[Review] Making it to level 60 as an advanced Japanese learner

Now that the overhaul is done, I wouldn’t be surprised if they trickle in additional kanji within the existing levels (based on past comments). It could still be complicated though. Since they’d mostly be adding harder/rarer kanji which would logically go towards the end, they’d probably have to shift other kanji to earlier levels at the same time.

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They could also add vocab to the last few levels. Some kanji still don’t have vocab. I was really hoping they’d correct that in the overhaul… but hopefully, it’s still coming later.

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Yeah, I’ve run into a few of those already, and it’s quite annoying…

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I’d add about 10-20% to that total for failures. The 8 incoming streams should be about equal to the lesson rate assuming no failures. I also have some % coming back around as failed burns or enlighten. The failed burns are essentially re-inserted on top of the guru stack. (Failed enlightens are as well, but there’s a corresponding reduction in the burn stream later)

With a constant non-zero fail rate, I’d expect to see that table look more like 50/50/50/50/60/70/70/70 (after it stabilized, 6-8 months in). I know I’m starting to develop a big bump in the distributon at Guru from failed burns even though I’m not doing THAT bad. Failures have a big effect.

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Failures are already accounted for. Without failure, it would be 400 per day, so +7%.
You can also see that I have a “big” stack of guru reviews due to failed enlightenment and burns (112.27 in this case instead of 100).

You can check the actual number with @Tenoch’s tool :slight_smile: (the one where my screenshot is from)

i would reorganize the program altogether.

radicals don’t need to be burned IMHO, by the time they reach master, they’re good enough, plus you see them every time you learn a new kanji anyway, so a LOT of times.

fast levels should be neither at the beginning, nor the end. they should pop up every 5 or so levels. 4 normal, 1 fast. that way, each 10-level-milestone has 1-2 of them and they don’t put you under pressure towards the end. it also gives you the feeling that the whole thing goes more quickly.

instead of guruing radicals to unlock kanji, i’d unlock them immediately by learning them, then unlock vocab by learning their kanji. as is, there’s the painful phase, where you fight through the newly learned kanji, then the easy-as-shit phase, where you rush through the now too easy vocab. doing kanji and vocab at the same time is way better balanced and works better overall IMO.

i’d allow for optional placement tests before every bracket (say 10 levels), where you can test yourself on every kanji and skip those you know well. there’s no need to reinforce 今 or 早 when you’re N2+. maybe the kanji, then one vocab item for each of it’s readings.

i’d rework the initial learning system and add games to them, similar to what quizlet has, which helps reinforcing without feeling like a pain. make that optional, so people can do these games when they need them, not every time.

i’d also work on the definitions. having 5 kanji/vocab items with the same definition (“disaster” comes to mind, lol) is terrible in many ways.

each time you learn a kanji that’s similar to a previously learned item, i’d want WK to present them to me, separately. “here’s X, there’s Y, this part is different. here’s 5 vocab items for each of them”, then you also get that problem sorted - wk doesn’t really do a lot in that regard.

overall, i agree. WK could be faster, it’s terribly slow when you know most things. i started learning new things earlier (the kanji… i learned via audio mostly, and decks with furigana or in kana), so all the vocab is known to me, the kanji are not. getting past the part you know and to the new things is an option i feel would add to WK.

what WK definitely needs is a rescheduling mechanism. if i see 150 items coming up at 17:00, and my break at work is from 16:00-17:00, then i have to wait till i’m done here until 20:00 and, if these were freshly learned apprentice, the SRS effect is completely negated. this would also enable you to speed things up, even if it’s just a little


I am really pleased to find this post. Thank you very much for taking the time to explain your experience as an advanced Japanese learner.

I am returning to Japanese after a 20 year break, having previously lived and studied in Japan. I think that I probably scraped through JLPT N3 in December without much study, but the experience really made me realise how much kanji I have forgotten! I am aiming for N2 at the end of next year, and have been watching the Community posts to see if there were others like me around, who already have some level of familiarity with basic Kanji, but need the higher levels. I think that my “cliff” will kick in a bit earlier than your did, but for now I am reassured by reading about your experiences.

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Ok, I finally have time to write a coherent reply.

So, first of all, I do like your ideas, and I think they do make a lot of sense.

That wouldn’t be so bad. That being said, I still like the idea of having control of my schedule. I feel like the system present in kitsun that just allows you to set your daily amount of lessons works best. That works best with your next idea of unlocking things after doing a lesson. Then, user are never content blocked.
The issue, could be for beginner who do not understand how the SRS work to just overload themselves with 50 lessons a day or something…

That would be great in reducing the fluf.
I remember Viet mentioning that they were thinking about making a placement test at some point. I don’t know how that idea is going along, though.

There’s technically kananji (a game made by a WK user) that does just that. But yeah, people may never know about it, since the link is now lost in the depth of the forum…

I completely agree. I know that there’s a script for that, but the experience could be streamlined by integrating it into WK proper.

And the rescheduling would be great as well.

All those are good points. I don’t know if any will make it into WK, though. :confused:
There was another thread recently about integrating scripts into WK, and, while no one from the staff contributed, the conclusion seemed to be that the maintenance cost would outweight the benefits… I guess it might change now that the overhaul is out of the way… or not as they may have already moved on to another big project (etoeto?)


yeah i think none of these points will make it into WK, but i thought i’d type them out anyway :slight_smile:

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Thank you for the post and thanks for mentioning all the community tools like floflo.

Your story reminds me so of how i started on wanikani. It motivates me.

I’ll go check out the stuff. Hope to reach level 60 someday.

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Yes!!! Finally,

It’s here

Thank you for taking your time to share your personal experience as an advanced learner

But… I must say

You’re crazy… that’s an insane accuracy, just wow

Yes, here’s where I tell ya what you meant to me all this journey.

When I started here I was looking as any beginner would, for some guidance. And I was looking for someone good, because that’s just the way I do things, i.e. I try to find the best people around, the most pumped up, cheering, decisive people and measure myself against such high standards

And there it was you.

This thread, that speed, that accuracy, such consistency… summarize perfectly what I’m trying to say…
It was such an experience to find you, you were that unbreakable chain, that indestructible wall, that insurmountable rival.

And for all that I just can’t thank you enough.

Congrats on hitting that wonderful milestone


You will be forced to learn a lot of stuff you already know, so depending on how advanced you are this means a lot of wasted time. You also will have ways of remembering kanji and words already having advanced without wanikani so their suggestions may be mostly useless to you.

That has been my experience of wanikani so I think it’s fair to give you a balanced view- most here will no doubt give you positive responses because they have stuck with it and have found it useful.

But I do have something positive to add. You can do the first 3 levels for free, and that will give you a great intro into the app and may help you with any of the more basic kanji you are rusty with along the way. By the time you’ve done those first 3 levels you will know for sure whether it will be too frustrating for you, or if the time spent on the earlier levels is worth the angst to use this app at higher levels later on.

But it will most likely be of little use to you for a long time if you are very advanced and it is demanding on your time if done properly, and especially with the aim of getting to a certain point as fast as possible. It’s basically like a baby, it needs you to be there on time every time. So bear that in mind also.

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then there’s the question of what counts as advanced? my kanji skills surely do not. i was kinda at lvl 15ish when i started, but do the calcs, it’s over 3 months.
i checked higher levels and found i know 2-3 through every level. if we could trim the fat, it would greatly reduce the work load, too.

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Sorry for leaving the thread for almost a week, I was very far from Internet (and I pretty much used any connectivity I could find to do reviews).

I’m glad I could help you :slight_smile: It’s always hard to come back to something after a long break, since relearning things can feel pretty tedious. I liked that WK pushed me (forced me?) through that tediousness.
One thing that really helped me, though, was to read native material (books, specifically, but manga should do). Noticing words that I could understand-but-not-really-read turn into words I could just plain read really made it feel worth it. (Plus, it’s good practice for the N2 and N1 that have fairly long reading sections).

That’s good to hear :slight_smile: And yes, the community tools are really great, and helped me stick around… which in turn, since I was here already, helped me keep going with my reviews. It’s all a big virtuous cycle. You’ll definitely get to level 60 (or equivalent) if you keep going! If, at some point it seems like you don’t have a reason to keep going, it might be time to enjoy native Japanese media. In his guide, @jprspereira put that time around level 30; I also really liked @Ncastaneda’s thread on transitioning to a more media centered approach to learning Japanese (and reading).

I have to say it really moved me to read that, and I have to return the compliment. Since the day you mentioned that you were trying to overcome me in the AJC, I kept feeling the pressure. When things got rough at work and I got tempted to stop WK for a while, the fact that you and @Sezme didn’t despite being in a similar situation really pushed me forward. So thank you.

Well, you aren’t forced to learn anything except the radical and kanjis. You can use the reorder script to ignore vocab if you feel like it. Plus, the skip button makes going through lessons a breeze when you are an advanced learner. In that case, you do need to review those words though.

I wouldn’t say useless, but definitely unnecessary, since I probably read only like 4 or 5 mnemonics total and could have done without. I don’t think that’s an issue though.

I’m not 100% sure who “you” is (the reader, I assume?) but I think most posts I’ve seen on the forum before agree with you when it comes to advanced learners — I don’t.

WK has been very good at helping me parse the haystack of 常用漢字 and find the few needles that were in there. In theory, I could have used anything, including free online kanji dictionaries, but that never really worked. (Obviously, your mileage may vary on that)

Honestly, with the help of the reorder script, it’s not so bad in terms of intensity. It does get tedious, but once you make it into an habit, it’s not so bad. Plus, for me it was also a gateway to trigger more studying. In particular, WK (and @Leebo to be honest) really motivated me to study seriously for the kanken. It would pretty much just be wishful thinking otherwise.


Doesn’t mean I don’t advise starting before that :stuck_out_tongue: Any study is good study. 1>0. It’s just that past level 30, if you don’t practice what you learn, it will start hurting your studies (in my opinion). No one wants that. Level 30 gives the learner enough time to balance all the vocab/grammar/kanji one has to learn and still figuring some time to practice.


I know I’m terribly late, but I still wanted to say:



Please don’t kill me for reviving this thread.

^^; I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about WK and the story of your way to level 60. I’m glad you’re still around here in the forums, since I always enjoy reading your posts.

And I think I should really check out floflo. I’ve heard so many positive things about it now.


Not at all! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post. And I’m glad you are still around too.
Congratulations on the recent level up, by the way :slight_smile: I’m looking forward to your future level 60 post :smile:


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