Newbie here, excited to learn!

I legitimately cannot seem to get a handle on how this site works. I am doing Duolingo and want to couple the lessons with this but am failing at comprehending how to do lessons and actively chart progress. Any help? Thanks people of the WaniKani universe!

How do I move on from only Lvl 1-3 of Radicals/Kanji?

You’ll find a lot of answers to many newbie questions like these on the FAQ and guide that should have been shared with you on the main website.

WaniKani uses a spaced repetition system for any radical, kanji, or vocab word it presents to you. That means you’ll review it every once in a while with exponentially larger gaps in between until you’re thought to know it by heart. You unlock more material and level up when you reach “guru” level (~ 3-4 days from your lesson if you do your reviews on time) for at least 90% of the kanji taught on each level. The first three levels are quicker, though. Higher levels take about 7 days to guru 90%. Continue with other studies while you wait for them to be reviewed again (four times each until they guru).


Thank you so much! I think I get it now. Sort of…I still don’t get how to like, DO things. Is it just the review I can do every now and again?

Sort of. Once you’ve learned your first set of radicals, you will review them several times. Each time you review them, it gets a little longer. Once you’ve gotten them to Guru status, you will learn the kanji that uses the radicals, and then the vocabulary that uses the kanji, Once you’ve learned at least 90% of the kanji from the level you will move up a level, and get to learn more kanji.
Basically, you just learn the new material and then it’s just reviews :slight_smile: Reviewing is the most important part of learning a language, so you will be doing a lot of it! Just keep doing the reviews you are given and pretty soon you will move up a level, and then it’s pretty easy to figure out how the site works.


It definitely took me until now to realize I have to pay to unlock more content. I mean, I totally going to, but, I am poor currently and was hoping that $100 off lifetime sale would come back soon lol

I am also doing duolingo and it let’s me DO more. Though, based on what I have read, WaniKani will pick up after like a week of the paid sub.

It’s funny because my situation has parts that are similar. I am also broke as hell so I am going with the monthly payment (~10$). For how WaniKani works, I highly recommand you don’t care too much about how everything works, you’ll just have more headache than anything lol.

When you have lessons you do them, same with reviews, that simple. Eventually, you will understand how everything works.

I have been here for a little more than a week and I am already loving WK so much. Duolingo was one of the apps that I was using before but I stopped using it because I got frustrated everytime I looked at a Kanji and I didn’t know what it meant (I am like halfway through it).

Welcome here!


THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! A lot of what you said comforts me and eases my anxiety about WaniKani and my progress with learning a second language as a whole. I’ll start with the more affordable ‘monthly’ sub like you to ease into it. Do you still use Duolingo or other resources, or, do you just do WaniKani?

WaniKani only covers a small subset of the Japanese language → understanding the meaning and reading of certain letters/words with just a little bit of vocabulary thrown in to reinforce what you’ve learned about the kanji it teaches. So there’s a lot more resources you can use to learn other aspects of the language, like for grammar, listening, speaking, etc. Check out this thread:

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Just so you know, you’ll continue to unlock new content until you reach the end of level 3, without paying anything. Most people decide at that point whether they want to continue with the site and pay for a subscription. :slight_smile:

I promise you will get plenty of new kanji and new vocabulary to learn soon enough. Some people report being overwhelmed with the amount of vocabulary there is in the first several levels.

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This is an AWESOME resource library. I cannot thank you enough! It seems like I should be utilizing a handful of things outside of Duolingo/WaniKani and I officially have access to what those are. Again, infinitely grateful for your awesomeness.

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So, it is not just me that feels it is super mega slow at first? It’s been a few days and I ace every review but it is only the first 26 radicals each time. I’m sure that will pass and it will be a burden in now time! (burden in a good way, if that’s a thing)

There’s been lots of new users who have created threads complaining about the slow start, so you’re not alone. You have to review your radicals correctly several times in a row before they’ll level up to Guru status and unlock kanji. If you answer a review incorrectly, the item’s SRS status will drop and you’ll have to review it more before you get it to Guru status. So if you’ve ever gotten anything wrong or didn’t do your reviews as soon as they were available, that has prolonged your wait. It’s why people often check the site several times a day.


I’m picking up what you’re throwing down. Love your Spyro action, btw.

I think I will be buying the sub on Friday. If I keep checking as often as the reviews are available, think it’s possible to get beyond level 3 or should I just wait it out and subscribe whenever I Guru the Lvl 1-3 radicals? I have been having such fun learning that I don’t want it to stop and Wani isn’t giving me that juice yet that I totally know it has.

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I waited to subscribe until I’d Guru’d all three free levels’ content. I downloaded a phone app that notifies me when I have reviews or lessons, too.

I fell off the Duolingo wagon when they moved to the crown thing.

I also used to do Duolingo,but stopped because it didn’t really focus on grammar enough.

Lingodeer I think is much better. When I used duolingo it was in beta for Japanese at the time so might be better now but still really didn’t like it. Had a weird way of teaching at least to me.
While lingodeer is great with grammar kind of sucks at vocab, I mean it will teach you vocab, but it doesn’t have a real SRS system and the reviews are a bit eh. For a free app its pretty good though


Of course, WK is only for Kanji (ah yeah some vocab’ as well). It’s just that now I have a limited amount of time for Japanese per day so it’s really hard to use other resources but that’s what you should be doing if possible.

I spend like 90% on WK but I try to check other resources whenever I can, Human Japanese for example is really cool :slight_smile:

I will test out Lingodeer over lunch today, thank you so much for the suggestion!


It took me forever to understand how to type half-sized characters. Like, holy cow that was frustrating. I was wondering why it looked like I got it correct but it would count the answer wrong. The future looks brighter but I bet that issue will plague me for a few months/years.