Organizing and limits of Wanikani


So, i just hit the lvl 3 in Wanikani, and i feel like im gonna need more resources to learn japanese,can i really learn japanese just with WaniKani?, do i need other websites/books or anything else? how do you orginize yourself to study on the most efficient way?.


The most important part of the language, at least to me, is the grammar. The most important aspects of a language is listening followed by speaking, rather than reading/writing.

Personally, I would recommend 文プロ(Bunpro) : (Update: Additional N5 sentences, Show/Hide furigana and more!) Free Japanese Grammar SRS Study Site for beginners.


No, you cannot learn Japanese with WK, nor does it ever pretend you can :slight_smile:.
WK is to learn Kanji and vocabulary along the way. That’s it. No grammar.
You will need other resources.


Another question, should i learn the stroke order of the kanjis?.


Focus on components of the Kanji, rather than stroke orders. But learn if you can, it would help with 石、右、左

I would rather recommend Heisig’s RTK for writing, though. KKLC might be an option.

WaniKani is still OK for writing by typing with a computer IME. As a matter of fact, I do learn some Kanji with IME.


If you ever want to write Japanese, yes. For many it’s not a priority


Memory is aided by handwriting for a lot of people. If you’re one of those, it’s an efficiency-enhancing undertaking.
Besides, literacy includes the ability to write.


As others have said, it wont make you fluent but it’ll boost your comprehension dramatically. Knowing 2000+ of the most common kanji and 6000+ vocab words (some more used than others :P) will obviously make reading a lot easier. polv said the most important part is grammar, personally I would say its vocab, but thats all subjective really. The one truth is that you need both if you ever want to really move towards fluency. With that said, its sort of up to you which you start with (although most people just do both at the same time).

In terms of organizing it really depends on which path you take. Personally, I opt to go at WK max speed (sub 8 day level times) and this has me at ~20 new items a day and I read manga in my free time (in japanese ofc). When I see a grammar point that I dont know that I cant sorta guess at ill look it up and make a flash card of it. For occasional purely study grammar I use tae kims guide, and more recently bunpro like polv linked. I also tried Genki which is a jp grammar textbook but I didnt like it much. Overall its pretty well received tho.

Dont take it entirely from me though. My reason for learning japanese is purely to read. In the end I dont care about watching unsubbed anime or dramas, or talking to natives as I dont plan to live there. As such, my studies are more reading comprehension focused which may not be what you want.


I think it would be useful to know and understand stroke order, so you can see how the characters are formed. But I’m saying this coming from a Mandarin background, where understanding stroke order was essential to learning about the characters and the different radicals and strokes required to form them.


Another benefit of learning to write characters is that stroke order will help you read unusual fonts (which are actually very usual in Japan). You’ll see all sorts of weird fonts if you ever travel to Japan and I can assure you it’s not as simple as reading different fonts in Latin-based alphabets.


I’ve heard this a lot, but could you elaborate on how knowing the order helps? (I assume you don’t mean you SEE them write it) If they write it funky, how do you even know which order they wrote the strokes?


My pleasure.
Well, for starters, stroke order has rules which work a certain proportion of time. Which means that you know when you see a set of strokes, with some certainty, which ones would have been drawn first. That allows you to visualize retracing them in your mind easily and turning a familiar illegible character on a board, to the same familiar legible character in your mind. For the very vast majority, stroke order is immutable, meaning it doesn’t change for a given character. There are exceptions through, but if you’re reading a sequence of six characters, and one is an exception, you can probably infer what it is from the context provided by the other five.
Second, from experience, when retracing characters in your mind, you will obtain legible ones and not the same illegible ones because you will know which combinations of strokes make up radicals, so you’ll be able to rebuild characters by building the radicals the strokes make up, making the recognition much eeasier since you’ll be recognizing a bunch of combined radicals instead of a bunch of strokes.
HTH :slight_smile:


Coolio, thanks!


This will get you most of the way regarding stroke order:


WaniKani (without scripts) will allow you to do the following:

  1. Learn the most common onyomi (Chinese readings) and kunyomi (Japanese readings) of kanji.
  2. Learn the meaning of most of the joyo (required to be learned in school) kanji.
  3. Provide a moderately sized vocabulary list built on the order of kanji you learn.

WaniKani (without scripts) will NOT allow you to do the following:

  1. Learn how to create sentences using the words you learn (grammar).
  2. Learn the nuance and usages behind words (Words may have certain meanings, but only be used situationally)
  3. Learn how to comprehend the words in practical usage (grammar/listening skills)
  4. Learn how to write the kanji.

WaniKani is a strong resource without any doubt for someone with no background in Japanese, but it definitely will not teach you the language alone! Grammar is incredibly important to being able to use the language, and unless you use other materials that give more background on the kanji, many synonyms you find here (the numerous words meaning “action” or “dictionary,” for example) will be confusing as to when they are used.

Personally, I think that grammar is more important than vocabulary, as written text can be researched (whether it be by radical on Jisho, by camera using Google Translate or some other cell phone app) and spoken text can be partially inferred based on context. Definitely pick up a grammar resource, whatever it may be, whether you go the conservative route with Genki or other textbooks, brute-force reading manga/simple books, or use online resources to learn.

As for whether writing is important or not, I would say that depends on if (and why) you want to go to Japan. Knowing stroke order with help you IMMENSELY with reading handwritten kanji, as you will learn by your own mistakes and lack of comfort with the system how “messed up” a kanji can look if written sloppily (a big example is 母 vs 田, as the stroke order is VERY different, meaning sloppy, slanted lines will look different). In addition, being able to speak Japanese is only “impressive” at first impression, as afterward expectations for you to be able to speak Japanese will arise (especially if you take a job there). On the other hand, being able to write Japanese, especially neatly, seems to be a never-ending surprise to people here!

I personally use writing kanji as a method of remembering their appearance. Early on in levels, the kanji is very easy to differentiate, but, past the 15 stroke mark, it can be very difficult if you’re as weak a visual learner as I am. If you have a very strong visual memory and don’t plan on going to Japan other than as a tourist, I’d say don’t waste time writing kanji (spend that time on grammar). If you are a weak visual learner and/or plan to work or live in Japan, practice writing.