WaniKani difficulty curve

Please forgive me :crying_cat_face:


@ekg Is there something in particular you’re upset with me about? It seems you have an ongoing grievance with me. I openly admit I’m not perfect. However, you should know I’m not trying to offend you or cause aggression. I’m probably taking this too personally, but it does sadden me in real life when this stuff happens.

I don’t want this to become the next Thinking Aloud Thread disaster (and I’ve still stayed out of that thread since then), but you can always choose to calmly let me know that you think a certain post is problematic or ignore them. A conflict cannot exist with only one party to it.

I hope I can keep my motivation to a minimum level. I see you are at level 37 now. How has your experience been in terms of motivation?

Because of how kanji are being taught, you just get used to learning the new kanji, like a frog in a pot

I can see that already. WaniKani makes us overcome our fear of kanji by making us exposed to them so often.

You’re attempting to learn a new language, literally learning how to see the world in a whole new way, it’s going to be hard.

That’s what makes language learning so special and exciting, isn’t it? That’s one of the reasons I am studying Japanese. :nerd_face:


How has your motivation been? Do you often find yourself having to dial into discipline to make it through?

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My thoughts on motivation - usually mine falls off when something else in my life gets busier/harder - I can only manage so many balls in the air at once.

The main things I’ve found to be helpful:

  • being aware of my workload - it’s easy to overload on wanikani lessons up front when they seem pretty easy, and then realize you’ve created days when you’re just going to have tons of reviews when things are harder
  • using what I’ve learned - from about level 10 or so, I started trying to read things in Japanese - try being the key word - it was a lot of looking stuff up and still is, but you come across kanji you’ve learned in real Japanese and it feels great.

In that same vein - when I do have to look up new kanji when reading, I often check what WK level I’m going to get it in - yes, I can try to learn it on it’s own, but often I get ‘oh, I’ll learn that in a couple levels - that will be useful’.

Definitely have to bring some discipline to keep going every day, but I find it much easier to get to this every day with the motivation of of not wanting reviews to pile up and having a ‘level up’ than it was to get through textbook chapters or use something like anki (I keep trying to connect with anki - pretty sure it would be good for me - my longest streak is still only about 45 days before I lose it).

Not sure if that’s helpful - I’ve enjoyed WK and continue to use it and love it, but have definitely slowed down this year - I’m reaching the point where a lot of kanji I see frequently I know, which makes it feel less urgent to memorize more as fast as possible.

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The main thing keeping you from practicing and understanding reading is not knowing words/ grammar (many words will be written without kanji no matter how many kanji you know) and not having practiced lots and lots and lots of reading.

I don’t know enough words to even be able to read anything yet. The only think I can really read are Genki’s reading sections. If I try to read anything else I will have to stop to lookup words in the dictionary every other word. Furigana is still useless to me most of the times. :sweat:

I have been trying to read material made for kids like the lyrics to Japanese traditional songs which I absolutely adore. I have known them since childhood but I never knew what they meant. Even those are difficult to me because my vocab is so poor.

But I do agree with you that reading is very important. That is how I learned English after all. This experience has made me appreciate my own effort to learn English when I was young. I had forgotten how difficult language learning can be.

Do you have any tips for me that could help me read more?

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Glad to know it gets normal with time. I’ve had lots of fun doing my reviews, I really enjoy it. I hope I don’t get burnt out!

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Very good point! My Japanese is really really poor. Even so I’ve had some freebies. :slightly_smiling_face: It’s somewhat satisfying when it happens though because then I will find out I know something I was not even aware I knew, and I have no idea how how or when I learned it.

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Number of strokes isn’t necessarily a good indicator of how “hard” it is to remember a kanji. Because once you get started, your knowledge snowballs, and so something like , which looks intimitating to a beginner, just looks like 2 parts (解 and 虫) to a more experienced learner.

That is to say, you’ll feel differently about the late kanji than you do now.


This was starting to read Japanese in a nutshell for me. I still look up several words per sentence routinely - Things that have been helpful:

  • knowing your tolerance for looking things up - I’m happy to look up several words per sentence in a manga (depending on text density) for an entire chapter or more (mainly down to my motivation level for that manga); for books that are just text, a normal amount is about 2 pages; the most I’ve ever really done is 10, but I know the book I’m reading right now is way too hard for me - a kids book I can read longer.
  • knowing more grammar - much more relevant than vocabulary for me - it’s easy to look up a word, but harder if it’s in a different form and you don’t recognize it well. It can be a lot trickier to look up a grammar pattern than look up a word. In the same vein - some grammar knowledge helps you find word boundaries so you know what to look up
  • starting with things with more picture support - I like manga, but the casual grammar can be a bit killer - picture books can also work
  • tolerating ambiguity - being comfortable with not looking up every word/grammar point and just going with the gist - I will often keep going if I’m pretty sure I know roughly what’s happening, even if I’m not 100% sure
  • Graded readers were helpful to step into - the whole point is to be doable for the learner - I was bored by them after a few and had trouble sticking to them, so went for material I was interested in instead - but I generally have high tolerance for frustration
  • knowing some kanji has really helped - it lets you make some guesses for words you maybe haven’t learned, but know some or all of the kanji in - it also REALLY helps with figuring out where the words start and end - this is usually a big frustration when starting to read.
  • joining a book club on here helped kickstart things by having other learners around to answer questions, and having some accountability on keeping reading.

Everyone experiences reading native material a little differently - some people go for 100% understanding (or as close as they can get), some people don’t look up anything unless they have no idea what’s going on. Some people really love graded material and some people really don’t. The main thing is always finding something that works for you and sticking with it.


I saw then that a solid foundation of the kanji of a given level makes most of the vocab essentially freebies as you glue together the readings you’ve just learned.

That’s my hope. That’s what is making me glued to WaniKani. I mean that and the fact that I am kind of addicted to it by now.

That’s also the point when you realize onyomi pronunciations are finite.

I have already seen an example of that: 人工 and 人口.

“Slackware”. I hadn’t heard that name in a long time. I have good memories associated with that name though.

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I’ve been stuck on this level for a month now with around 900 backed up reviews, motivation is tough to keep up as you learn rarer and rarer words, especially of you know that those appear 99% of the time as hiragana. My issue was that I fell sick, as long as that doesn’t happen, I can go on through simple habit

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some people don’t look up anything unless they have no idea what’s going on.

Yeah, that’s me lol. Was reading a manga, searched up a kanji, learned it was 誰 and I haven’t learned it in WK yet, but I am familiar with the word. Learned the kunyomi for 飛, a kanji I just learned (at the time) but didn’t get to the vocab part so I didn’t know the other reading. After that, which was like 3 pages in, I never looked up anything and read the entire 2 volumes like that. Great manga though.

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Learned the kunyomi for 飛

What I coincidence. I’ve come across this kanji about 4 times in the last couple of days. When WaniKani finally shows me this one I will already know one reading and meaning.

but didn’t get to the vocab part so I didn’t know the other reading. After that, which was like 3 pages in, I never looked up anything and read the entire 2 volumes like that.

Did you get the meaning through context though?

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4 times, huh, that’s pretty cool. And yeah, I knew what it meant, I just wanted to know how to read it. You may not have much luck reading anything besides graded readers right now, but soon you should dive into stuff, even if it’s at a level higher than you (the manga I read was and still is significantly higher).
The kanji really helps you coupled with the pictures and you can get the gist pretty nicely, at the very least you’ll probably be happy to know that you will be able to read kana a lot faster due to the experience.

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I always recommend Satori Reader for reading practice! It definitely has been my favorite learning resource and it’s pretty cheap! It comes with audio for each story, grammar breakdowns, and built-in srs for any words you learn in any stories you read. I also recommend it for listening practice since subscribers can download all the audio to the stories they read :smiley: I think their newest story ジャム屋さん is super easy! Sounds like vocab might be a hang-up for you, but just get practicing somewhere and over tine you’ll get it :smiley:

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finally finishing it after half a decade


Care to share about how you have made your study time more effective? It would quite helpful to see if any of your methods could be applicable to mine or others study routine. Thank you for your time.

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kou is my go-to when I have no idea what the reading is. It works a lot, lol.


Despite there being thousands of kanji, there are only something like ~415 unique on’yomi readings. On top of that, コウ does seem to be a particularly common one (: