~ The Level 15 Curse ~

there is no curse. there’s a critical mass of leeches that hamper learning new content, and there’s waves of old items cycling through, and many lvl 10-20ers experience it for the first time and call it “curse”.
i call it “challenge”.


Kinda same here - not including 1 & 2, Level 15 was my second shortest level after 14 - I had no idea about this “curse” and I think the whole thing is a buncha 牡牛くそ. I read a reply earlier of someone saying “It’s only a curse if you believe it’s a curse” and I couldn’t agree more. Just keep plowing through those lessons and reviews - keep slaying those leeches and put an end to this Lvl.15 curse myth.

mic drop… ?

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I’ve read this question once I was still starting wanikani and now I am at level 14 and I think I know what is the cause. I was fast and enjoyed ever level I have accomplished. I studied 1 hour in the morning and one in the evening.
And some time around level 14 the „burned“ kanjis kicked in. So I was super overloaded with new stuff I’ve learned and the burned ones which returned after the designated 4 months. Since then i couldn‘t tackle anymore new lessons and I am stuck at level 14.

I guess it is the cumulation of all the new kanji you learn and repeat and the ones you will be asked again, approxmiatly at the time you hit level 14 / 15. Depends how fast you were.


Yep. I have seen some people with burns at Level ⅞ — while many of us burned around 14. Whatever works, though!

all in all, this does not look to be depending on level solely, more likely this is time-based thing.
backlog which is ready to be burnt is sitting in the pit and watching your steps, reading its… claws, teeths, club, etc.
so that - half a year with more-or-less stable speed, and not high %% of good answers.
there are ordes of leeches behind, and more of them are ahead. that’s why… you are busted at this point, and its good if you get through this pincer attack from those wanikanianides.

breezing with average ~6d22h, this pit seems to be waiting at around 25-27 levels… all that is left is to prepare everything by that point to survive…

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been cursed since the beginning…leeches everywhere…but I started after WK changed to the new pneumonics and wk static srs…so if anyone is feeling bad about leeches…

don’t…cuz im in hell…and I spent a over a month at level 10 with no new lessons drilling leeches…and then 2 months when they came back again…fell back down an filled up apprentice and guru…at level 16…now they are all back again because of the static SRS system …i swear it’s impossible to remember so many…so now I’m going really slow limiting new lessons based on the next days review count instead of apprentice items…just added 20 lessons tonight…which is why apprentice is at 104…but usually this is around 60-80…

more than half my apprentice items are leeches…and almost half of the guru items are…going round and round in circles…and then when you learn the “wrong” because of srs it’s practically impossible to unlearn/re-learn them…wk is great but ugh…for the love of…give us dynamic srs so those of us with lousy memories aren’t buried with reviews that don’t get anywhere… Guru 2 Level and Enlightened are the worst intervals for me!

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it might be better to look around and start knowing your enemies/leeches in face. there are different methods, just find your own way.

for example, this might be like this… that is, install self-training plugin or use self-quiz in smartphone application, and for every unknown kanji - write them down, split to radicals, etc. start from lower levels, and move to higher ones, working out every such leech. soon enough, it will become possible to keep every such kanji in your memory.

if default intervals are too big for you, run self-quiz in the middle - this can help to detect forgotten kanji/vocab earlier, putting them to the review again.

besides, on writing a kanji severtal times, some associations might be formed for this specific kanji. and these ones are more permanent than the mnemoincs from kanji/vocab description.

yes, it takes time to go this way. but, if the goal is to know kanji, their meaning, and then to be able to read texts, this is actually might be the shortest way to reach the goal.

at some point, semantic-phonetic composition can be applied to such difficult kanji too, and keeping doing it with all kanji might really improve and speedup the learning process.

this might be also said that this way kills SRS, but you can manually fail some of reviews to get them pushed back to earlier stages and then follow SRS normally.

I think you missed my whole point… I already have been doing this… Spent over 3 months not doing new lessons reviews only studying leeches… Of course I’ve used all the stupid scripts… Manual flash cards exporting lists and sorting etc…

Nothing works… I was just sharing so if others think they have trouble or lots of leeches they probably don’t… I’ve spent countless hours on this and honestly I wish wk would implement dynamic srs (or ghost reviews or something) so people like me wouldn’t have to fail burns multiple times… And maybe give us the option for the old mneumonics (I signed up after they changed)… Or some of form of very vivid offensive mneumonics that would actually stick… Yes I can make my own but if I have to do this for 30 to 40 percent of the wk items what’s the point of using wk at all? So I just accept the limitations of this srs system and my lousy memory and repeated them over and over again… Sucks yes… But if wk does absolutely nothing to help users with leeches and you’ve tried everything… Not a lot left to do but slow down and beat them in slowly. Sometimes for those that think it’s a curse… Meh it’s just not easy to learn Japanese… And some people have better memories.

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I haven’t read this whole thread, but I’m feeling your pain here. For me WK’s SRS intervals after Guru 1 are perfect for showing me things I’ve just forgotten. It’s very frustrating.

Just in case it gives you some ideas for stuff to try next: I’m currently focusing on getting all vocab into KameSame (all burned items, and gradually everything else by ascending level) which seems to help with the unexpected pronounciations particularly (as well as generally, because of the double-SRS). I also have all WK kanji up to my current level in Anki, set to give me 10 random new ones per day - that’s been good too, because the SRS works better.

(btw: mnemonic :slight_smile: )

Been there done every thing…no need to suggest the obvious… Also doing too many srs systems were overloading me and burnings me out… And leaving no time for any fun learning… (speaking practice 2x a week, book club, etc) Stopped doing kw and anki… Just keep wk and bp now.

Seriously this isn’t a new problem… I’m almost level 20 and been doing wk for almost a full year. I just keep hoping wk does something to help it’s users with this stuff, because right now there is literally no wk solution for this… It’s only user scripts and outside resources… Ideally would be great for wk to implement something to remedy this once and for all.

What else are you doing for Japanese? Reading? Listening? How do you do your grammar studies? I find that even if I burn words they won’t stick until I use them in actual Japanese (and even WK mentions this somewhere in their guide). You need more pathways to remember something than just the flashcards, your brain will just forget those when you don’t use them.

Seriously people don’t believe me… I’m not making this stuff up…

I am reading with the book club, and I’m working through genki 2, more than 1/3 the way through, studying bunpro 35 percent or so through N4, using italki with a native speaker 2x a week (2 hours) … Watching as much TV as I can when I have time, always listening to music… Seriously it’s not like I’m a slacker… I have a full time career as an engineer… I’ve been studying now for as of today 491 days even on vacation I haven’t skipped studying… My memory isn’t great and I learn best by using them… I’m simply saying I’ve already tried just about everything and I’m not goofing off.

Not obvious to everyone, but good that it’s obvious to you.

Agreed. It seems to be squarely aimed at people who are good at learning languages, rather than people with crappy memories. I should build something for myself that works better but, like an idiot, I keep accepting too much paid work so I don’t have time.

So the only reason I posted this was not to derail or complain about WK…while every tool isn’t perfect including WK… (ducking from the lighting bolt from the crabigator)… WK is still a great way to learn kanji and vocab…I’ve come a long way in 11 months!

I posted this so that other people that think they are struggling or they are cursed etc…can see from someone like me that’s struggling (I think more than most) who isn’t one of the “I made it to level 60 in 1 year”…or “I only got 95% I did so awful”…When in reality not everyone learns at the same pace and learning skills vary from person to person…so if someone thinks omg I have 40 leeches or so many reviews … look around…that’s not a problem…relax and just keep going…don’t get stressed…

That’s why I posted…there is no curse … just this stupid cult that sucks you in and you have to get to cake! oh and if anyone is discouraged…there is this great script that I often forget is installed until I finally level or get so many burns…really helps brighten the mood when you’re feeling stressed (or cursed!)… good luck and I’ll see all you cursed folks at level 60!


I know! Instead of being able to resurrect burns, we should be able to murder apprentices.

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I cruised until level 16 but I had not really realized how much the reviews of Guru and under were piling up. It doesn’t help that any wrong answer beyond Master will take you back to Guru or lower and by level 15 reviews of higher levels start to come back more often. My level 17 was horrible and I ended up pausing the lessons in order to lower that statistic (guru or under). I’d say somewhere between 400 and 600 is manageable. 700 or above will make you do a lot of reviews every day, so much so that the memorization gets affected.

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Oh no! I’m nearing level 15 so thanks for all the advice as I’m gonna need it soon.

Random note: WaniKani’s been good to me as today I am able to read/recognize “松屋 新橋3丁目店” straight away out in the wild. Small progresses for motivation.


I made it out alive. Although I raced through 15, so it felt like I was still on 13 or something. The question is: Why are you learning (you don’t have to share) and don’t stop Reviewing (throwing cake out window is useless)

Just started level 15 with some level 14 vocab left over so let’s see if I can get through it. Probably will be slower than my last few levels but should get through it at some point before Christmas

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