Why is WaniKani the only thing that works?

Before I tried WaniKani, kanji seemed impossible. Traditional methods of learning kanji are simply drab and slow. All the people that say WaniKani is bad are completely wrong, because it works and there are thousands of people who have mastered kanji as proof of it. I am fascinated by how effective it is, and don’t understand why there is anything as remotely effective out there.


WK combines several things:

  • spaced repetition
  • breaking down kanji into radicals
  • teaching reading and meaning (including audio recording)
  • giving example vocabs for kanji and example sentences for vocabs
  • forcing you to actually type the answer (in contrast to Anki’s method of self-assessment)
  • simple and attractive user interface
  • expandable user interface by way of API
  • community
  • turtles

Exactly. No way would I have made this much progress in this little time without WK.


SRS is the key. I feel like when using a book its a race to completion, with lack of retention.
“I learned 2000 kanji in 3 months” ← yeah, no you didn’t

Plus, a book method doesn’t pile up on you, and force you to stick with it or get buried.


TBH Anki decks worked better for me, if you disregard the fact that I had a hard time keeping motivated learning kanji with Anki

I’ve been considering anki for the future, but I am so low level I think WaniKani is more than enough kanji for now!

That’s actually quite feasable, it’s only some 20 new kanji each day, less than I was doing when I started learning kanji with Anki.

Moreover you have a lot of kanji here, more than in any other book. A lot of books stop at 500-700 kanji and then you have to deal with the rest of Joyo on your own. WaniKani leads you by the hand, you don’t need to write anything, search for anything or even think too much. You just have to do the reviews and you knowledge of kanji slowly builds up over time.

Why is WaniKani the only thing that works?
Because it was made by コウイチ先生!


It may work for some. But the ‘cram’ method is proven to fail with long term retention. Which shoving that many kanji into such a short time frame, can only be described as cramming. Unless your’e constantly reviewing every kanji every few days (which seems like a near time impossibility), its bound to fail for nearly everyone. You don’t allow for the first kanji to ‘burn it’ before introducing more to fight for precious space in memory. Unless you’re one of the rare few who hears something once and remembers it forever.
My shitty brain can’t even handle 10 new vocab per day in Anki :poop:

  • turtles

This is 100% the reason why it works so well.


You’re completely, you start losing retention as soon as you stop reviewing. I only continued at a high pace for a month maybe, and while I still remember most of those kanji there are a lot that I only vaguely remember, because I stopped reviewing. Now it also depends on how much time you spend on it, during that period I was doing at least 3h daily of anki (though not only on kanji). When I say that it’s feasible to learn 2k kanji in three months, I mean that after three months you can definitely know all of them, but of course it will be lost if you don’t continue reviewing for several more months to come.


Someone really needs to make some art of the common WK mnemonic characters, Charlie Sheen, the Shooter, Hard Gay, the Shaman, Mrs Chou etc all together paying homage to The Great Crabigator.


And we should put them on WaniKani mugs and T-shirts, so literally no one outside WaniKani community would know what the heck does the thing on the shirt mean. 10/10 would buy


@rfindley started a thread that is now locked:


Oh man. If I wasn’t so gd lazy, I totally would. Mrs. Chou could like, be chasing Charlie and Hard Gay off with her cane (I always imagined her as a angry old lady), while the shooter is aiming at them from a rooftop and the shaman is shaking his head in discontent lmao

So many awesome scenarios.

1 Like

How come Mr. Sheen isn’t a mnemonic for 援 yet?
(Yes, I know its different. Joke)

Those all sound awesome, I wonder if someone in the Art Share thread might be looking for something silly to do…

Interesting… I wonder why it’s locked!? Or maybe that’s all part of the archiving.

Yeah, most old threads in “Wanikani” are locked, as opposed to old threads in “Campfire”.