Why is WaniKani worth using beyond lvl 15-20?

You seem to take for granted that above levels 15-20 you can learn Kanji in an easier/more pleasant way to you than using Wanikani. If this were the case, of course it would be wise to do it, every person learns in their own way.

I can only tell you about my experience: I started reading with the Wanikani beginner book club when I was about level 9 and I am reading my second book now. First of all I have to say that the people participating in the book clubs are immensely helpful and thanks to them I can read and put some of the kanji and words I have learned with Wanikani into practice.

I have noticed that when I encounter a kanji I haven’t learned yet it is much more difficult for me to remember the word than when I already know the kanji but not the word. What I want to say is that I’m finding the knowledge I’ve acquired with Wanikani very useful for reading. And through reading I expect to learn much more.

Edit: Just corrected some typos.


Painful? Absolutely.
But would it be so much less painful at lvl 15 as lvl 30 that I should wait?

Technically your right, but I hate to leave things unfinished and vocab happens to be one of them

You can start reading at any time, doesn’t have to be one or the other. But as someone else already said, you can’t take a forum post as gospel. It’s advice based on personal experience, and will be different for different people. Your WK level does not correspond to Japanese ability across the board. Some people come into WK with N3 or higher grammar, others come in fresh off the tofugu kana tutorial, with no other Japanese study done.


That makes sense. But that’s your preference, it’s very different from claiming that WK has locked this content away from everyone.


It is possible to go full speed while doing all the vocab. And if you want to finish in two years, you can do that at 15 lessons a day. You can spread vocab out over a level and end up with 0 lessons every week.


I suppose this is the statement I find most odd in this post. How exactly did WaniKani mislead you? It says it will teach you 2000 kanji and 6000 vocab in 1-2 years, and that’s what it will do. Just because you don’t find all the words “useful” doesn’t make this statement in any way misleading.


To offer my opinion to the discussion,

since the frequency of use and general “usefulness” of the Kanji are taken into consideration, the higher level Joyou-Kanji here do appear less often in novels and such. That is not to say they do not appear at all.

At level 40-ish i felt relatively comfortable reading Light Novels that are on the easier side when it comes to vocabulary and complexity in general, such as " *Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear" (which is great by the way). It uses a few Kanji that are not included in wanikani, but most of them are.

In my opinion, knowing all these Kanji helps a great deal when reading, because even unknown vocabulary is easier to learn if you are already familiar with the kanji that are used to write it.

The greatest Perk of WaniKani for me is the fact that SRS does all the work for you. If i had had to organize all of this myself, it would have been quite chaotic or me.

Regardless, if you prefer to not learn the less frequently used ones (albeit you might end up surprised by how often they actually appear in novels and such) or learn them by yourself, level 20 is too early for that in my opinion. The Kanji between level 20~ and 40~ are still very, very common ones.

Then again, WaniKani is what gets you started anyway. It’s not like i feel competent at all right now, so i plan to acquire a lot more vocabulary via reading and such.

There is no rule that states you have to wait for level 60 to learn beyond the WK-Schedule, after all :upside_down_face:


You wanna stop at level 20 and just do sentence mining? Go for it. You want to keep going and combine WaniKani with other stuff? Go for it. It’s your money and time. We’re not talking about someone in the trial levels. You know what the site is.



I get super tired and don’t have tons of time to sit down and study the way I want.
Reviews take hardly any energy and I can do them in sets of ten. Then I can go sleep.


I’m not suggesting you wait to start reading. I’m suggesting that you start reading and continue progressing through WaniKani at the same time.

I have no comment on sentence mining. I’ve never followed that process because I don’t have the patience for it. If you want to try it, go for it. In my opinion, doing anything else is not a replacement for dedicated kanji study. If WaniKani is generally working for you just keep going. If not, maybe there’s another way of learning kanji that would be better for you personally. But either way, stopping dedicated kanji study before knowing at least around 1500 kanji would be a mistake.


It seems a little weird to me that you would form your entire language learning philosophy over a single YouTube video. Language YouTubers will generally make videos that get views and get more people learning Japanese (and thus watching their videos), and it happens to be that studying tends not to sell very well to beginners who want to be told that they can quit studying and hop into native material as soon as possible.

That being said, plenty of people have different views on exactly how to learn, and that is fine. Personally, I like doing extensive reading as a beginner though intermediate learner for review and confidence/motivation, but generally don’t like intensive reading as looking up so many things can be demotivating without providing much value. But others disagree.

As such, the only thing that I find particularly weird here is that you have this plan for 1 to 3 months from now based on what a YouTuber told you rather than what you found will work for you. I’d recommend trying things out yourself rather than having blind faith.


The context sentences don’t give a lot of context though.

After level 20, almost all vocab only comes with a single context sentence. A lot of them aren’t even good examples of how the word would be used in real life, simply because of the lack of context around the sentences.

It’s not always obvious if it’s a word that you’d mainly see in writing or if it’s also commonly used in conversation. Or if it’s a word that you’d use with your friends but not with your boss. Or if the word has some certain connotations that you really should know before using it, so you don’t make everyone think you’re an old man for using that word.

Honestly, I find that reading the list of synonyms on Jisho often gives better context than the sentences do themselves.

Some vocab does actually come with some of that information, but it’s rare and inconsistent. The context sentences are better than nothing but they’re far from great.


I had the same problem with my forum level. My solution was to log out and back in again. Instant fix! Not sure if you have to do this every level though.

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Thank you all for your responses, I have formed a solution with your suggestions. As I stated previously I had already intended to continue with Wanikani, but now I have a better supported view of how to value the site. Mods can close this thread to further responses if they would like.


This is fully dependent on how much work you choose to do each day and your accuracy. It is not guaranteed by them.

I’m not sure where you got this idea, but WaniKani is not a service intended to teach you the context for each vocabulary word. Nowhere on their website do they say that they teach context for vocabulary. It says they teach kanji and vocab words with their meanings and reading, and I believe (and think many would agree with me that) WK does a fine job at doing just that. However, for every single vocab word, in addition to offering its meaning, also includes a number of context sentences to help you better understand its meaning and when it should be used. This is a perk offered by WK to help you in your learning, but in no way is it WK’s primary purpose or intention to teach you exactlywhen to use each vocab.

I cannot fathom a reason why the WK team would purposefully remove vocab words to learn when almost all of them are very useful in Japanese conversation and media or are helpful to cement kanji knowledge. Everything taught in WaniKani is and can be used whenever the need arises, so that’s basically saying some words are useless when they might be very helpful for some people.

Everybody has their own reasons for learning Japanese. Some learn it because they want to live in Japan, some learn it to be able to talk to Japanese family/friends, and some learn it simply because they enjoy learning languages. Not everybody wants to take the JLPT. Everybody here has their own reasons for learning kanji/vocab and judging by the number of users that progress upward through the levels, the vast majority enjoy using WK and find it helpful. Simply because you don’t see a reason to use this website doesn’t mean that others also see no purpose in WK.

Nobody here is saying you should use WaniKani. Though we all do use it and see reason in doing so, we receive absolutely no benefit, from Tofugu or otherwise, for recruiting users to do likewise. If you don’t see a reason to use WaniKani, then don’t.

WK is not a Japanese learning website, nor is it a vocab context learning website. It is a kanji/vocab learning website. If this is not what appeals to you, no one is making you stay.


It’s pronounced @Mods :wink:

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It usually helps if you mark a comment as solution. It can be your own, too! It will help keep all the Helpful Durtles from helping.


Closing as requested.