Should I slow down or keep momentum?

I’m trying to advance in wanikani at a steady pace (around 8 days or less for each level). I used a lessons reordering to get radicals and kanjis first and I have right now 200 hundred lessons of vocabulary waiting!
I feel the incent to quickly pass level is strong and that stopping to do vocab is going to make me lose momentum. On the other hands, last kanjis are sticking less without vocabulary lessons.
On a bigger scale, I’m currently between N5 and N4 level and the stuff I’m learning is sometimes too advanced compared to my level in grammar. Yet, here again, I fear that pausing wanikani to work more on basic japanese will make it hard to go back to wanikani.
Can some of you give me some advices?


Yes. Stop doing all radical and kanji lessons period until you do all your backlogged vocab lessons. It’s important to remember that you want momentum in learning Japanese. Right now you only have momentum in getting to a higher level in WaniKani, which in itself is useless.


if you are reordering, then I would suggest either lowering the numbers of lessons you are doing, or simply add more vocab to the list. after you do however many lessons of radicals/kanji you have planned, turn off the re-order, and do some vocab along with it.

I’m level 6 and have 160 items in my queue(about 15 of which is still kanji). I don’t do a lot of lessons and am admittedly taking it slow. However I still want to level up within 30 days, so I still re-order, then work on my vocab slowly. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on my learning.

Ultimately it’s up to you. it’s your learning journey. If you feel like you can do more, then do more, add some extra vocab into your lesson plan. If you feel like what you are doing is enough, but you feel like you are going to fast, and ignoring the vocab, then stop reordering. You will still get the radicals and kanji, it will just come later.


A lot of WK vocab appears when you read native material. Even if you have the on’yomi of kanji down, that doesn’t help you with the vast number of kun’yomi out there that WK vocab can expose you to.

I assume you want to progress through the levels so you can actually use Japanese, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you ignore the huge store of useful stuff. The vocab is much easier to internalise if you learn it when the kanji are still fresh, in my personal opinion.

I’d say, don’t spend time on getting a higher level number while you could be spending time on learning Japanese!

And depending on how much time and patience you have for reviews, you can do both. I did 7 day levels for most of WK and never skipped vocab. ^^


If you still want to use a script to organize your lessons (after you catch up!) I’d recommend [Userscript] WaniKani Lesson Filter. This script will allow you to more easily take a mix of radicals, kanji, and vocab together. It still requires discipline to not set vocab to 0 lessons, but since it’s a filter and not a reorder it’s less tempting.


Skipping vocab will kill you in the long run. As you learn more and more kanji, they become less distinct. Vocab help keeps them memorable.

Given that you’re already 13, there’s a lot of value in slowing down your level ups, getting good at the vocab, and doing just your daily reviews. You’ll have plenty of enlightened/burned reviews coming up to reinforce what you’ve seen so far. That will free up time for learning some grammar or using an app like LingoDeer or BunPro to get daily practice filling in sentences.

Slouching on non-kanji/vocab skills is my biggest regret with my Japanese study so far. I have a pretty easy time with N2 practice tests on kanji, but can barely do N4 listening. I can’t really hold a conversation. Since hitting 60 I’ve been practicing those things, but it’s a shame how lopsided I allowed my skills to get.


Maybe I misunderstood, but are those 200 lessons from the last level you did? Or is it old stuff from previous levels that you are ignoring?

Disclaimer: I reorder but I would stop doing it if I was unable to keep up with vocab.

If you are still ignoring vocab from old levels: basically don't do it.

I know there are people totally skipping the vocabulary using the script, I believe (as the others) that it doesn’t make much sense. If you are exposed to native material you have seen them (or will soon). I think it’s much better to study it, and when you see/hear the vocab you can say “Hey, I’ve already heard this word…yeah I think it was this kanji” . That can burn it in your memory forever.

I’ll give an example: last level I found 「回」. Without studying the vocab word 「回る」I wouldn’t have recognized it in GTO Opening. After seeing it and hearing I was “**** yeah, I just studied this word”. I’m pretty sure that’s burned (even though WK considers it just Apprentice 4). Wherever I find it, I will recognize it.

If instead it's just vocab from last level :

It’s totally OK (the reorder script wouldn’t make sense otherwise). Doing the vocab 5 days after the kanji or 7 days won’t change much. Just do it before leveling up again.

Not sure how many people agree with me, but I wouldn’t mind having more vocab for every kanji. For people like me who don’t read yet it would be a great way to reinforce the meanings of the kanji even more. It’s hard to recognize the kanji and their on’yomi. The vocab and kun’yomi are much easier.

Another note: If you have to go fast (aka “financial reasons”), have you considered getting the full time membership?

Edit: I almost forgot to give the real answer to the question… I think one week (even less maybe) is more than enough for you to learn and take all that vocab at around Apprentice 4 / Guru 1. It means you will spend ~10% more on WK than you would on the current pace. If you don’t slow down and learn it 5 levels from now, you may have to stop altogether or waste much more time. Isn’t the risk too big?

Why would you want to learn radicals but not vocab? The point of wanikani is to learn vocab. Not to cheat and raise your level as fast as possible.

I’d advise:

  • stop reordering.
  • do vocab when wanikani makes you do it.
  • but don’t overload yourself - a good guideline that many people on here repeat is that if you have over 100 items at apprentice you should stop doing lessons until you get below 100.

Steady pace of 8 days? I am at an average 12 days following the default SRS. The only script I use is Self study quiz to get me going with new radicals/kanji/vocab or those I keep failing at apprentice 1. It helps me get those to apprentice 2 quicker. From then on I let WaniKani do its magic.
And vocab is a great way to memorize the kanji because it repeats them constantly. I am even at a stage I can predict pronounciations of many vocab. That is a great feeling.

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I don’t necessarily agree fully with this. :slight_smile:

WK advertises itself as a kanji resource, and that’s where its main strength is. If it was a vocab resource, it wouldn’t teach the kanji version of words that are written in kana alone in the vast majority of cases. Some vocab also isn’t the most common way to express certain concepts, and that’s because the vocab is chosen to reinforce the on’yomi, or to introduce you to the kun’yomi.

Does it teach a whole lot of useful vocab? Absolutely! Is it a vocab tool? Not primarily.

That’s just my two cents, though. ^^


To add my point of view here. I’ve been trying to learn japanese since 1996 without putting real effort in it. Before my fourth trip in Japan, I decided to get a private teacher and to start learning kanjis on Wanikani. For me, they don’t teach at all the same thing.
But, about vocab, I still have a lot of vocab to learn for my japanese lessons and I already know some vocab of wanikani. So it’s not like I’m completly ignoing vocab.
What I really seeked with Wanikani was instictive recognition of kanjis, as such it works well.
Vocab on wanikani often feels forced to be able to use kanjis in context. It’s not really useful vocab when you want to do simple sentences.

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The vocab will only help with this. :slight_smile:


Ya and also being able to say them correctly is super important. I’m slowing down a bit because that overwhelming feeling just makes me never want to do it and I’d rather make progress than get overwhelmed. I do not use a reorder script, but I can tell you my way of going about it which will still give you 8 day levels and do the vocab, but it can get a little overwhelming. I’m not saying you do this, but its merely a suggestion. You need to do the current vocab first imo no matter what though. If you truly know the kanji, 80% of the vocab will be ez pz. They generally make sense and the readings are generally what you already know.

I don’t care about radicals. I generally remember them, but if I don’t I always cheat.

I will do my best to remember the Kanji on the current level I’m on, but if I don’t know it and I haven’t guru’d them yet, I still will cheat and look it up. Once they’re guru’d and have unlocked what they need to, I never cheat on them again. Generally by the time I get to the vocab unlock, I have them memorized really well. The vocab just reinforces it and I never cheat on the vocab either. One I hit next level, do I have less than 100 apprentice & feel comfortable? Lesson time.

I’m trying to do that but a little less aggressively. Just my 2 cents.

Do your vocab! :slight_smile:

EDIT: This was supposed to be in reply to @heptaflex. Woops! :slight_smile:


I’m going to echo everyone else and recommend that you do your vocab!

You have the goal of your upcoming trip, which is great motivator! Let me assure you that learning the vocabulary on WK has helped me immensely with my daily life in Japan, and the native Japanese you will encounter will be much easier to understand if you have a decent vocabulary under your belt.

The vocab on WK might not feel immediately useful, but I promise that it is in the long run. I mean, I’m only level 15, and I encounter enough WK vocab where I can immediately recognize “hey! I just learned that on WK!”

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I doubt it is possible to remember kanjis without leraning vocab at all, when you learn another hundred of them. Ask yourself, if you take a brake for a two weeks or so, could you still recognize it? If the answer is yes, then you probably doing in right. Otherwise, you should learn more vocab.

Unfortunately the trip is now over and my back to my country… But there’s always a new trip to plan.
But, it’s true that I could already use a lot of vocabulary during my trip.

I’m only at level 11, but the vocab helps me a ton. I’m still going pretty fast, but my rule is that I have to finish the previous lesson’s vocab before I level up the next time. (So, now that I’m level 11, I want to have done all the level 10 vocab lessons before I level up to 12.)

You can still do it in eight days, you just have to do 30 vocab lessons a day. :slight_smile: But you could definitely slow down to ten days a level, say, and do all the vocab and I bet everything would stick better. I think it’s relatively easy to do 15-20 vocab a day (YMMV) since usually half of them just use the readings you know already…

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Firstly, the way you “should” use WaniKani is dependent on your language-learning goals.

Secondly, I will be the voice contrary to the majority here, with examples inspired by my own goals. I prioritize learning the kanji with the highest priority being meaning and then readings. My overall goal is fluency, but I have a preference for priority of subgoals. My lesson queue has 800+ items. I’m not proud of this, but I’m not ashamed of it either. That’s just the way things shake out using the approach I’m taking.

“Cheating WaniKani,” “abusing scripts,” and phrases like that imply that you’ve somehow reached a status on WaniKani that you don’t deserve or that you cut a corner in a race, that someone else’s goal should be the one by which your progress is judged. You’re building your own fluency, and vanilla WaniKani is a screwdriver. If you need a wrench, fashion or buy a wrench, but either way put the screwdriver away until it’s time for a screwdriver.

To bring balance to my own position here, if you have time (however you choose to interpret that) to learn the vocabulary on WaniKani, obviously do so. Turning down opportunities to learn is only slowing you down.

I let the SRS be my indicator of how fast is too fast. If my review accuracy is dropping below ~90%, I think I’m moving too fast. If it’s 100% consistently, I can go faster.

Whatever approach you choose, it’s also good to be honest up front about the tradeoffs of your methods. As others have said, deprioritizing vocabulary will leave you with a gap in vocabulary once you’ve made your way through the kanji. The fact of the matter for me, though, is that I only have so much time in each day to learn material. Scheduling vocabulary in front of kanji doesn’t mean I learn kanji just as fast with more vocabulary to boot.

In my approach, I still pick up outstanding vocabulary, but only after I’ve worked through any kanji first. I also encounter new vocabulary while reading.

To the approach that works for you :clinking_glasses:

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I think it’s important since wanikani doesn’t teach you all the readings of a kanji right away, you only learn those readings through vocabulary. If you aren’t learning the vocab, you aren’t learning all the important readings for each kanji. It also will make it harder for the kanji to stick, especially in the long run.

Also, with reorder, you can keep 7-8 day levels and still do all your vocab. You just have to calculate how many lessons to do a day in order to achieve that.

If you can spare a few minutes every hour or two, use it to learn 5 words. Keep doing it and you’ll easily clear 30-40 lessons a day lol.