~ The Level 15 Curse ~

Hi all,

I’ve often read about WK users disappearing around Level 15… and I’m almost there!

I’m wondering if anyone knows or has heard of the reasoning behind the disappearances? Is it kanji/review overload/stress related maybe? ;\ Should I avoid lessons for a while until reviews settle down, so that I don’t go MIA, too?

Tbh, I kinda lulled around level 3 for personal reasons, but since getting back on the Japanese-learning horse I’ve soared through levels 3-14. I don’t want the soaring to bite me on the butt when the Level 15 curse strikes.

Any senpai advice for post-Level 15 is greatly appreciated.


I’m guessing thats around the level where motivation fades and you need to rely on discipline and habit.

Also the further you go, the less a new kanji improves your overall knowledge, making every later level less satisfactionary than the early levels. This could be a reason some people drop WK


I’m returning from a serious no-kidding-around lull in level six, so maybe it’s out of my system now??

My only advice is to do enough lessons to keep it interesting/fun. Interesting is the only way to keep doing the thing. But what do i know, I’ll be level 6 forever.


Curses only affect you if you believe in them.

Anyway, for good measure I recommend you purify yourself by the Buddhist mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum. After that is done, you should begin a period of fasting that should last at least as long as it takes you to finish level 15. If during the level you encounter serious setbacks due to the curse, I suggest sprinkling holy water around your work area and wearing a crucifix around your neck. Sleep with silverware under your pillow. Garlic around every window.
If all that fails, please visit your local Christian Church, Shinto Shrine, Buddhist Temple and Mosque. Also read the Tofugu Yokai Series for a better idea as to what might be the cause of the curse, and a possible solution.


It took me 282 days to pull myself out of Level 14, but I made it! My toughest bit was getting through a huge pile of reviews after a couple of months break - use vacation mode if you DO go away!


I didn’t realise this curse existed (or have ignored it completely somehow), so I went pass level 15 not noticing anything.

I guess it depends on whether you feel demotivated/burnt out? if you do then it’ll be good to find ways for motivations boosts, but if not just keep going and you’ll be at level 16 in no time.


THIS! As you can see, I have recently passed level 15. I didn’t actually know that the level 15 curse was a thing but I definitely experience deflated motivation and satisfaction. I feel like my ability to learn new kanji hit a wall. This is definitely a case where my habit of WKing over the last half year is carrying me through this trough. But rejoice! I am slowly chipping away at it with force of habit and I feel like I’ll hopefully reach a breakthrough soon!

I guess my advice is don’t feel bad about slowing down or needing more time than usual to complete levels if you need it.


There is a statistics thread with level distribution here:

Based on that I would rather say if you reach level 15 you have the worst behind you, then you can hope to reach level 30, after which you have a very good chance to finish :slight_smile:



The curse is said to become more severe the deeper the level. Returning to the english-speaking world from level 5, one experiences disorientation and culture shock. From level 10, strange urges to get up in the middle of the night to do reviews. From level 15, partial or even complete loss of english vocabulary. Kanji learners who venture to the 16th level or deeper are said to go on their “final dive” and never return. Any word from the depths of WaniKani which reaches the surface is treated as hearsay unless it comes from one of the few “gold badge” level 60 users.


Sooooo WK is litteraly made in abyss?


Let’s break any curse there is with love and passion (AKA habit and discipline).


(It will actually be my second time. When I first started WK back in 2014 I got to Level 15. Then my exchange in Japan ended, I got back home and had to do 5 exams while being jetlagged. That was my excuse for missing two weeks of WK. It turned into what, 3 years? Now I am back after a reset and won’t leave. crying in pain)


Sounds like some nonsense and no way I fell into that trap but I just checked my stats and:

Level 15: 9 days 12 hours,
Level 16: 507 days 11 hours.

Okay, I got past level 15 at least… lol





I found the first 15 levels more of drag than the level I’m on now


Those data are a bit old, though.
There are more than 40000 users on the forum versus 28000 at the time of data collection.

I don’t expect the distribution to have massively changed, but the decay half period may be different. (Maybe even 15 :woman_shrugging: )

Anyway OP, level 15 isn’t that bad so far. If everything goes according to plan, I should be out of it in a bit more than two days.

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How did you check your stats? I’m not finding that under any of my setting options…

Super-duper useful site.

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I just got to Level 15 yesterday, and then I see this. I’m doomed! Doomed, I tells ya!

OK. Maybe not. I’m ready to plow my way through it.


We all know how too much stress is a bad thing. It’s linked to everything from weight gain to insomnia to depression. The stress hormone is called cortisol, and there are some very interesting articles out on the interwebz that hypothesize that “burning out” is linked to cortisol poisoning. That is, that you just have way too much stress in your life and so as a self-defense reaction your mind makes you lose interest in things.
So how do you relieve stress? Exercise, eating right, relaxation/ meditation, going to church, volunteer time… there are many ways. In addition to these things, I think it’s also an understanding and acceptance that learning anything takes time and is a process. Yes we all wish we were @Leebo and can finish Wanikani in 1.5 years, but it will probably take longer especially if you have a job and other stuff. Another piece of advice; the gamification of Wanikani is one of the things I love about it, but it can also create a drive to press further than you should. If you have more than 100 apprentice items, I would say good practice is to not push too much beyond it. It can really start stacking up reviews into the +150 area, and it can be pretty demotivating to load up WK and see that huge number of reviews. Anyways, good luck!