Thinking about Quitting, Please give me your success stories to carry on!

I am about level 15, and last two levels have been challenging. I also feel like nothing is sticking and that too many of the words I’m learning are arbitrary and not useful, things I don’t even use in English, and that finishing all reviews just feels like a time sinker I could be using to invest in learning elsewhere.

I’m thinking about either supplementing WK with Kanji in Context book, which I already own, or ditching WK entirely and see how I get on with textbook study.

I have learnt a fair bit using WK, but in the last few levels I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to learn things or recall them outside the app, only recognise the words when I see them written down and a lot of vocaulary seems not very useful.

So I was wondering please if people who are closer level to finishing if they could tell me if they think its worth it in the end over text book learning or is spending over an hour doing reviews every day time I could be spending doing quality over quantity learning or other kinds of japanese studies? I currently also am using Genki 2 text book.

Thank you very much!


Things are not sticking because you haven’t spent enough time with the language yet. Reaching intermediate Japanese will take you around 2200 hours and L1 speakers (natives) spend hundreds of thousands of hours learning their language. The more time you spend the more things will stick and become logical. This process takes a lot of time, there is no way around this. With time, the verbs and kanji which look almost exactly the same or have slightly different meanings will become second nature. I often surprise myself now that I am burning items.

Japanese is likely a completely different culture from yours. Japanese use different expressions and words. You’d be surprised how many of those seemingly useless words are actually frequently used in Japanese. You’re still at a low level and haven’t seen the truly weird things, but rest assured that almost all of the words and kanji in all 60 levels are all fairly common. Some of the kanji in the last 10 levels or so are not used that often in vocabulary but rather in Japanese names. I suspect that the team at Wanikani based their vocabulary on frequency listings based on newspapers and the likes, so rest assured you’re not learning useless things.

Having said that, Wanikani is for learning kanji. Modern written Japanese is filled with hiragana and katakana words. Some common kanji have hundreds of words associated to them, which cannot be included in Wanikani as it would defeat its main purpose of teaching kanji. If you want to focus on useful vocabulary I suggest adding a method to learn vocabulary. I personally just relied on reading a lot with a dictionary for this part with the anki 6k deck but everyone has their own method to do this. If you feel like textbook study helps you achieve your goal, keep at it. I admit, the kanji order in Wanikani is not completely intuitive, but reading things in the wild will remain a struggle until you’ve mastered at least a decent chunk of them anyways.

If you feel like your other methods help you learn quicker, feel free to drop Wanikani, or use them in conjunction with Wanikani. The 200-400 hours you’ll spend to burn everything on Wanikani is nothing compared to the total timespan needed for you to be able to read Japanese.


Thank you so so much for this! Very very wise words!


I was level 32 before resetting my account recently. I can definitely say in terms of the most prevalent kanji, you will be introduced to the majority of them by level 30. You should be able to read a lot of what you come across by that point. Everything after level 30, is the extra nudge to get you to be able to read everything you come across comfortably.

However, you have to remember that WK is not meant to be a one-stop shop. In the end it is only meant to help you learn kanji. The vocab fed to you is designed to practice kanji reading, rather than to learn the most useful words. I supplement my WK studies for this reason with a whole bunch of other stuff. Make sure to diversify with listening, watch youtube videos in japanese at your level, watch anime and dramas, change your phone to Japanese, look up graded readers and start from infant level and work your way up. You’ll be surprised how much of the vocab you see on WK will show up when you do this.

I also make sure to practice recall outside of WK with Kitsun. I do the vocab from English to Japanese, and I also learn from an extra vocab deck that WK doesn’t have.

Finally, take your time. If you feel like WK is taking a lot of time, there is nothing wrong in slowing down. Do fewer lessons and take the extra time you have to start supplementing with other media. Also take the time to figure out what your goal is when it comes to Japanese. Are you looking to be able to speak and understand? Then shift your focus to practicing listening and speaking skills, more so than Kanji. You’ll pick up a bunch of Kanji naturally that way too.



WK has been a game changer in my learning journey. But I was willing to dedicate a lot of time to it daily for over a year.

If you do that too you can expect to learn enough kanji in a year to be able to read fairly comfortably (provided you also study the grammar on the side).


No worries. Just remember, regardless of how hopeless things might seem in the beginning; if you spend the hours you’ll make it. The only real way to speed it up is by spending more hours per day with Japanese (and by reading real Japanese, but I am biased in this regard).

By the way, can you give some examples of the arbitrary vocabulary that you would never use in English? I personally remember being very confused by 花見, which just happens to be a major yearly Japanese cultural event. Not knowing that one would be like not knowing how say “Christmas” in English. Just to show one of the cultural differences.


I found out the same thing. It was amazing how often you see the kanji in other sources than WK. I was surprised at the amount of known kanji when I started doing graded readers and watching TV Japan with their Japanese subtitles. So don’t give up. Just diversify and be amazed.


Hey, I think you would benefit from spending time reading and encountering vocab in other contexts. Here are some resources to get you started.

Tadoku graded readers free to read online.

The Absolute Beginner Book Club here on the forum reads easy manga volumes. All choices have furigana so no kanji knowledge needed, and there are vocab sheets as well. You can also ask questions in old threads and users will still answer them if you have any grammar questions. The easiest past books are 小さな森のオオカミちゃん、ハピネス、and レンタルおにいちゃん

Satori Reader is a paid site but an excellent resource with built in lookups and grammar explanations. There’s also an appreciation thread here on the forums that goes in more depth on how to use it, which series to read first, etc.

Happy reading! :slightly_smiling_face:


As others have said, I think WK is amazing but what gets the ball rolling is you seeing kanji in other contexts. Encountering a word you’ve just learned somewhere on Tadoku is immensely satisfying! I resetted my account a few times over the years, and I found that the words do stick with you. There are some levels, depending on the person, that seem a bit harder than others. I can breeze through one where I somehow remember all the kanji, but then I can’t get the next batch right for a week or two. It’s okay. The important thing is not to burn out. Try not to focus on how many items you got wrong. Maybe start using KaniWani if you want to solidify it even more. But the next best thing I can tell you is learning grammar as soon as possible. Seems like you’ve got that covered with Genki :slight_smile:


Thank you so so much everyone for your really helpful replies!!
Okay, so I’ll carry on with WK, but I know I do need to focus more on immersion material than textbooks. I recently reset to level 11, and have been studying Japanese for about 9 months. I currently subscribe recently to the TokiniAndi website which has been great for my speaking. I will spend time each day now also looking at the reading materials you guys suggested.
I also have the text books Kanji in Context and one that is learn 1000 Kanji through pictures, and I like both of them, so I’m thinking when I learn a new vocab/character through WK I’ll then also go to its entry in my other books. One of them uses example sentences too which I think will be really useful. And that way actually learn then better instead of probably not really taking them in properly on a computer screen then hoping to get them eventaully through enough reviews, which seems to work for the current level but then by the next level I’d have forgotten.

Okay I think I have a plan.

Thank you so much again all!


Started WaniKani, made it to level ~12, quit Japanese. Started WaniKani again, made it to ~level 10, quit Japanese. Started WaniKani again, made it to level 13, quit WaniKani, made it to N1. If it’s not working for you, ditch it NODDERS

Do keep in mind that most people around here are the ones for which WaniKani did work, so asking here will always get you a lot more “see it through”-advice than the other kind.

(A bit late to the party :rofl: )


Don’t forget, learning another language is not about only learning the words that you use in your native language in your home country. You need to also learn words that native speakers of that language use in the countries/places that people that speak that language live. That being said, there are some vocab here in WK that are pretty rare or old and seldom used. Although, as others have pointed out the main driving force behind the choice of vocab is for reinforcing the kanji taught on WK.

WK should only be part of your studies. You will need a good mix of other resources and activities as well.


WK’s method of reviewing works for me, or at least it works much better than regular flash cards, so I’m sticking with it. (I paused at lv 39 after the big update with the gross new UI and then Tsurukame changed their font size which made that weird too, and then I came back 6 months later, earlier this month. The Tsurukame font is still a little weird but not uncomfortable anymore after my time away, so I can use it again. I’m currently lv 40 going on 41.)

It is, of course, not perfect, and there are a handful of words where I’ve made the executive decision that either a.) I’m never gonna learn them out of context or b.) I don’t care about the word and if I do ever end up needing it I’ll just learn it then, and I don’t force it and just pass them since otherwise they’re going to stay perpetual leeches. Reading will help since you get context, and I’ve definitely had words where I’d been having trouble with them but then I came across them while reading and they suddenly clicked, but if I never come across them in the stuff I read, then, well.

But also there are words that I can never seem to remember the meaning and/or reading of no matter how many times I come across them and look them up. It took me 2.5 years to finally get the reading of 訝しい down! I got the meaning much quicker since I come across it a fair bit reading novels, but I could never remember the reading until recently. (Good thing I managed it on my own, too, bc WK doesn’t teach that kanji.) And that’s where WK comes in. If I actually have to write it down, I’m more likely to remember it. KameSame could work too, especially since it’s got a bigger corpus than WK and I can pick and choose what to learn when, except I could never get myself to use anything other than WK consistently, precisely because I can use WK through the Tsurukame app on my phone. Websites I gotta remember about.

Another example: 免れる. I don’t come across this one as often as 訝しい, but still enough so that it’s frustrating when I could never seem to remember either its meaning or its reading. I recently did the WK lesson for it, I’ll be guru’ing it in a couple hours, and so far it’s sticking just fine! I’ve taken to searching for words/kanji I struggle with on WK when I come across them while reading so see if/when I’ll learn them on here. There are quite a few that I will, and it’s nice knowing that when I get to them, I’ll have an easier time learning them than I have been.

It’s okay to set synonyms for words you don’t want to spend time on—once they’re burned, you can always add them back into your queue if you think it necessary, and then manually re-burn them if you decide you don’t need all the reviews for them after all. It’s also okay to slow down and spend time on other parts of the language and/or engaging with it. SRS isn’t perfect. It can often be efficient, but our brains aren’t geared to learn things in a vacuum—99% of the time, they need context to tie the bits of info together and make them stick.

Good luck, whatever you choose!


I may be exactly the wrong person to try to answer this, as quitting never even occurred to me, and I get a lot of practice with Japanese from other resources as well (though, apart from talking with native speakers, WaniKani is the only one I could wholeheartedly recommend).

So, instead, I’ll suggest some questions that may lead to the best personalized answer:

  1. “Why did I start using WaniKani in the first place?”

  2. “Why would I want to quit?”

For me, I don’t have any interest in quitting because I definitely want to learn Japanese, a big part of that is kanji (especially for more advanced learning using native media), and I haven’t found a better way of inserting them into my brain. I can see how time and money can be limiting factors, but even so that doesn’t change that WaniKani is helping me make progress on my goals, so I want to stick with it. Also, stubbornness helps, I’m sure. :laughing:

Anyway, whatever answers you find within yourself are what matters since you’re the one who has to do it ultimately (as is true for each of us – I guess I’d quit WaniKani if it were possible for someone else to upload kanji into my brain for me :joy:). Cheers! :slight_smile:



what I can say is: it all depends on you, if there is something bothering you that you dont like in this SRS and you have the chance to find another, go for it.

Honestly, since I finished WK last December, it took me three years btw, doing it every single day!

So far I havent found any other SRS close to WK in organization to be “all made for you”. I really want another SRS, so I can practice just like I did with WK, it was my companion for three years and miss it 2 months later not doing any system now.

I have tried kitsun and anki but they are very bare bones, dont have the time to setup in a decent way.

Nowadays my immersion is watching anime with JP subtitles, which I have been doing for the last year and I like my progress at this point. Of course, there is a loooong road to read fluently news like yomiuri (complex vocab IMO) but one day I get there I hope.


Thank you, very true

Really helpful, thank you!

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Words like reconsolidatoin, bureau, horse power, diplomacy, baseball terms, to be fair actually thinking about it it doesn’t seem so many. I’m realising that as you and others have said, its a different culture and everything so words I might not use in english might be used more in a different language. That and I think some words might not neccesarily have a straightforward english translation, so sometimes I’ll find a word out ‘in the wild’ and not actually realise that that word can be used in that context where I’ve seen it!


I feel you.

Some things I’ve enjoyed are just trying to passively listening to Japanese music. When I find a song I really like, whether it be the beat, melody, etc. I’ll look up the lyrics and see if I can read any of the kanji. This usually gets me motivated since it shows a little bit of progression as I’ll revisit the lyrics of songs and see how much more I can read. Another thing is of course watching anime and using active listening to see if any words stand out that I know. Ex. I recently learned 戦い - たたかい - Battle/Fight and have reinforced the reading as I’ll remember the scene of the anime this word was used.

As far as the WK grind goes. I noticed that the radicals start to become repetitive from kanji I’ve already learned earlier in WK, or that there are just plain fewer radicals to learn at the later levels. I hope that once I get to level 15, things will become a little easier.

Additionally, I tend to attempt to do all of my lessons right at the beginning of a new level, which can be quite a bit frustrating when doing reviews and coming short on a lot of readings/meanings early in the new level. When I feel this way - I try to step back, take a break for the day or session, then really focus on the mnemonics to nail down a meaning and reading provided.

Best of luck!


I screen-shotted all my レベルアップおめでとう! kappas, so I can look back over them (I’m at level 32 now) and I can see that I completed almost all levels 1-15 in very nearly the minimum possible time (<10 days). But level 15 is where it very quickly “went downhill” and levels began taking longer and longer. Level 20 took me seven weeks, which was very depressing. I put it in the spreadsheet, ran a trendline, and concluded that if this kept up, I’d be lucky to reach level 60 by the time my actuarial table ran out.

But right about then I started Burning things for the first time. That felt good, and it lightened the load. Plus, I stopped trying to clear my lessons (this was before the Daily Lessons feature, when you’d level up and suddenly have 200 new lessons all at once) — instead, I tried to keep the number of items in Apprentice below 105 or so, and when that number increased I held off on reviews.

I was loathe to do this — how much slower can I get at this point? — but I felt like I had to, or else I’d be spending hours with WaniKani every day. To my surprise, limiting my binging on lessons dramatically improved my speed leveling up — and I have to imagine that’s why they instigated the Daily Lessons feature, because others like me were biting off too much to chew without realizing it. That was a great motivator.

Another was that all of a sudden, around level 20, I could read more random things than I couldn’t. I still couldn’t just read books or literature without assistance, but signs and writing in TV shows, things like that, all of a sudden just popped. Which was amazing. I majored in linguistics, and I can read five alphabet families (not including kana), and it was always so frustrating that written Japanese remained impenetrable.

The past few levels have taken about 3 weeks. Which means I probably have another two years to go. But I haven’t felt bad or stressed-out, like I definitely did in the late teen levels. In the motivational emails they send you when you level up, they say these are the hardest. Stick with it.