Why I’m quitting WaniKani

If you don’t wanna do it, then don’t force yourself. That’s a bad way to learn something. Maybe after you get more comfortable speaking to other people, you’ll find your motivation to read return, but until then I’d take advantage of actually being able to speak to real Japanese natives.

I will say though that I’ve seen at least 90% of the kanji I’ve learned on WK in the wild, so it seems weird that Japanese natives are saying they don’t recognize any of them on your list. Maybe it’s the method of learning that seems strange to them?


I know people in Japan who lived there for 5+ years and never learned the language. You get a pass for a few years, but after that people start assuming that you lack discipline and didn’t make the cut. In a culture like Japan, the last thing you want is for people to assume you’re lazy or unfocused. It will leave you even more boxed in, and without many options. Learning the language is insanely difficult, which is why it’s also so satisfying. Going through the experience in my mid-40s, right around the time when my career was getting comfortable and life was getting easy for me, it forced me to get into uncomfortable situations and be a beginner again. That brings out the best in you, I think.



Well I can confirm that there are words that are very uncommon to use. Some people already wondered where I got those words from :smiley: The only example I have in mind right now is 試みる, which is a very formal expression and usually only used in written Japanese.

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And when you don’t enjoy doing something you’ll find any reason to drop doing it.

Seems maybe taking a break and coming back eventually with a fresh sense of purpose may be what the OP needs. Or learning to read kanji, just isn’t in the cards. It just happens.


While true, this isn’t the same as “there are kanji they don’t know.” Japanese people can read and understand everything through level 16 without breaking a sweat. WK doesn’t claim you should use these words in conversation.


That some words aren’t commonly used outside of formal writing is hardly the same thing as saying as saying the first 16 levels is mostly useless kanji as was claimed.

It’s even more bizarre to say that Japanese people don’t recognize the kanji. The vast majority of the kanji I’ve learned by level 10 are all straight up Joyo kanji that is required to be taught by grade 3.


That’s true. I started 3 months ago and finally so many things around me make so much more sense! I definitely recognize a lot of kanji from the first 10 levels and also in daily phrases I am using. They finally are more than just another Japanese sounding word :wink:


Many of the ones I’ve been told are unhelpful or seem unhelpful to me are things related to “humanity” “human nature” or the one about “cat island”. There are others but nothing comes to mind. Perhaps it’s more that they never use those words. In one case I was able to describe in great detail how 表 is pronounced and its usage. Unfortunately, other than it’s inclusion in “Omotesando” station which I pass by every day, I’ve never once found any reason to use it. My N1 coworkers didn’t even know it.

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Unfortunately I just don’t have time to read. I spend an hour on the kanji each day but with a 12 hour work day, running my own business, going to school (in English) and trying to take care of my family, I don’t have much time to read.


I happened to meet by chance (出会う) this sentence while I was doing my Level 11 lessons.

The reason I haven’t been able to get further than Level 1 on WaniKani must be because I have “can’t-learn-foreign-language” syndrome.

How cool is that?
Hope to see you again. All the best to you, sir.


This is different from what you said in the first post, that they don’t know the kanji, but see what I said above.

表 is a kanji taught in 3rd grade. It is the 77th most common kanji in newspapers. The idea that someone at N1 wouldn’t know it is absurd to me.

おもて itself is an N4 vocab, though perhaps they don’t require you to be able to read 表 as おもて until N3. I am sure it appears on N3 or lower since it is such a common kanji.



Yep something smells fishy here, my partner has gone through the first 30 levels, and recognizes and uses all of the kanjis in wanikani, in some form. Seems like OP has some serious dream smashers in his life unfortunately


I use a third party app to review during my commute which takes about an hour. I only add new kanji in to my study queue if I got 90% or above. At some point I took a break due to family reasons, maybe a week or two off, when I came back I had forgotten everything and reset my level. I had previously reset my level simply to further ingrain the kanji and know it really well.

I took another break recently and when I came back same results.

Well, in this case Tashirojima happens to be the name of a specific place in Japan, so it’s not entirely surprising they’d not recognise it. It’s really not something that you’d use in day-to-day conversation - it’s there (a) as an example of the reading, and (b) because Koichi is rather a fan of the place.

Kanji appearing in place names is like a free mnemonic for you.


The app was really exciting at first but the order of the kanji and the selection of words became difficult. It’s primarily a case of usefulness of the words. For example by level seventeen I still hadn’t encountered the words for the days of the week or simple things like magazine. Yet I had studied things like “humanity” “human nature” and “heartfelt desire”.

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Wait… what are you even consuming for Japanese content?

EDIT: Never mind, you mean on WK. WK order is roughly based on the complexity of the shapes of the kanji, because that is the thing you as an adult native English speaker will have the least familiarity with when you begin learning kanji. Children learn simple concepts first, regardless of shape complexity, because their tiny brains can’t handle the more abstract words, but WK holds off on 曜 because it has a lot of strokes.


You mean to tell me, your N1 coworkers don’t know words such as

発表 happyou
公表 kouhyou

I’ve read them sooo many times, they’re so common (and I’m just N3)

I mean, I’m sorry for my skepticism. If your reality happens to be different from what I would expect it would be living in Japan it’s ok. If you really don’t enjoy or benefit from WK it’s common sense to leave for a while. I hope you find whatever it is that you need.

Best wishes


Reading this made me realize, I think the reason I decided to post is because I do care and I wish I had done better or wasn’t so frustrated with it. Thank you.


Thank you for the resource. :grinning: