Wanikani not really useful without Kaniwani?

Has anyone else found their Wanikani experience pretty depressing without a tool such as Kaniwani on the side? I honestly feel I’m in danger of burning out unless I also add the “productive side of things” to my kanji learning (i.e. recalling Japanese words, writing kanji)… But then again I fear that with Kaniwani on the side everything would take ages, and I might take many months to get ANYTHING done. How did you guys go about this, particularly those that have reached higher levels?


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I did KaniWani for a while, but stopped. My reading ability is doing fine, and the way to improve at producing language is to produce more of it. KaniWani is certainly better than not doing anything, but speaking a lot is the best way to get better at speaking.


what is KaniWani please?



It’s the opposite of WaniKani. You are presented with English words and have to input the readings.

Shown: 山
Input: mountain / やま

Shown: mountain
Input: やま


It looks like KaniWani could help with the retention, but it doesn’t look like it would really help with the production.

The most productive way to improve production is producing.


Well, it does help with one aspect of production, which is recalling the word from the English prompt, rather than the kanji prompt. But actual production includes far more than just knowing which word you want. There are ways to get around forgetting words, just like in English, you can say “the thing that is the blah blah blah” instead of the word.


Thank you so much :slight_smile:

I rely on vocab in textbook lessons and in Core 10k breakdown, rather than KaniWani, because Core 10k feels more complete… but in higher levels, I have to modify WaniKani export for KaniWani style, because some words aren’t included in Core 10k.

Yeah, just recalling the words isn’t that useful.

As far as I remember, the whole process is more subconscious than conscious, and requires taking a lot of input before really producing.

Judging by my personal experience with English - most of the words I use weren’t added to my active vocabulary consciously, except maybe the very first basic words.

They just sort of “appear” after I’ve seen enough of them, and the brain silently suggests which words to use without any translation going on in the head. The more I used English, the smoother these new suggestions appeared. Even if I have never actually learned them by translating from the corresponding words of my language.

The same is happening with Japanese, although on more primitive level.


I’m not trying to hate on KaniWani, but pretty much any E->J solution is, at best, a stopgap measure in my eyes. Even with the help of sample sentences and dictionaries it’s difficult to pick up on natural usage of words when learning in that kind of environment. The synonym problem on KW is a pretty good example of this. English has a ton of similar words as well, but most of those have a specific intonation, period, or usage case.

There are other tools like hinative, italki, lang8, ect. that all let you practice forming complete Japanese (at your own pace) with native feedback, so I think it’s a little better to consider doing that instead.

The WaniKani experience has been exactly what I expected from using it. It’s a great tool for learning to read [kanji]. If I had any problems in the process it would be with my shortcomings as a student. (I would appreciate getting more general/kana vocab and common names under a related system, but I’m not allowed to complain about that until level 60).


Honestly, Kaniwani can be useful at times, but once you reach the higher levels, I think it would have outlived its usefulness. Once you get more and more used to the language, you stop having to rely on rough English equivalents and start to learn new Japanese words in Japanese. It isn’t all that necessary to always tie them back to English. Plus the sheer number of synonyms gets pretty confusing. If you find it useful then great, but I don’t think you need to plan on using it forever, especially if you feel you’re burning out.


Depends on your goals. I only want to be able to consume, not produce, so something like KaniWani wouldn’t add anything for me. I’m never going to be looking at an English sentence and thinking “how would I say this in Japanese?”, it’ll always be the opposite.

But that’s simply my own personal goals/needs. I’m only level 9 and I feel like I’m already recognizing a good deal more words when reading manga in Japanese. I also feel like I have an easier time looking up words I don’t know if I know the kanji readings as a starting point (looking a kanji up blind takes me forever).

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I think WK is useless without reading. English equivalents, like said above, isn’t really the best way to progress since you aren’t really learning their proper usages, naunces etc.

Read a bunch and you will remember the words you are learning here, passively pick up on more vocab & grammar too. I think having a decently sized passive vocabulary is helpful before turning it into active vocabulary, but if you want to practice that aspect then use something like HelloTalk or italki and chat with actual natives.


Can you use your same account for Kaniwani? It says I need an API key to make a new one and I don’t know wth that means.

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From your Dashboard:

Menu (top right) → Settings → Account tab → Public API Key

You’ll probably want the value from API Version 1 for the moment. I don’t think most apps will have switched to the just-announced API version 2 yet (unless the site specifically asks for it).

No. One of the reasons I do EN->JP is to focus less on the Kanji, and focus more on the sound/Kana; after all, there are too many exceptions in the Kana readings. When I answered in Kana correctly in WaniKani, it is usually because I have heard of the vocab somewhere. --> but this is more impossible in higher levels without some kind of additional drills.

And I think good comprehension in Japanese is strongly tied to listening/vocalized reading; so better than EN->JP would be something like Sentence Audio Quiz, or Vocab Audio Quiz. I tried to do sentence quizzing too.

Better yet, go active. I believe it helps raise passive recognition accuracy to a new level.


I might be misunderstanding what Kaniwani is. I thought it was purely backwards Wanikani, which doesn’t sound like it would provide the kind of practice you’re describing. Does it have other features?

Also I shouldn’t have said “won’t add anything” without qualifying “…relative to the additional time investment it would require.” Naturally, the more methods you can use at once, the better off you are. But there’s just no way I can fit more than Wanikani into my day.

About the audio quiz I mentioned, it is not possible in KaniWani.

The easiest way would be [Userscript] Self-Study - Quiz Edition with Listening Quiz. The harder way would be in Core 10k Anki.

Sentence reading and quizzing is now only possible in Anki. There is a deck for WaniKani context sentences too.


I think polv is basically getting at the fact that on WK you are asked to generate a reading. You can look at a word and cobble the correct reading from knowing the two kanji readings on their own. Even if you had forgotten the word. But with KW you have to generate that word with no kanji prompt, which means you really must know the word and not merely how to pronounce the constituent kanji.



There are several words I usually confuse in WaniKani, such as (my current struggle):
就職 (しゅうしょく) : finding employment
就業 (しゅうぎょう) : employment
職業 (しょくぎょう) : occupation

and I feel it doesn’t really help if I cram what these words mean just on wanikani. Instead, it’s better to see them in their natural habitat amongst other words and with elaborate context, then I’d be able to differentiate between them properly.

I did KaniWani for about 2 levels then stopped, when I was like 10/11, and I didn’t feel it was useful imo.

EDIT: added meaning of vocab.

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