Why does vocab track how many are unlocked instead of how many are passed

It’s weird how it levels you up before you’ve passed all the vocab in a level. Like I just got leveled up to level 9, but I still have 50 vocab I haven’t passed in level 8 and there are actually 4 vocab in level 8 that I haven’t even unlocked yet. But when I hover over the Levels tab, it shows that I am currently on level 9…but I still have to go back and finish level 8…even though I am apparently on level 9 according to the app…

And it’s driving me crazy how the vocab section on each level tracks how many you’ve unlocked instead of how many you’ve passed. I’m racking my brain trying to think of a reason why anyone would care to see how many they’ve unlocked instead of how many they’ve passed. I often find myself manually counting the remaining vocab in a section to see how many I have left to pass until I’m done with that level. The radicals and kanji track how many you’ve passed, so I don’t get why the vocab tracks how many you’ve unlocked.

Anyone have any insight on why they set it up this way instead of just doing the logical thing which would be to track how many you’ve passed, and level you up to the next level after you’ve passed everything in the current level?

The way it’s structured is that is that you clear a level after clearing 90% of the kanji. IMO, it would be quite ridiculous if you had to also pass the vocabulary to clear a level, since each level has so such, and you would have to guru another set of items. I’m fine with doing last level’s vocabulary once I start a new level.


If you want to track your vocabulary progress, then consider using the WaniKani Dashboard Level Progress Detail 1.0+ script. This script adds a vocabulary progress bar near the existing radical/kanji progress bars on the dashboard.

I also don’t like moving to the next level without completing the current level’s vocabulary. Therefore, I use a lesson reorder script (like Reorder Omega or Wanikani Lesson Filter) to keep my kanji and vocabulary lessons approximately balanced percentagewise.

This “Amount of old lessons when starting new level?” thread and my post in the thread provide more detail. The thread/post explains some options for how to slow down a level up AND/OR keep the kanji/vocabulary balanced.


To be fair, they could’ve added gating on leveling up vocab to Guru as well, since vocab is supposed to support kanji and there is no reason one should rush through levels.

@SeikoAlpinist it does make more sense to keep track of your lessons instead of the vocab you got to Guru level. You’ll notice that the more kanji you know.


Yes there is. I wanna go fast.


No you don’t. You want to learn Japanese. Don’t let the gamification buzz distract you. :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m learning Japanese just fine. Even at 1 level a week, I have enough time in my week to do all my reviews and read a good amount of manga. I just want to get this over with as fast as possible.


To add to this, @SeikoAlpinist, just as it’s possible to plan when you do your reviews, it’s also possible to plan ahead for how you do your vocab lessons before level up. Meaning, it’s possible to be a bit more diligent about the current level vocab before level up.

Essentially, don’t save them for rainy days. As soon as you guru any kanji, try to take time to do the following lessons. Each kanji doesn’t have that many vocab associated with it, and doing them as you guru the kanji lets you make the most of the vocab anyway - they reinforce the kanji readings and it’s easier to learn the vocab when you know the kanji readings well, when just guru’d.

Basically, just stop your ongoing review session and do the following lessons to a couple of guru’d kanji. Then return to reviewing.

Also, try not to be a perfectionist, as that will give you a huge amount of kanji that you guru at the same time. It’s better to fail some kanji that lags the rest in their timings. They become a good way to get the bulk of kanji to guru - then do their vocab lessons while waiting for the last kanji needed. Voilá! You’ve now reduced the number of lessons still on the current level before level up.

I try to aim to have just 4-5 kanji left to guru before level up. That means, there really aren’t that many vocab lessons left and I’ll quickly move onto the radicals on the new level.

I have never paid attention to any of the stuff you’re complaining about, but if you really care about this sort of minutiae, there are plenty of scripts that will allow you to reorder how you learn, or view your progress in different ways. Hope you find what you’re looking for!


at 1 level a week

You’re in the fast levels now, which lets you go even faster than this. If you truly do want to go to 60, do not do them max speed. You will suffocate under the 400+ Apprentice items that build up if you do not have 4-5 hours a day to devote to WK.

This is why Belthazar was warning you not to get lost in rushing to 60

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Don’t worry, I’m making sure to keep my pace at 1 a week, even in the fast levels. I make sure to leave around 5 kanji unlearned until 3.5 days.


I am “on level 10” now, even though there is still vocabulary from level 9 that I haven’t completed. So if I have to click back to level 9 to see it, I wouldn’t call that “paying attention” to this, it’s just something I have to do every time I want to see what I’m currently working on - so my question was why is it set up like that?

It’s like if I were playing Mario Kart and I’m on the first lap, but 3/4 of the way through the first lap, it says I’m on lap 2, and they start showing me the lap 2 track up ahead of where I am, and I have to click the screen to bring it back to where I am currently driving so I can actually finish lap 1. I’m not necessarily “paying attention” to that, it’s just something I have to do to finish lap 1.

I wasn’t sure what reason they could have for creating it that way. Will it say I’ve finished the race when I am 3/4 of the way through the last lap - unless I “install a script?”

Someone from WaniKani actually reached out to me and explained that this app was originally set up where the levels were just the kanji, and vocabulary was originally viewed more as a supplement to the kanji levels, but over the years, the vocabulary has been integrated more into the level itself and plays a bigger part now, and they are thinking through if it is still set up in the ideal way.

Some of the responses here have reinforced that - it makes sense that a lot of the people who’ve been long-time users here seem to view the vocabulary as not an actual part of the level in their responses. But for me as a new user, it didn’t cross my mind to think of the level 1 vocabulary as not really part of level 1.

Anyway, I’m still loving WaniKani, and their response helped clear up for me why it has this little oddity in the level up system.

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What do you mean by “completed”?

Unlocked and it in your lesson queue.
You have done the lesson?
You have reviewed it some number of times and gotten it to a particulate SRS stage?

WaniKani calls it “Passed.” I say “completed.” i.e. when the gray bar is fully green, the bar is “completed.” You’ve reviewed it enough times to complete/pass that level - even though you will still have to keep reviewing it.