Wanikani is just not useful enough, but could be

Will this thread ever die?!

It seems like every time the fire of this thread dies out there is a single person who replies and sparks the ash ablaze again; it’s like a phoenix rising from the ashes.


If the crabigator wills it, it will be so.

Nah, you just have to be patient

I know, so mysterious. Like after a few days of inactivity, someone sees it and thinks “Ah, why the hell not?”

Who would do something so pointless and insipid?

Well, it’s been a bit since anyone posted… why not revive this thread right now? :joy:

Edit: I should have waited a day or two, but I was scared of someone doing it before me.


Together we will keep this thread strong!

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Well then let’s go!


Say, aren’t threads automatically renewed once it reaches 10k now?

This thread may never die.

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Why, to avoid reviews of course. :wink:

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they teach the simpler kanji first so you’re not overwhelmed with 15 strokes, and that sets up the rest of the order.

The OP deleted their forum account (as indicated by the anon + numbers style username) and hasn’t appeared on the forum since more than 3 years ago when they made this thread.

So, I wouldn’t expect them to see your post or respond.


i just realized that after i looked at the post count and read the posts that resurrected it

Yeah, there’s a contingency here that likes that it’s confusing or whatever.


Oh poor you, your life must be so hard being confused all the time

This is a fascinating thread. It’s quite the mix of interesting observations, and defensiveness. Probably no one cares, but here are my thoughts.

I’ve been studying (self-taught) since mid-2016. I passed N5 in 2017, and am studying for N4 (life + CoVID = not taken yet). I’ve been up to Level 27 before I got a bit overwhelmed with reviews and started over from Level 1 a few months ago.

Wanikani gave me a tremendous vocabulary advantage coming into N5, but there are a lot of quirks about the order in which things are presented. Being a complete novice I took things at face value coming into Level 1 the first time, but knowing far more grammar the second time around, it really has changed my perspective.

I understand the idea of visually simple kanji, but honestly I think it’s a mistake to front load with a lot of rarely useful words, and that curating things a bit differently could allow the idea of simple to complex to continue, but could also take advantage of the fact that there is synergy in learning vocabulary and Kanji. I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to teach English if I only taught from words that were easy to spell. One of the things that will reinforce learning the Kanji is actually using them - if people have to memorize tons of Kanji they don’t use, even with SRS this doesn’t bode well for long-term retention. Also, it makes it harder to start reading things like newspapers or children’s books if you won’t know the common Kanji.

Something else I noticed on the second pass is that things like adjectives vs adverbs are not explicitly called out in Wanikani - because it centers on vocabulary - but first time around it means a lot more rote memorization. Instead of introducing these as separate, isolated words, it would be nice to have them introduced as a related concept.

Spending more time on the radicals up front would be better as well. The second time around I’ve spent much more time and effort paying attention to the radicals that make up the Kanji. The info is there, of course, but a different choice of vocabulary or Kanji introductions would help a lot. For example - status, entangle, bind, each - could be introduced in a way that got people to focus on the radicals that were different between the Kanji in a more systematic way.

And then there’s the example sentences! As a new learner they got way too hard way too fast! Good, straightforward, useful sentences that used the words in a proper context would honestly be far easier to memorize and apply than some of the more bizarre examples given. Take that with a grain of salt - I’ve never been one for mnemonics, personally, so mostly I just ignore 99% of what’s written and pay attention to the pronunciation, part of speech, etc. It’s just the way I learn.

I am a lifetime member. I intend to burn all 60 levels at some point. I’ve been doing this every day for a bit over three years, and thought I would move through it all in a year. Boy, was I wrong.

It’s super useful, and it’s one of the cornerstones of my learning. But there are definitely things I would do differently. But that’s not a criticism so much as an observation - there are so many ways to get there.


My perspective as a beginner, never having been to Japan

The positive:
It teaches me kanji in a sort of organized way, where I learn the on-yomi and kun-yomi and the radicals. This is a way I’ve always wanted to learn, but never found a resource until this site. That includes taking 2 semesters of Japanese (20 years ago) and studying on duolingo for 1/2 year or so. The SRS and mnemonics are helping enormously to fix my bad Japanese spelling and confusion with similar words and kanji. The reasoning behind not learning a word like tomodachi early is because of the complexity of the kanji which goes against the core system of building up to complexity.

The negative:
The price for paid content is expensive for what you get. Assuming you drill regularly you’re about 30min-1hour of content a day. In my book the service is worth about $5/mo. However, I subscribed to it as I have not yet found a better competing service.

How would I improve wanikani?
Add optional grammar and reading sections. The community forums are insanely popular, these should be really be pointed out more than they are. Show a beginner how to use the jisho dictionary. Integrate that jisho dictionary into the wanikani product. Get more support from Japanese speakers to make sure all of the words they use are featured somewhere in wanikani, even if that means higher levels. I’m against removing any words. Somehow, help us learn to speak Japanese properly. The audio is a start. I don’t know how to help more with this.


I paid for one year, the currency exchange is not great in my home country but of all methodologies out there WK was the “bullseye!” I got after so many years I have tried to stick to studying japanese.

after 4 months, doing lessons and reviews everyday I say I am really confident trying to read twitter and news nowadays and so far it has been great support to learn japanese.

I will try bunpro as well, but once again, the currency exchange to us dollar is not great at the moment (almost 1 to 6 us dollars!).

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