Unsure how to continue with my journey

So I’ve got over 200 kanji down along with all the vocabulary that go with each one. I try to put aside one hour a day to study Japanese, but lately I have so many reviews and lessons that it takes up that whole hour and leaves me little time to study grammar and practice talking, so I’m unsure on how to continue. Should I level up slower (my average is around 12 days/level), which might help with the lesson and review load which will allow me to spend more time on other aspects of the language? Should I continue focusing on kanji? Should I completely pause with Kanji and focus merely on speaking and structuring sentences?

The other day I told one of my Japanese friends I had been learning the language for three months, he then started talking to me in Japanese and I could barely figure out how to introduce myself even though I have already learnt how to say and write ‘testicles’ in Japanese…


I don’t think you should stop focusing on Kanji, but there’s no problem with slowing down a bit. With very minimal effort, you can still keep learning Kanji & vocab at a steady pace.

Maybe do 5 or 10 lessons per day, or none if you aren’t feeling up to it. This should give you more time to focus on other things while not putting a halt to your Kanji progress. As long as you keep doing your reviews and do some lessons as you can, you’ll thank yourself later!


Wanikani reviews can pile up and take quite a while, so yeah with an hour a day, it’s tough. Others who have less free time than me will have to address how they handle it, heh. If at all possible, perhaps you can try to squeeze in more, shorter review sessions in downtime to squeeze extra minutes from the day? That said, yeah, Japanese is a lot more than kanji (and, with furigana, kanji is pretty much the least important thing for getting a basic foothold in the language). I’d personally probably try to shift more time to free up opportunities to study grammar and basic kana vocab outside of Wanikani, and immersion as soon as you can tolerate it, but do keep trying to learn a bit of kanji steadily, since it’s an enormous total task.

Perhaps introductions are a low enough bar since textbooks and the like start there, but for the most part, that’s totally normal. Japanese is really far from English and comfort in recalling and outputting is going to significantly lag behind what you can understand. You mention practicing speaking – I’m not going to get into the arguments about how and when doing output is best, because I don’t think there’s a clear answer that works for everyone, but I would say that especially since you have limited time, I’d probably keep most if not all of my efforts for now on simply learning to better understand the language, and leave output for later, unless that is the main thing you’re looking to get from learning Japanese and you really want to start it soon.


With a budget of one hour a day it makes sense to concentrate on one aspect such as kanji for the time being. But balancing grammar with kanji is often recommended so I am not sure I can make a firm advice. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no approach that can be considered superior without looking at your own circumstances. It is most important to pick one you are comfortable with and that gives you sustainable progress. If you can feel the progress you will be motivated and keep going. If you don’t feel the progress you will get discouraged and risk giving up.

You seem to be interested into build ding up sentences. Maybe you should pause kanji for a while and beef up that capability until the lack of vocabulary is a roadblock. Then you may return on kanji and vocab. This will give you a sense of progress on something you are valuing. The drawback of pausing kanji is disruption of the SRS intervals. Vacation mode will help a bit but when you come back to it you will have forgotten lots of items. Slowing down leveling will give you the ability to learn about structuring sentences without wrecking the SRS interval, so this could be the better option. As I said pick the approach that is most likely to give you a sense of progress to keep your motivation up.


kanji are important if you want to read japanese. if you want to speak and understand spoken japanese, kanji are less important.

but even if you mostly want to read, i’d strongly advise against focusing only on kanji. you learn better when you have context for what you’re learning, and for kanji that means seeing and reading them in text (and writing, if that’s also something you want).

for me personally, when i spent all my japanese learning time on WK, i made much less progress than now that i’m reading and listening and doing grammar etc.


It depends on your preferences. From level 42 to 60, with only 80% of Genki 1, I stopped studying anything else and just focused on WaniKani. The only exception was that I kept watching anime and movies but it was for fun. When I resumed to study grammar, it was super nice to not have to worry about kanji or vocabulary. So I have no regrets. But to be able to talk, you need practice to talk, be in a classroom environment or with some tutor. If you just study grammar, you will often “freeze” when you want to say something.


I remember when I was at your spot, and I thought surely I would never need to say the word “testicles!” But I have never forgotten those golden balls! And now I can say “war,” “tank,” “snot,” “nosebleed,” and many other words I will hopefully never need.

I have kept up with Wanikani, and the time it takes does shrink slightly. I’m now on level 21, though. I had started learning grammar through other means a year prior to using Wanikani, and I have now been studying with other methods for 665 days in a row. I’ve only been on Wanikani for 10 months.

In my considered opinion, it is more important that you keep up with grammar, and spend less time on Wanikani. The best way to slow down is to get to a new level, then do reviews to catch up and don’t do new lessons once you get to the new radicals & kanji. Have you seen that you can change the number of lessons you do in a session? You can also click to start lessons, and quickly look at the bottom of the screen to see if you are continuing learning vocabulary associated with the kanji you already have, or if it is taking you into the radicals/kanji. When I need a break, this is the best time to make it happen.

And keep up the good work! It’s fun!


i would say that basic grammar and listening comprehension is far more important, then learning kanji in the early stages. Sure the more common Kanji are important, but in my opinion u can utilize that skill only well when u are far advanced with kanji and reading in general, which just takes too much time to priotise it.The only reason i prefered learning wanikani over the others was because wanikani motivated me more and i can become too lazy at times . :smiley:


I had started speaking and grammar before I started WK. I have found that I remember the kanji a LOT easier if I already know the word from speaking…


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