What do you guys feel about raising the free levels from 3 to 5?

So, I got few friends to try WK and I got the usual “it is too slow” response. I think most of us started feeling the pressure when we got to Level 5.

This is not a “feedback” as such but I wanted to know opinions of users here. Do you feel it is all right as it is? Should it be raised to 5 or some other number?


I think people who are going to quit because it’s “too slow” will quit before they get to level 5 anyway. I imagine most of them quit on level 1.


I think the fact the offer three levels for free is already a lot. I’ve found other sites give you a trial period with a time limit of ten days or thirty days etc. But with WaniKani you get access to the full site and you can complete the free levels in any amount of time you like.


I can’t say too much about raising the level, but I agree with @Leebo that most people would give up at level 1. Hell, I’m still stuck on level 1 and it’s almost been a week. I’ve been doing the reviews in general 3-4 times a day and it’s a long process. (Partly cause I’m listening to music on the side which makes memorizing even more challenging …)


A huge portion of people who sign up don’t make it to level 2 and a large portion of them don’t make it to level 3. See: Wanikani Users Distribution by Level

By the time you get to level 3, you already lost the large majority of anyone who isn’t going to continue. I’ve pulled some irl friends into WK and the only person who even got past level 1 was the one who already knew the kanji anyway.

I think the fact they offer any free period at all is quite nice, so I’m quite happy with it as-is.


To be fair, it sounds like you are saying it’s too hard rather than too slow? The first level takes 3 days at the fastest speed, which many people still complain is too slow.

And when they do, I get to post my list of the other 500 threads about the same thing!


I mean, it was pretty difficult. The hiragana and kanji are pretty decent in difficulty, but vocab kinda hit me pretty hard. The whole difference of when to use onyomi or kunyomi in the vocab is hard, especially trying to identify jukugo. So far, it seems you have to just memorize which ones are jukugo and which ones aren’t. Plus the whole mnemonic system was taken to another level with ~35 new things to memorize, but I guess knowing that it’ll take me 10-15 minutes a sitting to internalize it is a bit comforting. Slowly but surely I’m making it. Kinda sucks when you accidentally enter a wrong answer that was barely misspelled or what not and it keeps you back, but overall I like it. (Curse those 3 kanji that aren’t apprentice yet! :upside_down_face:)


3 levels were enough to suck me in. The 3rd level is what really kept me. Once I finished that I was ready for more.


Go search on the forum for some user scripts. There is one called WaniKani Override (there might be others). This allows you to ignore the answer IF you get it wrong due to a simple misspelling. I’m hesitant to recommend this to a new learner because if you abuse that power, you will defeat the whole purpose of an SRS. That being said, if you use it properly it can be a huge help.

And if you are worried about it being too slow… just wait. Oh the days when I had only a few reviews and lessons…


If they think its too slow, changing it to level 5 wont make a difference. The onboarding process seem to have been designed to make starting as a beginner as painless as possible.

Get people you introduce to read this guide. They should be able to decide for themselves whether WK offers what they want.


I’d reinforce the fact that kanji learning doesn’t need to go much faster than 1 year. There’s grammar, extra vocab, reading, speaking and writing to practice. Learning kanji in 3 months (RTK way) won’t make those other paths any easier.

PS: I’m mentioning 1y because they’re worried about being too slow, not because I’m assuming it’s easy to do so. Just an argument to use.


I think 3 levels are already more than enough. I knew I was going to subscribe by the end of level 2 itself :smiley:


Everyone is making such reasonable arguments.
I was about to jump in to fervently agree with the OP because I just hit the free level cap. :smirk:


Personally I feel okay with raising the free levels from 3 to 60, but then again I don’t stand to earn any money from WK so my opinion is biased :ghost:


I’m a few days away from having to pay so, uh, sure - raise it to 5 right now!

More seriously, it does feel slow but it seems to be working so I shall be parting with some money soon. From Tofugu’s perspective 3 may well be optimal.

TBH the only thing I’d really want to change is when new radicals become available. Teach me the radicals for level N+1 in level N, there aren’t many of them, they’re easy, and they just (seem to?) block access to learning kanji in each level which unnecessarily extends levelling time. (I’m not SRS-ing if I haven’t seen it yet.)


Funnily enough, I just got the lesson for the vocab 無料 and this is one of the example sentences:

WaniKani is available for free until level four.

Which is not true because WaniKani is available for free until level three.

But perhaps based on that example sentence alone we have a solid argument for making level 4 free.


Danger OT:
Until in the meaning of “until you reach”. So lvl 4 is excluded…

Back to topic:
I don’t think it’s of any use to raise the free levels. The first 3 are more than enough to acknowledge how wanikani works and if it’s a fit.


It depends on how you interpret “until”.

“I’m busy until 3 pm” means I’m busy until shortly after 14:59. 15:00 is excluded.

“I’m busy until Thursday” means I’m busy until and including Thursday.

“We climbed the stairs until 4th floor” means 4th floor is included.

“I went to school there until 6th grade” means 6th grade is included.


I feel like the first three levels give you a good taste of what WaniKani is all about. It allows you to see whether you even like WaniKani, like the language, or even feel like learning through mnemonic devices even works for you.

Some people can’t learn that way and work best through visual and wrote memorization. I, however, have always worked really well with mnemonics, even as a teenager.

It also allows people to see if they are serious or not. If you think it is too slow at first, but are serious about it, you will push through. If you lose interest that quickly, then you weren’t going to continue, most likely, anyway.

So, I agree with everyone here, that the first three levels being free is pretty good and it is early enough in the levels that when you complete them, you are forced to make a decision about whether to pay and continue or not, especially if you liked it.

I luckily was able to finish level 3 and make that decision around January when they had the Lifetime Membership discount :sunglasses:.

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