Typical returner woes

Howdy there folks. I haven’t Wani’d any Kani in a long time now. Like, apparently for 19 years.

And while this is probably inaccurate as to how long I’ve actually been away, it certainly feels like it could have been that long. In those years I’ve gotten much, much better at Japanese itself, and spent a ton of time mostly just reading, but at some point I’ve fallen into an unhealthy habit of knowing the meaning of some words while not always knowing the reading of it, or otherwise not knowing a word but being able to figure it out through context and just shrugging and moving on without actually internalizing the word. Basically, I’ve gotten lazy.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve put off my WaniKani for long enough and want to finally get around to finishing everything, but it has been so absurdly long that I’ve mostly forgotten the radicals and some of the more WaniKani specific readings to words. I also vaguely feel like I remember seeing there were some radicals that were added or changed at some point over the years? I may be completely wrong. Frankly, facing a pile of 2,866 reviews is pretty bleak and I get the feeling I should almost just be starting over to redrill the correct meanings of things. And besides, WaniKani is fun. While I was still active, I was really about that quick level grind.

I know there are plenty of others who have been in this position, but I’d be interested in hearing some opinions on whether or not I should just bite the bullet at reset this old account. If I were to instead just try to relearn all the old radicals and things while keeping my level, what would be the best way to even start doing that? The mnemonics I used years ago just don’t come to me anymore, which makes me feel I should probably be un-burning everything and starting fresh.

The more I type the more I feel like I know the correct answer here, but I would be very grateful to hear from you forum-goers. Reset to 1? To X? Suck it up and bloody myself on this stack of reviews that makes me want to cry? One of my most vivid Wani-Kani memories is taking a 200 day break and coming back to a 2000+ review stack, which was a painful experience. This break has been much longer and coupled with far more reviews, and I’m not confident I can pull myself back in the saddle from where I am.

I remember I used to lurk here a lot and found so many amazing resources and things that helped me along my Japanese journey, so let me also just take a quick chance to thank this community for being awesome. Of any site or tool I’ve used to study Japanese, WaniKani was probably overall the most important in me understanding enough Japanese to get my wings off the ground and I can’t express my love for the system enough. Regardless of how I start back up, I am looking forward to being in your care a while longer. Cheers.


That is a lot of days!


There was a “radical overhaul” about 2 years ago that changed the meaning of a bunch of radicals and a lot of mnemonics as well. If you rely on those, it would be a good idea to relearn the changes radicals indeed.

But with a pile of reviews like this, I would simply install the reorder script, set it by ascending levels, do all reviews from level 1, 2, 3, etc until I reach a point where performance is lower than I’m comfortable with (<80% correct item for instance). Then, I’d just reset to that level. Thanks to the process it should be a fresh start (0 pending reviews).


My best luck has been going through levels, just checking what seems familiar, and if you reach a level where you feel like you remember most things, reset back to that. In my case, I think I went from level 13 back to level 7 or 8 and climbed back up from there.


If you choose not to reset, there are still some great options for cutting your workload into manageable bits.
The Reorder script allows you to sort your reviews into level and/or type, so you can choose to only be presented with ‘radicals from level 12, 13 & 14’ for a session if you choose.

I used this for getting through a much smaller pile of reviews, but the technique should be the same. Start with just the radicals from a lesson or two, then when those are done, try the kanji from those levels. Then the vocab. Or do all the radicals from all the levels first, then go after the kanji. Whatever works best for you.
As they start coming back to you, you can make sure you get those ones done first before trying anything new (old? Things you haven’t seen in years). Work through the pile a bit at a time, at your own pace rather than at the pace Wanikani would enforce if you reset.

Hope that helps, and good luck no matter what you decide to do!

Edit: since it has been so long for you, you may find value in The Ultimate Guide to Wanikani. There’s a ton of good resources in there.


Yeah, I hate how you already know what’s going to happen, and who’s the bad guy and all, but you gotta go through all the motions again. It’s still pretty convenient to be able to start from scratch, tho.

Wait, wrong returner thread. :sweat_smile:


Woof! That’s a grind! Well, I found myself in a similar position recently; I hadn’t worked on wanikani in over 2 years, and felt like I’d forgotten all the radicals, mnemonics etc. Catching up and relearning everything just didn’t sound fun so I reset from from 19 to 4.

For maybe a second at the beginning I thought ‘uh oh what have I done’, but then I started having fun. I’m back to level 8 now, and most importantly am enjoying it.

Not saying you should reset of course; it did feel like a big decision. Perhaps it was the difficulty in admitting that I gave up a few years back? But thought it would be useful to hear from someone who reset and is happy about it :raising_hand_man: :blush:

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I second this! Even though my reset was not nearly as large as OP (11 to 2), it had been years since I was on top of it and my review pile was also in the four digits. Every so often I would try to tackle the pile, but with my horrible accuracy at that point, they would just fall right back into it. It felt impossible and my progress on WK stagnated for years.

I was stubborn and terrified of resetting, but once I finally gathered the courage to do it, it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made in my time on WK. I’m back at the daily grind again (and back at level 11 as you can see!) and everything is sticking much better for me this time. WaniKani has also improved a lot since I originally went through, including the new changes to radicals and mnemonics. I’m really glad I reset and learned all the new stuff fresh.

Just another couple of cents for your consideration!


@rfindley What’s going on? Why is the time on level 3.5x longer than the start date?

WK didn’t even exist that long ago!

I was in the 20s and had barely wanikani’d in a year or two. During lockdown I told myself I’d use the opportunity to work on my backlog, but even just seeing the massive number I had to get through disheartened me and so I took the plunge and just reset to 1 about at the beginning of August. All I can say is that I wish I’d done it months ago. Especially with the change in some of the radicals, it’s been fun to crush the stuff I know and I’ve finally learned the stuff that changed properly.

Though the script that’s been mentioned sounds like it could work well either, I didn’t really bother looking for any alternatives before I reset I have to admit :joy:

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Don’t reply to the last person - reply to the thread (it notifies me as a reply if you reply to me, and I get confused since I think the message is for me specifically)

WK Apiv2 didn’t exist back then, so there’s a lot of missing data. When data is missing, wkstats tries to use an algorithm to estimate level-up dates… but the algorithm isn’t perfect (there isn’t enough data to be), and sometimes it just ends up with crazy values.

Anyway, the number of people affected by that issue is relatively small, so fixing it is low priority… especially compared to just finishing the site :sweat_smile:


Should @LinkThinks reset?

  • Yes, to level 1
  • Yes, to some other level
  • No, but they should relearn the new radical mnemonics
  • No

0 voters

eyes my 65% accuracy rate Right…chose something you’re comfortable with.

I’m a stubborn ass so I have never reset. But the level reorder script is a really good way to tackle the pile in smaller sections. You can also use wkstats.com to see how many apprentice items you currently have on each level.

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Apologies, I’m unfamiliar with the layout of the new forums. (Yeah, it’s that long since I used them.) I tried to unreply to you, but the editor wouldn’t play ball. Frankly I think it’s a design flaw in the layout, but I’ll keep an eye on it for again.

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You can’t change who you replied to once you do so in error, but you can edit the post and let the person know that you weren’t trying to reply to them!

Wow, this topic really blew up more than I had expected it to. Thank you all very much for the helpful input! I agree that using the Reorder script (glad to see that’s still kept running) and finding a point that seems comfortable to me seems like the best bet along with brushing up on some of the old radicals. Can I just say how happy I am that the Grave radical was changed to Dirt? I remember being infuriated when I put down dirt and was told I was wrong. Of course you can set your own correct meanings, but I really didn’t want to “cheat” what the system was trying to drill into me so… I just complained a lot. Brilliant.

Anyhow, I think I’ll plug away and play it by ear for a bit, resetting down to wherever it feels right. There’s certainly a part of me that wants to hop back down to 1 just to see how fast I can climb my way up again. One important thing I learned along my WaniKani journey is that WaniKani is fun! So whatever I decide to do, I want to make sure I am enjoying myself while doing it. I need to stop looking at my reviews as a stack and go back to looking at them as a learning experience. Or a review experience. Whatever works.

Thanks again for all the help. You folks are fantastic, and I hope you all take care.


Some of those radicals were quite the…


Just a personal story: I reset from mid-30s to 1 after a year or two of inactivity. Where I was at, a ton felt very hazy and like I was guessing every time. There was so much in that state that I don’t think I would have really learned them just relying on SRS. It was definitely very obvious I needed to back up and get the mnemonics going again with few enough items that I’d actually be able to do the mnemonic recall thing for each one.

I decided to just go back to 1 with the idea that the early levels would just go by pretty quick if things were actually as solid as I thought, and I could focus on reading the context sentences. They were solid, but I’m finding that it’s still a ton of content. I’ve been trying to focus more on reading the context sentences this time around, but I’m still bumping into times where I kind of stall out waiting for my brain/environment to be in a state where doing the sentences seems like I’ll actually get something out of pushing through them. I don’t know what this means; maybe I just need to find some easier reading material for now, or focus more on grammar. I dunno. I don’t like that I’m stalling out my WK progress waiting for those elusive times.

If the context sentences as reading material are of interest to you and at an appropriate level, I don’t think going back to 1 is a terrible idea; just know the actual kanji/vocab are probably actually still rock solid, and you probably won’t be challenged by them at all. For me coming back from mid-30s, if I had wanted to actually just get back into the kanji/vocab aspect, somewhere between 10-20 would have been more appropriate to reset to, depending on how many leeches/shaky stuff I wanted to go back and squash. From 44, I’d guess resetting to 20-30 would probably do it for you (probably closer to 30 would be best?).

Another thought I’m having is that if you reset conservatively (to the highest level you think might be possible), you can always go down levels from there if you find it still feels fuzzy. The opposite isn’t possible.

As always, ymmv, but I hope you find something that works out for you!

Resetting after a long hiatus (multiple ones actually) had one key weight for me - the radical redo mentioned above. There was too much change and too much new content to be able to maintain where I had been at before.
The only thing that I faced by resetting to 0 was a frustration related to early radicals or kanji mnemonics stories that had been firmly set in my mind that had now changed. The Beggar is one that really sticks out for me. It actually caused me to take long breaks again because I was getting things wrong so frequently while trying to learn the changes that I felt I wasn’t making the progress I wanted on moving forward.

I’ve decided that for these it is really okay to add alternative entries to match what I remember from the old mnemonics and move on!

Good luck! WK is definitely fun, and long term I have to agree that it is definitely my top tool over all these years.

It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but that 19 year thing would be accurate for how long ago I began to study Japanese… but it did include major years-long breaks at times for other life events!