Where has your WaniKani journey taken you?


#1

Hi all,

This post is mainly directed towards people that have reached level 60 or even completed wanikani (burned everything it has to offer). I’d like to know how far wanikani got you in terms of being able to read and the amount of vocab you know. After wanikani are you able to read novels or is manga still the extent of your knowledge. I started wanikani about 3 weeks ago and i’ve now reached the end of the free trial and would like to know a little bit more before I start paying.

EDIT: I know that you wont reach fluency with wanikani alone but i want to know how comfortable people feel with kanji after having completed wanikani.

Thanks in advance C:


#2

WK doesn’t teach you Japanese completely, just some of the more common kanji and a bit of vocab. If you only use WK, at level 60, you won’t be able to read much of any, if anything, of Japanese. Knowing the words isn’t enough, you also have to know how to connect them, that’s where grammar comes in.

I recommend this thread for further resources to use with WK:


#3

I guess i should have have specified that i was curious to know what people have learned from wanikani and how easy it was to take that knowledge and integrate it into their learning of japanese grammar. I’m not naive enough to think that you can just use wanikani and be fluent, thank you for the thread tho :smiley:


#4

Gotcha! Sorry, this gets asked a lot here so I kind of assumed xD

But even now, I’m able to read manga. (Though I started grammar only recently, I’d be a lot further if I did it earlier xD) Least the simpler ones like Detective Conan. It might take me a little bit and I have to look things up, but I can do it. So if you keep up with grammar, you should be able to do quite a bit by level 60. There is a LOT of really common vocab that WK doesn’t teach you, especially the kana only ones. So you’ll still have to do quite a bit on your own apart from WK.


#5

It had completely slipped my mind that WK doesnt teach kana only vocab, thats a really good point.


#6

Now that I reached 60, I have officially beaten Japanese and am now self-assessed N1 :durtle_the_explorer:

Heheh, on a more serious note, thanks to WK reading is definitely my best ability – I can comfortably read manga, books, games, etc, though my grammar is not as up to par as my reading ability, so though I can read a majority of what I encounter, I still have a ways to go before reaching a point where I can also fully comprehend what I’m reading without having to look things up to clarify my understanding :upside_down_face:

As far as vocab goes, WK definitely teaches a good amount (6000+ !), but WK is not a vocab resource, it’s a learning how to read kanji resource ^^ so I’ve also picked up vocab through other resources (whether it be reading native material, conversing with people, etc)

There are still a lot of kana-only vocab to take into consideration that aren’t taught by WK, as well as remaining kanji and other non-WK vocab, so you can use things like Anki decks to supplement your WK studies to also learn those and/or consume native material and learn through exposure (which is always a great route)

So to summarize, WK has made me very literate in Japanese, and has been the best thing to happen to my Japanese studies :durtle_love: it’s incredibly effective at what it does, and seeing my progress here has also been a huge motivation to improve in my other areas of Japanese (i.e. grammar and listening/speaking) ^^


#7

I know nearly all of the kanjis that I see. Most of the ones that I don’t know, are in either names of food, places, or people. EDIT: I should add that the kanjis in names are not read consistently, so even Japanese people have a hard time with it.

Vocab wise, there’s a lot of vocab that I don’t know when I read - although I haven’t spent a huge amount of time reading. The good thing is I can guess the readings of most of the words I see, which makes it extremely easy to look up in a dictionary. I also have some trouble with a bunch of kana only words, but those are also easy to look up.

To give you background, I’ve doing WK for 1 year and 11 months. During the first 18 months, most of my study time was devoted to WK, so I diidn’t really supplement it with anything else, other than a little bit of grammar studies. Where you actually end up being at Level 60 depends on how many additional things you do.


#8

This was a really helpful reply so thanks a lot. I do have a question regarding your ability to write kanji, and that is; what would you consider yourself when it comes to writing kanji (beginner, intermediate, etc) and has WK had any significant impact on your kanji writing proficiency. I know that learning how to write kanji is becoming less and less of an important skill but I’m still pretty interested in it.


#9

I am an absolute beginner at writing kanji. If you don’t practice it, you won’t be able to do it. However, I think WK lays down a good foundation - if you can learn how to write radicals, you’ll be able to write a significant amount of kanji.

I’d recommend this for learning to write (and learning vocab as well):

Writing is not something I’ve focused on because I’d rather spend the time improving my (very poor) grammar and listening/speaking skills…


#10

No problem! ^^

I’m definitely more of a beginner on that front, I used to write all the kanji by hand when I first started, but that sort of faded away as the lesson/review load started getting more intensive, so I chose to put more of an emphasis on WK and other things until I reached 60

Now that I finally did, one of my goals is to start practicing handwriting, not because it’s necessary per se, you can definitely get by just typing nowadays, but because I think it’s a super neat skill to have :slightly_smiling_face:


#11

I’m only level six, but one of the first things I started noticing is that reading my Genki book and doing grammar study became so much easier. Not even because I knew all the kanji perse, but because I could recognize some radicals and therefore at least could tell the kanji apart. To me that’s already worth the money I spent because I was getting so frustrated trying to learn just from books.
I’d recommend taking a look through that list and choosing a vocab/grammar/listening resource to supplement Wanikani. That way when you get sick of one thing you can vary it up a bit. At least that’s what works for me :slight_smile:.


#12

You can check out https://www.wkstats.com, it shows interesting things about your progress, and you can see at what level you know the for example 500 most frequent kanji, or all N2 kanji. Around level 40 you already know ~95% of what happens online in Japanese in terms of kanji.

Learning kanji and vocal together is a very good idea to reinforce. But WK doesn’t specifically target reading speed, handwriting, usage of vocab, or recall of words without seeing the kanji. It is geared towards the written language (duh) and doesn’t show vocab in context, so it may seem that there are “words no one uses”, so already for vocab you have to supplement a bit :slight_smile:

For recall of words you can try the (free) WK companion site KW
https://www.kaniwani.com


#13

I think some others have mentioned it before but I’d begun to be able to understand street signs, billboard messages (a few), notices, headlines (at times) and simple titles of documents (like the monthly newsletter at my school) a couple levels ago (level 10 or so :thinking:)
I like reading and because that’s how I learn any language, when I hear it (given context) I can recognize and understand.
Just today, someone was talking about having lunch together and I could understand almost everything. I managed to use 決まる (WK lvl 10) and 調べる (WK lvl 10) and my response was understood (I did conjugate them properly cause it was basic conversation). I used 決まる to convey the idea that the date was already decided and 調べる for checking the schedule.


#14

TL;DL-- WaniKani changed my life, no exaggeration. Its results are truly incredible.

I’m not Level 60, and I think maybe my approach at learning Japanese with WaniKani is different than most, but it is thanks to WK that I now hold a job as a Japanese-English translator in Japan.

I studied Japanese for 5 years at uni before moving to Japan and discovering WK. So before I started WK I had a strong base of grammar and vocab. While my speaking and listening were high, my reading was very, very weak. I was the kind of student who looked up kanji so I could read the sentence or pass the test but was never able to put it into long-term.

That got me straight A’s in my Japanese classes, but then when I came to Japan I realized that I couldn’t read a damn thing. If someone read the paper to me, I could understand it, but I couldn’t do anything on my own. I had to improve my reading, and I had to improve it fast.

Then I found WK, and my life totally changed thanks to it. I did WK religiously every single day for the first year or so and got to level 40 in I think about 16 months? I’d wake up in the middle of the night to do reviews the moment they were available. SRS is my God and I worship it lol.

Living in Japan, I was able to see my progress everyday as the fog hovering over all the words around me began to fade one by one. I went from not being able to read hardly anything to working a full time job as a translator in the span of 3 years. I do nothing but read Japanese all day now!

And I’m only level 40! That’s just 2/3 of WaniKani.

Of course, there are still words and kanji that I have to look up every day. Not a lot, maybe 5-10. (Depends on what I’m translating that day.) I can honestly say that thanks to WK, I can now live and work in Japan comfortably.

But as I stated before, I started WK with strong speaking, listening, and grammar skills. When i unlocked a new kanji or vocab on WK, my usual reaction was, “Oh, so that’s the kanji for that word I hear all the time!” Or “Oh, so that’s the on-yomi for this kanji!” So only half of the item was new information to me, which made the learning burden less.

I think that WK is probably best for people like me, who already have a firm knowledge of Japanese grammar and vocab and just need to put a name to a face, as it were. Frankly, because WK doesn’t necessarily teach kanji/vocab in order of frequency, you learn some more difficult kanji/vocab at the start that beginner learners may not be able to find/use in the wild.

In terms of increasing my vocabulary, I don’t think that WK is directly responsible for my boost in vocabulary. But WK gave me the ability and confidence to go out and read authentic materials (novels, short stories, manga that isn’t Yotsubato haha), and it was through these authentic materials that my vocabulary grew.


#15

As you can see, I’m not super far along in WK and also haven’t studied as long as YummyFoods, but I would generally agree with his sentiment.

I studied Japanese seriously for about a year and a half before starting WK so I already had a maybe 1000 word vocabulary and knew a decent amount of grammar bofore I started. But I started to find that what was holding me back was the same thing that many ppl say holds them back which was knowing kanji.

To be good as Japanese you need to be able to do all the things (read, write, listen, speak). You are not going to get good at any of those things without practice. Those skills also all reinforce eachother. I think what WK allows you to do is remove a substantial barrier to your reading skill progress: knowing the kanji. But it is not more than that. You still have to practice and work on all the other aspects of language training.

But the feeling of progress you get from learing kanji and being able to recognize more and more words in texts is super motivating to me in all the other aspects of study. So im a big fan.


#16

Wanikani paired with iKnow is a powerful combination for vocab acquisition, if you’re worried about that. (And really, don’t rely on WK for vocabulary. Plenty of useful stuff here, but the nature of ordering it around kanji complexity means that a lot of everyday words are held off on for later lessons, and entire categories of words won’t show up at all.)

But yeah–WK is going to massively improve your literacy as long as you pair it with general language learning. Even at level 24, I’m at the point in everyday situations where kanji I don’t know stand out more to me than the ones I do, and reading extended prose is a possibility (as in, still difficult, but I have enough foundational grammar and know enough kanji largely thanks to WK that looking things up doesn’t grind reading to a complete halt). My ability to decipher the meaning of new kanji or vocabulary from context has also increased. And as @oyotta pointed out, the more you chip away at the barrier to literacy kanji create, the more you can engage with reading to reinforce other elements of your learning (vocab, grammar, dialogue, etc.).

WK is basically magic. Kanji-reading is now a part of my study I can put on total autopilot while I focus on other areas. And I actually get to have the experience of Japanese text being able to help me understand everyday situations, when I imagine they’d be more impenetrable otherwise. (Staff meetings? As long as I have an agenda and memos, I can actually follow along pretty well,and get to do some listening practice with the writing as a back-up. I feel like that’s not something many Japanese learners get to say.)


#17

I might be level 3, but I’ve been studying japanese for more than 5 years, I also study chinese and it really ruined my ability to read and write japanese so Wanikani has been really helpful to set the differences between japanese and chinese readings