WaniKani Content Movements: Wednesday April 19 - Wednesday May 31 2023

Hey there! :wave:

Just wanted to give you a heads up that we’ll be adjusting the levels of some of our items over the next seven weeks, starting Wednesday April 19. This change is based on factors like frequency, difficulty, and visual simplicity, so hopefully it’ll make your studying more efficient.

Don’t worry, there won’t be any downtime during this update, and you won’t need to do anything extra. Plus, anything you’ve already started studying will stay in your review queue, so you won’t have to wait for the new level.

Here’s a list of the changes. Keep up the good work, and happy studying!

Wednesday, April 19 2023 – Published


  • Level 6: 犭 Animal (radical) - moving up to level 14.
  • Level 19: 感 Feeling (radical) - moving up to level 50.
  • Level 22: 諦観 (ていかん) - moving up to level 55.
  • Level 43: 擦れる (すれる, こすれる) - moving up to level 47.
  • Level 48: 騎馬 (きば) - moving up to level 50.
  • Level 48: 騎兵 (きへい) - moving up to level 50.


  • 犭 Animal (radical): The animal radical is not used as a mnemonic for any kanji until the level 14 狼 (wolf).
  • 感 Feeling (radical): The feeling radical is only used in the remorse kanji 憾 at level 55. Additionally, if we add any other kanji that use this radical in the future, they will likely be at a high level as well.
  • 諦観 (vocab): 諦観 is a highly advanced word that is not commonly used.
  • 擦れる (vocab): Currently, we teach 擦れる at level 43, followed by 擦る at level 45. However, we believe it would be more beneficial to teach 擦る first for better understanding of the word, followed by 擦れる. So we decided to move 擦れる to level 47. In light of this change, we will also be updating the meaning explanations of both words.
  • 騎馬 (vocab) and 騎兵 (vocab): 騎馬 and 騎兵 are a bit more advanced than other 騎 words, so we’re moving them up a few levels to ensure better distribution and retention.

Wednesday, April 26 2023 – Published


  • Level 14: (kanji) moving up to level 15.
  • Level 14: (kanji) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 14: (わざ) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 14: 美術 (びじゅつ) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 14: 芸術 (げいじゅつ) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 14: 特技 (とくぎ) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 14: 技能 (ぎのう) - moving up to level 15.


  • All the above items: We received reports that learning kanji with similar meanings such as 技, 能, 芸, and 術 all at the same level can be confusing. We’ve already updated content to differentiate them better, but we’re also moving the kanji 技 and 術, along with relevant vocabulary, up one level to reduce confusion.

Wednesday, May 3 2023 – Published


  • Level 13: 畐 Scarecrow (radical) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 13: (kanji) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 12: 田代島 (たしろじま) - moving up to level 13.
  • Level 13: 福島 (ふくしま) - moving up to level 15.
  • Level 17: 自覚 (じかく) - moving up to level 20.
  • Level 25: 時限 (じげん) - moving up to level 38.


  • 畐 Scarecrow (radical), (kanji), 田代島 (vocab), and 福島 (vocab): We received reports that the radical creeper is mentioned when teaching the radical scarecrow at the same level 13, causing confusion among some users. To address this, we decided to move the radical scarecrow, along with the relevant kanji and vocabulary, to level 15. We’re also moving 田代島 up one level to replace 福島. 田代島 is a less-known place name that uses rendaku for しま, so it’s better introduced a level higher than 島 and 広島.
  • 自覚 (vocab): Some users have reported confusion when learning vocabulary words with similar meanings, such as 意識 and 自覚 at the same level. We’ve already updated content to differentiate them better, but we’re also moving 自覚 to level 20 to reduce confusion.
  • 時限 (vocab): This word is quite advanced and has specific uses. Its most common use is as part of 時限爆弾, so we decided to move it up after the vocabulary word 爆弾 (level 37).

Wednesday, May 10 2023 – Published


  • Level 44: (kanji) - moving down to level 23.
  • Level 21: 女権 (じょけん) - moving up to level 47.
  • Level 22: (あたい) - moving up to level 49.
  • Level 44: (たな) - moving down to level 23.
  • Level 44: 戸棚 (とだな) - moving down to level 23.
  • Level 44: 本棚 (ほんだな) - moving down to level 23.


  • 女権 (vocab): This is a formal and advanced word typically used as part of compounds, and we believe it would be better to move it up to better match its difficulty level.
  • (vocab): We’ve decided to move the vocabulary word 価 to level 49 because using kanji 価 for あたい is uncommon in the modern Japanese.
  • (kanji), (vocab), 戸棚 (vocab), and 本棚 (vocab): Based on user feedback, we have decided to move the kanji 棚 and its associated vocabulary words down to level 23. This is because they are simpler and more frequently used than their current level suggests.

Wednesday, May 17 2023 – Published


  • Level 43: (kanji) - moving down to level 28.
  • Level 9: 部首 (ぶしゅ) - moving up to level 10.
  • Level 23: (さわ) - moving up to level 33.
  • Level 43: (ぬま) - moving up to level 28.
  • Level 43: 沼地 (ぬまち) - moving down to level 28.
  • Level 43: 泥沼 (どろぬま) - moving down to level 33.


  • (kanji), (vocab), (vocab), 沼地 (vocab), and 泥沼 (vocab): We found that 沢 is a less commonly used word and teaching 沼 before it would be more appropriate. As a result, we’re moving 沼 and related words down, while moving 沢 up. Additionally, since 泥沼 is more commonly used in a figurative sense, it’s being placed slightly higher than other related words. Other advanced words using 沼 will remain at their current level.
  • 部首 (vocab): We have plans for bigger movements and additions in the future, and this update is a part of that. Additionally, we consider this use of 部 to be slightly more advanced than the fundamental uses, so this update is for better distribution of vocabulary words.

Wednesday, May 24 2023 – Published


  • Level 39: (kanji) - moving down to level 29.
  • Level 11: 支度 (したく) - moving up to level 27.
  • Level 22: 領袖 (りょうしゅう) - moving up to level 60.
  • Level 25: 属する (ぞくする) - moving up to level 27.
  • Level 39: 勧める (すすめる) - moving down to level 29.
  • Level 39: 勧誘 (かんゆう) - moving down to level 29.


  • (kanji), 勧める (vocab), and 勧誘 (vocab):After reviewing our content, we have determined that 勧める is a more commonly used and useful word to learn earlier. As a result, we will be moving it down to a lower level along with its kanji and 勧誘. However, we will be keeping the formal and advanced vocabulary 勧告 at its current level.
  • 支度 (vocab): After receiving a user question about the difference between 支度, 準備, and 用意, we researched and found that 支度 is less commonly used than the other two. Therefore, we decided to teach this word after the more common ones to better explain the differences.
  • 領袖 (vocab): 領袖 is a highly advanced word that is not commonly used. Along with this change, the primary reading of the kanji 袖 will be changed to kun’yomi.
  • 属する (vocab): We have decided to move the word 属する to a higher level as it is a formal word that should be taught after 所属 (level 25).

Wednesday, May 31 2023 – Published


  • Level 9: 〜部 (ぶ) - moving up to level 11.
  • Level 9: 部室 (ぶしつ) - moving up to level 12.
  • Level 22: 受領書 (じゅりょうしょ) - moving up to level 25.
  • Level 25: 限度 (げんど) - moving up to level 28.
  • Level 25: 限定 (げんてい) - moving up to level 26.
  • Level 25: 効力(こうりょく) - moving up to level 29.


  • 〜部 (vocab) and 部室 (vocab): We have plans for bigger movements and additions in the future, and this update is a part of that. Additionally, we consider this use of 部 to be slightly more advanced than the fundamental uses, so this update is for better distribution of vocabulary words.
  • 受領書 (vocab): We’ve decided to move this word up from level 22 to level 25 to better reflect its level of specificity and ensure that it’s taught after 領収書 (Lv23), which is more commonly used.
  • 限度 (vocab) and 限定 (vocab): We’ve noticed that the words 限定, 限界, and 限度 are all taught as “limit” at the same level, which can be confusing for learners. To address this issue, we’re separating them and adding explanations to each subject to help users better understand their differences.
  • 効力(vocab) - As this word is more formal and specific in its usage, we believe it would be best to teach it at a higher level than the similar but more commonly used word 効果. Therefore, we are planning to move this vocabulary word up a few levels for better distribution of difficulty.

Awesome. Thanks for taking the time to document your reasoning behind some of the content changes.

Great stuff.


Very cool!


I will quit WK because of this!!

Nah, just kidding. This is actually great stuff

Thank you


Always glad to see you tweaking and getting the content better! Great stuff! :+1: :sparkling_heart:



To be honest, it will not solve such problems for me at all.
Right now I’m usually try to google for comparisons like italki - 作家 and 作者 What's the difference? 作家 and 作者 can both mean writer/author. Is there a difference in mea.
I’m really think that if such explanations/comparisons would be build-in in meaning description’s of new words or such words would be somehow connected, it will help me a lot.
ConfusionGuesser user script is must have for me too.

p.s. we already have " Similar Kanji" section. I think " Similar words" would be very useful too.


WK wisely doesn’t even attempt to explain every gradation in meaning. Their stated goal is to teach you enough to be able to start reading kanji, without necessarily teaching you every subtlety in the language. Sadly, WK alone will never suffice to completely learn the language.

I think WK is satisfied if you learn that 限定, 限界, and 限度 all roughly mean some sort of “limit” without necessarily teaching you when you might choose to use each. Same thing for 作家(さっか) and 作者(さくしゃ) meaning “writer”.

The issue they are trying to address with this update appears to be introducing too many synonyms at the same time – they aren’t trying to clarify the differences between them.


Great change IMO. Well done.

In general distributing vocabulary more (so that we don’t get a ton of vocab for one kanji at the same level and then almost nothing afterwards) is good I think, it reinforces the kanji.


Is “moving down” a typo here?


Well, it is the third level of hell after all…


Oops, sorry! I’ve fixed it now. Thank you for pointing out. :blush:

Thank you for bringing this up! I’ll take a look at 作家 vs. 作者, and try to add something for 意識 vs. 自覚 too. We’re actually working on gradually introducing distinctions between similar words in our meaning explanations. However, we usually save these explanations for the more advanced vocabulary word among the compared words. This is because we’ve found that introducing words with similar meanings all at once can sometimes confuse learners, which is called interference. Our main goal is for users to focus on mastering the initial vocabulary first. Once they feel more comfortable and familiar with the first word, we’ll introduce the new, more advanced term and help them understand the differences. We hope this approach makes learning more enjoyable and effective for everyone!

CC: Rrwrex


I read this as WaniKani Contest Movements.
A contest with a ‘movements’ theme.

Moving things around is still cool, but not as cool as a good contest.


We’re sorry to disappoint. ‘A contest with a ‘movements’ theme’ isn’t an Olympic event yet, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for 2024. :muscle:t2:


I wonder how many of those comments mentioned Minecraft




This all makes sense. Thanks for detailing it all :smiling_face:


Thank you @mamimumason! These seem like well thought out decisions, and I highly appreciate the fact that you’ve not only documented your reasoning, but have also done so well ahead of the planned changes, so we can all see the upcoming changes and potentially provide any comment or feedback on the changes before they happen, rather than after. I believe that is an important way that WK can keep its customers/users ‘in the loop’, and to keep the site & app more stable and ‘comfortable’ (for lack of a better word).

Cheers! :sunglasses::+1:


I’m not sure if you ever received any feedback about this (or if you have any metrics to measure the improvement), but when you spaced out transitivity pairs for the same reason it caused a marked improvement in my reviews.

Just anecdotal evidence, but it sure seemed like learning both forms of an unfamiliar verb at the same time was harder. Much harder.



A request (prompted by another thread discussing radicals):

While I understand that WK radical meanings are solely to aid with WK mnemonics, I feel the service would be even more awesome if WK also provided an aside with the Japanese meanings and readings of the more common radicals.

I think many of us discuss Japanese and kanji with Japanese friends and family. It’s very difficult to discuss kanji characters verbally in Japanese without referring to radicals by name sometimes, and WK radical meanings are only familiar to other Wanikani users. Without the Japanese names, we’re reduced to finger drawings in the air. It would also sometimes prevent confusion if we at least realized when a WK radical isn’t normally considered a radical by most Japanese.

I often wish I knew the more common Japanese radical names better. I’ve been slowly learning them by referring to this great resource often, but it’s still hit or miss.

I’d love it, for example, if the lesson for the radical included some additional information beyond the mnemonic about the moon being a sun with running legs (perhaps hiding in an “advanced” or “notes” tab). Perhaps something like:

Traditionally, the radical 月 is called つき in Japanese, or つきへん if it’s on the left-hand side. It also normally means “moon”, but the Japanese sometimes call it にくづき when it’s used in a character more closely related to meat/flesh or the body.

Basically, I wish the WK SRS also taught us the traditional Japanese meanings for common radicals. Of course, this must necessarily be in addition to the WK meanings where they conflict, but I think WK would be even more useful if the Japanese meanings were accepted.

Further, since WK teaches kanji, I think it would be wonderful if it mentioned the Japanese vocabulary for radicals in various places. The meaning description for the vocabulary word (へん) should at least mention that it can mean a radical on the left, (あし) one on the bottom, (かんむり) one on the top, (かま)え one surrounding a character, etc. I get that you want to teach the most common meanings of words, but a site about kanji should at least mention the kanji-related usage of vocabulary words!

The other thread talks about accepting the WK kanji meaning for a character. When that meaning is the same as the traditional Japanese radical meaning, I agree that it SHOULD be accepted. When that meaning differs substantially from the WK mnemonic meaning, then a shake warning makes sense.

While I don’t think radicals in the WK SRS should ever get quizzed on readings (that’s not their primary purpose here), I do think it would be valuable to make the readings available to users here (and to accept the Japanese meanings for them, with or without a shake warning).

Since we’ve gradually given kanji and vocabulary more context, let’s also start giving radicals a little more love!