Spaced Repetition Flashcards System

Hi Everyone!

(Link to image here or below)

I’m new to learning Japanese. I’m on level 4 of WaniKani, and today I finished creating level 4 vocab flashcards. I wanted to share my flashcard system. Some Tofugu articles on spaced repetition and interleaving(links below) have been incredibly enlightening to me and have drastically improved my learning strategies. At this point, I try to add 20+ new radicals, kanji, vocab, grammar or sentences to my flashcard collection daily. I use colored stickers to indicate what kind of card it is. The front of the flashcard are the Japanese symbols, and on the backside are the hiragana spellings and definitions. My small board holds all the cards that are new to my learning. I introduce 5 cards at a time, starting at the top left corner and moving right as I review. The large board holds all the cards I have learned. Each time I introduce 5 new cards, I’ll review a large stack of review cards. Right now the review is about 25 cards and on average, I’ll get stuck on about one of them, sometimes more and sometimes none(YESSS!!). If I make a mistake, the flashcard gets shuffled into the small board for further review. I mark each reviewed card from the large board with a pencil stroke. My review cards range up to 5 strokes, at which point I may hold onto it for further review or place in my burn pile(a coffee can not in the picture).

What methods do you all use for learning and memorization? Does my method seem effective to you, or are there improvements that come to mind? I love the way it is set up, but I know that eventually I’ll have to create another, even larger board to hold more cards.

Radical - Green
Kanji - Pink
Vocab -Yellow
Sentence - Red
Grammar - Blue



Tofugu links:

Spaced Repetition


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Is there a reason you use physical flash cards? This is an enormous amount of manual work. Perhaps you could save some work by using electronic flash cards.

There are several software for electronic flash cards that implement SRS. Anki, Kitsun, Torii and Kamesame are popular among WK users. You can also find ready made decks for download. Some of these decks have embedded audio. Or you can make your own deck.

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That’s great keep putting in work!! I do think eventually you may find yourself switching to electronic flash cards but I understand the merit of physical cards too! Making the cards themselves takes a lot more time but its a good source of studying itself. I used physical flash cards for all the N1 and N2 vocab along side electronic flashcards.

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Yes, it takes some additional work creating the flashcards. Writing the symbol, hiragana, definition and sometimes drawing something to help with a mnemonic.

Aside from the time it takes to make the flashcard, I feel that the process of creation and writing help really ingrain the meaning of the flashcard. My kanji and hiragana writing skills and legibility have advanced quickly, and writing each word in hiragana has possibly helped my pronunciation.

I quickly abandoned digital flashcards in favor of physical flashcards because of the complete control I have over organization and the personal relationship I have to the cards. Sure, you can quickly fly through a stack of digital cards, but memorization is internalized quickly and I make few mistakes in my flashcards and in wanikani reviews.

I wouldn’t claim that my personal method is superior in any fashion. There are pros and cons to either digital or physical flashcards.


When I started wanikani I made my own flashcards because that is how I always learned new information. Once you get a few more levels in, though, it will become a Sysiphean task. I’m level 13 and would have about 1600 active cards if I was still doing them. Just be careful not to get so bogged down with flashcards that it slows down your progress. Trust in the Crabigator!


Considering the progress that you and the other replying users, I should trust your advice, and soon I will probably convert to digitality. I failed several times to configure Anki to my chromebook, so I figure it’s incompatible to my device. What software would you reccomend?

@prouleau @BigTonee

Personally I use Anki.

I have heard a lot of good about Kitsun. This is a web based solution so it may be more compatible with a Chromebook. However this is a paid service.

I have also heard a lot of good about Torii. This one is free and has a 10K deck built-in. You have the option to exclude Wanikani items so you don’t end up studying them twice. Torii is free.

If you want English to Japanese quizzes you may use Kamesame which is free for now.

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I use a dictionary app on my phone that allows me to create my own lists of vocabulary words to study with and add notes if needed. Its called Japanese and there’s no way I would have made it this far without it! I use it for everything. Only thing is I don’t believe they offer any services on desktop so you’ll have to use your smartphone when studying.


I’m not sure if anyone will see this, but I’ll continue to edit this post while I continue using Flashcards for studying. Here’s my WK level 9 update:

Many of you were right to say it would become a tedious, even “Sysiphean” task to make a card for every Radical, Kanji, and Vocab. At this point, I still make cards for each unique spelling of a Kanji, and now use a virtual SRS for vocab that use repeat spellings. I’ll continue to make flashcards though, because I started using a calligraphy set that I really enjoy using!

Happy studies!

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