Some questions - Not Sure WaniKani is for me

I’m approaching the end of my freemium levels and not sure I care to subscribe, mostly because I find the content distribution quite awkward and would like more exposure to content (in a feedback intensive way, so not just looking through the study material but actually doing the review tests). I have some questions. I have more, sort of, but let’s start with these.

  1. Why doesn’t WaniKani cover all the radicals first? It seems wrong to be learning new radicals at level 60, a year or more into it. Seeing as radicals are just meanings, no need to learn readings, it would be SOO simple to just learn them all in a couple of levels and simply review them as you move forward. I got some anki decks that cover radicals (one of which seems to be ripped from an earlier version of WaniKani) and it was no trouble at all to go through all of them (both decks) in a day or two (not saying I know them for life, but that is what srs reviews are for).

  2. Is there even a need to know isolated kanji readings? Are these things ever asked or used? Like does the JLPT ask for the on and kun reading of kanji, divorced from any vocab context? Is this asked in daily life? Do you actually need to consciously know which is which for some reason? Wouldn’t it make more sense to get used to kanji readings from exposure to vocab?

  3. I’m guessing the lack of any sort of “cram” option is a deliberate design choice. I’ve heard about scripts and stuff, is there anything that would give me this option, so I can work more on the material? I think if you get stuff wrong, you shouldn’t have to wait several hours before you review. The site does ask again in the same session, a couple of times, but I still feel it’s not quite right. You might move it to short term memory but by the time you get to review it again you went past the “forgetting window” for srs, even though it’s somewhat more familiar.

Almost all the radicals in the end of the program are just kanji you’ve already learned before which have been consolidated into radicals for the purposes of making mnemonics more succinct. In level 60, there’s only one radical. It’s the level 15 kanji 勇 consolidated into a radical to teach the kanji 湧.

I assume you’re asking about what the purpose of the kanji items is, as opposed to having only vocab items. It’s because it’s about building up progressively.

And no, generally speaking no one will ever ask you specifically for an on or kun, unless you’re taking Kanken or something, but knowing which is which will make your guesses more efficient on words you’re seeing for the first time.

Yeah, there’s a self study script that lets you just review stuff outside of the main SRS.


Because either way you wont need them right away

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

You need to know the readings so that you can figure out how to read words you are not familiar with, or have only seen once or twice. The JLPT does as for the readings. It is used in daily life when people ask how things are read, or when you need to look up a word, or when when you are trying to read, and so on. It does make sense to get used to readings from vocab, this is why WK has over 6000 vocab to learn alongside the 2000 kanji.

Look up the self-study quiz script.


Yeah, there’s a self study script that lets you just review stuff outside of the main SRS.

Does it let me “review” stuff beyond my current level? If not, is there anything that does? I know nothing about these scripts or how they work so I’ll go do some reading but this is my main question. I get the point of SRS and long term memory, but I’d still like to do this as I just don’t see much point in the slow progression and I have a lot of free time on my hands.

No. I thought you were asking about reviewing stuff more than the SRS allows. You can’t review items that haven’t been unlocked yet.

The program can be completed in less than a year. If that’s too slow, there are things like Anki decks.


But don’t you get that “ability to guess”, this “familiarity with possible readings” from exposure to the kanji in vocab? Like in european languages you have latin or greek elements to words that pop up all the time, but I didn’t learn actual latin or actual greek, I just learned the words and got a feel for how the latin fits in words I’m not as familiar with. Yea, I know, it’s still phonetically displayed so it’s simpler but kind of the same concept. I see even at this very low level that vocab readings are one of those things that people improvised as the language developed, so while there are patterns, they aren’t hard rules, you can’t actually know how a word is read by how it is written. Do the exceptions become rarer at higher levels?

I thought you were asking about reviewing stuff more than the SRS allows.

I was, it would just be even better to be able to study before reaching the levels.

I’m pretty sure you can access all content with the script as long as you’re subscribed.

The importance of kanji readings becomes extremely obvious even at relatively low levels. For example, I just learned the Japanese names of some planets: 水星, 金星, 土星, 海王星 (in order: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Neptune). But I didn’t actually have to learn the pronunciations for any of them, because I already knew all of the readings for those 6 different kanji! A large amount of vocabulary is like that, they’re just the kanji readings.

As for the speed, I can assure you it becomes quite merciless around level 6 if you do everything as soon as it becomes available. I spent over 3 hours doing WK reviews and lessons today.


Then why do people complain about this all the time as if that isn’t possible? I guess that solves it for all the “wanna go fast-ers”

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I just installed the script and I think it’s great. Any way to confirm for sure? I mean you are level 60 so you have everything unlocked anyway. I’m still on the fence but I would subscribe in a heartbeat if I could access all the content with the script.

The “slow progression” is only in the beginning. Stick with it and that “free time” will disappear.

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Content is spread out and it’s encouraged to work at it daily, as opposed to cram it into your system and burning out.

Remembering The Kanji also categorizes the kanji and adds radicals as it goes on, building up on what came before it. Although you have to come up with your own system for repetition, which is why I came here years ago.


I guess they’re complaining about not being able to add items to the SRS faster? I think some fast levelers study ahead one level using Self Study to make sure they don’t get any kanji wrong and can keep leveling up at max speed.

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I hate being paced. Hated it in school and hate it here. The self-study script is almost enough to get me off the fence and just subscribe, I would love to use the overall WaniKani system but the “you will only be allowed to learn this next month, or year, I don’t care how well you know what has already been covered” thing bothers me, a lot. I could always study on the side, but if I’m studying on the side and WaniKani is lagging far behind, what’s the point of spending the money on a subscription? I can’t stay engaged with the material if I’m not allowed to challenge myself as I progress but simply have this routine to go through. I don’t care about WaniKani levels at all, all I care about is learning.

So it sounds like no, WaniKani is not for you. Throw a big Anki deck together and go to town. Although trying to cram thousands of items all at once, sounds like a bad idea to me. But, you do you. Good luck.


Short version: Just a quick reminder to not get too caught up in progressing fast on wanikani if it’s to the detriment of your overall learning speed. Ignore if you don’t feel like that’s relevant.

People already seem to have answered your main questions, but I just want to throw in a quick reminder that you probably shouldn’t get too caught up in just studying kanji. Not saying you are, necessarily, but it definitely does seem to happen to people every now and then based on what people say on the forums and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least mention it since you sound really focused on the wk stuff. I could be wrong, but then nothing worse than that I wasted a couple of minutes writing this and that you wasted a couple of seconds reading it happened.

So, basically: learning grammar and non-wk vocab is also very important if you want to use what you learn, grammar might even be more useful for actually being able to use Japanese sooner since a lot of easier stuff have furigana, and learning grammar as well also helps with having something to do while waiting for more stuff on wk if you want to go really fast and also learn fast overall and not just progress fast on wanikani.

All just my opinion, though, of course, and what works well for me may or may not work well for everyone else, but I personally don’t regret learning a lot(comparatively speaking, since my wk level isn’t super high) of grammar early-ish since it made it much more possible to actually read stuff :slight_smile:

Oh, and I guess I can check the self-study script thing for you, just give me a couple minutes to install it


According to sean, you can use the self-study script to study ahead. That would make WaniKani for me. According to Leebo, you can’t. So if anyone knows for sure I would like to know. I can access some locked content if I play with the settings but I can’t tell if the reason I can’t access level 9 stuff is because I’m not subscribed, or because it’s just not possible. I guess it’s not a big deal to subscribe and see for myself, but I could also wait a little bit in case someone knows for sure.

Oh I appreciate that! I used the settings, filters, SRS Level and enabled locked, in case you are not sure how to test it.

At least it seems like I can use it to study stuff from higher levels with the script I tried, so it does indeed seem to be possible, you just have to change the default settings very slightly. Do make sure you don’t neglect other parts of the language regardless of what you do regarding kanji though, an also keep in mind that wanikani tends to speed up a bit as you go along :slight_smile: