Why can't we add the remaining N1 kanji?

I feel like it wouldn’t be too difficult to add a couple per level to the last 10 or so levels to cover the remaining number of N1 kanji not currently covered by WK. I feel like most users would be strongly in support of this.


I agree, that would indeed be a nice thing to add. I’m not sure if there are currently any plans of doing this, though.


But why do that when you can have kana vocab instead :rofl:

Wk logic knows no bounds :upside_down_face:

Do be aware there are newer and better resources for Japanese learning
Anki even has an undo button and it’s older than wk.


I think the general gist from threads that are asking why the last N1 kanji haven’t been added usually is that once you reach the level where you need those N1 kanji, you are doing other forms of study/immersion enough that using WK would feel too slow.

They might still do it though, I believe when I started around two years ago all the N2 kanji hadn’t been covered yet and now they are.


1: Wanikani already gets enough criticism for teaching ‘useless’ kanji. If they add the remaining N1 or joyou kanji then it will be “Why is Wanikani wasting my time teaching useless things like 絢 and 楠 :angry:” The only logical reason I could see WK adding them all is that it would be a bigger selling point for them: “Learn 2000 kanji” vs “Learn all the JLPT kanji”

2: Wanikani builds a foundation so that you can learn whatever other kanji you want. By level 60 you’re already consuming native content, you’ve probably picked up at least a couple dozen additional kanji already, so it’s within your power to learn the remaining N1 kanji if you so choose.

3: It’s probably better to learn these kanji in context, on a vocab-by-vocab basis anyway.

4: Wanikani can’t teach you every single kanji, the training wheels have to come off at some point. Because if they’re gonna add all N1 kanji, why stop there? Why not add all the remaining joyo kanji too? And while we’re add it, let’s complete the top 2500 most common kanji! And and and…

I’m not, not strongly at least. I can think of 100 other better ways to learn Japanese than reviewing 箇 eight times isolated on a flashcard.


Yeah, it’s a case of diminishing returns. It takes the same amount of study to learn the 2000th kanji as it did to learn the first kanji, but while you’ll see the first kanji pretty much daily in your Japanese study, you might see the 2000th kanji once a year, if that (aside from when Baader-Meinhof comes sneaking along). And yes, it’s true that a native Japanese speaker would know it (just as an English speaker would know a word like… diatomic), the’ll be the first to tell you “oh, we don’t really use that”.

Remember the ol’ 80-20 principle - the top 20% of the most-frequently used kanji represent 80% of what you’ll encounter in your day-to-day life, and WaniKani teaches a bit over 80% of the 2500 most common kanji.


I don’t think adding them would really be that beneficial. I’d say from about level 45-50 onward the kanji already become uncommon enough that I find it becomes more efficient to just learn the handful of words they appear in as they show up instead of memorizing the individual kanji. The remaining N1 kanji (or at least the ones often mentioned as N1 kanji, there’s no official list), mostly fall into this category.

By the time you’ve learned the ~2200 kanji already on WK, you’ll probably have started reading already and you’ll tend to have already found some other method to memorize anything you come across that isn’t on WK. So if you run into an unknown kanji, you’ll probably be equipped to deal with it anyway.

I’m not against adding some more kanji, but I’m not strongly in support of it either. After a point reviewing increasingly uncommon kanji just isn’t as efficient as just looking up the handful of kanji you don’t know when you come across them.


The problem is that there are a lot to be added, like 200 kanji and 500 vocab; or even more than that.

They might be able to control the total amount by removing preexisting redundant vocab, but it seems WaniKani doesn’t like doing that.

Adding more levels… 70 isn’t a very beautiful number and looks too big. They already missed the chance on changing 50 to 60, and proving last 10’s immediate usefulness.


I personally agree with the fact that those kanji will appear less frequently and might be seen as less useful.
However, I think that as someone already said the vast majority of Japanese people know the jouyou kanjis. And if I want to be fluent in Japanese I need to know them as well.
It depends on your definition of “fluent” but in my opinion if you want to achieve this level that is the bare minimum.
I already passed N1 and I know that the road is far from over, and probably will never be.

That being said, I think that Wanikani is a good tool to learn/review kanjis. Like, a really good one. I don’t use the mnemonics but the frequency of the review is close to perfect in my opinion. I also like the fact that you can’t cheat yourself with undo or other similar tools if you don’t install user scripts. I might lose a bit of time with typos but it’s not important.

This is the reason why I think that having optional additional levels is desirable. They might not be needed by everyone depending on what your goal is but I’m sure that they would be beneficial for many, including myself.
Making them optional would probably be good in the gamification process as people would still get their golden badge at lvl 60, and decide whether or not to continue depending on their goal. It won’t harm anyone to have this choice and those who think it is useful will be glad.


Honestly, WaniKani already provides a solid foundation of kanji and vocabulary. Reading light or visual novels that interest you can be a more engaging way to learn. You can also mine vocabulary with tools like Anki or JPDB. This approach makes learning more effective and enjoyable.


I understand that the missing kanjis are not practical in real life, but the idea of having them is for the completionist spirit.

The way I would handle this is by kind of like a DLC approach. Add opt-in toggles for the missing parts.
It’d be cool to have the basic Wanikani 60 levels, plus toggle options where you can choose to include the Kana-only, the remaining Joyo kanjis, and the missing N1 kanjis.

But yeah, we’ve been suggesting adding a toggle for Kana-only for a while now, heck, we’ve been screaming to bring back the summary page! I feel like the Wanikani development team is moving so slowly lately, that requesting new features is futile.


And toggles with specialized vocabulary would be awesome.
Like :

  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Literature
  • Engineering
    Etc. so that those who specialise in a field could easily review the basics of their field.

Missing vocabularies associated with Level 1-60 Kanji as well, e.g. those that use On’yomi and those with an exceptional reading.


Even assuming most users would be in support of this, there is no financial upside for WK to spend resources adding 10 more levels because they are aware that probably 99% of the users won’t benefit from it. And the 1% who would benefit would most likely be on lifetime subscriptions, so they wouldn’t even get additional subscription income.


As someone who’s currently dealing with the kanji in the last ten levels, I do not agree.

I mean, I wouldn’t be against it per se, but I also think that pushing for full N1 coverage for the sake of it would be a waste of resources.

Frankly if I was tasked with developing a WaniKani clone I would probably aim for 40 levels or so with a tighter kanji selection.


I haven’t used it but I think jpdb’s approach is interesting when it comes to custom study paths.

WaniKani is one size fits all, it’s a different mindset.

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When running a business (and WK is a profit driven business) it takes more than just “people would like this” to warrant doing something. The research to develop a business case that demonstrates that the cost (all of the costs) of doing A, or B or C will drive new revenue that exceeds those costs and produces a return on investment (ROI) that would justify undertaking the work. If a company invests money in adding/doing something that does not bring in new customers and does not increase the revenue from existing customers (or sufficiently increase customer satisfaction to stem a tide of customers leaving and ensure that they remain/return) then all they would be doing is decreasing their profit.


I personally think it would attract new customers. And be profitable for the company.


Which could be the case. You could indeed be right.

As the majority owner and CEO of a SW company (a small one, but a corporation none the less) and the one ultimately responsible for all the costs and expenses involved (there are lot of these…), ensuring that a profit is made and beholden to the stake holders and share holders and ensuring we remain in business to meet the obligations we have to existing customers, my response would be the same as you would get from any other.

Interesting idea you have there. OK, now show me the business case (research, market analysis, data, analysis and number crunching of the data, and risk assessments). What is the detailed breakdown on the development costs (total true costs - not just “a SW developer said he/she could do it in 3 days” because in the real world that is just the tip of the iceberg) to do the work, potential impact on current projects and schedules, and long term associated costs (and risks) over the next 1, 3 and 5 years. How does that stack up against the increase in revenue that it will generate that your market and business analysis shows we can expect? How many new customers will we add? What will be the total new revenue that will be driven by this project? I would also be digging into the experience, subject matter expertise and business experience and expertise of the proposer to be able to apply some judgement as the context in which to review the provided business case.

Even if the business case for a project is valid (reasonable ROI with acceptable risk parameters for failure) it is not a always the case that it can, or should, be done once taking into consideration the current situation, finances, and commitments of the company.

I am not arguing that as a feature it would be a bad thing. Personally (as a customer of WK) I would like to see it (and other things as well). Not a deal breaker, just one of those “would be nice if it had it.”. Who knows, maybe it will one day. Maybe it would be a profitable thing to do. But that has to be proven, beyond just you and I saying that personally we think it would be.


I actually respect that WaniKani didn’t just start creating levels that hardly anybody would use filled with random kanji just for the sake of being able to claim “100% JLPT/jouyou coverage” on the brochure.

Not that I find the current selection entirely unobjectionable (especially past level 40) but at least there appears to be real thought put into it and the general progression.

Also currently WaniKani claims that you can go over the course in “just over a year”. I think that’s a fairly strong marketing argument that’s already not completely realistic for most people and will become outright fiction if they add 10 more levels to pad things out.