The Fugu That Broke The Camel's Back (Why I'm quitting WaniKani)

I’m quitting WaniKani at level 27.

Actually, I love WaniKani, and it’s the best way to learn kanji and make it stick! And I’m a lifetime subscriber, so I could come back. but I’m quitting because…河豚 (fugu). This Kanji is level 27. I can read it and memorise it… but it’s totally not worth remembering!!! I live and work in Japan, 20 years and counting…I have asked many Japanese people to read this kanji…even teachers, students… and almost NO JAPANESE people know this kanji!!! So, it’s a big waste of time. This is not the first irrelevant kanji or vocab I’ve learned…but it’s the last!

So long and thanks for all the 魚(fish).


The company that created WaniKani is called Tofugu, so it’s no surprise they included 河豚 as a reference / joke. Good thing you’re quitting now before you waste your time learning 鰐蟹 on level 52. I’ve never seen that word in the wild either. :roll_eyes:


I agree with seanblue. It’s likely just in there as a meme since it’s an outdated word, but both of the kanji that make it up are on the JLPT (N2 and N1 respectively). So I don’t see how learning those kanji is “a waste of time.” The word itself kinda is, but if a few meme words based around the company’s name/brand image are enough to get you to quit, maybe you were just looking for an excuse anyway. Best of luck in your continuing study.




God forbid you learn a few rare words/kanji in exchange for >90% of jouyou kanji and a few thousand other vocab that are actually used. Best of luck with heisig.


河豚 is what got you? Not 里心? That’s the one that triggers some of the most high-profile flounces this forum has seen. :stuck_out_tongue:

On a slightly less facetious note, though, how about 淀川?


Lifetime subscription FTW


I don’t have an opinion on OP quitting or not because that’s a personal decision, but I just wanted to add that I currently live in Yamaguchi prefecture (famous for fugu) and I see these kanji relatively frequently. Especially on those script-style menus at fancy restaurants.


Also, looking for ”河豚を” -三河豚 on google (with を particle to be sure to get Japanese result and excluding 三河豚 because the porc from mikawa seems to be a thing), there is still 61,900 results left. And 38,500 with は, so it’s not that rare either. Most results seems to be cooking blog so maybe it’s more well-know by cooking enthusiast. ?

By the way, it’s just one person, but I showed 河豚 to a native and they almost instantly say ふぐ. (They told me after that they hesitated a bit with 海豚 (dolphin), another funny ateji).

I remember reading that the WK team is going to remove some of the rarest words from WK and they will publish the list this summer, so I wonder if stuff like 河豚 or 淀川 will be on it ?


Uh, no, I don’t think you understand. Based on a representative survey of the six people standing near OP at the time, noone in Japan uses the kanji. Yamaguchi Prefecture must be mistaken.

I mean, 淀川 is a ward in Osaka. I just fail to see why it’s relevant as a context for the 淀 kanji. There’s nothing on the WaniKani or the Togufu websites that makes it apparent why it excites them so.


Yeah, stuff like that will come up for different people. I live near 夙川駅 (しゅくがわえき), which makes remembering the kanken level pre-1 kanji 夙 quite easy for me. I see it every day. But it would be an odd choice for this kind of platform.


You remind me of Sherlock Holmes. :mag: pipe
He too was a strong believer that only the most necessary information should be kept in one’s memory :sweat_smile:

“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has difficulty laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

(c) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “A Study in Scarlet”.

I’m afraid, I don’t purrsonally agree with this approach though…
Then again, I’m neither a great detective nor a great writer… :sweat_smile:

Anyway, whether you return to WaniKani or not, best of luck with your studies!


For “relevant” (aka survival) vocabulary you probably just need a few hundred kanji. But there is no such thing as irrelevant vocabulary when learning a language. And just because a kanji is rare it doesn’t mean that learning it is a waste of time. My personal goal is to work in the language industry, so for me, learning unusual kanji is actually very useful. :relieved:


But Fugu-chan is so cute!


It’s not a kanji though, it’s vocabulary. The vocabulary here is only to support you remembering and learning about the nuances and ways in which certain readings and meanings of a kanji are used. The old vocabulary is sometimes necessary, as the already learned kanji don’t combine with this kanji to get to that unique reading of meaning. If you want to learn vocabulary for daily use, I’d recommend something like Torii or


May I ask a perhaps very dumb question? What’s the matter with 里心? I use Rikaichamp and it translated it to a fairly common used word in my native language, so I would probably use that word all the time. (Especially when I’m in Japan lol)


I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but essentially its a really old and outdated way to say homesick. Essentially its not something you would encounter in normal conversation and there is a much more common vocabulary word normally used. (Essentially people sometimes get really heated about a word not being common or in their mind useful, but it does its purpose of reinforcing the kanji/ readings and does still sometimes show up.)


And you would fall into the same mistake that people who complain about the word do. It’s a literary or old-fashioned word. The word you would want in casual conversation is ホームシック, which you won’t learn on WaniKani because it’s not written with kanji.

It’s very common for new users to want to use every word they learn here in conversation, but teaching vocabulary for conversation is not the objective of WaniKani. The objective here is to learn how to read kanji, and you may indeed encounter that word when reading, and WK will have been helpful.


You do know that you’re now destined to see 河豚 in the wild at least twice in the next week?