Wanikani + Anki, wanting to drop Anki, but not before I catch up in Wanikani. Any tips?

Hello! I have a bit of an issue. I’ve studied Japanese using the Core 6k deck on Anki for a while before giving Wanikani a try. Wanikani has been working very well for me, and I am retaining much more than I have with my Anki deck. I understand that Anki and Wanikani both have their places in Japanese study, but I am wanting to dial back a bit, mainly so that I would only be using one SRS system at a time.

What I have done currently to shift from Anki to Wanikani only so far:

  • I have changed my Anki settings to where I receive no new cards, I only do reviews, and I still do them every day. I have learned 651 vocab in Anki, 368 of which Anki calls “young”, and 283 that Anki calls “mature”.

  • I am studying in Wanikani at a fairly fast pace due to the overlap between what I’ve already learned.

My issue is that I don’t know of a good way to compare what I have already learned in Anki to what I have learned through Wanikani. I’m not sure how to know when I can safely drop Anki without abandoning too many vocab reviews, and how to track how much of my Anki deck that I have reached in Wanikani. Are there any tools, or tips that anyone can give to where I can maybe export my currently learned cards in Anki and Wanikani, and be able to compare how many of them I have learned so far that overlap?

I know there are some issues with trying to do this, so it likely can’t be automated due to small differences in how the definitions are in the Anki deck vs Wanikani (ex: Anki says “go up” is the definition of a word, while Wanikani says it is “to go up”). I was wondering if maybe someone else has done the same thing I have and has some tips to make the switch easier?

I have the time available to me currently where I could juggle two SRS systems, but I want to minimize a bit, so I can focus more time on Wanikani + Textbooks + immersion. I couldn’t decide if this should go in the campfire or Wanikani sections, but I thought it fit in Wanikani more, sorry if this is in the wrong place!

I’d suggest sticking with Anki and seeing it to the end. WK is great an all but getting those first core vocab sets down is pretty essential. WK, while helps with understanding a Kanji’s make up, I would hate to see someone get sucked up into the vicious beginner cycle.


I don’t know what core6k deck you’re using so I just looked at a random one I found and did a quick browse of the first 700 items.

There’s probably about 100-200 items not even in Wanikani at all (borrowed words in katakana, words only written in hiragana, and some vocab that just aren’t taught in Wanikani).

Of the remainder that are taught in Wanikani, a good percentage were very common vocab that I remember being within the first 10 levels of Wanikani. A bit more up to level 20, and some stragglers up to even level 40+.

Here’s another way to look at it to give some perspective: there are about 650 vocab taught from just the first 7 levels in Wanikani.

Not sure if any of this helps.

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If you install Wanikani Open Framework or perhaps you have it already, then a script could be written that takes in the vocab items you’ve already learned (maybe through an anki export?) and compares them to the items in wanikani. Though, if you’re using the same core 2k/6k deck I am (and most others are) using, then you probably have a ton of words learned, that are unique to that deck and you won’t ever get them on WK (partly because they are kana-only, partly because they are scraped from newspapers mostly and they aren’t the most accurate outside that).

Whether you should abandon the anki deck over wanikani in my opinion depends a lot on your pace on there. If you’ve been doing 20 lessons a day for the past 2-ish months, then I would say, just stick with it, maybe at a lower pace at first. In less than a year, you’ll be learning a ton of vocab, and over time as you figure out your wanikani pace, it might even be very doable to keep both up, only depends on you.

However if you do more like 5 items a day, then it would take you less time to stick with wanikani, and although you will be missing out on a lot of kana only items, most of it should’ve already been covered by the first 650. Remember, wanikani has >7000 vocab items currently, and you can be expected to finish in about 1.5 to 2 years, if you keep a decent pace, while with 5 items a day, it will take you about 4 to get through the anki deck.

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There are also other decks to consider tackling. IIRC, this WK Expansion Pack was targeting common words that aren’t taught on WK, but use the same kanji. I think the discussion on Kitsun goes into more detail, but the decks should otherwise be the same.

I want to say there’s a relatively easy way to do the comparison, but I don’t use Anki. As much as I dislike Anki, I have to admit that the platform has great support from its community and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a plugin that could do the job with a bit of work (eg. exporting a csv from somewhere). I know Kitsun, JPDB, and even Bunpro all have ways to mark WK vocab either through an API key or some word list trickery. As for the comparisons themselves they should be dictionary forms of words or similar rather than the English edict style definitions being used. Comparing by the English is begging for trouble.

Whatever you do, I’d still recommend finding a way to put another SRS into your schedule… when you can. WK level 3 only goes so far, but one of the problems with WK is that it has no meaningful endgame. At some point you’ll finish it and need another platform to study new words or kanji in a similar fashion.


I strongly disagree, there are definitely study methods you can use, that make SRS-ing a waste of time (for some at least). Especially if you didn’t slack on immersion while doing WK. Then you can theoretically learn by just consuming more content.
SRS has this issue, that the usefulness goes down the drain pretty quickly after the most common x words (good old Zipf’s law says, that the nth most common word appears 1/n as often as the most common word). So either a word will be common enough, that you just remember it given enough immersion, or it will be uncommon enough, that it’s fine to keep as passive vocabulary.

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Yeah, I’ve been doing 5 a day with the Anki deck. I tried doing 20 a day with it at first, but it got overwhelming pretty quick. With Wanikani I seem to be retaining more and able to go at a faster pace while still getting 80-90% on reviews, which is much higher than my Anki review accuracy (Likely around 60-70% per daily review, I’m guessing). The main reason I’m thinking about switching instead of doing them both is that retention difference. The mnemonics seem to be helping a lot more than I thought they would.

I still plan on adding more on after I finish Wanikani to keep learning too, as well as reading Japanese material and watching Japanese videos and shows while going through WK.

Your ability to remember words will get better over time, I promise. What I did, was I started with WK about 1.5 years ago, did it until I got to level 34 for about a year, then when I reset, I started doing anki alongside it. The fact, that I already had experience in remembering words helped a ton, and I can take 20 anki words a day alongside wanikani with no issues.
Then I recommend pausing anki for a bit, until you advanced in wanikani a bit, since it’s a much gentler start (since you don’t seemingly need to guess words), then when you are more comfortable with the pace and you get the urge to do anki again, go back and see how you do.

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I’m the kind of person that used Anki to study vocab in my native language during school, so while I can see some people dropping SRS altogether I definitely would not. At least, not for a very very long time.


I would recommend sticking to Anki (alongside Wanikani), unless you choose something else like jpdb.io or kitsun.io; or perhaps koohi.cafe, which I haven’t tried.

For Anki, probably old items can be left alone, but Suspend or Reset Progress, if you must. New items might be Repositioned by Wanikani Kanji by selecting from current Level’s Kanji.

ja:*矢* OR ja:*市* OR ja:*牛* OR ja:*切* OR ...

Then, of course high-level Kanji’s would sometimes be included as well, but most often, core users should be able to handle that? (Otherwise, suspend or reset once again.)

Then, there would a thing missed, though – Kana-only vocabularies; otherwise, different Kanji vocabularies with almost similar meanings… That would be the fallback, if you focus on Kanji too much.

Core decks seem like a better place to remember related, but new, vocabularies. For Wanikani, rushing on to remember more Kanji would probably be more hurtful than beneficial.

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You should learn up to at least the first 2-3k words in Anki. While I’ve learned more than half of the jouyou and thousands of words at my current level (37), there are hundreds of common words containing no kanji that you will not learn here, and many more common words in those first 2-3k of your Core deck that might not appear here until level 40+. This was a real struggle for me when I finally started sentence mining with Anki not too long ago.

Don’t fall into the very common trap of thinking that WaniKani is a replacement for learning vocabulary with Anki. WaniKani first and foremost is for learning kanji; the vocabulary is a bonus (and sometimes garbage, but I digress).


I think SRS is a fantastic auxiliary tool well into fluency, as long as you mostly switch to sentences you mine yourself while immersing. I avoid making single word cards though, I use the whole sentence and just bold the word I’m trying to learn

After reading all the advice in the thread, I think I’m going to keep doing both Wanikani and Anki, but I’ll keep Anki with a low daily new card limit, and increase it as I get further through Wanikani to keep workload manageable. I didn’t think about the no kana only vocabulary on Wanikani, so I’ll keep Anki around, but gradually work through it, so I don’t get buried in reviews at first.


Zero New card per day is also an option, and manually allow like 5-10 new cards at a time.

Similarly, I limit Review cards to 20-50 per day, depending on difficulty, then increase daily limit when I feel like it.

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