Wani Kani Vocab

Sorry if it’s been asked, i tried to search first.

Those of you in the upper levels- do you feel like wani kani has given/ is giving you a good vocabulary base for understanding native materials? I understand there are kana-only words that are common and need to be learned. But do you feel wani kani gave/ is giving you the bulk of what you need?


Up to around lvl 45. Last levels have mostly niche vocabulary that I forgot pretty soon after finishing wk. To be the most useful is important to read a lot of stuff to see the usage in context.


Thank you, that’s helpful info.

That’s my goal; reading native materials daily. I love reading anyway. I’m kinda stuck with lower level materials atm, otherwise there’s just too much vocabulary I have to look up.

I’m trying ti figure out how much vocab study I should supplement while doing wani kani. Right now I’m trying to cement the vocab from genki 1 and 2 (as that is pretty basic stuff) in addition to wani kani everyday.

Ek doesn’t do kana only vocab, and that’s very important, that’s probably the biggest issue. Also, when reading, it’s hard to recognize words, you learned on wk if they are in kana form. But both of these problems disappear with reading

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Yeah, i know there are kana only words that you need to learn.

Just trying to get a feel for if wani kani covers enough other vocabulary to use it as a primary source and supplement as needed with things that come up frequently that don’t use kanji (like について、いつ、どうして、ect).

I think technically there’s a kanji form for pretty much all words that are commonly written in kana. WK teaches some of these forms.



ありがとう = 有り難う

Still trips me up.


I’d say to think of the vocab on wk as if a computer was tasked to make a randomized lucky bag, but have it appeal to as much people as possible.

The end result can give some words that may seem strange like 素粒子 (elementary particle) and 羅列 (enumeration), they ultimately serve a purpose in either teaching weird or exclusive readings or just to reenforce the readings you’ve learned. A lot of the words you learn on wk are quite useful and will appear quite often in the content you absorb yourself in.

And for the words that wk doesn’t teach that are essential, you can always make an anki ( or other srs service) deck to fill in the gaps.


Whenever I’m reading and come across a word with a kanji I don’t know, I often check what level the kanji is taught on WaniKani. I feel like the kanji is almost always either level 45 or below OR not on Wani Kani at all :confused:

To the original poster, I’d add that I think there are also loads of words that aren’t on WaniKani, but use the kanji WaniKani teaches. It’s easier to acquire vocab if you already know the kanji, but it’s still an effort.

Also, lots of reading material just won’t use kanji for words. You need to get comfortable at recognizing words both with and without kanji.
The one that still always trips me up is 挟む. It’s so frequently written after the に particle, and when it’s written in all kana I always read the は as a “wa” particle: 〜にはさむ and think there must just be some weird verb “さむ” that I don’t know… I’ve made this mistake multiple times.


for reading, i’ve benefited a lot from doing jlpt 5 and 4 vocab outside of WK (e.g. on kamesame, but i’m sure many other platforms offer such lists). this is mostly very common vocab, and lots of it is only taught late, or not at all, on WK.

and at about 1500 words total, it’s quite manageable compared to what we’re doing here :wink:

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Thank you!that sounds like a good idea. I’ll check it out.

Vocab for me is one of those things where it’s hard to figure out what’s the best use of your time. :woozy_face:

80% of words 1-45 are common. So they are quite useful, yes.

It did for me. Wanikani was the only vocab resource I used before I started reading. Not to say that it’s an ideal resource, that’s just how I structured my studies given the limited time.

The thing for me is that with modern eReaders, looking up vocab is pretty easy. So much so that the biggest obstacle to reading is probably going to be grammar for a good while.


In order to get a foothold to start reading while looking a LOT up? Totally, when supplemented with Genki 1 and 2 personally, as you’re doing. It’s not going to get you casually reading without a ton of words you won’t recognize, but if you keep up with grammar on the side, you’ll be ready to make the plunge well before WK is even over.

Honestly I strongly disagree with the idea that stuff above 45 is niche overall though. I’ve been reading as much as I could along the way and I’m so often being taught words on WK that I’ve already seen a lot in books/VNs at level 49 (well I just leveled so really 48). Haven’t peeked ahead, maybe it gets worse, though I have a Yomichan addon that shows WK levels and I’ve looked up plenty of words or kanji from the 50s. At my current level I was only now shown very common words for things like dance, to paste, snake, to paint, to punch, darkness, notebook, chair on and on. I’d consider that more the norm than me just cherrypicking the useful ones, so far. I won’t deny WK has some odd words but they seem sprinkled throughout more or less. You don’t necessarily have to use WK up through 60, potentially bailing early is a valid choice, but it hasn’t felt like these are words your time would be wasted with.


I’ve seen both of those words out in the wild, for sure. Definitely playing video games you will see all kinds of late stage WK words. Especially in books.

I’ve had to add the rest of the 常用漢字 to Anki to supplement reading full length novels. But yeah, WK gets you in pretty far. The most important thing is to read, read, read! Start with manga, as most of them have furigana over every kanji (unless you are reading something like 銀河英雄伝説), then work your way up! I just finished 厚切りジェイソン お金の増やし方 and enjoyed his advice.


It gives you a good base, but just the vocab from WK is not nearly enough. WK gives you about 6k words, but reading novels started feeling more comfortable (while looking things up) somewhere after 12k words. Of course that line is different for everyone.

Then again SRS can only give you so much; you need to really internalize the words with real input.

So is there a way to look up Japanese words on a kindle, do you know?

you can install a dictionary (or it might already be installed and just needs to be selected). that works well for text, just tap (or hold, rather) the word. doesn’t work for manga though, as those are a scan of an image

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