going. Maybe what’s getting me is that all of the feedback is negative :slight_smile:

Meaning is pretty good. 90% kanji, 73% vocab. Radicals near 100%.
Reading is 34% kanji, 42% vocab.

I very much appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to share with me!
I will take your advice to write out my own mnemonics in the notes and carry on!

You have given me much to think about. I especially appreciate the advice to think about the specific question/problem I’m having. That’s been very helpful to recalibrate my expectations. I’ll be reading the threads you shared!

Oh. How do I learn languages? Spoken/immersion. Going from the audio to the written word is not so hard when using the familiar alphabetic system. My spoken Japanese isn’t that strong right now either, so that may be another recalibration for me.

Thank you so much!

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Thank you for this! I have a feeling that this will be very helpful!

Going to add on here - the sounds sticking gets much better as you learn more kanji and more Japanese because the types of sound combinations that are frequent/likely are more salient in your brain. E.g. after many kanji that sound like ‘しょう’, it’s easier to associate that sound with a new kanji because you’re more used to that being a sound that goes with kanji. At least, that’s what I’ve found as I progress. It can definitely happen at the start that all of the sounds feel random and not at all like words or word parts. I found things sticking better as my vocabulary of Japanese words that I had heard/learned grew a bit so I had a better feeling for common sounds.

I also found on early levels I needed to study more to get things to stick - I did writing things down during lessons a lot more then - again, I think part of my brain getting better at learning Kanji over time.

Finally, I’m sure you know this, but especially after you first learn an item (or generally when it’s at Apprentice 1), it’s really ideal to hit that 4 hour review interval to help get it to stick a bit better in your brain. If you can’t (because of work, life schedule, whatever), you might want a quick way to review the kanji at that shorter than 12 hour interval - e.g. a flash card for the new words that you look at 1-2 times between the lesson and the first review; a note on your phone with the kanji etc. Some people note that they really need a lesson, 1 hr review, and then the 4 hour review, so review their lessons about an hour after taking them to help things stick. Obviously ability to do this varies based on your life schedule, but it might be helpful.

Good luck!