Will KaniWani just fill my mind with word I don't need to know yet?

I saw a big long thread the other day with OP complaining about how WaniKani doesn’t teach you the most basic Vocab first.
I understand why this is the case but it made me think, is there really any point doing KaniWani as a supplement if I’m just learning high level words, and words that, according to the poster, Japanese people don’t really use day to day?
I’m hoping to take N4 this year and I’m just wondering if I should spend my study time somewhere other than KaniWani. Thoughts?

I did KaniWani in the beginning, but I generally feel my time is better spent elsewhere.

Learning EN => JP is different than learning JP => EN. You might notice that you can easily answer with the meaning of a word on WK, but you probably won’t be able to recall the Japanese version on KW. This is why KW is important.

More related to your question, just because people tell you WK doesn’t use the most common words, it doesn’t mean they’re not common/you’ll never see them. If you aim to achieve fluency, learning any word is important and that implies going EN => JP too. Of course, we should try to learn vocab outside WK too.


if you want to take the JLPT, you need to study grammar, listening and some vocab that WK won’t teach you.
If you’re using WK, you’ll nail the kanji requirements though.


True talk @hachiken. I was thinking of slowing down with WK for a while as I hear level 15 or so covered all the N4 kanji that WK can offer me

I’m always a little unsure what people mean when they say ‘fill your brain’ etc. There isn’t a finite limit to memory, so it’s not like your brain will be filled with vocab that knocks the useful stuff out.

If you’re learning elsewhere (as you should be), through things like reading and conversation practise, you will naturally pick up the vocab that you actually find useful. Some of it may even overlap with what you’ve learned on WK.

Sure, most of the vocab on WK I personally can’t recall - I remember it when it comes up in reviews but not the other way around - but it’s more about Kanji practise, which the vocab reinforces.


The best way to learn vocabulary that’s useful is to read/listen to contemporary literature aimed at adolescents. It will be full of common words and expressions that people generally use in daily life.

Wanikani wasn’t made to teach you everyday Japanese. A great deal of everyday Japanese is written with hiragana only. Wanikani exists to teach you KANJI MEANINGS AND MOST COMMON PRONUNCIATIONS. The whole point of this is to improve your ability to infer the meaning of things based on your knowledge of the individual components. You will also have a decent chance of guessing the pronunciation correctly.

If you’re only really interested in speaking and listening to Japanese then wanikani probably is a waste of your time…

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Level 15? Last time I went through the threads, I read that level 27 covered all of the N4 kanji and it would take 7.5 months to reach it with an average level up time of 8 days.

Didn’t say I don’t understand what WaniKani is for. I’m learning elsewhere, just wondering where best to direct my time for N4 / becoming as fluent as I can

By level 16, you know 95% of the N4 kanji. but only by lvl 27 you’ll know 100% of them. Remember that there isn’t an official list though.

Yes, most of the grammar and reading on the N4 test was in hiragana from what I remember.

It doesn’t stop you learning more here on WK, because you’ll see kanji that reinforces vocab etc, but the reading was actually more difficult because of all the hiragana.


Got it, I was just gonna edit my post cause I found this as well:

Continuing the discussion from Wanikani levels and jlpt:

I think I was around level 17 when I did N4 and knew way more kanji than what was required.


I agree with everybody defending the vocab on WK, as usual, but I wouldn’t say it’s useful enough for a beginner that they ought to be concerned with using KaniWani. It’s overwhelming when you start a new language, and I would definitely want to focus on the standard beginner words that will let me construct basic sentences using the grammar I’m learning.

There’s nothing wrong with the vocab on WaniKani, but I wouldn’t be spending my precious time giving it extra work on KaniWani for now.

I’ve got KaniWani set up to drill burned items, so it won’t become relevant to me for several more months anyway.


This is really useful to know. I was gunning for the N4 at level 27. Thanks!

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I mean, there’s still the possibility of learning WK’s vocab or doing KW later on… but why would you do that? Sure, getting extra free time for other things might be useful… but you’d lose momentum of something that you’ll eventually have to learn.

If you can’t find time for WK + KW, either improve your efficiency (my 3 times/day routine) or reduce your speed. The cool thing about learning Kanji on WK is that you easily reach a point where kanji is your best skill and you simply don’t need it much higher to practice your other skills.

I did N4 around lvl 26 and I only didn’t know 1 or 2 kanji in the entire test. The unknown kanji had furigana though, so we weren’t expected to know the kanji.

ahem… My 3-Times/Day Routine™ :smirk:

Hmm… Also good to know. Let me reassess my goals after taking the J-CAT.

Did you notice the trademark? LOL


Probably true that Kanji is at the moment one of my, if not, my strongest skill. I surprise myself when I don’t know a seemingly basic word. I tend to concentrate on WK a bit too much I think, but the good thing is I can cool down and go at my own pace as you said and study elsewhere


I think the only kanji word I saw on the N4 test that I hadn’t previously seen on WK was 野菜