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.