Wanikani is just not useful enough, but could be

I think you shouldn’t take it personally! This is a common topic on this forum, complains about the slowness of the system, which seems to have worked for a lot of people (it works for me, at least!) and the way it uses somehow random mnemonics to help memorise Kanji. I think people react more against the complain itself than the person who posts it (which most of the times is constructive, and not just complaining per se). Why don’t you wait until level 10 and see whether you like it or not? Take it a supplementary source to practice kanji, not your main one, as it seems you are already an advanced Japanese learner.


If you learn 50+ regularly used kanji a week and have been at it for 5 years, why are you here? You already know 13000 kanji used in everyday life. Impressive, I had no idea there were that many.


>tfw when you realize you’ve been learning Chinese for the past five years


There’s 50,000 kanji in total. Better get cracking. :stuck_out_tongue:

You can only write about 13,000 of them on a computer, though, so that might be why our esteemed guest has run out of things to do.


Part of the problem is that you just don’t make sense. Useless vocal on level 1? 女? 二人?

Edit: 逃げた!


I really didn’t want to get involved in this thread but… the misconceptions are killing me.

  • Assumption: You should read the FAQ. Nah, FAQ is okay, and thank you all for suggesting it, but the guide… that’s the good stuff (that answers pretty much every single question and criticism in this thread). If someone reads this, understands it, and still doesn’t like WaniKani… that’s totally fine. We made WK for a specific type of person, not for everyone. I’d prefer to do an amazing experience for less people, than a mediocre one for all. There’s plenty of other resources (pretty much all of them) that do it the way the critics of this thread want, and I wish you the best of success with those.
  • Goal is to get people to 2,000 kanji the fastest. We are following a simple rule here: you need a certain amount of kanji to read realistic Japanese. Reading realistic Japanese, in large quantities, is what develops a statistical framework around how words, grammar, etc., are used. i.e. fluency. Our goal is to get people to this ability as fast as possible.
  • Assumption: It’s better to teach the most common kanji first. We could teach more common (but more visually complicated) kanji right away, but that gets in the way of the above rule. We’re about the long term, even if we lose out on some customers and money.
  • Assumption: Japanese kids learn kanji the best. You’re not a Japanese kid. We developed our method with the assumption you are an English speaking adult (or something like that).
  • Assumption so many people have: native speakers are the best at teaching a language. They’re pretty good at pronunciation, and conversation practice, but actually the best at teaching and knowing what is the most commonly used xyz? Cognitive bias is fun. And it causes plenty of problems when you don’t have actual edu/neurobiology/etc training or experience behind it. With no training, non native speakers have a step up, because at least they can think about how bad it was when they had to learn the things they’re trying to teach you. Of course, edu/science is going to beat out either of them.
  • Assumption: We choose vocabulary like Family Guy chooses skits (with manatees and random gachapon). It’s not perfect, but I like to think we put some thinking into it. In case you want a peek, when we chose the original vocab, we consulted frequency data lists based on fiction because it’s closer to speaking than newspapers (it’s not going to be perfect though, since we teach kanji in order of visual complexity for the first ten or so levels, and we have to kind of blend these two philosophies together for a bit). More recently (last few years), we’ve now had three native Japanese speakers (oh no, I’m breaking my own previous rule!) go through all the taught vocabulary on the site. They all had different opinions on what is useful and what is not (cognitive bias is, as I said, “fun”), and so we end up explaining to them why these “useless” vocabulary are in there. When we do, they tend to come around to agreeing it’s useful in the long run for learning / reading, or they don’t and so there’ve been times we’ve removed words too. We’re still working on it, and it’s not perfect by any means, but there’s a method to the madness. And, a lot of it requires really long term thinking. Or, understanding WaniKani is about teaching you 2,000 kanji as fast as we can. For that, we sacrifice a lot of short term progress. But, for me at least, it’s the right thing to do for the student.
  • This statement: WaniKani is full of “useless” vocabulary and kanji. I mean, there’s some words where it’s easy to debate that they are uncommon, but “useless” isn’t the right word, I think. People are coming up with like four examples of “useless” words then using this to validate the statement that “most of the vocab on WaniKani are useless.” I mean, I’m not so good at math, but 4/6,000-ish (or even if it was 100/6,000ish) seems pretty useful to me. In the same vein, statements like “you spend the first week doing 100 obscure vocab” could probably use some validation as well. Anyways, whatever it is in the end, all the vocab reinforce kanji knowledge. That’s kind of our goal, first of all (being a “program for learning kanji”). Secondly, people need to understand the difference between literature and speaking. Really, about a thousand words make up most of the words used in regular conversation. We teach 6,000 words. Anything outside those 1,000 (conversational) words are going to be “useless” or uncommon in conversation. But… you know… go read a book, I guess.
  • Assumption: We don’t take feedback well. I’m biased of course, and there have admittedly been times where I haven’t taken feedback well, but generally I think I/we’ve been pretty good and open about it. Usually it’s just a case of “we have to say no because we don’t have time for all these good ideas, and we have to focus on what we think will be great instead.” But, in the case of this topic, it just feels like there’s just people asking us to stop using cars in a horse race, because cars are too complicated and difficult to understand (there’s a guide in the glove box, btw). But, I like using cars because they get to the end of the race faster, rules be damned. Use your horse if it’s good for you (and you don’t know how to drive a car), but please criticize the car after you’ve used it, and after you understand it.

I’d like to think this will end and explain it all, but… this is the internet, so you know.


So no closing the thread then?


but… don’t you want to see what happens? I… I do.


I do want to see that guy come back and tell us what things in level 1 are literally never used in Japanese, but I fear it won’t happen.


“I’d just like to add my opinion here on how I’ve been experiencing WaniKani so far since deciding to try it yesterday.” :roll_eyes::joy::rofl:


Thinking about this thread will keep me smiling all day. :grinning:


A system allowing someone to learn 2000 kanji + 6000 vocab in 1 year is far from being a project for the long term. 1 year is almost tomorrow. I can’t believe we live in a time where people can’t give 1 year of hard work. It’s insane.


This thread is like the recent stock market… Good thing I reinvest dividends.


So I didn’t read what you wrote but basically your system is slow and you should feel slow. I want to learn useful vocab from the get go, like 魔法 少女 and 俺様.


Kawaii 2D Onna no kos?

I actually saw 稿料 the other day and am now down to like 10 words on this site I’ve never seen in real life.

If anything, we need more useless words like 麗しい and 10 levels of Yojijukugo


Pretty please and with sugar on top.

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I suggest 班門弄斧, it’s Chinese but it’s my favorite one.

More useless words and yojijukugo forever.

I was about to go ahead and type out “why do you always have me googling your lewd words”, but apparently that’s not it this time around.