Why does WK teach some completely useless words?

Hi everyone, sorry if this seems kind of rude but this is a genuine question, is it to make the user learn other reading for kanji? I’m referring to some specific things such as Bread Loaf Counter or Caterpillar on level 5, is there a reason behind it or is it just for the meme? I’m using the Core 2k/6k deck and the JP1K deck on the side but WaniKani sometimes really feels like a waste of time… I’ll stick to it for now but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue with it forever

Edit : The thing I’m mainly mad about here is not necessarily the words I took as examples as they are not really “completely useless”, but more of the order in which WK teaches vocabulary, I feel like I’m getting exposed to a lot of words I likely won’t encounter very often while I’m still not a point where I can read basic sentences and still lack of a lot of extremely common words


Well, early levels it makes sense. Its because you dont know enough other kanji to learn more useful ones.

That said, later levels there are plenty of also semi-useless words, but really depends on your Japanese goals. I have heard caterpillar in anime, so is it really “useless”?


I’d agree that some words can be useless, but see it as they’re being there to reinforce the kanji.

Tbh, Core 10k lists also have their own useless words, so have that in mind. They were generated a long time ago already.


What is a fugu anyway??


Is literally no one going to question why the kanji 斤 is on here in the first place? I literally don’t think Ive ever seen it and JPDB says it’s not even in the top 3400 most common kanji for content on their site…

And they’ve got 3 vocab for it including 1 loaf of bread and 2 loaves of bread… But still no 様子. What the actual…


EDIT: To actually reply to the thread, the really rare ones I think are just poor content choices. There was probably some intent behind them, but ultimately I think it was just poor judgements.


I understand that in the long run, I’ll likely have to learn Caterpillar at one point or another but it’s a bit frustrating having to learn wool yarn or to count bread loaves while WK still hasn’t teached me how to say “cheap” or “walk” :confused:

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Well, probably because WaniKani isnt meant for total newbies to Japanese. Hopefully you know Yasui or Aruku before starting this very very long endevour…

Again, depends on your goals, and where youre at.


WK literally teaches “こんにちは” now, no? Saying it’s not for newbies might not fly anymore lol


Well, of course and we have argued about how dumb of an idea it was. Wani Kani really doesnt know what it wants to be, but I wouldnt start learning very basic Japanese with Kanji.

That would have been so discouraging.


The only reason I’m including it in my kanji app is because it carries the reading きん and can be used as a phonetic component. But legit, I wouldn’t go beyond “1 loaf” and I do intend to explain it’s not a terribly common kanji.

Heck, I’ve never seen it in any native content.

毛虫 is fine. It’s not a common word, but you’ll see lots of 虫 I guess.


I learned both words (and their kanji) thanks to the Core 2k/6k deck already but I don’t think this point stands, I started using WK after learning Hiragana & Katakana and I didn’t feel like I was doing it too early, especially if you look at the first levels, I think they just put some useless kanji and their vocabs in the early levels because they don’t have many strokes

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Anyways, we have talked a lot how there’s a ton of useless words in this program, and its only going to get worse.

And I say useless as in, they are so rare that there really is no point learning them unless you run across them in some book once or twice.

I would rather learn words with hiragana filled in missing the gaps personally, or just with furigana on a new kanji. IDK, it gets pretty bad. And another reason why I quit.

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In that case, I would skip this program, keep the forums bookmarked and use JPDB.io exclusively from here on out.


毛虫 wasn’t the best example I have to admit but keep in mind that the only animals I learned through WK for now are dog and cow

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Potentially dumb question, but what common kanji have きん reading used from 斤 besides 近? The overwhelming majority don’t, right?

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Perhaps it’s there because as a kanji component it’s useful, and there was a bias towards “if a common kanji component happens to also be a standalone kanji, teach the kanji too”? I agree it’s not a very useful one to include.


There is a couple of other low-hanging fruits in terms of “what was WaniKani thinking”, though. Words which Japanese people either don’t remember or don’t use often enough.

Hahah, no, you’re right. I just checked my kanji composition groups and of the following
斤 近 丘 祈 誓
only 近 has the on’yomi きん.

The decision from WK is made weirder by the fact that they don’t have to include a kanji card for every radical. Having 斤 as a radical would’ve been more than sufficient.


Yeah that’s the most likely explanation. But man they really went in on it with 3 vocab that all overlap more or less haha.

If I had to guess, it being joyo and actually used despite being niche probably plays a role. Would explain why 尸 isn’t in there nor 彳 despite being used in everyone’s favorite word, 彳亍. Not that I think they should, or anything


You might be a little bit out on a limb, in the sense that “I want all the joyo kanji” and “I want all the JLPT kanji” are very common requests, and 斤 is a joyo kanji, so therefore it’s technically a JLPT kanji.

I don’t know why it’s a joyo kanji, but at the end of the day it is.


Yeah but WK doesn’t teach all joyo kanji. If they did, you could say “oh well they added it to have all joyo kanji” and that would be a reason. But… Without that… It’s still very much “what exactly were they going for here” to me.

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