Thoughts and tips - Death zone version

Needless to say the Death zone has really gotten on my nerves to the point that I need to take a short break and ramble about my experience so far and offer some advice on how to tackle things. I still have a long way to go and there are many WK senseis here so any thoughts welcome!

  1. Scripts. The scripts and third party apps have been very helpful. I use Wanikani Stats, Ultimate timeline, Review SRS Indicator and Context sentences in reviews. Wanikani stats gives a good map of where you are at. It’s like checking the map when taking breaks on a long trek. It is also helpful reviewing kanji and vocab as you quickly visually check the items where you need to work on. Ultimate timeline let’s you know what’s going to hit you over the next few hours/days. Helps a bit with planning things but it mostly has a psychological effect, just the right warning for the series of slaps in the face that the reviews are going to give you. Review indicator, I have to admit is a bit of a cheat as it’ll help you guess kanjis that are similar based on the SRS status. The main reason I use it though is to be extra careful with my answer/typing. You dont want a fat finger to ruin a review at higher levels, you may also want to secure a level-up. Context sentences in reviews: i’ll write about that below but it basically helps you learning Japanese as opposed to mastering WK, two very different goals.

  2. Vocab review - Go beyond the game
    Think of the vocab review as the key goal of WK. Kanjis are just a conduit to this. I try to read them out loud in Japanese particularly during the meaning review, I have found that this really helps link the meaning and reading together. Audio recordings there are also great. Basically, in real life you’ll hear these words and if you’re not used to listening to them you won’t be able to put 2 and 2 together I promise you. I also try to make my own simple sentences in Japanese with the word in question and I imagine a situation where I would say that. This is also where I use the Context sentences in review script, they are great practice and actually quite fun, I’m sure Koichi had a lot of fun writing them! After level 20 you really need to start reading to keep going. If you dont you also run the risk of forgetting your Burned vocab which would be a terrible wasted effort. Again, the goal is to learn Japanese and not to master WK. I try to anchor words, meaning, situations and sounds as much as possible. It makes things a lot slower but I think it’s worthwhile.

  3. Frustration with Mnemonics. I’m just not good with them. Why would I remember an association that is completely pointless? I understand the point of the technique but I’ve never really been able to use it. I want to remember things by association of stories but I’d rather the story makes sense otherwise I feel I am putting garbage in my head. I know most people here will disagree but it’s just not my thing. I wish it was as it seems to make things a lot faster. The radicals also don’t really cut it for me. Sometimes the links are really farfetched.

  4. nin vs jin driving me nuts. I’ve seen this is a common frustration in past posts. It was not a big thing at first but as reviews pile up and the use of nin vs jin seems completely random you’ll end up doubting on words that were a lot easy to remember in lower levels… it’s very frustrating because usually the meaning is well understood, it’s just the reading that get’s in the way. Sometimes I feel like I’m flipping coins.

That’s it guys, I hope this helps and thanks for listening! Still 38 levels to go…


I don’t use Mnemonics, save a couple times. Apparently it’s okay for the first couple of levels but it’ll supposedly bite you in the butt in later levels. I’m not sure. I hope someone can comment on this.

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The mnemonics aren’t meant to stay in your head forever; just long enough for you to put the pieces together. I have already forgotten a ton of the early mnemonics I used, but I still remember the kanji. So the “garbage” will only pile up so high before your brain starts filtering it back out.

Another option that many people use is to make up your own mnemonics. I find that I often start with WK’s, and then adapt it to make it a bit more relevant for me.

Ps. congrats! You’ve passed the 1/3 mark!


Thanks. I know what you mean @raephe . I guess in a way I am building Mnemonics and situations in my head in Japanese to help the memorization. You’re right, I’ve passed the 1/3 mark!! I had not interiorized that. It feels like I’m just starting though… I’ll keep at it.

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I don’t see why they would?

I made my own for new words once I finished WK and I’d see like 95% accuracy compared to 70ish when I didn’t. That being said, remembering and making mnemonics on the spot is a skill. I eventually got it down to like 1.5 minutes to make and type up a new mnemonic set per word when I was on point with my studies. I think it took me like 5 minutes a word when I first started.

Anyway, not saying you have to be using them - a lot of people don’t - but it’s well worth the time once you get enough practice in. And ya’ll are paying for them anyway lol

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i got the kanjidamage mnemonic plugin, their stories are usually a lot better than wk’s (which is subjective of course). the standard ones are often a stretch, or too long, or generally confusing.

they used to be better, too. fondly remembering good old joseph stalin, or the shooter.

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I only use them if I can’t get the kanji to stick. Sometimes it can get you over the curve and help with retention.

That being said, if you have no trouble remembering kanji without them then I don’t see it being detremental to your progress.


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