Starting wanikani as an advanced speaker -- should I continue?

Hello there. I just started WK ten days ago – just about to finish level 2 so really just starting here, but I live/work in Japan (100% japanese) and have no problem speaking with coworkers at all, even written communication is mostly OK as I can normally pick the correct kanjis when prompted from spelling, and there are great extensions like ten10 (ex rikaichan) for kanji lookup.

I’m looking at WK because as you might have guessed from how I finished above, I never really studied kanji… I did intensive lessons 10 years ago (~5 hours a day for a few months can do wonder, courtesy of the japanese government) so my grammar is mostly OK, have plenty of vocabulary from animes/LN etc but never took time to sit down and study kanjis, so while I can recognize many there are times I don’t have the reading and end up not recognizing the words etc etc. I see great value in finally sitting down and doing something like WK even at this point.

BUT.while there are a few good things I’m picking up, I’m going to know perfectly well 99% of the first 10 levels at least. This is so very boring and already painful. I understand not being able to skip things is one of the main points of WK but I honestly don’t see myself keeping it up long enough to get to the really interesting part. getting 5 variations of each number (一(kanji)、一(vocabulary)、一日、一つ、一月) is just downright torture. (oh and let me say the radical 一 being called ‘ground’ and not accepting ‘one’ for the very first lesson was a shock… I mean sure it’s used as ground for things like 土 but meh it’s still 一. Also not forgiving typos and silly mistakes (erm playing with weird fonts and 木 looked just like 水 out of context…) is also facepalming)

There’s also one point I haven’t seen reading on the forum a bit, is that mixing meaning and reading is really hard for me. I’ve often typed the reading by the time I notice I was asked the meaning, then have to delete it painfully and type again… Might get used to that later on (yes I’ve seen the bar changes color, my brain just doesn’t register that) but I’d much prefer to do a batch of all meanings then all readings or the other way around than random shuffle.

Anyway, enough grumbling and onto the main question: given the info above, should I continue?
I’m feeling that if I stick through it it will help me quite a lot with reading without cheats (and as bonus probably allow me to take N1 test and rake points for early permanent visa… currently would only be confident in taking N2), but not being able to skip things I know 100% is a real pain point and I also think I’d be better trying to pick up something like anki again.
OTOH sinking in money into WK would probably be a good motivational :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m sure this has been asked a thousands time but what do y’all think?



Well, personally I think WK is well worth it.

As for mixing meanings and readings – this used to be a big problem for me in the beginning, but then I got used to it and now it happens only very rarely.

Anyway, whether you choose to continue with WaniKani or decide to use something else, best of luck with your studies!


I think Wanikani is probably going to be too slow for you. Although I can’t recommend anything specific, but there should be a Kanji learning source better suited for your needs.

Although, if you would still like to use Wanikani, I’ve got a couple of tips for you: There’s a userscript that allows you to rearrange items, allowing you to do radicals and kanji first (vocab items are not necessary to level up). It would make a lot of sense for you to skip the vocabulary entirely and just read the vocabulary list of each level a couple of times after learning the respective Kanji. Vocabulary lessons and reviews take up so much time and I don’t think you’d benefit much from them.

There’s also a script that allows you to manually quiz yourself on items that you have not unlocked yet. That way you can study items of later levels without having to wait for so long. If you’re interested, I can try finding these scripts and link them for you.


Maybe @Naphthalene’s level 60 post can help you decide:


Thanks for the reply! (trunklayer as well – good to know you get used to mixed meanings/readings!)

right, I’ve read the forum a bit before posting and noticed the plethora of extensions, including filters to only get radicals/kanjis. I guess I should try some of that on next level before deciding… Ideally I’d want to go through vocabulary once and handpick from it (for e.g. readings I’m less familiar with), but that didn’t look possible. I definitely will need vocabulary for kanjis I don’t know as well in the later levels so just skipping it all isn’t realistic.
If I can get something like handpicking to work I can probably live with the slow pace, I just don’t want to spend an hour per day working finger muscles.
(also saw double check for typos I’ll definitely want to test, didn’t work somehow)

I didn’t recognize the manual quiz you describe though, [Userscript] Self-Study Quiz perhaps ?

MissDagger – saw your reply as I was done typing this, and I really agree with the post you linked. Even a gentle estimate of half a year to get to useful kanjis is going to feel long… Even if I do understand that it’s still worth it for the rest, this is just so frustrating :frowning:

Anyway, thanks to you three. I’ll play with extensions a bit more tomorrow. More opinions still welcome though :slight_smile:


Hey, I grew up in Japan and lived there for 15 years as a kid. I went to a Japanese kindergarten but then for school we went to an international school. I’ve been back to Japan on and off including a 3 year tour in the Navy as an adult, and many business trips. So I can speak on a native level, and I can read some, but not a lot. I started WK with the goal of being able to read the newspaper. Almost there. I did Heisig a couple of years ago but things didn’t really stick. I think this is the best tool there is for learning to read Japanese, and for learning a lot of vocabulary (I’m learning a lot of words that I didn’t know!!!). So my advice: stick to it.


There are certainly systems that teach only kanji that would get you there quicker/more efficiently (I don’t know which ones would be recommendable though, but I’m sure people have discussed them on the forums so you might be able to find recommendations on other systems, beyond just using anki). It might be worth looking around the level 60 category overall, reading the posts from those who have finished. I know there are more than Naph who’s been advanced to do it. But just because they exist doesn’t mean it is right for you.

WK is very good at teaching kanji so as to help reading. The vocabulary is mostly focused on throughly learning the main readings as well as uncommon readings. It is usually a good idea to use user synonyms. For example, you can add “one” as a synonym to the ground radical if you want.

I certainly think WK works better with scripts. Exactly which ones to use depends on what works for you. (Reading level 60 posts can also help with picking scripts because several of them mention which scripts they used, and sometimes why too.)


I’ve been looking for something like this, too. I assume it doesn’t exist/is impossible to make, sadly.


You should install the reorder omega script: [Userscript] Reorder Omega - #241 by Kumirei

There is a 1x1 mode that allow to always have kanji reading and meaning back to back, always in the same order. It speed up quite a lot the review when you don’t have to think about if it’s reading or meaning.

And in any case, as an advanced learner you probably need the omega reorder script to deal with the radical and kanji lesson as soon as they appear to be able to go max speed and climb level quickly, otherwise it would be quite boring. Also probably the WK double script to be able to never fail radical since it can delay harshly level up.

Edit: the torture by counter is almost over by level 5 fortunately. Also the interesting thing about WK is that they don’t limit themselves to beginner vocab, they also mix in less common vocabs if it help remember some kanji reading, so you may be able to learn new things earlier than you thought. (probably not in the 10 first levels though)


I’ve often typed the reading by the time I notice I was asked the meaning, then have to delete it painfully and type again…

There are some userscripts for the site which always put things in order I think. The unofficial Wanikani app called Tsurukame (which is great, I prefer it over site+userscripts) also has the option to tie the reading and meaning of a kanji together and allows you to set the order. I had the same issue, but now that the app is ALWAYS asking me the meaning first and then the reading second (you can do it reverse if you wish so), it rarely goes wrong anymore. It also always puts them together, so there’s no other kanji between getting asked the meaning and reading.

I am sure there is some logic as to why Wanikani separates these things, probably to prompt you to kinda think about meaning and reading twice in a session. But it is also important to find a workflow that works for you.


This question comes up from time to time, and having read these threads, I still don’t understand the “You should do it anways” answers. Probably comes down to how much you like WaniKani. (You’re asking in a place where most people do like it, something to take into consideration)

Imo the time wasted on SRS’ing things you already know is better spent elsewhere. Get yourself an Anki deck, suspend all the things you already know and spend the time you made up on reading. Definitely more fun, probably more efficient.


Personally, I dislike questions like this because usually when people ask, they have already made up their minds for the most part.

If you are a person that already has some spoken Japanese under your belt, every single Kanji resource is going to seem painfully sluggish and an exercise in tedium at first. This is unavoidable.

A system that doesn’t allow you to mark things you know well as “known” and skip them, is going to trigger a lot of people that are beyond the basics.

Like @GrumpyPanda said, SRS doesn’t work well if you’re being forced to sink time into progressing items through the SRS system that you already know.

On the other hand, WK builds on a system of radicals and mnemonics which is unique to WK. If you get over the hump of info you already know, the system with its rigid structure may help accelerate your kanji learning once you being to encounter less familiar content.

WK doesn’t follow a traditional JLPT/Grade path, so that at least breaks up some of the monotony. You’re learning different words and kanji than the same regurgitated information that most other kanji resources start you off with, which is refreshing.

Ultimately, when evaluating a resource (any resource, WK or other), the question comes down to:

Do you enjoy using the resource?


Do you see the value in the resource?

If you can answer yes to both, then continue using it. If you can answer yes to 1 of them, mull it over for a while. If you can’t say yes to either of them, don’t waste your time even pondering it.


While I was not in your situation, perhaps the reason I chose WaniKani will help?

When I self-study, I don’t get any feedback. And with tools like Anki, I’m left to decide for myself whether my answer was correct or not. If I didn’t get the literal exact match, was my answer close enough? Like it or not, I do better with merciless and strict feedback and consequences. It’s the main reason I don’t use typo-correction scripts either. The best way to force info into my brain is to set the bar high and adhere to the correct-or-not ruleset of the system. Cursing and setbacks included.

But not everybody is like that. Some people work wonders with self-study without direct feedback. If that is you, your time is better spent elsewhere. If on the other hand you’re more like me, WaniKani can be a great investment. You’ll have to weigh the benefits of the automated feedback system against the grind of the first 20 levels.


I came to WK at probably a similar point in terms of Japanese knowledge. I’d just gotten back from a year working in Japan teaching English and my speaking was miles ahead of my reading ability, particularly kanji.

For me, WK was worth it because the system of reinforcing the kanji with relevant vocab really works well for me (though I 100% get what you are saying about wishing you could pick and choose vocabulary lessons as there are so many from the early levels that an intermediate or advanced Japanese learner already knows by heart). Nothing else I have tried to this point seems to work as well, and so even with this frustration I still find it useful. Plus, I’m actually learning a lot of new vocabulary, too, and I don’t have to create or manage flashcard decks or SRS myself. And because of this, even with a pretty busy work schedule I can fit in time for WK.

That said, if the amount of time you have to spend on stuff you already know is more bothersome to you than working with another tool and doing initial setup to weed out the ones you already know, a few alternatives come to mind:

  • Anki (FREE, lots of decks out there, fully customizable)
  • (lots of decks out there, customizable)
  • (FREE to try, need subscription to move at a faster pace, lets you remove kanji you already know – I had some issues with this and compound words with multiple meanings, i.e. 一月 it wanted the reading “ひとつき”, where “いちがつ” is obviously an equally valid reading)
  • (FREE, not an SRS, just a list of kanji, in order by parts similar to RTK, but with pronunciation and vocab words included – great resource for distinguishing between similar kanji, but warning: very crude language throughout)
  • (physical flashcards, expensive but very high quality, include stroke order, common vocab words, and a couple similar-looking kanji on each card)

For me, a lifetime WK membership (bought on sale) so I can take it at my own pace works well and I’m getting a lot out of it, but I can definitely understand if that’s not for you.


tl;dr: mostly been convinced to go with it for now, thanks all.
Don’t think I’ll need more than two years, but being able to come back later kind of makes me want to wait for lifetime membership sale and get it instead, I’m a bit of a ケチ :stuck_out_tongue: Just to not have that feeling that I must rush through might be worth it though as I don’t always have tons of free time…

No, I’m really on the fence here. Your last two points are spot on: I definitely see value in keeping it up, but no I don’t particularily enjoy it (it’s ok-ish, but reading about what happens a bit later on definitely makes me think I won’t enjoy it)
Reading about other comments (thanks everyone!) kind of helped actually. Also gave me hope I might be able to lessen the pain with scripts a bit.

omg, thanks! I didn’t notice that possibility, already added three :smiley:

It should be possible if you always review from the same computer – add a button like double-check that keeps the item in some local storage list and just automatically submit it as correct i fit’s in there. I’m somewhat of a geek so if I do get past the paying I’ll probably take a stab… Won’t make progress faster in terms of weeks to finish, but will definitely cut on the review time!

Thanks, I tried and it helps!

I think even in my case WK has a few advantages:

  • it’s a well thought / tested deck, when I tried anki ages ago I was overwhelmed by the choices and all weren’t great (or good at all)
  • to expand on the above point, it forces you to get all readings down, anki with a card per kanji and a few examples on the card just doesn’t cut it (“ok I knew most of these” and never learn the less used ones) – that’s listed as a down in some 60 levels posts, but I think it’s actually good… Well under the condition you can send the vocab you know perfectly out but that’s another problem :stuck_out_tongue:
  • having to write the answer instead of just saying “ok I knew that” helps – this can be done without with a bit of rigor but it’s really difficult. To give an example even in the first levels, I never really thought about the writing of 女王 – it’s just joooo to me, so having to write it down as じょおう kind of helps.

Well, definitely value in here.

Thanks! I’ve seen some of these before and will probably give them another try before committing here.

I’m not sure I replied to everyone here, but thanks all once again, very helpful :slight_smile:


Adding to the resources, Clozemaster is a brilliant app and most of its functionality (that I have seen so far) is free. It’s just a database of thousands of fill-in-the-blank sentences. Learn language in context - Clozemaster

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Since you seem to be waiting for the lifetime sale, once you get to level 4, you can buy the yearly, then you can upgrade to lifetime when the sale comes and you’ll get a further discount equaling to the time you have left (Did I say that right?). Well anyway, you’ll be paying the same amount of money either way, but you can get started earlier this way.

I’d also suggest trying to go at the maximum pace which is a bit less than 7 days per normal level, and half of that on the fast levels. Because your knowledge is already pretty solid, you might be able to handle a pile of 100 reviews better than someone like me, who had no prior learning experience. I have been going at the max pace (a couple of hours off) for a couple months now and it’s certainly doable, of course, only because I use scripts, I do 20 lessons a day, but I will admit, I get maybe ~250 reviews a day, I’d say over half of these reviews come at night for me, so it’s a bit annoying, if I stayed relatively focused I could clear it in half an hour, maybe less. But I do think you might be able to do it a bit quicker.

Ultimately, you will have to try out different paces and adjust it to see what works best for you.


Thanks for the tip about upgrading! If I understand it right I’ll be paying a few months more, but that’s quite reasonable and indeed probably better than waiting.

For the pace I agree – I’ll definitely be favoring radicals>kanji>vocab in reviews if I can’t keep up. Right now obviously have few items but even knowing kanjis reviews still take time; the reorder script is a must.

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That and 99% of the people who might answer are here because they use WK, both as beginners and advanced users. It’s not the right place to actually get a balanced response.


Yes, that’s a good idea, I’ve been doing the same, radicals immediately after I level up, and the initial kanji within the first 2 days or so. Once the other kanji unlocks I do it immediately. Doing this, I don’t ever get my lessons to 0, I have vocab lessons from the previous level almost always, only near the end of the level do I finally move on to current vocab, but I soon level up anyway.

Main reason I’ve decided to speed ahead now is because I’ve been reading manga and I can tell I have a huge problem of lack of vocab, my grammar is actually somewhat OK even though I never studied it, it’s all naturally picked up through anime, unironically. It’s something I should work on, but I won’t have time unless I finish these kanji, in which case I think it’s okay if I don’t fully commit some of them to memory just yet, as long as I’m familiar, reading will cement it for me.

You’ve already got a major advantage over me though, so if you think about how where you’ll be regarding kanji after WaniKani it might be a motivation for you to go a bit faster