People who study/studied Japanese at university

What’s your opinion on Wanikani teaching kanji in comparison to how it is/was taught on your university course?

For me, I found the Wanikani order of which kanji to teach first makes more sense than the kanji we were expected to learn first in class. For example, having to learn 食、飲、眠、勉強、歳、曜 quite early on in order to just describe a day, or yourself. We also have to learn to write them, obviously, which isn’t necessarily obligatory here.

I am grateful for my uni studies, I’ve learnt a lot more than I expected I would, but sometimes relaxing on Wanikani is just more effective at making the kanji stick. I’m still a noob though haha

Darn it took a while for me to remember how to count days/things…


They complement each other. I find it useful to learn everyday kanji like 食、飲、曜 before I started WK. 眠、勉強、and 歳 are probably not necessary for absolute beginners, though.

I like that I can learn grammar through my uni course and simultaneously I can learn kanji at my own pace via WK. [I’m not a uni student but the Japanese course is at a university so I call it uni course]


The main difference between the traditional approach to teach kanji and Wanikani’s approach is very simple: the former teaches through recall (from memory, you’re able to reproduce the kanji aka handwriting) while the former teaches through recognition (visualize the kanji and identify it).

If you’re not aware of the concepts of recognition and recall, let me give you a real life example: do you ever have those moments when you simply can’t remember the word you want to say? But if you see it, you’ll recognize it’s meaning right away, right? Well, the 1st is recall and the 2nd is recognition. Recognition is easier than recall. What WK does is recognizing that with today’s technology, we no longer hand write as much as 30,40 years ago (even those living in Japan). It’s all computer based (where you type hiragana and the IME suggests the kanji word => recognition). This lead to them purely focusing on what’s easy. That’s one of the reasons why Wanikani works so well.

PS: I’m not saying that handwriting is useless as a learning tool. It just takes way more energy for the bonus of a slighty better knowledge of kanji and being able to hand write them.


I agree with this too, it feels like they complement each other, and it feels great to be able to understand the grammar + the kanji simultaneously. But sometimes the university fails to emphasise radicals and how to handle the different readings of kanji. I’ve still not really mastered this, but Wanikani seems to be helping.

I never really considered the difference between recognition and recall, it makes so much sense now :smiley:
I still need to be able to write these kanji though, bless the day when I find a good way to be able to write kanji properly without hesitation.


If you’re looking for somewhere to find stroke order you can use :slight_smile: Just type in the kanji and #kanji and it will show you the stroke order.
There’s also this site that allows you to create your own kanji worksheets


My Professor in college didn’t even want to teach us Kanji :joy:

I guess because her main focus was to teach us grammar (which is already plenty difficult on its own) and get as much vocab down as possible… But I don’t know how she expected anyone to be fluent in the long term without any Kanji knowledge. I guess she didn’t?

You could always learn on your own but when all of your exams are exclusively in hiragana it’s kinda pointless (and weird), right?


I only took two semesters, but they taught us hardly any kanji. Like @kattopt18 I think they wanted to start with grammar and vocab and then worry about kanji later, but I left school before I got to the later part. :woman_shrugging:

I liked my university course. We learned kanji that were useful for the grammar/thematic exercises, so they were easy to remember. I write by hand most of the time, don’t understand how you can do without. Learning kanji by writing them is sooo easy and rewarding. (^_^)

Wanikani: Don’t understand why I should learn “easy” kanji at the beginning. Don’t know how I’m supposed to remember all those mnemonics. (-_-)

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You don’t need to use the mnemonics :slight_smile: I just use the old-fashioned method of studying, because the mnemonics don’t really work for me :woman_shrugging:
The reason “easy” kanji are taught in the beginning is because it treats you as a beginner and builds kanji from radicals. You haven’t learned the radicals for more complicated kanji yet

My prof followed Genki fairly closely though sometimes jumped a section ahead and then back at times. (I actually found out about WK from the class when another student mentioned.) Though genki has a bit different ording for what kanji first, I found that at least being able to recognize kanji and remembering them WK does good because it keeps me on a schedule for doing memorization where in the class it was just study these kanji and vocab and I sometimes just put it off.

Of course the main thing that WK doesn’t help with is writing and the other aspects that you need to learn. That’s where I found the class is important. In my class we learned grammar, and practiced speaking and writing.

I’ve never see that site before. Looks like a nice site to make sheets to practice writing that I think I will start using!

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Just complementing on what @jprspereira said, recall is an important skill for speech and writing, that’s where kaniwani or kamesame come in, so you’re covered on both fronts.

With respect to the uni course, I agree with @plantron in that they are complementary: uni gives you kanji by order of complexity of meanings, while WK gives them in order of complexity of strokes. Also you won’t find mnemonics, SRS, all that good stuff in uni, that is why WK is so much faster. Honestly, I started both at the same time and almost made it to 食 faster in WK than in class. Class is used best for speaking, writing mainly, and also good for grammar.


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