Why do I have so many leeches?

This can’t possibly be normal, according to the “WaniKani Dashboard Leech List” plugin I have a total of 339 leeches.

What am I doing wrong?
Why is almost anything I push to Master/Enlightened failing to stick?
I know it’s okay to forget, but I forget entire months of work like if they never happened.

That is definitely a bit high. I have close to 300, but at level 53 (and also I think that is still too high).

Have you tried using Self Study together with Additional Filters to specifically study your leeches?

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maybe it’s not set up properly?

can you set a specific percentage at which it shows as leech manually?
i had problems with certain kanji in the beginning, got them wrong a few times, but then my memory was rock solid and it never posed a problem again… like 望 for example. but it’s average percentage is way below my other good ones, so it would show as leech if not set up well.

maybe that leech script should add a “nevermind, i got this now” button

You have a leech detector to recommend? I use “WaniKani Dashboard Leech List” by “ukebox” and i can’t see any setting really, there is just “leech threshold=1” inside the script itself.

nope. i don’t use leech scripts. i recognize an item i would consider “leech” when i can’t remember what wk wants me to remember, but the fact i forget it all the time instead.

when something pops up and i go “oh no, not this again”, then it’s a leech and i treat it accordingly.

Part of this might be your expectations.

Why is almost anything I push to Master/Enlightened failing to stick?

This is definitely not true, though it may feel like it is. Let’s do some simple math, you have a total of 2,405 items combined between Mastered, Enlightened, and Burned. Even if all of your leeches came from this category, that’s only 339/2405 * 100 ≈ 14% of your long-term items.

14% isn’t too bad, this is equivalent to averaging 86% on your reviews, which most would agree is pretty alright for longer term material.

This is also a downside of a locked off SRS system like WK, you basically only ever see the stuff that is new and the stuff that you are bad at, thus reinforcing your perception that you’re doing poorly while all the stuff you’re good at quietly sneaks away to the burned pile.

When I feel down about my % retained on other SRS systems like Memrise I just run through my general queue instead of focusing on my difficult words and feel great plowing through 9/10 items without issue. It’s a pity that WK doesn’t let you do that, but perhaps you could KaniWani?


Yeah you are right @TheSyllogism it’s EXTREMELY hard for me to get out of the “school dropout” mindset. Back in my school days i was either effortlessly good, or absolute garbage falling behind the class.

It’s just really hard to “untrain” this feeling of failure.

On a sidenote after several wanikani related fits of anger i installed the lesson limiter and dialed it to a score of 120.

It slowed me down quite a bit but also cut down the amount of reviews i get every hour into really minor interruptions.

But I agree a lot is about perception I guess, and a failure bias.

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Make your weaknesses your strengths. When you finish a review, choose three words you got wrong, and find a bunch of example sentences for them. Make your own sentences and ask people here to check them. Try looking at monolingual dictionary or thesaurus entries.

If the words are very similar to other words, try searching [word 1] [word 2] 違い go find blog posts of people explaining the difference in Japanese, etc.


The fact that you can pull yourself out of the situation and think critically about your actions shows good wisdom. You should be encouraged by that.

I’ll add to the advice already provided. Sometimes my tricky items are ones that, if I take a few moments, I would have answered correctly. When it comes to forgetting to apply rendaku, for example, I usually feel very positive about the incorrect answer I quickly fill in. If you see an older item appear remember to take your time.

Festina lente in Latin means “make haste slowly” or “more haste, less speed”. This saying reflects the notion that hurrying through things is likely to end up taking longer – in comparison to moving carefully and deliberately – because of the increased likelihood of mistakes and waste.

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