WaniKani teaching somewhat rare vocab first

No, there was a bar graph for all 60 levels, where each N-Level’s vocabulary was colored differently and stacked on top of the others per each level. By the colors alone, you could plainly see the easy vocab thin out as the rarer vocab becomes more frequent.

You can see the trend in that chart if you look for it, though.

this sounds like wkstats.com items->JLPT page

I think some of the problem is that people tend to think of “grammar” as a monolith, and the Tofugu/WK guides don’t really clarify.

It seems a bit silly to me to claim that you should spend months learning Japanese without knowing that the verb goes at the end and what a を is, when that’s the part of grammar that actually is pretty easy to understand.

But on the other hand, the harder part of grammar is drilling all those “grammar points”/idioms like the difference between ようにする and ようになる, and that’s the part that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to put effort into drilling until you’re somewhat comfortable recognizing the vocabulary that’s being するed or なるed.

I know Cure Dolly had a fairly recent video where she talked about the difference between what she calls “core structure” and “idioms,” and it really does seem like a distinction that should get made more. (Not that such a segmentation is always perfectly clear, of course.)

Sounds to me like someone should make a userscript!

(I wouldn’t be surprised if one already exists, but I couldn’t turn one up in a quick search.)


I’m well aware of that site (in fact, https://wkstats.com:10001/ is a more up-to-date version of it), but that’s not it.

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Hey mate,

I am in the same boat as you. Some words are just not that useful yet. You can’t use wanikani as a your method to learn vocabulary. The vocabulary lessons are there to help reinforce the kanji. There are holes and some essential words aren’t included. Especially words that are only written with hiragana.

My philosophy is to not worry about learning every single word in wanikani. I can read them all, but I worry about the most useful words for now. I use japanese core 2k anki deck for learning every word. I use wanikani for learning the kanji. I mean fox (狐 きつね)is a lvl 60 word. It’s still in the core 2k deck.

This being said, there is a lot of overlap between wanikani and core 2k. When I get a word in core 2k that I had in wanikani, it’s really easy to produce it (if I can’t already).

Anyways I hope this helps.


P.s. @Leebo

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This is like déjà vu :thinking:

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Thanks! Yes, I use the core 2k as well, it perfectly complements WK. I know many people have concerns about using multiple SRS systems defeating the purpose, but it works well for me, expecially with the kana-only vocab and example sentences. The main benefit of WK is the gamification and the nmemonics (What would one do without こういち)!

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This reminds me of the KanjiDamage Kanji Facts :


That is super interesting! Intuitively it would make sense to have the most common used words made up of really simple kanji. During the development of the writing system, probably something similar to English irregular verbs happened (almost all of them are very frequently used, so you would assume they are regular, but people could remember the irregularity because of the word being so common)


Go ahead and read the whole page I linked, it’s absurdly interesting. :slight_smile:


Sorry, that’s all I wanted to say. But it’s a super common and helpful phrase.

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Whoops, I should read the thread before posting.

I would say a larger problem than unusual grammar is that you will learn kanji out of the usual order, so exposure to either N3 kanji or Grade 6 kanji will not come fully until rather high levels. It’s a bit of a problem for JLPT testing and a bit of a problem for reading native material. In addition is that a lot of consumable grade 5 or 6 material simply won’t expose you to what you’ve learned here, so many lower level characters become more easily forgotten. Taking your example, you’ll see 友だち written a LOT in lower level material (the second character is grade 4 and the first is grade 2).

That said, don’t overthink it too much. There won’t be an ideal way to learn all this material and WK is the best way I’ve seen for the most number of people. If you have an excessive amount of time to dedicate to study, you should try and crank through this as quickly as possible up through the first 30 or so levels, then maybe taper off after then if the load becomes too high.


Level 10 is also a really good time to start learning grammar.

Before moving on, you should reach level 10 on WaniKani

If you are using WaniKani, you should be at level 10 or above.

It’s (finally!) time to start learning grammar. If you followed this guide to the letter, you’re probably 2-4+ months into your Japanese studies.

I don’t know, it really feels like you’re trying to read things between the lines that aren’t there.
Of course saying “Don’t ever study grammar until you’re level 10” would be really obnoxious, they’d never do that. But it’s seem pretty clear that Tofugu thinks it’s better to get a few levels in before starting with your grammar studies.

I really wanted to give a three page long list of silly “It would be better to, but you’re allowed to do otherwise”-examples to drive home my point, but that also seemed rather obnoxious.

I never said they didn’t recommend you wait. What I was disagreeing with was this:

There’s a big difference between saying “Hey studying grammar is easier at X level for reasons Y” and the post I was responding to which makes it sound like they actively discourage studying grammar earlier. That post contained a rather unfair characterization of their recommendation.

Considering the diverse audience of this site their recommendations won’t necessarily be applicable to all, but nothing in those statements say you can’t or shouldn’t study grammar earlier.


The post sounds a little harsh, agreed, but that is because the author clearly disagrees with the statement.
I don’t really see a difference between “You should start learning grammar after level 10” and “You shouldn’t start learning grammar before level 10”. Tofugu would never state their advice as cold hard facts, because that is silly, but that doesn’t change the intent.

Yes, the intent is to provide a loose rule of thumb to new learners not a hard and fast rule. But, whatever, like every recommendation it isn’t universally applicable. We can agree to disagree.

I think this idea harkens back to the thought that wanikani is not an all encompassing program. This is a tool that teaches the kanji and honestly I think it teaches everything really well. However, it is probably just one tool in your toolbox to learning Japanese. For my boyfriend and I, we also have kanji flash cards, workbooks, grammar books, and we use some apps on top of wanikani. However, if your goal in the end is to learn Japanese I think it is okay that things are out of order for testing because the long term goal is to be fluent enough in the language.

Yes, there are some weird things. But in its entirety, I think this is a great resource and I have learned quite a bit from it.

-Random aside- “In its entirety” the the most random expression I have learned and know it it no other languages, but lookie there, I used it in english~


“alles in allem” / “im Ganzen”

Here you go, now you know it in German too. No sweat. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Cool, I’ll add it to my vocabulary! Thanks~