Practical meaning of levels

So, I was wondering what each level means in the real world. Let’s assume you have all the grammatical knowledge. Now, at what level will you be able to read shounen manga’s, seinen manga’s? At what level will you be able to watch everyday/slice of life anime? At what level will you be able to read light novels without having to open the dictionary every other page?

The stats site has little graphs that show you at each level what percentage of the most common items in various media have been covered. You need to be at a very high percentage to not have to be looking stuff up at an annoying pace.

Level 10

Level 20

Level 30

Level 40

Level 50

Level 60


Not even level 60, I’ll tell you that much lol.

For all your answers, it really depends on what kind of comprehension level you’re looking for. There are a lot of common words that WK doesn’t teach, just so you know.


Damn, the journey of learning Japanese just never ends, now does it? xD


I mean, with 6000 words (the quantity WK teaches you), you can read plenty of stuff without ever having to look up a word. The problem is the 6000 words you learn on WK aren’t exactly ever gonna be those 6000 words you need for any given novel. There are definitely more useful ones you can be learning that will make it so you need to rely less on a dictionary despite knowing the same quantity.


It’s true that there’s always more to learn. Maybe the most frustrating thing is that WK doesn’t actually teach you very much about each item. You really only get an overview of any individual kanji, unless it’s one that has an extremely limited usage.

Take an extremely basic kanji, like 上, which is taught in level 1, and appears in 24 vocab words through level 60.

Here are some things that you won’t know about that kanji by the end.

上 かみ (upper reaches of a river)
上せる のぼせる (to raise, to bring up [e.g. in conversation])
上す のぼす (same as above, but just a different verb)

Now, those are relatively uncommon as far as usages of that kanji go, but they are all things that Japanese students learn as part of their mandatory kanji education. So even though 上 is on the list of kanji taught in school, and even though you will learn a lot about it here, you won’t know as much about it as a Japanese person who made it to 10th grade.

And that’s just one kanji.

Edit: I didn’t read that you were asking in the situation grammar it’s not an issue. :raised_hand:

Anyway to your actual question. I’ve looked this recently for starting with a graded series aimed at kids from 1st to 6th grade. So far level 25 I know almost every kanji that kids in the 3rd and 4th grade are expected to know . So there’s that … Then, books aimed for kids (specially 1st and 2nd grade) rely heavily on hiragana, which will prove to be an obstacle once you have some hundred kanjis in your pocket .

I estimate the shounen books I have will be achievable after tacking at least level 38 or so …as most of kanjis up to 6th grass will be familiar by then .

I would actually recommend wait until at least level 20 and start with native material .

Until then graded readers for learners of japanese will prove your best allies.

Not Level 18, that’s for sure! :joy:
I just finished reading a novel with the WK bookclub and there was ONE page in the entire novel where I didn’t have to look anything up. But many times it was words which don’t involve kanji, of which there are many…

As I was reading your reply, at first I thought you were about to say there was ONE page where I had to look up something, then realized it was the other way round :joy:

WK will take you far, but not far enough. Just enjoy the progress mate. You’ll get there :slight_smile:

I’m currently reading a Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking in Japanese, and WK has done a surprisingly good job overall. There’s of course many words that you need to look up, but I asked my girlfriend, and she said even Japanese people would not know the meaning of some of the more formal words used in books etc.

If reading is your thing, then I would recommend starting with things that you already know the story for which can help immensely. I saw the book referred to Aristotle as a 哲学者 and despite not knowing the first Kanji, I figured it must mean philosopher, so I could quickly reverse look-up.

Level 03: Tackle

Level 10: Bubble

Level 15: Water Gun

Level 21: Withdraw

Level 30: Takedown

Level 37: Skull Bash

Level 43: Rain Dance

Level 60: Hydro Pump


A wise person here once said that level 60 was the end of the beginning.

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