What's your process?

Hey all,

So, I’ve been using WK for about a month now, and for some reason I just don’t feel as though I’m ‘learning’ the kanji. I’m not sure if this is just due to the fact that all I’ve been doing is logging in and doing my reviews every day and nothing else.

So, I was wondering, what else do you guys do to supplement WK to make the process easier and more fruitful?

Have you been doing WK everyday?
How many lessons are you doing per day?

I’m assuming that you could go a little faster and learn more, since you said you’ve been using WK for a month already. To reach lvl 3, it takes a minimum of a week, more or less.

I got a bit further along than you, but came to the same realisation - for me, the solution was to have to be able to produce (a.k.a. write) the radicals and kanji, which I do using the Iversen method; for the last two levels, I’ve ‘pre-learned’ the radicals and kanji for the next level with Iversen while working my way through the current level with WK’s SRS, and I’m finding everything is sticking much better.


I’ve been trying to follow Sir Ian’s process:


Did you already look at some grammar or work through a textbook? Seeing the kanji to vocab you already know from somewhere else will give you a boost in motivation.

It depends on your background, and what you think your problem is. Does it feel like you never saw the kanji before, although you covered them already, or confuse them all the time, or just need a bit longer to recognize them than you would wish?

I like to look up the origins of kanji and see if they are a “picture” of something or constructed differently, but in the first levels “raw learning” should be enough …

I find that for me, the most important reviews are the first two. If I get them done right around when they come out I can be less diligent about when I do the next reviews and they stick. Beyond that, I try to do a bit of reverse Wanikani studying. Wanikani is great for reading and understanding the meaning of something in japanese but not as much for getting the japanese out of english… which it’s not supposed to do. Hence the supplementing studies you need to do. Also, don’t expect Wanikani to give you the most useful or comprehensive vocab of all time. It’s just kanji recognition and the rest is on you.

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Hmm, well, I don’t really have any issues recalling kanji meanings (though there are definitely some that share annoyingly striking resemblances to others), but I do however have problems recalling their readings. I think what is confusing me the most is when the vocab comes around and everything I’ve been taught about said kanji is thrown out the window and I’m left with a completely different reading than the one I’ve been trying to remember. Does that make sense?

A good example of this would probably be the myriad ways to say girl/young girl. I just fail miserably to recall the correct one pretty much every time lol. 女, 女子, 女の子 etc…

Have you been using the mnemonics?

I think that as you learn even more vocabulary this will start to resolve itself. You are hit with so much more vocabulary than kanji that the readings really start to embed themselves.

But also, I would definitely recommend taking time over your lessons. Whether or not you decide to write for your lessons, I at least cycle through them over and over until I can produce the reading and meaning instantly, before I take the quiz.

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I have been using them yes, but I honestly don’t find WK’s mnemonics to be super helpful. I’m not taking a jab at the creator, they just don’t work ‘too’ well for me. Perhaps I should spend some time creating my own, that might help a little.


To an extent. The problem there is that the Japanese don’t know when to stop collecting ways of reading things from the Chinese. All of the readings you get will be used at some point in vocabulary. Kanji on their own are vocab as well. It’s better to be exposed to several of the meanings quickly than to be blindsided with another reading at the same time you get a strange vocab.

I don’t think it makes sense to worry too much about all the different nuances of girl/young girl words here. I don’t think you can learn that kind of thing too well with an SRS. For now, just knowing what they roughly mean is enough. This goes for other pairs too, difference in usage is better learned in context.


Welcome to Japanese :wink: The language is very capable of importing foreign words, so it just a weird hodge-podge of Japanese, pseudo-Chinese, and English nowadays.

Have you read this:

This was my biggest problem when I first started (like 3 months ago) and it really discouraged me. However, as the weeks went on, everything just started to stick more. I feel like I’m slower than most people and get a lot of my reviews wrong, but I just kept at it and somehow it got a lot better.

Two key things for me was to remember for vocab words:

  1. Two Kanji together are pronounced the way you learned them when they were in the pink boxes.

  2. Kanji with hiragana next to it are pronounced entirely different and this is where mnemonics help.

This is the case most of the time.

Basically, you end up just remembering two pronunciations… and you will get these mixed up a lot. But eventually with enough repetition, they will stick. Like many people say, it’s just how Japanese is.

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I’ve been here for several months and realized some stuff:

One system: Prioritize days with new items:

  • Choose a good day (preferably a morning) to start a lesson. Do all the radicals and kanjis allowed in one go.
  • Repeat before lunch (apprentice 1-2 → 2 hours)
  • Repeat before going to bed. (apprentice 2-3 → 4 hours) That way you already managed to move 2 levels up those items.
  • Then choose morning / midday / night for the daily reviewing (minimum 8 hours after to apprentice 4). Try to keep it not higher than 50 or 60 items. (means 10-15 minutes practice if you write fast).
  • In between two and four days you will have most of those items in guru (thankfully).
  • On day 5 you get a bunch of kanjis more. Repeat the same process with these and whatever comes up for the first day.
  • Continue…

This will allow you to go as fastest you can go without tricks or scripts.

Another system:

  • Use lesson reorder script and put all radicals and kanji first. I don’t know if you get them all at once. You could do that. The first day will be 3 times practicing all them and a serious study time.
  • Then daily you choose a moment to do your reviews. In 4 days you get most of them at guru, so you’ll get most of the vocabulary of the lesson out.
  • Take your time to continue through the days. It could take a couple of weeks to move them all to master.You won’t see them again in a month.

Extras I found very useful:

  • Kaniwani - for talking and writing online - otherwise you will only be able to read in wanikani
  • Kaniwani - for learning kanji writing by hand - this is great for kanji writing mnemonics. Otherwise you mainly don’t need them in the first levels really. Just to distinguish difficult ones later on.
  • Quizlet - Anki : To force yourself to write kanji. You mark them wrong when you did it wrong in paper (I’m creating a folder with all the kanjis myself in Quizlet that you can find called “Wanikani Kanji 1 , 2 …”.
  • Wanikani Statistics - Neat page where you can program and see what’s left and your progress. This gamification is fun!.. somehow stressful.

Cool scripts. The most useful and cool! Use tappermonkey, greasymonkey extension for your webbrowser (depends on your browser) and then go to greasy Fork website to find them and install them. You’ll see how many scripts are activated on the little icon that gets added to your web browser.

  • Wanikani Double Check - This one is the BEST script I found for typos and rewriting what you 've done wrong. It will add two buttons (to rewrite and to mark good if you don’t bother to write)
  • Wanikani Real Numbers (to see 68 instead of 42+)
  • Wanikani Ultimate Timeline (who doesn’t use this? See what’s coming next and learn items when you know nothing is coming in your dashboard. Really really useful!)
  • Lesson Filter - If you are a very organized person, I prefer to finish a level before having new radicals coming up, so I filter kanjis and radicals when finishing a level’s vocabulary.
  • Lesson Ordering (as said before, to organize the items if you want to get all kanjis before. Not really useful, though, if you want to go slowly)
  • Wanikani Review SRS/Level Indicator - I love this one, shows the level of the item you are reviewing so the pressure is higher ! haha.
  • Review Order - This one is neat if you are confused by the colors coming up. You can select “single mode” button on reviews to see all them ordered by types and items. I prefer this , I go faster.
  • Leech Trainer - This one is good when you have a leech (item with very high on reading and very low ranking on wriging, or viceversa, and sticks there because you have difficulties remembering one of them. Adds a new button next to review button to train separately all leeches, doesn’t affect wanikani progress. it’s just an extra)

Hope this was useful


It really is easiest to try and stick as close to the schedule the at a is giving you. It’s spaced so you should be just about to forget a word before you get your review. That way you form more connections in your brain.

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What I learned is that the effort I put into the lessons pays for itself many times over when it comes to reviews.

Writing them out is a good one, which is what I do when I have the time.

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Here my own “resource list”, with tools I use on a daily basis:

Resource Usage
WaniKani Obviously
KaniWani To strengthen vocab retention, and to improve my English-to-Japanese abilities.
Renshuu Complementary kanji/vocab studies by JLPT level, to cover for things WK left out.
Banzaï (in French) My grammar textbook
BunPro Complementary grammar studies by JLPT level, to cover for things Banzaï left out.

I do these every day, as soon as a have a few minutes to kill, except for my grammar textbook, which I study on weekends.

Also, I started using HelloTalk a few days ago. It’s amazing to see the hours of drill pay off, when you’re able to write a few things without too many mistakes. :smiley:

the first and most important thing is to stick with it. do your reviews regularly, make it a habit. it will seem slow for the first 10 levels or so, but then you will get overwhelmed soon. use this time to watch yourself and find out more about yourself. don’t assume you know how to study japanese before you actually studied japanese. I’ve tried lots of things before wanikani and I was not sure about it, but after a few levels I knew it was worth the money. Maybe it’s different for you, but as I said, you won’t know until you try. As for me personally, I haven’t done anything in particular besides WK (for reading), but I really like textbooks and just “getting a feel” for the language by reading as much as I can (in the wild). I revived some of my burned items twice (a couple of hundreds each time), because quantity trumps quality. My credo is not to trust myself: I will cheat if I get the chance, so I try to make it as hard as possible for myself.
Don’t fear mistakes, it’s more important to do a lot of things that may be wrong than to do only a few things perfectly. I also really don’t care about considerations on “efficiency” when it comes to learning (a language).

and even if you don’t like the mnemonics, they will help you. best not to ignore them. The best mnemonics are those that will make you go WTF and “why should I learn this mnemonic? this is stupid” - those are the ones you won’t forget.