What should my goal be with WaniKani?

https://iknow.jp/zendesk or click the gear icon and then “Help”.

I was one of those people mentioned earlier who enthusiastically took to WaniKani because while I had studied Japanese for years, I had a kanji-sized hole in my learning which was really starting to hold me back.

All that to say that you could definitely progress for a while in Japanese with very little kanji, but I think for the time WaniKani takes, it’s definitely worth it even for a beginner. After all people who speak Chinese natively usually do quite well in Japanese because while the speech and grammar systems are quite different, they already can understand (most of) the kanji. So getting a good grounding in kanji from the outset would give anyone a leg up.

Another good grammar tool that I’ll put in a good word for is Human Japanese. I went through the free levels because I thought they were interesting. I didn’t buy the whole app because I think it’s pretty redundant for my purposes (I’m already in a Japanese class that meets weekly). But it’s very affordable, and I think very well written and organized. Check out at least the free chapters:

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Oooh, Iknow! looks really cool. I’ll bookmark that for now, definitely giving it a shot later.

Speaking for devs everywhere: “We’re trying our bests, okay? :cry:


I disagree. I hate looking at a wall of hiragana because I can’t tell where words start and end. Kanji is actually incredibly useful in keeping a sentence readable, and an integral part of written sentence structure. And, I believe that kanji absolutely affects the Japanese worldview, and vice-versa. It’s subtle, and not something people (other than sociolinguists, I suppose) think about very much, but the fact that Japan once considered scrapping kanji altogether and adopting English as their national language, then didn’t, speaks volumes about the Japanese identity. He is right that kanji is not the entirety of the Japanese language, but, duh? Grammar isn’t language. Writing isn’t language. Culture isn’t language. All these things, and more, together, make a language what it is. And kanji is a part of Japanese.

Sure, if you are not studying effectively, like, maybe with Wanikani…


It’s a curious passage in a useful book. I think you’re right, that the usage of kanji does certainly affect Japanese culture.

Jay Rubin understands way more Japanese than I ever will. He certainly knows his way around kanji (I mean, he translates Haruki Murakami), yet the book is written entirely using romaji to represent the Japanese in the examples he gives. I conclude that he feels the meaning and sound of the language are more important (for him) than how it is represented on paper.

This is wisdom.

I don’t know if you finished Duolingo or if, like me, you only did the beginning… If the latter, maybe you could try LingoDeer. It’s a bit like Duolingo but, in my opinion, much better for Japanese (Duolingo is good for a lot a languages but not really for Japanese despite the big work they did to adapt it).

I finished the skill tree, but around half-way I felt that it isn’t really helping me learn Japanese much. At least not effectively. But what it did do is make me feel like learning Japanese is actually within my capabilities. School had made me give up on learning languages, I always sucked at all language related classes. But Duolingo made me feel like I can actually do it if I try hard enough and don’t give up.
And look at me now! Level three booooiiii! I’m fo’ sho going places. :sunglasses:


I focused almost exclusively on WaniKani for three years (right now I’m in first chapter of Genki 2). In that time I could’ve become much more fluent had I also focused on grammar, reading comprehension and listening comprehension. So the “WaniKani alone isn’t enough!” argument’s certainly true.

But it’s awesome how easy diving into grammar has been. I almost never have to look up vocabulary, so I can focus exclusively on the grammar part.

Do what you want. Set up your own goals and methods. As long as you have motivation and ability to stick to hard work when the novelty fades, you can’t really go wrong.


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