Really really stuck

I practise everyday, but for a few weeks now I keep on making the same mistakes over and over again.

Some words, or actually many words, don’t sink in. No matter how often I see them they just don’t stick.

That is also keeping me from finishing the current level and learning the last few kanji.

Does anybody know the feeling and how to fix it? I keep on making mistakes in levels as far back as 5 and I am currently in level 21.

Is this something I have to go through or is there a way to get through this faster?


When you get something wrong, how are you re-reviewing it? How did you learn it in the first place? Are you making use of the mnemonics?

For me personally, if I get something wrong a lot, I embrace the mnemonics much more than I usually do. What might also help is taking the kanji, pick a vocabulary and try learning the kanji in context - sometimes knowing the meaning of the vocabulary the kanji is used in might help you remember the kanji’s original meaning.


Well, it isn’t a race so don’t beat yourself up!

If you are constantly getting one kanji confused with another, try writing them out by hand.

Make your own mnemonics if the pre-packaged ones aren’t working.

Write sentences using your trouble kanji.

Or cheat. eff it. If you never learn one kanji are you gonna die?


From experience, Kanji/vocab that I usually forget are: one’s that I don’t usually use, one’s that I haven’t encountered when reading, or the mnemonics are strange/hard to remember.

So my advise is to: use the Kanji/vocab more, read more, and for the latter: brute force through. Just remember the phrase: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”.


I keep hitting the same problem. After a while my brain just does not see the difference in the kanji. That is a problem in other parts of my life also - ie trying to see the difference between similar weeds in my garden. I am determined not to give up, so when I hit the wall I reset back a few levels and then I seem to remember things better. I don’t think I will ever get to level 60, but at least I will be able to read some Japanese.

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First of all, you’re not alone in this situation!

E.g. just yesterday this thread emerged, maybe some of the answers are interesting for you as well:

hi I’m not here to give advice but wanna to share that same thought with you.
yeah some fasdkjfasdlfk words are actually STUCK.
I wanna curse those leeches so many times arrgee.

the only far I know is to create a new mnemonic for those words and/or use them (I put some stuck words as nicknames or ask about them).
at the end of the day you will again FORGET some of them arrge
then just curse it, look at it once last time and let it go. Ignore it like your ex-girlfriend when it comes.
(and somehow in a nice day, they come back to you naturally. It happened to me well not the girlfriend part though)
I guess that how language works.

Focus on the mnemonics, the stories, the sensory information, and look for the radicals in the kanji. These things will help your brain through the “brute force” part of memorizing. It’s okay to go slowly through reviews and lessons to really think about and imagine these things.

Plus, at your level, if you aren’t studying Japanese anywhere outside of WaniKani, like with grammar or trying to read sentences, you might try that. Brains are really good at getting rid of information they think you don’t “need”, so seeing it in other contexts will help too.


Thanks for the heads up. Besides WK I also have private lessons and yes, sometimes with reading words and pronunciations pop up that I learned with WK and have no idea how I remembered them.

I got leeches from level 1.
Not proud of it but i don’t want to think about it :upside_down_face:

A few things I do that might help:

  1. I use the script “ConfusionGuesser” which will show the kanji/word you are most likely confusing this one with. Very useful for things like seeing 横 and typing “yellow” when “yellow” is 黄, for instance. It will (with pretty good accuracy) show you which one you are confusing it with and then you can focus on the differences.

  2. Right after a review, spend a few minutes studying the ones you got wrong again. Then wait 10 minutes and look at them one more time. Then leave them for the next review (don’t want to mess up the SRS system, after all).

  3. If you notice yourself constantly confusing some kanji or vocab, especially ones that look similar (for me 矢 and 失, or 未 and 末, or 礼 and 札, 部屋 and 部室) then write them down on paper and make up mnemonics for the differences. This can also help you to remember that these are ones you have trouble with and not to rush when reviewing them (i.e. not to glance quickly and type the wrong answer, when you would get it right if you just looked at it again).

  4. Occasionally check out Wkstats’ item list or similar tool to find your leeches (on Wkstats, the ones which are a different color than the other items learned at the same level) and review those. For example, I just checked and the level 4 kanji 氷 is a problem for me – probably because I often glance at it too quickly and confuse it with 永 or 水 – as is the vocabulary 早々, which I know I usually mess up the English translation for because it means quickly while 早 means early.


+1 for the confusion guesser. An important step in properly integrating new information is comparing and contrasting it to similar previous information. Kanji that are extremely different are easy to get right, but as more complex kanji with lots of overlapping / similar components start showing up, you have to begin paying more attention to the details to remember them, especially if you’re not writing the kanji (writing kanji has the distinct benefit of forcing you to pay attention to the details of the components).

+1 for reason stated above.

And yet another +1. At level 21, you should have enough knowledge to start reading and writing simple texts. Doing so will be a great way to strengthen the knowledge you have. It’s easier to remember the meanings of kanji / words when you can recall contexts that they’ve been used in. Retaining a large volume of disjointed information is very difficult.

What helps me in these situations is I’m looking at kanji and trying to find a letter of reading in it or picture something that would lead me to reading.
For example 定 kanji. I had problem with it and then I saw T and E in it, It helped me to remember this kanji and then I polished it in vocab.
Or 重 - I imagined how I took jewellery like necklaces or golden chains and hung it on these bars that are sticking out of the kanji.

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