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

If I was WK I would let the first set of radicals start on Apprentice 2 or 3 and unlock the first kanji after a few hours, it’s not that hard to remember ten things in a row. It’s a bit goofy that there are no kanji appearing for days.

But the problem solves itself after a few levels, and a slow start might actually be helpful in the long run. Building a routine that doesn’t “bother” is an important part of actually learning 2000 kanji.


Well, it has been addressed a bit in that the first two lessons are twice as fast (intervals are half as long). If the first level was as slow as any later level, it would be kind of ridiculous.

Yes, it’s already a good start, so WK already acknowledges that the timings are a bit harsh. I think the radicals even have Apprentice 1 reduced by an additional half to 2 hours.

But I don’t get what the point is for still spreading the first radicals out for 1.5 days. People are eager to see some kanji, just spreading the first radicals out for the sake of it can rightly annoy people :slight_smile:

I’m just talking about the lvl 1 radicals, after that the accelerated levels are totally fine.

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I wonder if the thought process behind it is something like getting people used to the pace from the beginning. I would think that if the first level was super fast and just allowed people to go really quickly, then all of the people reaching the 2nd, 3rd, or starting the paid levels would then hit that wall and we would have the same complaints from those places instead of the initial level? Then it would be a little unfortunate if it would continue say through the free levels, then people would pay and get to levels that were really slow. It might make much more sense to keep it that way from the beginning so people know what they are getting in to from the start instead of being blindsided after they are paying for them? Hmm…so many possibilities behind all of these guesses…haha!


I’m also a new user. For the first few days, I was also frustrated that I had to wait 22 hours(!) for a review one time. But now that I’ve unlocked some vocabulary (about a week in) I feel like I have SO MUCH that I can study!

WK does state that their method is not for everyone, which is why they encourage you to do the first 3 levels before you pay for it. Personally, it makes me really excited to study, in a way that none of my other study methods do. For that, I’m willing to overlook a couple days wait at the beginning.


The fact that it’s slow is the most important test.

This post was mine, by the way.

Just be consistent. That’s all.


I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the idea behind it. And, honestly, I think it’s better this way. At least if they give up early, they won’t argue over money later on.


I thought it was slow when I started. The first few levels are a breeze.

The system is designed so you learn from start to finish with someone having done all the legwork and connections between words and radicals for you. The order is precise.

I started with RTK. I thought I had “learned” 300 kanji in a few weeks, but honestly didn’t remember them at all in the end.

Nothing’s perfect, but WK works. Whether I or others will reach completion is another matter for the future, but so far it would seem as long as you continue to persist you will reach the ending and constantly improve.

If there’s a trick to learning kanji this is good as it gets outside of Elon Musk brain augmentation.


I believe a nice way to implement the “test out” functionality would be an “Already know this” button on each item’s lesson page, which would then place the item in Master tier or something. That would significantly cut down on time spent reviewing for non-beginners! And if you already know 90% of the kanji in a given level, of course you level up immediately. In order for people not to abuse this with items they don’t know yet to progress faster, the button should be only shown before reading and meaning are displayed. Then you successfully review the item once for it to be put in master tier.


Nice. I like your “Already know this” idea, but it would be troublesome for the user having it on each item’s page. Imagine knowing 500 kanji and then doing this page by page.

Perhaps once you sign up to WaniKani, they can ask:

  1. Are you an absolute beginner?
  2. Do you know some kanji?

Second option will open a pop-up with all kanji available on WaniKani and you can select which ones you’ve already know. As you’ve said, they can automatically be placed at a higher srs level above guru so can review them later.


Any “Already know this” function would destroy the lore being built up by the mnemonics.

Would you rather miss meeting Mrs. Chou the first time?

Idk about you guys, but being quizzed for items I already know feels good.

When a barrage of head-scratchers starts assaulting you, an occasional “Hey at least I got this one” is nice.


This is very interesting, it made me think of some other things as well. When most people say they “know” however many kanji what do they mean? If they did the RTK book 1 for instance they would only know half of what wanikani would expect you to know right? Since the first book only technically gives you the meanings of those kanji in English, not the reading. So one could possibly know what the kanji represent but not know any of the readings? So would one have to differentiate between knowing the meaning/reading or both?

Then if you got to a higher level, since wanikani is based around mnemonics, what if people said they knew the radicals, but knew them as something else, the none of those would make any sense at the higher levels?

It seems like it would be really difficult to just say someone knows something with a check box instead of a test of the knowledge, and the only way to test the knowledge without just letting you go bananas is in small amounts. Otherwise if it put hundreds of kanji in a “I know this pile” in master or whatever level then you would be set up to have 500…1000 reviews or more in a giant lump just dumped into your queue? Once people get the first group of levels in wanikani, the workload increases exponentially anyway, so wouldn’t that just make it even harder to catch up in the future if someone didn’t “really” know what they marked they did?


When I started I was kind of in the same boat. I made my account a year before I restarted in April, and I never made it past reviewing the first set of radicals. I was annoyed that I had to wait, and I didn’t have the funds to pay for WK at the time. So I forgot about my account and found a Memrise course that taught Joyo kanji, and I spent a few months learning them and got to around 1000 kanji that I could recognize just the meanings of. I don’t feel like I really “knew” them, though.

After that I remembered about my WaniKani account. I did the first three levels and I was initially annoyed at having to redo all the kanji I learned from Memrise, but doing the free levels helped me realize how beneficial it is to your kanji learning to learn the meaning, the reading, and associated vocab, the way WK teaches it. I wasn’t a fan of having to learn the radicals at first either, but it really does make it way easier. So do the mnemonics. (And the pace picks up very quickly.)

WaniKani just isn’t for some people, but I suggest you try doing the free levels. It’s been amazing for my reading comprehension and has really made me feel like I know the kanji.
Welcome! :wave:


Putting all the aggressiveness aside, I actually agree with this one.
Maybe they should have a link to the post that explained the system in the first radical we learn, and making clear that it’s recommended to read it

There’s no arguing how hard it is for beginners to understand the system


I can relate to you on this one, being new to this site.
However, I think it’s perfectly fine for them to go through radicals in the beginning as it’s only a process of a day or two, if you already know them, just skip through everything and answer them, do something else and be patient, the kanji’s ARE there and they will show up in time! Don’t make this site your only learning place, that’s what wanikani and koichi will all tell you in their emails and faq’s.

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You’ll notice that only those on the very first few levels complain. It’s because you don’t yet know how Wanikani works. Stop complaining and just wait a bit for it to expand. Also, you seem to be feeling like because you know a lot of kanji and vocabulary already, it’s frustrating having to wait, but take it from me: I studied kanji for five years before Wanikani, but I just wasn’t keeping it mentally, and I got desperate and tried this.

I’m so glad I did. It changed everything for me.
Just stick it out. Yeah, it’s lame at first, but don’t worry about it. It gets better.

Oh, and by the way, most of the users have this kind of post in their history. It’s now embarrassing for them, and one day you’ll feel the same. It’s just silly to be so mad about this.


I don’t think anyone who has gone through RTK 1 can say they know kanji entirely. As you’ve already know, they learn the meaning and how to recognize. Most people that do RTK 1 will just go through Core 2K/6K on Anki and learn the on-kun readings as they go through sentences. Anyone willing to do WaniKani after RTK 1 will pretty much have to start from the beginning.

Now, people who have gone through ~500 kanji via textbooks such as Genki, Minna no Nihongo, or Basic Kanji Book, they should know the meaning and the on-kun readings. They would really be the main target people for a secondary option of checking out kanji they already know.


Yes it is definitely interesting to think about. I have a friend who started using wanikani recently after studying Japanese on and off for a few years, she used RTK but never anki, and then also did a little bit of genki, so she had some prior knowledge. Since everyone uses so many different possibilities and combinations of learning kanji it makes it more difficult to gauge everything. I agree with you, I don’t think people can say they know it entirely after RTK 1, which is why I wondered how people would gauge their own knowledge by a “i know this” click instead of a test. I can obviously see how it would be frustrating for experienced users coming into wanikani having to start from scratch effectively, (I never had that problem since wanikani was the first kanji learning I ever had), but with so many variables it seems like it would be difficult to do it any other way?

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Man this type of behavior from newcomers makes so sad. I have a sharp tongue too but at least ask before starting complaining. In the end it might not be for you but there are actual people working for it. Be a little patient and complete the first three free levels just like the site recommends you to and then have your opinion. Not from level 1.


At first, I thought this was a serious problem as well.

“C’mon, I’m not this slow at learning, just give me new stuff already.”

But when I finally unlocked my first set of kanji, I understood why the system was like that. Since I had gone through the radicals multiple times already, they were burned to my memory strongly. And now that the radicals were a piece of cake, I could see the meaning from the kanji very easily, and even the readings since they also relied on the radicals. Because I had memorized the radicals 100%, processing the new information was super quick. This is why I think the system works: slow repetition forces you to remember the newly taught information.