Other Things I can do to avoid WK Burnout?

Hello there WaniKani community. I feel like it’s a long time coming to admit that my confidence is down and my enjoyment of WaniKani is almost dead. I can’t even convince myself to do lessons and instead have just been cleaning out leeches because of this feeling. Considering I’m only on level 6 after around 2 years that is concerning but also only being on level 6 is probably part of the concern. I haven’t really done anything outside of WaniKani so I was thinking if I could do something to put what I’ve learned into practical use maybe I would get a burst of inspiration again.

As a result, I wanted to reach out to the community to ask if anyone has recommendations. Should I look into learning some more Vocab? Should I attempt to learn some Grammar? Maybe even attempt super low-level reading? Or should I just suck it up push through and hope I can get over this feeling? Any and all advice is appreciated.

The thought that if I stay the course I may go nowhere or even quit scares me as I really want to push myself to keep going. Thank you for reading what is partially just me admitting something to myself to hopefully move forward.


By completing level 5 of WaniKani, you’ll probably recognize about 25% of kanji in anything you try reading. Granted, you won’t know all the words that contain them. But many of the kanji you’ve learned come up often.

Since the goal of learning kanji is to be able to read kanji (and the vocabulary that contains them), the next step may be to jump into reading native material.

The prerequisite for that will be learning at least some basic grammar, then be prepared to keep learning as you actually get into reading native material.

It may be too soon for you to give reading a try just yet, but if you want to give it a go, check out the Absolute Beginner Book Club, which just started reading a manga called ルリドラゴン. You can find a free preview of the first chapter online (linked to in the book club), and you can read through the discussion for week one’s pages.

Another option is to work on learning grammar, then join in with the next ABBC in two or three months.

Once you start reading, you’ll see kanji from WaniKani all over the place, which may help you get back into it.

The worst that can happen is you don’t progress forward, but give it a chance and see how it goes.


It could be that Wanikani is just not the ideal method for you, especially as a solo method. The best would be for you to figure out what works best for you, which is of course a personal journey.

My suggestion: try different resources and see what works for you. This could also depend on your personality. In my case, starting my studies with gramma from a textbook (I used Genki) worked very well because I like having a structured and yet diverse way to learn.

But if you are for example someone social, who likes learning with others, you could try the absolute beginner book club in the WK forums. If you perhaps learn better from audio input, try beginner podcasts! Or if SRS works for you, just not WK much, try anki decks or bunpro.

Just some tips, but shortly, my advice would be: don’t rely only on WK, try to mix in some other resources and figure out what works best for your learning style!

Edit: just saw that @ChristopherFritz was a bit faster on recommending the ABBC! Just adding that everyone from the book club is really friendly and helpful, even if it seems challenging at first, I’d recommend to keep going!


I would definitely start on grammar. Once the pieces start to come together, your motivation will spike (and then later, come crashing down, but don’t worry about that yet! Lol!).
You can go through Genki with this playlist - 【N5】Genki 1 Lesson 1 Grammar Made Clear | XはYです・Question か・の Particle - YouTube
Or go through Japanese From Zero with this playlist - Welcome to Japanese DAY 1! | Japanese From Zero! Video 01 - YouTube

Good luck!


Yes to all!

For me, what helps the most is making sure I’m exposing myself to Japanese in multiple ways, not just isolating it to flashcards every evening. Some ideas:

  • If you like anime, watch a favorite show and try to pick out vocab words you know.
  • Learn grammar! For real, this bridges the gap between memorizing words and being able to speak sentences. ToKini Andy’s Genki playlist is a great place to start.
  • Read kids’ books, leveled readers, or a super simple manga like Crystal Hunters.
  • Find Japanese YouTube channels on topics you like, try to pick out words and phrases, and look through the comment section for kanji you recognize.
  • If you have Netflix, use the Language Reactor extension to watch with both your native language and Japanese subtitles at once. If you have Disney+, set the audio and subs to Japanese and try to read (or sing) along.
  • Join the ABBC, like people suggested above. :durtle:

If you have a specific motivation for wanting to learn Japanese in the first place, like a trip coming up, a favorite show or music group, etc., revisit that thing and remind yourself how cool it’ll be once you understand more. The flashcards have a purpose other than torturing you.


This is good advice.

Grinding through flashcards is inherently boring. You’re not in any way “wrong” or “strange” for getting tired of that. The only way to justify flashcards is to see them as a somewhat efficient tool in support of your ultimate goal, which is the use of Japanese.

In my own experience, continuing to add new lessons can actually help with burnout. There are few things more tedious than grinding through the same leeches over and over again. Even five lessons a day can help you feel like you’re making progress.

But beyond that, yes do reading, yes work on grammar, yes watch anime, yes do whatever it was that got you interested in Japanese.


Thank you so much to everyone who has already responded and may respond in the future! I have so many great ideas now thanks to you. I think I might start Genki with the Tokini youtube guide.

Do I need to buy both the text book and the workbook or just one of them?


The textbook has some exercises in it already, so a lot of people use just that, but the workbook is good if you decide you want extra practice. You can also use Seth Clydesdale’s site to check the answers to the textbook exercises or do them digitally.


I was in the exact same situation. I started in 2019 and the highest level I had gotten to was level 6 until August of last year. Even after that I wasn’t super consistent until just recently (and I’m still not totally there yet).

So you’re definitely not alone in that, the struggle bus never runs out of seats (or gas apparently).


I had fun and looked forward to learning more kanji, and getting things right is a great dopamine hit, so much that I did them while I was working, while in class, and rarely missed days, afair. :eyes: I only stopped because other studying avenues proved more efficient at that point in learning.

Gamified learning is not inherently boring, though no one would fault you if you think it is.

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This is weird one, because in Anki, I might suspend or reset progress, for leeches; while Wanikani forces you to work through it.

Then, on reading of most native materials, not only the amount of vocabularies, but also amount of Kanji known, are important. Perhaps they are important in different ways. (Who cares about Wanikani curriculum design, though?)

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I bought the workbook, and then it turned out that I never used it. I’d recommend trying the linked website first (that has the same content as the workbook - though parts might be missing, I never checked), and only if you think “I wish this was a book I could write in instead” buy the workbook.

On the other hand, the textbook is great! (Even better if you have a partner/tutor to do the partner exercises with.)

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Thanks so much for these resources quill tips. I clicked on the ToKini YouTube, and its a great place to review grammar.


Well it took me until the high 30s to finally hate it, but here I am :frowning:


I knew some grammar before starting WK. The biggest motivational hit I got was when I ordered Level O graded readers and could read them. I also love Japanese from Zero for grammar.

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The most motivated I’ve ever been for Wanikani was when I was playing a videogame (Dragon Quest 11) and would look up unknown words just to discover that they were words I’d learn in 5 or 10 more levels. Knowing that doing WK would help make this interesting thing I loved easier was hugely motivating, and I just about halved my time on each level during that period. Even now when I find I word I just learned in WK in a book, I get a really nice feeling.

Since you haven’t studied a ton of grammar, going straight into native content might be a little painful, but once you get to that point, it creates a really fun feedback loop with WK.


The same thing happened to me about 2 months into my journey and again 3 months ago. I took a month off of core studies. I didn’t do any WaniKani for a month (if I did a bit it was because the feeling to do it hit and not because I had to), no vocabulary, and no grammar. I watched Japanese shows with English subs as well. After the month I committed to getting back into it as by then I missed it. And I found myself actually going harder than before and still enjoying it after these breaks.

Technical note, you can’t set wanikani to do one lesson a day (the minimum is three). You have to use a userscript.


I hear you. I’m pretty much burnt out with kanji, full stop. And Japanese generally. My interest was waning before I started with WaniKani, and I’m just resigned now to not being a Japanese speaker.

The suggestion for revisiting some of the things that got you wanting to study in the first place is a good one. Go back and look at the Japanese stuff you like, and look at it in English. Rekindle your interest in things Japanese first, and try to let that lead you back into studying the language. The worst thing is to try to force yourself; you have to want to do it. My problem is that I don’t really want to anymore. You sound as though you still really want to, do I’d suggest leaving the language study for a short while, enough time to remember what motivated you originally, and then start after you’re a little refreshed. You’ll probably find that the stuff that was grinding you before is much easier now and once you get over that you’ll be studying fresh material, which is always more interesting.


With any skill you’re gonna have slumps. Burn out can and will happen, but having a plan or strategy to counter it is good. I don’t really burn out anymore, I just have moments where I am sort of hopping around until something sticks. So rather than force myself to read a manga I lost interest in, I just keep hopping around and reading manga that look interesting to me. If it’s good enough I’ll stick with it and burn out is averted.

If you are pretty early in your journey that can be a challenge, so I would suggest just reviewing and don’t add anything on until you get the desire to do more again. That’s probably the most simple solution to avoiding REAL burnout.