What I wish I knew starting off

Looking back I should have made more specific mneumonics encorporating all the radicals to remember a kanji or phrase because as I go on so many kanji are similar and its getting confusing now. I have to go back often and write new or improved mnemonics.

Someone suggested to try to complete as much vocab for each level before moving on and thats been super helpful as well.

What advice do you have for newcomers? And have you incorporated other memory techniques besides menumonics to help with memory retention?


My biggest recommendation to new comers is, don’t get cocky. It is OK if you can push through 80 vocabulary in a sitting but it WILL come back to bite you later.

I recommend folks find a speed they are comfortable with and stick to it. WaniKani isn’t a race. It isn’t a marathon. It isn’t you vs others in the community. It’s you vs learning and as long as you keep at it, YOU win no matter if it takes you 6 days to level up or 600.


In regards to similar looking kanji issue, it’s a struggle that only gets worse (especially when you burn content and then later learn very similar looking structures for an extra mind scrabble).

Check out these scripts, they may be of help


What I’m trying to learn right now: don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t get to burn that item or push it from apprentice to guru etc. I gives you more chances to better learn and memorize it than somehow going forward with struggle.


I’ll say slow down if you have to. You don’t have to do a fixed amount of lessons every day. Sometimes, life happens, and it’s okay if you cannot do lessons on certain days or have to do fewer lessons than usual. It helps to keep you on track still, rather than burning you out and leading to your giving up on the language. Don’t ever feel like you have to keep up with the Kardashians to be doing a good job with your studies.


As someone who has just started this yesterday, much appreciate this thread :).

I’ve subscribed to classroom lessons now as independent learning is real hard and a difficult motivator, however since a student mentioned this website, I’m excited about the really active community and it’s a great way to learn for someone like me who can get obsessed with learning to the point where I don’t memorize or learn well because I’ve shoved too much in in one sitting. :slight_smile:


My next recommendation is, IF you can be fair to yourself and don’t abuse it, install the TamperMonkey add on for your browser of choice, install the WaniKani Open Framework and the script you want is the WaniKani override.

It will allow you to ignore an incorrect answer. Sure, you can abuse it and just keep ignoring every single wrong answer and just level up because you can. That is NOT what it is meant for (and why I said you don’t abuse it). It is meant to be used when you misspell something or you are too quick, type in the reading instead of the meaning or vice versa which would drop the level of that vocab or character.

I kept typing the reading to the meaning and vice versa and was struggling to level up because I couldn’t train my brain to see the difference when it was asking for one or the other than just slamming carriage return. Now I don’t make stupid mistakes, I just make mistakes and I let those go as mistakes so vocab and characters keep popping up in my face until I learn them properly


Yeah that would be super bad for me. Even if its a typos best to just deal with the burn. Being able to type accurately and recognize the difference between reading, meaning, kanji and vocab are four separare categories that are super important to recognize. I know it’s frustrating at first, but you get more practice that way. I do ten review clusters at a time. If I make a mistake then I stop and start over. Even with that I have to make sure I’m honest with myself and say…okay… that wasn’t a typo. When I see it again I should just mark I don’t know, but I still reset the session.


Congrats on your level Up for 19 Lswan san :tada:

We have a huge support community for those who started this year. It’s called “Level 21 before 2021”. It is the single most important reason that I am still sticking with WaniKani and has been a huge reason for my success. You can join that thread.

If not, you can join its sister thread “Let’s climb Tokyo Skytree” for Level 21 and Higher. You can directly join this thread even if you are not level 21. A vast majority of the folks on these threads are people who joined this year, people who joined during Covid and people who returned during Covid.

I understand everyone has a suggestion on the single most important thing to do here. Mine is “Community”. Just by virtue of being here, you can learn a lot. We can learn from other people’s mistakes and tweak things. (Not applying things blindly but fitting them to your style.)

Here’s to a long and wonderful journey of learning ahead @Lswan san :confetti_ball: よろしくおねがいします :bowing_woman: :bowing_man:


How much of a struggle are similar looking kanji in real life?

I don’t read much other than NHK News Easy, and what’s in Minna no Nihongo, so I don’t know

I was thinking it would be like English, where the brain makes assumptions about what’s on the page. I.e. you might make mistakes if they’re shown individually like WK, but you’d normally get it right from context from the rest of what you’re reading.

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Here’s what I do: when I learn a new Kanji on WaniKani or DuoLingo that I want to make a point of remembering, I make a special type of Anki card for it.

This Anki card prompts me to pick out the correct kanji out of a group of similar-looking Kanji. I like to find similar-looking kanji by going to Jisho.org and searching for Kanji that share certain radicals with it.

The good news is that if you can’t find similar-looking Kanji, well, that means there probably won’t be any Kanji you’ll be likely to confuse it with anyway!

I might make several cards so I won’t be like, “Oh yeah, I remember it was the second Kanji on this card.”


start grammar early and join the book clubs ASAP…nothing like encountering kanji in the wild to really cement them in your mind.


IDK, probably just depends on your experience level and what you are reading. It’s great if you know the context, grammar and vocab…certainly minimizes similarity issues or safe assumptions. But instances like titles and names, much less so. And then there are plenty outside joyo kanji used, so maybe an average educated native knows 3000+ (perhaps) or much more if specialized in a particular field so these kanji float around in native materials…that gets confusing with similar kanji but I usually know if I’ve seen the kanji before at least (or not). And then there is handwriting from pretty calligraphy to chicken scratch, even simple kanji be mixed up here so sort an incentive to learn to write more just to have better intuition on strokes when the writing is a mess. I talk about WK with natives, but they really don’t understand it. Always get, ‘how do you learn kanji without writing’?


@KyokaJiro Its 5 days past so of course I am no longer at Level 19. I am on Level 20 now. I average 1 level every 8 days so I decided to slow down for Level 20, listen to Tofugu Podcasts, see if I can learn a few new things here and try to be more efficient in my studies. I will most likely hit Level 25 by 2021. My goal was Level 30 when I started back in May, but I have fallen behind in my Russian and I would like to focus on conversational for all my languages for a while. I want to reach Level 60 by 2022, but even with slowing down I think I will be okay.

The best way to make progress I would say is to stay off social media. Turn off notifications on everything and study in 20 minutes spurts throughout the day. I will not be on WK Community anymore. My break is officially over. Hopefully you guys learned a few things that will help you moving forward. I sure did! Feel free to DM me Loren.swan.Morrison@gmail.com Subject: Hey Wanikani Friend! Love you guys -L


Congratulations on the level up Lswan san🎊


We did :pray: Thanks for sharing your experience :grinning: . I wish you the best in your goals and look forward to seeing you here when you take your next break :metal:


honestly, I the mnemonics help but i am finding reading sites like NHK easy news every day, or playing Zelda in Japanese, actually reading the Japanese is very helpful for memory. Reading is how we learning spell, after all.


I’m glad I read this thread, I just thought WaniKani and Learn Japanese Pod would be enough (as awesome as they are), but now I know that more needs to be done.

Seeing as how the levels get harder the higher up you go, actually reading native Japanese material would be a huge advantage especially since I’ve been struggling a bit in that area. Time to join the Book Club~

Thanks a ton for the advice! (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و


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