Not sure if I want to continue with the paid subscription

So, I’m at the near end of my freebie levels and am still on the fence of whether or not to continue. For context, I am not coming in as a beginner learner, with having taken a multitude of classes in college and just recently finishing the 日本語総まとめN2 textbooks. I came to WaniKani as more of an overall review and to perhaps catch some kanji that may have not been covered throughout my schooling and the Sou Matome textbooks.

The frustrations I have, mainly, are within the radical system. I do recognize that it is very helpful for beginner learners to provide mnemonic devices and meanings; however since I have already had a pre-established system in place, I found myself on almost every radical adding a synonym, which I found irritating to have to do. A possible suggestion would be to perhaps a placement test for more advanced learners, and a score above a certain degree can choose not include the radicals? I’m not exactly sure how feasible that is and who the target market of WaniKani is. Another frustration I have is not being clear on whether or not the on- or kun-yomi readings are being requested. While with most it seems to be the more common used one (for the pink Kanji section), I also noticed that there are cases where its not, such as with 左 and 右. While I agree that it is important to learn both readings, I found myself having to retype answers, simply because I couldn’t remember which reading was being requested. A simple thing I would suggest would teach both readings during the lesson portion and request the kun and on during the reviews, with stating exactly which ones. While again, I am not exactly sure how feasible that is though, considering I know nothing regarding coding and what not.

For people outside of being a beginner learner, is WaniKani good as a review? Are there any current work arounds, ways to deal with the frustrations above that I have mentioned?

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Using the synonym function can REALLY help with the problem of knowing kanji or radicals by slightly different words. There isn’t a workaround and yeah, it can be annoying but I just got used to it after a while lol.
I got back into WaniKani a few months ago after a long break. But for a while, I’ve been studying kanji in school or just coming across them in the wild (and searching Jisho) so I know a TON of kanji/radical by slightly different words. I STILL prefer to just add the synonyms and continue to use WaniKani for review just because of SRS system and ability to learn vocabulary for the kanji as you go to help reinforce them. To me, it’s worth it anyway and I’d definitely say I’m retaining kanji muuucchh better than my classmates that don’t use it. But your mileage may vary.


The low level radicals don’t stop being used in the mnemonics. So it doesn’t make much sense from the creators’ perspective to let people skip them entirely. They let you see them and then decide if you want to add a synonym or not. Then when the original words get used in mnemonics, you at least know what they’re referring to.

This is one of those things that they are pretty firm on, not drastically changing the speed or letting people skip content.

I had passed N3 when I first started using WK, and I found even reviewing the content I “knew” to still be worthwhile.

But there’s plenty of other resources out there if it doesn’t work for you.


Just to clarify for OP, Leebo’s already completed to lvl 60 and then reset.


The radicals will be used throughout multiple levels. It doesn’t make sense to skip them.

As for not knowing which reading is required, the one that was taught to you when you learned the Kanji/Vocabulary. I see threads about this once in a blue moon. I honestly don’t get how it’s confusing.


Hmm, the important thing to realise about WK is that it can’t really be binged. Like the fastest hypothetical time to 60 is around a year, and that’s unlikely for the average joe to achieve. For that reason alone, and considering you are N2 level, it might not be the best review material. I mean by all means you could do it, but you might find some other kanji course, where you can go at your own pace and quickly catch up to your relevant kanji stage, better.
If you do really like the WK method, and don’t mind it’s time-gated pace though, then by all means, it is an excellent way of learning Kanji! It might be worth looking at some addons/scripts, there are a few that are quite helpful, one I think even adds synonyms which might be relevant to your issue?


Regarding the kanji reading thing, if you put in the kunyomi reading when it was expecting onyomi or vice versa, it will just flash a message saying “use the other reading” instead of marking it wrong.

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I also joined around an N3 level a couple years ago, and I was also frustrated by having to ‘relearn’ what you’ve already learned. I’m not sure how you’ve been learning kanji until now, but I’ve found that (and there have been studies that show) that using mnemonics greatly increases how long and well you remember things that are just kind of brute force memorization. This is what really got me to stick with Wanikani… the combination of SRS and mnemonics really solidified what I already knew, and has been allowing me to learn so much more effectively now.

As for having to add synonyms, I think there’s a userscript out there that allows you to add them during lessons rather than having to wait for reviews, which would reduce the amount of time you might spend getting them wrong and then adding synonyms (which is what I did like every time, haha)

And also, generally the onyomi is taught for the kanji and kunyomis are taught when you learn vocab


Hi! I understand how it would be easier if you came in from only WaniKani to learn the readings, I will admit I did blow past the actual explanations for kanji and vocab, as the the WaniKani mnemonics don’t really make sense to me personally, as I already have my own mnemonic for it. An example of this would be with 左 and 目, as I was going though (admittedly not paying attention in the lesson) in the review the type the reading part came up, instinctively put ひだり, popped the message for “use the other reading”, “Oh, they want the onyomi for this portion”, later on, I get to 目 so, I put モク, thinking it wants the onyomi, then get the same message switch readings.

Thanks for the reply! I do use mnemonics (maybe not made clear in the post), but it does differ from the WaniKani provided ones. I will definitely look for the script to add the synonyms during the lesson, as that would be really helpful

Check out this post. Maybe you’ll find it helpful.


I believe Wanikani is worth it simply because of its neat SRS system. Focus on getting those new levels an quickly learn kanji, plus vocabulary. The few, at least in my case, that seem not to stick are handled automatically. I had a bunch of words which were on the verge of being burned only to come back to apprentice level. Now I very much know them. The same has happened with kanji.
Wanikani is fruitful if you wish to retain better, should you be having problems with that. That means it’ll start off very slow and pick up after level 10 or so; or maybe it will not amp up at all given your knowledge. If you are here just to frivolously brush up and muscle through, maybe this will not be your speed.


Yes, WK is worth it. Having your kanji knowledge reinforced with vocabulary is the best. Better than just blindly remembering all the kanji without it. The way they craft simple story makes every radical and kanji appearing afterward can be recognized easily. That’s from completely beginner perspective like me. I think it will be different for you because you already have kanji knowledge. Their radicals and mnemonics are uniquely created for their methods.

Yeah, I know, but I thought that extra bit actually complicated the issue for someone who doesn’t know Leebo.

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I found the names for the radicals ridiculous as someone who had joined at an intermediate level…nevertheless, I think its important just to take your medicine at the beginning, it sucks, I signed up in 2016 and tried WK about 3 times before giving up being infuriated with the slowness. I only really committed properly last September. Although I knew a lot, there was a lot I didn’t know. It takes time, but gets better. Personally since hitting level 15, and doing 150+ daily reviews average things have been getting really reinforced. I think you should hold out and give it more time.