Toxic kanji learners

So I wanted to discuss this issue of encountering toxic Japanese/kanji learners online. I have been consistently progressing foward with wanikani since last January and I can honestly say that I have improved greatly just by doing reviews passively almost every day. Although it is at some times annoying, I have learned more kanji than ever before, with any other method.

Nonetheless in communities online outside of wanikani I have encountered individuals that claim learning kanji as in all the joyo kanji and passing the JLPT N2 to be an absolute cake walk. These people who do seem to have a good command of the language seem to imply that learning kanji is super easy, that they were able to do it over a short period of time as in 3-6 months and that anyone else who struggles to learn it within that time frame is inadequate and severely lacking in skill and intelligence.

Now I consider my self to be fairly competent and smart but since I am a high school teacher and its a job that has a very intense work load I consider it normal that my progression would be slower as I have other priorities in my day to day life. Yet I feel demoralised by these people online, who seemingly learned kanji so easily it makes me feel negative towards foreign Japanese learners.

Any thoughts on these toxic Japanese learners that suck the life and the fun out of learning Japanese?


You know they’re trolling, so just let it be. It’s impossible to have a solid grasp on the jouyou set in 6 months… I’ve been studying for 7 years and I still have a lot to learn about those kanji. And I’ve passed Kanken level 2.

My guess is a lot of these people are really just in the early phases of the Dunning-Kruger graph.


Ignore them and do it at your own pace anyways. Setting aside whether or not they’re lying about how long it took them, there’s not much point in listening to them, it’s not going to improve your learning process. I’m sure they’re all real fun at parties.


You may already realize this, but sadly this attitude isn’t limited to just kanji learning. For some reason I’ve found that foreigners are overly-competitive and insecure about everything re: moving to Japan, liking Japan, learning Japanese, etc. Unfortunately it was a huge turn-off with a lot of the expats I met in the Tokyo area–so many of them were more concerned with figuring out who had moved there first, who had gone to more places, who lived in a more touristy area vice “authentic,” etc. It’s all insecurity, or at least that’s what I chalked it up to.

It seems really unlikely that anyone could learn kanji and use it proficiently that quickly. But even if it is possible for a small number of people to do that, they’re being ridiculous if they insist that it should be doable for anyone who tries.


Don’t compare yourself to others, but only to the person you were yesterday.


I believe that Japanese is perceived as a prestigious foreign language by many people.
It’s easy to boost your ego with that even when you only have a rudimentary grasp of it.
I too have fallen into that trap of feeling smug around other people because I can speak some Japanese. Of course that’s dumb and there is a big difference between feeling proud and feeling smug.

My advice is to do what you are doing right now.
Avoid the toxic people and enjoy spending time and learning in a community that supports you. :slight_smile:


Even if these guys learned all the kanji in six months, they are still wrong in saying that “is doable in six months”, this is not something normal. It would be like usain Bolt saying that it’s easy to ruun 100 meters under 10 seconds… Just because some people can do it doesn’t mean is normal, to know if something is normal you should look at statistics to see what is the average time needed. Also, it is possible that they used the Heisig method, and all they really know is the meaning of the kanji, but not the pronunciations.
If they really did it, just be a better man and feel good for them. Their speed is of no consequence to you, you just keep minding your own business and getting there at your own pace.


hll yeah, I’m so with you on that one! I find them annoying, those know-it-all-s, Japanese learner superstars. but… I tend to ignore them, they don’t get the power to mess up my good spirits. I silently chuckle to myself, since all the great stats are so easy to get with a bit of cheating - if good stats is what you’re after. I’m not, so I let them cheat themselves, while swearing at yet another failed burn review…
don’t know about you, but some of these little kanji b
ggers just get burnt to my mind first time, while others… have I seen this one before? uh, master? oh, I guess I must have?!
just keep having fun, it’s your journey, not anybody else’s :grin:
and by the way, I feel like a walking one-way dictionary… I can read some kanji I learned here, but I can’t build a single sentence :joy: (too lazy to do grammar) so there you go. an anti-superstar, and proud of it :sunglasses:


Nothing serious to add to the toxic Japanese learner section, but just a shoutout from another teacher who is learning the language under the worst of circumstances! There is no way we could be that fast on top of working 80 hour weeks. I feel extremely lucky when I get to have a short look at my WK, Bunpro AND Anki decks in a single week. Of course, if I had the chance to have a steady study schedule, I could be much faster, too!


Were you walking on cake at the time?


The fact that this graph exists tells you all that you need to know: a lot of Japanophiles / expats are a joke (although the reasons for this vary), so pay them no mind.

I think Korean / Japanese / Chinese esque languages attract a special breed of navel-gazers, since they’re one of the “special few” that have learned “one of the hardest languages in the world (for western language speakers)”. They’re already learning the more difficult language, so now they need a way to one up their peers, so to speak.


Not gonna lie, the difference between most western languages and Japanese is part of the reason I am learning it. But thank god, I am a huge nerd for languages, manga, anime and history and other stuff so I have other stuff to look into besides the language and culture.

Why would you learn languages just for the prestige of it though? I mean, I learned 3 foreign languages in school (English, French, Spanish) and the use of them always stood in the foreground.
I believe courses in Mandarin and Japanese would be great, same goes for Arabic and Hindi.


I second this. What one person means by “learn” to another means “barely scratched the surface”.

I finished WaniKani, but I certainly haven’t learned 2000+ kanji by any reasonable measure. I probably know 1000+ really well as far as recalling readings and meanings goes, plus another several hundred moderately well, and many I’ve completely forgotten or barely remember. That’s to say nothing of writing (or anything related, like breaking kanji down into their constituent parts), which I doubt I could do for even 100 kanji.

Acquiring all this knowledge took over 2.5 years on WaniKani, and in the 1.5 years since, I’ve forgotten many of those kanji and learned some that WaniKani didn’t teach. Much of that time on WaniKani was a struggle because of how much time and effort it took. I would never describe it as a cakewalk. So given my personal experiences here, I highly doubt the average person can learn 2000+ kanji to a high degree of proficiency in 6 months, even if you ignore writing. And even if someone learns enough kanji via cramming to pass the N2, their knowledge is going to be so tenuous that they will in all likelihood forget most of it shortly afterward.


Oh my god :skull_and_crossbones:


That is why you should learn vocabulary to the Kanji you learn.

ToriiSRS seems to be a great complement to the stuff you learn on WaniKani as it has a mode that teaches you words that are specifically those WaniKani does not teach.


Isn’t it an integral part of human society to hate other groups of people, no matter how minuscule the difference may be?


I kinda wanna sit down and work out who’s on top of that pile besides the immediately noticeable “Donald Keene” and “my cats”.

I suspect it forms a closed loop. Or, more than one.


There will always be people ‘better’ than us and ‘worse’ than us. Different strokes for different folks. Just turn your eyes/ attention to something more pleasant and ignore those who seem to want to lord over others.


When I used WaniKani, I always made sure to find one word to associate with the kanji (even during the kanji lesson) to try to help support learning the kanji. It worked really well for the first 20-30 levels, where I often already knew a word using the kanji being taught (even if I didn’t realize it until then). It became much harder at higher levels where I almost never knew a word ahead of time.


I generally think it would be much appreciated if the devs added in some more vocabulary for the Kanji taught