Wanikani at same time as Heisig RTK?

I have been working through Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji (about 135 kanji in). I have recently been referred to this site and it looks great, but I do not know whether it would be counterproductive to continue with Heisig if I start up with this site.

I would be appreciative of any comments or suggestions.



It’s probably just a huge duplication of effort to do them together.


There’re already a couple threads on the same issue . Try look for those :+1:


both use radicals/primitives, and it’s gonna be a challenge to sort out which uses which. i wouldn’t recommend them simultaneously, but doing them one after the other would work (first rtk, then wk).


Thanks all for your responses. I am new to the forum, and should have realized there is a search function. I will review the earlier threads, probably try out the first couple of levels just to get a sense of this place, and then decide.

Thanks again.


In addition to the WK forums also search the LearnJapanese subreddit. There is some discussion comparing the 2 methods there which might help you.

1 Like

I would be cautious while doing this, some people on the subreddit seem to be very intense and extreme when it comes to RTK. I’ve seen so many people absolutely trash WK solely because you can’t complete it as fast as RTK, and they attack people who want to use WK as “lazy” or “idiots” entirely because they deem WK “inefficient”. I’m sure not everyone is like that, but every time I’ve seen WK discussed in a major thread over there, there’s always a number of people attacking the motivation and intelligence of people who don’t use RTK.

As for the initial question, I personally think it would be unnecessary to use both RTK and WK, it might even get confusing since they both use different radical systems. However, if you want to learn to write kanji, RTK will probably be more useful for that.


Yeah, I remember a little bit of that from last year when I had not yet made up my mind about WK. Although I think things are changing and I found enough people saying positive things about WK to help me make up my mind (and I am super glad I did). Your comment about the RTK fanatics seems really on point though; most of that subreddit seems really intense in their support of RTK over literally anything else. But, I feel like there’s a growing vocal anti-RTK minority there which doesn’t surprise me at all; I tried very hard to get into RTK but I would honestly rather cut my arm off than do it. No matter how efficient it is (not that I am convinced by their claims of efficiency anyway).

1 Like

Yeah, and comparing RTK speed to Wanikani speed isn’t entirely fair anyways, because even if you spend 8 hours a day and go through RTK 1 in 3 months or so, you won’t have learned any readings or the 6000+ vocabulary items WK teaches. RTK 2 teaches readings, but without mnemonics, so good luck. RTK3 teaches 1000 additional kanji though i think, which is nice.


I really like Wanikani, but I think that’s a little disingenuous… RTK 1 teaches 2200 kanji, and when I tried it I could easily add 30 a day. I got to #990, and my reviews never took more than an hour and a half (and then only the day after I skipped a day). My average review time was ~45 minutes per day, getting up to around 50 minutes per day at the end. At that rate RTK 1 would take 73 days. Actually I might go back and finish it off, because now I have Wanikani again I’m finding all the kanji I covered in RTK to be a lot easier than those I didn’t. I think the writing aspect really helps with recognition.

For some more solid data, according to this calculator, your max reps per day is 249. One rep takes about 20 seconds according to my Anki stats, so even at the peak of reviewing this deck will take 83 minutes per day. And that’s to get it done in 75 days. If we allow three months, we can add 25 cards a day, reps peak at 233 which gives us 77 minutes a day.

There’s a lot of merit to both approaches in my opinion, but exaggerating stuff like this might turn people away from an approach that would work well for them so I’d be careful with that. Certainly though, Wanikani demands less time per day since recognition reviews are so much easier than the keyword → kanji production approach.

One note is that adding mnemonics to the kanji actually takes a significant amount of time: doing 30 kanji would take me around 30 minutes, making relatively heavy use of Koohii for inspiration when I got stuck. So that’s on top of the ~77 minutes for reviews we get around 110 minutes a day to complete RTK in 3 months.

Well, first of all i said 3 months or so and you said 75 days, so implying there’s a large difference is a bit disingenious as well in my opinion, but let’s not call names. I didn’t complete RTK, so sorry if my hour-wise guesses are off. I had 2-3 months in mind, but decided to write 3.
For your review time estimations did you take into account writing the kanji? Because that’s what many people do with RTK. Not that you have to do it, but if you do, you have to calculate that in.
I didn’t even say it takes 8 hours a day for 3 months to do RTK 1, i said even if you do that, you can’t compare the speed to WK, which takes about 1 year at the fastest, because WK teaches more than RTK. The same argument applies if you do RTK 1 at 2 hours per day for 75 days.

I also didn’t say RTK is bad, i said comparing RTK speed to Wanikani speed isn’t fair, that was my main point. I do think RTK and WK are both valid methods with about equal advantage and disadvantage, but most people quit RTK because it’s about the least motivating method on earth. (after RTK1 you know a keyword for 2000+ Kanji, but no readings or vocabulary using them)

1 Like

Yeah that’s fair, the point you’re making is very valid. Sorry if I sounded a bit rude, rereading my reply and your response it might have came up too harsh. What I wanted to point out was just that it really doesn’t take that much time per day. Someone reading this trying to decide between the two methods might be put off for no real reason. Also I always wrote the kanji when I did RTK, so my review time I used as an estimate includes the time that took, at least for me.

Wanikani definitely teaches a lot more than RTK, between readings and the 6000 vocabulary words worth of context. I think the argument that proponents of RTK over something like Wanikani makes is that RTK “gets it out of the way” so you can just focus on learning words (through which readings come very naturally). Doing it this way means you learn the words you need to learn for the content you are consuming rather than a word list like what Wanikani teaches.

I can see both sides of this tbh, when I go to read something and I know the kanji (even if it’s from RTK and I only know a keyword), just knowing the kanji exists and being able to recognize it is enough that learning the word is super duper easy, whereas seeing a kanji I’ve never seen before (especially if it has components I don’t know) is very intimidating and learning the word seems like a giant task. So I end up not learning that word, but if I had just spent those three months focusing on RTK it would be easy.

On the other hand it’s very true that a kanji I have learned on Wanikani I know much better. Thanks to the vocab examples for each kanji I have a much better idea of the meaning that a single keyword can give, and I can often guess both the meaning and reading of a compound I’ve never seen before.


I started WaniKani at around this point, once I started getting accustomed to kanji. I continued using both for a little while and then eventually just chose to do WaniKani and mostly dropped RtK (but I use it at random times as a reference too)… my reasoning was that WK was helping me stay on track, but even more importantly, I was learning pronunciation and vocabulary, which RtK wasn’t addressing.

Anyways, for some radicals, you’ll need to add your own synonym (e.g. “goods”) because WaniKani’s is different.

Overall, do what works best for you.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.