Okay, someone explain it to me cuz I don't get it

New user here, and like literally every new user, I’m complaining about how long it takes to get new lessons.

Yes, I know I’m not the first person to complain about this. MAYBE THAT MEANS IT’S A PROBLEM.

I’ve been studying kanji for a couple of years now and have hit a wall, so I thought I’d try this since so many people rave about it. Now, I have to wait seemingly days just for the honor of actually studying kanji? I get to study radicals all over again, with new set of “nicknames” widely differently (and occasionally nonsensical - some are the actual Japanese words they represent, others are “gun”?!?!?) to the ones I’ve already memorized, why?

Seems like a waste of time. There should really be a “test out” option for non-beginners. That’s the common sense solution to a problem like this.

Meanings assigned to radicals will be nonsense, as they are meant to provide a temporary memory aid while learning new kanji.

For speed, it’ll get faster later. You’re in this for the marathon, not the sprint =D


Are you familiar with what WK’s teaching method is? The kanji parts are given names so that stories can be created as a way to remember how they fit together.

Since the system relies on these stories, which are unique to this site, they take you from step one of the process no matter how much you know. Because if you suddenly jumped to, say level 10, the stories would consist of tons of kanji parts you had never learned in the first 10 levels.

If you desire a more free-form kanji learning resource, there are many available to choose from.


Have you read the Onboarding Series?


Again, if I already know the radicals, why am I being forced to relearn them? I already know them.

1 Like

Which radicals do you know? The official ones? Because I assume you don’t know the ones WaniKani uses for mnemonics.


Man, Leebo just literally explained this.

WK radicals are special to WK.


What names does WK use for these radicals in level 2? 冂, ナ, メ, ム, 彡

Answers: head, narwhal, treasure, private, hair

I’d be kind of shocked if you knew those. I think it would be evidence of supernatural powers.


It might be worth mentioning that if you truly hate the idea of using WK’s radical names and mnemonics, you can give the radicals synonyms (either the names you already know them as, or just ‘radical’ or something).

As others have explained, the system doesn’t really work if you don’t follow it from the beginning. That’s why there’s no “test-out” option. The first three levels are free. Just see how you go.


You are right. It is a problem… with the majority of users not researching WaniKani enough before starting.

Although, I do agree there should be “test out” solution like it’s done with iknow.jp. However, it’s a difficult situation with WaniKani created radicals as you will get lost reading those mnemonics if you start at later levels. It could probably be resolved with making users still learn all radicals up to the level they’re jumping to. The only problem then would be the avalanche of vocabulary associated with those Kanji you’ve known and skipped. A difficult situation all around.


So they’re teaching you they’re own little vocabulary? I assume that’s good for their teaching method. It would be nice if that was spelled out better in the actual lessons.

Again, if so many people are complaining about this to the point where an admin has a stock answer and link to an FAQ page, maybe it’s time for someone to rework the system or at the very absolute least improve their onboarding system IN THE ACTUAL LESSONS and not buried in message boards and FAQs.

1 Like

Now that all Kanji have been opened to the public regardless of the level, just take a Kanji of any level and look at the “meaning mnemonic”, to see if it would make any sense without knowing the radicals associated with it first.

For example, “fall” (落), from level 10:

“A violent tsunami causes flowers to be ripped from the branches of trees and they swirl around and kiss your face gently as they fall. With the tsunami came a great windy storm that blew many flowers all about. It’s a pretty sight amongst all the destruction.”

It makes absolutely no sense and seems like an overly long explanation…for anyone who doesn’t know what the radicals are. But if you do, it does fit together in the Kanji itself.

I will echo what other people have said, there isn’t a problem with the website, there’s a problem with people being too impatient.


Let’s try and avoid getting this any more heated than it already is.

My recollection is that the front page of the site explains the general process. Radicals have no “official” names in English that are universally shared anyway, so it’s not necessary to discuss that out of the gate, I don’t think. People who want to know more of the thought process of the creators can check the FAQs. Many others just use the site and never think twice about it. Others still hate it and leave or tell us how much they hate it.

The creators know the total figures of how many people sign up and how many people complain. If it was really a matter of high percentages, then they’d adapt. They actually have adapted over time to many types of feedback. The site gets updated fairly regularly. But they probably will not abandon the core teaching methods.


If you stick with WK, you will see that this is the best method to learn kanji. To me there’s nothing that even comes close.
There’s no way I would go to the painstaking method of going through those kanji books. It’s not practical or productive.

WK is an automatic process. If you stick with the schedule, you will learn. You just have to be patient. That’s why many people give up. They are too eager to learn all at once and then they stumble. Hard.


Just a general idea on WK’s speed: Wanikani allows you to finish it in 1 year. However, even 2y6m is pretty good I’d say. Kanji is overrated in a sense that people think that by knowing it, their journey to fluency in Japanese is close to the finish line.

Kanji helps a lot, it really does. But in order to reach fluency you need to do so much more work that it will take you years even studying on a daily basis.

When compared to that, WK’s speed is not bad at all.


You’re not being forced to relearn–neccesarily.Even if you know them,remembering is always good.You’ll get more content after a few reviews.


I honestly have no idea why the WaniKani staff don’t just implement an unskippable interactive video tutorial right at the account creation screen, with a mandatory quiz before they even let you begin lessons. It would cut down on the sheer amount of people who join, completely miss the FAQ section, then join the forums while completely ignoring the introductory posts that are pinned at the top, and then posting aggressively worded posts and arguing with people trying to explain them how the whole process works. But that’s just my opinion :man_shrugging:


Spot on! 大賛成!自分の漢字学習の旅が長いけど。。。途中で諦めたり、出直ししたり、鰐蟹さんのお陰で、コツコツと伸び伸び身につけているぞ!


I think this is spot-on. I’m obviously a new user myself, and had the same frustrations at first. I don’t think that people in my position appreciate how much work learning kanji is, and just how looooooooong it’s going to take. If you can’t appreciate that you’re in it for the long haul, and handle doing nothing for a day without getting discouraged, how are you going to react when reviews start piling up?

I’ve tried to think of learning kanji as analogous to going on a diet. With diets, people want to seize upon their intense desire to get fit and achieve results immediately. It’s natural. They’ll try going all-in with their diet for a week or two, then crash out. It isn’t the right mindset for sustainable progress, and it’s why most diets fail. But if you can make small, consistent lifestyle changes, over a long period of time, you’ll succeed, every time.