Stuck at level 40 for 3 months (and I finally got out)

Hello guys, I haven’t been writing here a lot, not only because of what the title suggests, but because I’ve never been really active in the community since level 1. But I think that this time around, it might be good for me to share a little bit of my experience, and listen to other people’s experiences and advices regarding getting stuck and feeling overwhelmed and like you hate Wanikani, lol.

I stopped regularily doing lessons and reviews since the beginning of october, when I’ve had a very intense life experience which left me unsure of what to do with my life. Of course, it’s wasn’t the best of times to be doing daily reviews and lessons, and Wanikani quickly became a problem which I didn’t want to think about.

I basically spent 3 months doing reviews once every two weeks or so, with one time succeeding in doing all my reviews - but then I didn’t do new lessons and the reviews piled up again. Not only that, but when I did reviews, of course I couldn’t remember much because of the lack of frequency, and I have to admit I did end up burning some items that I failed to remember precisely, even though I know perfectly well that cheating on wanikani is completely useless for your Japanese learning journey.

I can’t tell you how many times in the morning I opened wanikani in the browser, and then ignored it for the whole day until it got dark and I procrastinated to the day after. And so on.

This went parallel to an overall stop to my Japanese learning - in the summer I was reading a book in Japanese, then I stopped - motivated both by my special life situation, and by the fact that in october I started studying my second university language, which is Chinese (which I love, by the way). Between october and december I also put some effort in learning Korean, and thought about studying all three languages together (my ex-boyfriend was Korean, and you could say my special life situation was him going back to Korea and disappearing from my life completely). I dropped Korean recently, since I’m going on a trip to Japan this coming March. I need to put more effort on advancing my barely-intermediate level in Japanese.

I reached 0 reviews and 0 lessons for the first time yesterday. And wanikani feels completely different, I have to admit. It feels like it felt back in the beginning, when I had fun using it. I don’t doubt there will be though times ahead, but I feel like I got out of an ugly situation that did make me feel like I was maybe going to give up wanikani after all.

Maybe the message I want to get out of this is: there is a reason for you being stuck on a level or being drown by procrastinated reviews, and most likely that reason has little to do with wanikani per se, or your Japanese study per se. You have to give yourself time to process whatever made you develop and ugly relationship with studying with wanikani - and it’s never too late to pick it up and start from your starting point. I honestly don’t care about stats, or how many days will it take me to complete wanikani. I think learning is not a race, and I might even suggest that if wanikani is always, everyday, at the center of your life, then maybe you are not having such an eventful life, after all.

I think the highest number of reviews I had was +700, with +100 lessons to do. Now I have burned more than +4000 items, and am expecting to continue my journey little steps at a time.

I would love to read your personal stories of being stuck at one point, or several points, and how you usually get out of it. I think the mental process is more important than the fact that you actually sit down and do reviews for 5-6 hours in a day (at least that’s what I did at the beginning of this week). And I think we all have special stories that could motivate, hopefully, other people to carry on.


Good job of getting out! I also recently had a year and a half break so I forgot a lot of things (I remember them, but ever so slightly). So I reset today:D I actually wanted to do WK and not self quizes, reading mnemonics again and all that. :blush:

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Resetting takes some guts! Good luck on your journey, when did your break start, I mean, at which level?

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Oh it sure was not an easy choice!:smiley: I was level 20 but I rushed through lvls 12-15 learning kanji as fast as I could, at night or whenever. And then I was too tired, went incredibly slow aaaaand boom, summer, exams and a year and a half break:D

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I feel you. I never did have such a long streak of fast levels, but maybe it’s better this way. There are people who can substain it for a year, but maybe overall I prefer the slower approach.
The real challenge for me this year will be to pick up the writing kanji study. I am absolutely terrible at writing Japanese kanji (I’m specifying Japanese because, on the contrary, I am good at writing Chinese because I’ve been practicing handwriting it since the beginning. And Chinese has no kana, so it’s either remember it or fail entirely lol).


I went so fast because at that time I spent my first money on a learning programm and it was huge for me. I payed for a year so I thought I had to go as fast as I could, aaaand that’s why I bought lifetime this year - to not worry about money anymore!

With chinese - I agree. I studied a bit of it last summer and that’s when I understood how much I really love japanese:D The difference in pronunciation got me :smile:


I love both Japanese and Chinese pronounciation, because it is extremely different. (I also like listening to Korean, but that’s not a language for me. I have so many difficulties with pronounciation it’s not normal, I am usually an ace in that department because of my musician history. Oh well!)

I understand the wanting to go fast because of money. Totally understand it. I still do not have lifetime and I am not sure if I am ever going to buy it. I wonder if it’s possible for me to do 20 levels in 6 months… nah, probably possible but unlikely xD


I quit reviews for 6 months and came back to 900-something reviews. I spent a month hacking them down. When I finally got to 0 I nearly fell out of my chair in delight.


Woah, I’m not sure if I would ever survive +1000 reviews, and 900 is pretty damn close.
I did do +500 reviews in the span of one day. It was even a crappy day, but I felt like it was about time I took care of those xD

I have been stuck at Level 44 because of IRL and university stuff for 2.5 months. I am not going to reset but I am going to do it the hard way and keep adding stuff to leeches that I forgot. I have ~800 reviews which I am hoping to get back to 0 within the end of January and continue as normal from February onward.


Thanks for sharing your experience!

I just reset from level 42 and had only let my reviews build up twice. Once when I went on vacation after a 26 day 0/0 streak and (intentionally) did not turn on vacation mode. They got to about 600 and I didn’t rush myself. I did anywhere from a couple reviews to a couple hundred reviews a day until I got back into 0/0 regularly.

The second time was before my reset but that time wasn’t because of lack of motivation. I was really torn on how to handle the content update and eventually decided that because of some learning laziness (I also burned plenty of items I wasn’t sufficiently familiar with) and because of my neuroses in wanting to learn with the new content from the beginning, I would start again. I’m glad I did not only because of those reasons, but because I can tell already how well it’s re-enforcing what I’ve already learned. This time I also plan to have a better schedule for reading and grammar study to go alongside my WaniKan(j)i learning.

Anyway, I agree about trying to not tie personal life situations into feelings or frustrations with WaniKani. I found that when I stopped looking at the percentage in the upper right during my reviews I ended up having a much better time and generally did better anyway. I like having a 0/0 streak as a goal and a way to motivate myself when I normally wouldn’t, but I also don’t beat myself up if I break a streak (that’s part of why I didn’t turn on vacation mode that one time).

Whew I don’t write on the forums often and maybe this novel is why!


Yes, maybe starting again eventually could be an option… I do believe, as you said, that it enforces your previously learned items very well. I have to re-learn kanji for writing anyways, so that will be a thrill.
And yes, not worrying too much about the percentages and the stats helped. I always aimed to have 100% right in reviews. But doing piled up reviews, of course you’re gonna forget and of course the percentage will go down. When I accepted that, I managed to slowly do them all and yay for us.

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Congrats on getting through those reviews and lessons and getting back on track! I sympathize with these kinds of stories because of my own experience, which I will now tell you about

I was progressing pretty well on WK in the beginning, but then a mixture of life + backlog in vocab lessons suddenly led to me stepping away from WK for about 7 months, I think I was just burned out and out of motivation for anything :upside_down_face: I really thought that I’d never see that golden badge :thinking:

But then I had a refresh in motivation, and I decided I was going to try to make it back, and when I did I faced a huge pile of reviews (1500+) and lessons (150-200ish) and my reaction went very much like


しかし, I told myself I wouldn’t rush it and would just try my best to take it one day at a time, whittling down the piles until I finally reached 0/0 for the first time in a while about 10 days later, and I didn’t slow down since. And now I’m here, with the golden badge, and with only 5 items left to burn on WK :grin:

I agree with what you said about mentality playing a big role in coming back – giving yourself time to whittle down the review/lesson piles and easing back into progressing is important as to avoid burning out and getting stuck (again)

Learning is personal, and with a long-term commitment such as WK, it’s more about figuring out how much you can commit to it on a daily basis, and also making sure to listen to your brain if you start getting feelings of burning out – sometimes it’s better to slow down rather than push on and risk burning out and stopping completely

It’s all about making it to the end, so whether it takes you 1 year or if it takes you 5+, continuing to move forward is key, and regardless of what your journey is like, you’re amazing for doing it :durtle_the_explorer:

Good luck to you and everyone else who may have/are struggling, this isn’t the end and you may just surprise yourself with what you can really do :slightly_smiling_face:

And if you're interested, my stats

old screenshot taken when I reached 60


I haven’t got stuck on WaniKani yet, but what I can tell is that learning a new language is helping me to get unstuck…

Without getting much into a sob story, let’s just say that 2017 and 2018 weren’t very good years. And for that I had to put my personal life pursuits on hold. Even after the worst had passed, it took a while to start to get enjoyment out of things again. Stuff like playing games, movies and books became a hassle. It’s like when something sad happens and there is a certain music playing, and now that sad thing became associated with the song. Now this song is ruined!

So I just decided not to do any of that, otherwise I would just hate it.

So I guess my commentary is that sometimes it’s ok to avoid doing this kind of stuff for a while. Specially if it’s something that you used to love, and now you can’t stand it.

It’s really great that you’re back on track now, and I sure hope to see you reaching lvl 60! Maybe even before the end of the year?

Thanks for sharing your story! and good luck and best to you!

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Your stats are nontheless amazing!

Ah, now I’m craving those short levels like crazy… they look so juicy.
Continuing to move forward is key, as everything in life. Thank you for sharing your Wanikani story <3


Something similar happened to me recently. I spent a month a half in level 17. Before that I also had spent a month a half on level 15 and 14. I made me feel frustrated but at some point I overcame that frustration and continued studying because everytime I felt frustration was about to take on my brain I brainwashed myself by thinking that it is not about a race, but to learn at my own pace. After level 17, It took me three weeks to move on to level 19.

Edit: Why does my badge shows 17 instead of 19? Screenshot_20190118-183238|281x500


Try logging out and logging in again, it does that sometimes.

Congrats for un-stucking yourself ~ yes wanikani can be seriously frustrating. It became only a burden when I knew I had +500 reviews and I didn’t want to do them. Now that I am pacing myself it’s fun and pleasing to do once more.

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