What are pros and cons of Wanikani?


  1. Organized system, with a good method of building up kanji from component parts while also balancing frequency of use (other resources such as kanjidamage, kanjigarden, or “Remembering the Kanji” build up much more strictly and ignore frequency of use).
  2. Drilling in the meaning and pronunciation of Kanji with related vocabulary words.
  3. “Gamification” as mentioned above: organization in “Levels” so that you can better measure your progress.
  4. Site is still actively being worked on a getting new updates
  5. Well-built API to allow for programmers to build 3rd-party apps and scripts that enhance the WK experience
  6. Active community (though you can participate here without being a paying member) with things like grammar threads and book clubs


  1. No “choose your own route” (i.e. the order you learn items in) or option to skip items you already know or are not interested in learning
    (mostly only relevant if you already know some Japanese)

  2. Very strict with getting the exact right answer, which can be demotivating if you know your answer for an English meaning is “close enough” or that you just had a typo
    (can be mitigated by adding user synonyms and through use of a 3rd-party app or script to add an undo button)

  3. Forced progression speed based on non-configurable SRS intervals
    (Anki, kanjigarden, or any other SRS-based system will also have this, however – if you want to get away from that and study at your own pace I’d recommend the physical White Rabbit Press kanji flashcards, perhaps along with a site like kanjidamage or book such as “Remembering the Kanji” or “A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters)

  4. While 3rd-party scripts are great and really enhance the experience, there are some scripts I use to add features that I really think should just be part of WaniKani (Undo button, Semantic-Phonetic Composition, Stroke Order Diagram). I also use some other scripts to just make WK better/more efficient for me, but I’m not sure everyone needs (Lesson Filter, Fast Abridged Wrong/Multiple Answer, ConfusionGuesser)

  5. It costs money (yes, that’s obvious, but there are free options out there for learning Japanese)

  6. A lot of the more recent updates to the site seem to be making some major changes, and I’m not sure if the Tofugu team has published a roadmap yet of what they plan next, so what you see now may not be what the site looks like in a year or two (flip side to pro number 4)

As you can see, a lot of the cons may not matter to you or can be mitigated.

WK was still overall the best kanji learning site for me when I started it and really took a lot of the work out of organizing my kanji study (vs. trying to make Anki decks or something similar) and making it just a daily habit to log into WK and do my lessons and reviews. Along with some more reading practice, it really got me over the gap between JLPT N3 (when I started) to JLPT N2 (which I just passed last December) kanji knowledge.

I’ve stagnated a bit on WK since, as once you get to a certain level it can be beneficial to start branching out or using Anki / other flashcards + sentence mining to instead learn relevant kanji and vocabulary straight from whatever you are reading instead of with WK’s order, but I’m still really grateful to this site for getting me over a huge hurdle in my studies.

WK is definitely not (at least currently) a one-stop-shop for all Japanese study as it really only covers kanji. Check out The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List! that @marciska mentioned above. Most people recommend also adding a textbook or grammar website, as well as possibly studying kana vocab separately. And some people also like to practice writing kanji as well, for which I’d recommend Kanji.sh or the Android app Obenkyo.

Once you start reading Japanese (if you aren’t already), you’ll also want a good dictionary app (I like Takoboto and Akebi on Android, and generally use Jisho.org and the Yomichan and 10ten/Rikaichamp browser add-ons on my PC). Yomichan is great as you get more advanced since it can also support J-J dictionaries in addition to J-E. Both browser extensions also work with Netflix-style subtitles, so if you find a show you like with Japanese subtitles you can pause and do lookups straight from the screen.

I know that’s a LOT, especially if you’re just starting, and somewhat beyond the scope of what you were asking but if you have any interest in:

  1. more advanced grammar textbooks
  2. watching Japanese shows with Japanese subtitles and using browser extensions for that
  3. online Japanese tutors or classroom classes

let me know and I can also link you some more stuff that I personally use!