Wanikani after RTK

I’m currently working through the modified RTK deck from Japanese Level Up. I should have all the kanji meanings learned within the next ~2 months.

Do you think there’s any harm in going through WK after this just for the vocabulary? I think JALUP advocates more of a do-it-yourself approach for vocabulary, which is fine, but I wonder if the vocabuary base from WK would speed up the process of vocab acquisition.


Can’t imagine why there would be. Seems that the WK would be great as mostly just a reinforcement mechanism using the SRS.


If anything, it will improve your kanji knowledge (due to RTK lacking the learning of kanji readings), so I’d totally advise Wanikani :slight_smile: Doing WK will also be a more smoothly experience (compared to starting with no knowledge), since you’ll know the meanings.


Not an expert around here, but I thought I would tell mine:
I had tried RTK before WK (first 200 kanji, give or take, with Anki for SRS), and yeah some things were definitely easier because of that (meaning only, obviously). But, since Wanikani’s stories usually contain both the meaning and the reading, you will have to learn new mnemonics anyway.

I don’t know your current ability and your goal, but keep in mind that you may know the kanji (through RTK), but you may have to wait several months to get to the readings and the vocabulary words that use those kanji, so it may feel quite slow.

That being said, yes. If money is not a real issue and if you’ve got the time/patience then it can only help with learning the basic vocabulary. I think people here learn the rest of the vocab reading books etc.


So, we’re at about the same level, but since I did the RTK thing, I’ll share my experience so far in case it helps you at all.

I did RTK years ago, before WK existed (or very early days, at least). But there was a significant time where I did no Japanese at all, so my RTK was pretty spotty. In fact, I came to WK because I wanted to refresh and maybe get something more (readings and vocab).

So, meanings are pretty easy for me. I basically go “Oh yeah” for about 50% of the kanji. May take me a rep or two, but I basically ignore all those mnemonics WK provides. Problem comes when the mnemonics are used for reading after, but even that’s not a big deal, since I mostly build my own mnemonics anyway. During RTK, I found that making my own, or stealing one from someone on Kanji Koohii, was much better than using the defaults, since it became much more personal.

So, JALUP teaches some readings, so are you doing more that or more the ‘pure’ meaning-only RTK? If the latter, like I did, WK has a huge value in teaching readings. If not, it’s only vocab and I have to wonder if some other approach, reading apps that also SRS for example, might be a better approach for vocab.

I can’t really see any harm in doing WK in addition to other things, though. The one concern I have with WK purely for vocab is the occasional grousing I see in the Community from some users that the vocab is sometimes not really what’s used in actual Japanese conversation. Words that are old fashions or just rare. I don’t have personal experience of this, though, so I can’t say how much of a problem it really is or would be for you. Probably depends on your goals.

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Depending on your scheduling, I could advocate for or against WaniKani.

People have different angles on WaniKani, but mine is to primarily learn the kanji, and there comes plenty of (admittedly very helpful) vocabulary on the side. As you know, with WaniKani you have to work with the kanji a bit before unlocking vocabulary. If you’re both using WaniKani to learn the kanji readings and are willing to wait as long (relative term) as it takes to unlock vocabulary, I don’t see any harm in it.

If you’re willing to work with modified RTK, learning the meanings and (at least some) readings at the same time, you could start picking up vocabulary through Japanese input of various types. This approach will expose you to both new words and to the other readings of the kanji you’ve already learned, similar to WaniKani’s context sentences but (1) really in deep context to help grok nuanced usage and (2) at your own pace, should you choose to work faster than WaniKani’s upper limit.

Since you’re asking about speeding up the process of learning vocabulary, I argue that, no, WaniKani will only slow you down if you otherwise can read Japanese input for an hour or two a day and are into making things like sentence cards (or boring old vocabulary-in-isolation cards). With this said, if you’re already so far into WaniKani that you’ve learned hundreds if not thousands of words, WaniKani will of course seem beneficial if you only now start reading. But at lower levels, mine included, I find starting to read to be just as painful and difficult as it was when I started years ago in formal education (I since took a long break and forgot most things, heh).

Until now I’ve compared doing either WaniKani or something else exclusively, but if you can combine the two somehow, you’re bound to learn even more on average each day.

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I think so too! Thanks for your comment! :smile:

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I did WK the kanji way and concerning vocab now I’m at 17. I also plan to so some reading for vocabs now.
WK kanji means about 2k and on a reasonable tight schedule you can do it in 15 months. Not faster! If you know these 2k kanji already pretty well you can unlock the additional vobab probably in a breeze and get an offer of vocab and example sentences during this time.
So the question IMHO is whether you think it helps to go through WK kanji to burn them still more after JALUP. Then go on. Otherwise just use other means learning vocab for burning your kanji.
Also if you want to learn readings for speaking WK makes sense. If you “only” want to read just go on with other means based on your meaning knowledge.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying it will do harm. But in the end I think you can spent your time in a better way using what you’ve learnt by reading, watching a show, or talking, than going with yet another SRS language “solution”.
WK can be great for giving you that first coating of kanji knowledge but it doesn’t go much deeper in terms of connecting that with actual use.

You miss some weeks of SRS reviewing and if nothing else is there to support those memories chances are that kanji knowledge will slip through, so to speak.

Personally doing some RTK, then WK, and then toying with RTK again taught me that some tools loose value once you are up for native resources.
I would at least take some time to work with what you have, pick a book, show or whatever and pick vocabulary on the go, see what difficulties you face with your current knowledge for some time and THEN decide if going through with another kanji resource is useful for you or not.

Edit. If you just want the vocab then (which by itself will help with the readings of those kanji words) there are apps that follow frequency too. Which can prove a more practical approach too :wink: … There’re even some inspired by WK.

This means 1 meaning per kanji right? Just clarifying because that wouldn’t be all of the meanings. It’s just an unfortunate fact that most kanji have several meanings, or at least several shades of nuance.

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