Why you should not

Does Wanikani say (or did they say in the past) “do all the reviews as soon as you get them”? (genuinely asking out of curiosity, not trying to be combative).

I was curious about their messaging beyond the “just over a year” and found “one to two years” in their description of the tool on Tofugu:

WaniKani is a Japanese-kanji-and-vocabulary-learning web app with a simple goal: teach you most of the 2,000 jōyō kanji (meanings AND readings) as well as 6,000 vocabulary words in one to two years.
By using spaced repetition, mnemonics, interleaving, and more, we’ve put together one of the fastest and simplest systems for people who want to learn how to read Japanese.

And in the newish FAQ area, they say this, and directly link to the user on the forum who recommends the self-timed review schedule:

How long does it take to finish WaniKani?
That depends on you.
If you do your reviews on time and get most of them correct, it’s possible to get through all 60 levels in just over a year, or 368 days for one WaniKani user. That’s breakneck speed, however.
Getting to level 60 in a year and a half or two years is a much more reasonable speed.
That said, go at your own speed. You can always reduce the number of lessons you do to slow down. Or, do them when they become available to go at top speed. Learning ~2,000 kanji is going to be a long path regardless, so go at the speed that will keep you in it all the way to the end. Compared to traditional methods, it’s going to be faster no matter what.

I definitely agree that across the site they seem to be having a bit of trouble phrasing “you can go fast, and it’s faster than other methods, but also you might go slow, or fast might be too fast, and anyway it might take a little over a year or quite a bit longer than that it just depends” in a peppy way, and the knowledge site doesn’t seem like it’s linked outside of the “help” link in the corner once logged in, but following the post chain it sounds like the 368 days person didn’t get up in the middle of the night, at least.

It’s a messy area for sure, and advice to stay rested is definitely warranted, but everyone’s situation (and time zone) is different, and I’m not sure what limits (or even advice) could apply equally to say, a college student with no obligations on summer break and a single parent attending night school.

In talking about Wanikani’s messaging and selling itself - I notice there’s a lot of “chat with us” links everywhere - I wonder if those are informative? I’ve never tried it.

The most hardline WK messaging I could find is:

What is WaniKani?
If you try WaniKani, you’ll be able to complete the incredibly simple task of learning ~2,000 kanji (both meaning and reading) and 6,000+ Japanese vocabulary words. In order to do this, all you need to do is:

Do your available Lessons.
Do your reviews.
Do them every day, without fail. Probably even on Christmas.
“Simple” does not mean easy. The word “easy” is a word copywriters use to get you to buy their language learning product, be it textbook, audio program, or app. But, if you actually want to learn something, and learn it to real fluency… it’s going to be hard. No. Matter. What. If you want to feel like you’re learning without gaining substance you can go anywhere.

Okay, who’s still here?

Which does come across as more intense than some of the other messaging. But it seems to be trying to emphasize the rhythm of doing reviews regularly, rather than the exact number. But I could see improvements to that and the “just under a year” bit front and center, perhaps.


impressed here

I thought those memes in the thread about people waking up 2 am or staying up until 2 am was just a meme

but I see some people take seriously lmao

I am confortable with my 3 times a day review, regardless the time and my progress is quite nice so far.


Can’t help that it made me remember this clip:

1 Like

Someone else in the thread said “do your reviews as soon as you get them” but I don’t know if WK ever actually phrases it exactly like that.

I think a big problem is the “Do your Lessons” part of that. They don’t give any furher guidance so it comes across as “do all your lessons as soon as they’re available” which is how people end up with giant piles of hundreds of reviews and people coming to the forums around level 7-10 complaining that they’re overwhelmed. I wish WK would provide the guidance that your pace is set by the number of lessons you do and that you should pick a number of lessons per day to do. They could even add this feature to the app itself, personally I do 20 lessons per day so it’d be nice to tell WK “I want to do 20 lessons a day” and have it cut me off at that number. Sure this is something a userscript could do but it would have a much bigger impact if it were a default feature of the app itself.

Anyway, that’s getting a bit off the topic of this thread. I doubt there are many people who are setting alarms to wake up and do their reviews and I don’t think WK is actually encouraging people to do that. I do think they should get rid of the “just over a year” copy and be more realistic with how long it takes to finish–even the “1-2 years” mentioned elsewhere sounds too low; I don’t know what the actual average completion time is for level 60 but I would be amazed if it were less than 2 years.


There’s a lot of conversation in this thread about what is, and is not, WK’s responsibility.

As a game dev, I’d like to point out that user engagement and community management are within the product’s responsibility.

The most active and visible threads on the community, to new users, tend to promote speed. As do the user-created guides that are visible everywhere. Going slower is suggested as an alternative if you “can’t handle” going fast, implying that a slower pace is inferior.

All WK needs to do is make more explicit suggestions about pacing yourself. A simple, clear, highly visible statement would be enough to prevent many people’s suffering.

TLDR: as a developer, if you sell a gamified product, you have an ethical responsibility to encourage healthy engagement patterns.


There’s been a few flags from this thread and I just want to remind everyone again to take a few minutes to review the Community Guidelines before you post on this thread again:

I’m not saying we all need to agree with the OP, but if you disagree, you can leave it at that or contribute to the thread in a respectful tone.

@Amimononohitsuji Rachel’s on vacation and you can always tag ‘@ mods’ if you have questions. It’s definitely not WaniKani’s intention to make people stay up late or wake up at 3am to do reviews. We never recommend this on our Knowledge Guide or in our emails/chats if you ask for suggestions. There’s definitely room for improvement on clarifying to new users what we do suggest in terms of pacing, so thanks for bringing this topic up. Usually we get these questions from new users directly, but I understand there could be something a bit more obvious and visual so people don’t need to ask.


It’s only been lightly touched upon, but the “hours” of sleep are meaningless. AFAIK, the research points to the number of sleep cycles you get as being the important part. The older you are, the fewer sleep cycles you need. Generally, normal healthy adults need 4-5 sleep cycles. How you get these cycles doesn’t matter too much, beyond ideally not waking up in the middle of a cycle.

So doing something like sleeping 1 and a half hours 4 or 5 times a day would be perfectly healthy. It just happens to not line up well with contemporary societal expectations.


…You good man?


That’s pretty much just standard xplo.



Thank you for your feedback. I will try to make use of this inspiration in my next topic:
“The importance of emotion control in Japanese society”.


I see where you’re coming from with the actual content of your original post.

The title however seems a little misleading. Am i meant to stop doing reviews as soon as the sun
goes down?


Changed that.


Given that people do still get confused about it, there’s certainly room for improvement, but they do offer some guidance on this. I’m not sure what the Knowledge Guide says about it, but I thought right away about the level-up emails and couple of the early ones do address this issue to an extent.

Level 2:

As you progress through WaniKani, it’s going become important for you to manage your Lessons pile a little bit. How fast you progress depends on how fast you complete your Lessons, because until you do them, those items won’t show up in your Reviews. […]

How fast should you go through Lessons? That comes down to you. Just remember, those Lessons will all become future Reviews, so make sure you’re prepared to do them later on.

Level 4:

It’s going to start getting harder now. Make sure you do your reviews every day and you’ll get through it. Don’t feel bad if you have to slow down your Lessons a little bit. Think realistically about how many reviews you can do a day and adjust accordingly.

Around this point, a user doesn’t have too big of a lesson pile to get through yet (as best I recall, anyway) so this info should reach a person before the first time they try to tackle 100+ lessons in a sitting. It’s not particularly strongly worded in cautioning against it, but they do seem to advise users not to take on too much at once, while stating that how many lessons you do at a time will influence your workload later. As for providing more in depth guidance, learners are all different so there’s a limit to how in-depth you can get while staying relevant to any particular person, and there’s a balancing act between having guides comprehensive enough to address all (or most) user questions that can be anticipated and having them be digestible enough that users will actually read them. I think this is part of the reason they also lean on the community here to help provide this kind of support, on top of keeping open lines of communication for users to get in touch with questions.

I’d add that, even if one wants to keep a fairly brisk pace in levelling up, it’s not necessary to do all the lessons the day they’re unlocked. Since when you level up is entirely determined by when you guru enough kanji, the only lessons that would need to be done with any urgency are the radicals at the start of the level and then the second batch of kanji. For anything else, it’s just about doing enough lessons a day to keep things from piling up too much.


What I felt was missing in the initial argument around the detrimental nature of speeding through levels is also how different everyone’s initial level of Japanese is.

This is again something that’s been brought up before, but essentially, if you are completely new to Japanese you have a much bigger hurdle to get over, just in the initial levels of WaniKani, but also moving up the levels. There is just so much new information to process and internalize. speeding is not going to allow you time to process all of it! (most likely).

Meanwhile, there are plenty of users (me being one) who start using Wanikani relatively late into their studies of Japanese. Obviously, speeding through the initial levels is going to be easy (I estimated that around 90% of vocab items were old information for me, and plenty of kanji I new both readings and meaning for though not the kanji). That a very different learning situation from the beginner facing those levels. Speeding is here a breeze (most likely).

But, the difference in workload also continues up into the levels, especially with vocab items being things that I had encountered from my many years of immersion learning outside of Wanikani (anyone interested in the details can check out my my lv 60 post ^^). Again, a new user must devote time to do immersion learning parallel with WK to make the most of the lessons, not to mention learning grammar, doing listening practice, etc. That makes it less possible to speed through WK at the same time.

All in all, how you tackle WaniKani and manage to get to the end, is going to be an individual thing. For some users that means doing WK in just over a year is very much possible without loosing any sleep on it. Other, need to take a slower pace to make the most of the app, but also to suit their in real life needs and circumstances.

You must make the judgement yourself of what your pacing should be in the end - just make sure it’s something you can keep up for a long period of time as WK really is a marathon.


Thank you for that. That’s an excellent bit of perspective. (and not often mentioned by people when they’re sharing their stats).


Hold up, this is suddenly a completely different topic.

Not sure you should do that. You kinda just beheaded the entire discussion.


They do a little trolling



Yes, exactly this. Thank you dear plantron.