What are pros and cons of Wanikani?

wow it hasn’t been even 4 days and i’ve already gotten so many replies! thank you guys!

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It’s an unofficial iOS app for WK. There’s also a couple for Android. Incorporates some of the scripted features that users have created for the browser version.

oh. . . cool!

Pros:

  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

Cons:

  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!

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heh i’m not sure if my parents would allow me to buy textbooks or get a tutor… i’m sure i could listen to shows!

when do you think is the best time to start branching out? also could you give me some free alternatives? i don’t think my parents are willing to give money to me

If you’re just starting in Japanese, then I’d still start with grammar now simultaneously. I used a textbook (since it doesn’t really matter if you get an older edition, you can usually find used copies of the popular Genki books for $8 USD or less). If you need free, a lot of people recommend Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese or Cure Dolly’s Japanese from Scratch Youtube videos. If you’re a Pokemon nerd like me, Pokemon Grammar is also worth checking out.

It’s also good to start practicing listening to Japanese if you aren’t already.

For shows, I watch either on Netflix (would cost money but you might already have it) or Crunchyroll (again, subscription). You probably would want to start with English (or your native language) subtitles at first, but try to really listen to the spoken Japanese and pick up words.

A list of some Youtube channels that might help you is a helpful, but possibly overwhelming list of useful Youtube videos.

There are also some great pocasts out there! A lot of people recommend Nihongo Con Teppei . He has a special Spotify list for beginners: Japanese podcast for beginners (Nihongo con Teppei) | Podcast on Spotify.

Hope that helps!

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Pros: the longer i use wanikani and the more i progress the more i enjoy wanikani and look forward to new lessons and new vocabulary

Cons: none at the moment

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One pro: If you like being spoon fed, are indecisive, are prone to hitting roadblocks, or don’t know where to start with kanji… this will bring you miles. I was personally stuck for years in school, but just a year+ later on WK at level 41 I easily learned 5x more with a daily schedule than those several years combined and can read a lot of native material now.

One con: Since it focuses on learning to read kanji, you’ll learn a lot of things most likely not suited for your goal, like many baseball terms such as 犠打 or 併殺.

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I can’t think of anything that I’d call strictly a pro or con as such, but whatever you do, study Japanese in other ways in addition to WaniKani. Read or watch whatever interests you in Japanese, as much as you can. You’ll get a lot more out of WaniKani and the information will stick better. Use the information that you’re learning as much as you can.

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oh my goodness, how did you find this?

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Ahh there are plenty of ways to learn the kana in like a couple days! For me, Japanesepod101’s YouTube videos were good. Their mnemonics are pretty decent.
If WK added kana it’d be kinda weird cos there’s already so many fine ways to learn them. WK is good cos it’s doing something nothing else can do (…although maybe Anki can but I just hate the UI), the best way to learn kanji imo.

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Oh right haha. Promoting a cards website? Maybe I’m a spambot for Japanesepod’s YT channel…always plug them when kana comes up lol.

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Dang. Two different accounts posting the same ChatGPT lookin’ message. SHAME ON YOU.

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@Mods some funny business here

Hopefully not made by the WK team itself?

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What does this even mean? This is a kanji learning website. It’s absolutely focused on kanji

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Funny business indeed! I’ve removed these for now.

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I’ve been studying Japanese on and off for years and for me the biggest stumbling block has always been reading (specifically kanji). I’m doing wanikani because it’s easy to do and so far I’m happy with the results. In tandem with Satori Reader, my reading is improving steadily.

It’s not a one-stop shop - you’re going to have to work on grammar, listening & conversation practice elsewhere.

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My ~spidey~ ChatGPT sense is tingling

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welcome!

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i arrived late for the fiasco…

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