Worth the money?

I’d have to agree here. Without a discount lifetime will equal ~2.5 years of monthly, well past the average time to finish. Skritter and Satori Reader are also pretty expensive for services with similar appeal, but I think all of them are worth if someone can afford them. Like you suggested, I’d still recommend a textbook or something else instead if money is tight.

As for my WK experience it has been nothing but wonderful. Somewhere around lvl 15 I hit up the beginner grammar textbooks hard and have had almost no problems with the kanji in them. Around 25 I started trying to make it a regular habit to read NHK Easy News and have been having a much, much easier time getting through it. I don’t really feel like kanji is a weakness anymore, just my general vocabulary and grammar. Even then I don’t feel bad since it’s much easier to read and learn those things on my own now.

My biggest issues right now are that I want to spend too much time on WK over other materials and that I’m not sure if I want to power through the rest of WK or take a break later to focus on intermediate texts. I’ve said it before, but WK is a soul sucking addiction I don’t want to let go.


Thanks to everyone for your honesty and thoughtfulness! ^^ A lot of you told me that I should finish the free lessons first, and I’m planning on taking that advice. After that, I’ll see where it takes me (I can’t pay for the lifetime plan but I might pay for the yearly plan if all goes well).

@sudoyulo: You are so, so, so right. ^^ Thank you so much~! And yeah, I’m actually okay with doing the radicals because I didn’t know those yet~ Plus of course since I’ve been self-teaching thus far so I’ve missed some basic Kanji, so there will be a few I haven’t learned yet. :stuck_out_tongue: Again thank you!

@ccookf: Wow, that’s amazing! Reading native things is one of the goals I’m most excited for~ ^^ Also watching anime without subtitles. Occasionally in slice-of-life anime I’ll hear a few sentences that I recognize without the subtitles and it makes me super happy~! ^^ BTW, do you know of anyplace that’s really good for just reading sentences? Beginner sentences, of course, I’m not that far yet . . . XD

Absolutely. I started WK almost a month ago and I think that it’s really effective as a tool to learn Kanji. I am currently on a monthly subscription service and hoping for a sale on the lifetime at the end of the year (let there be a sale please, Koichi! おねがい!)

I suggest waiting till you are done with the first three levels first to see if this is something for you, and also to stretch your dollar so to speak. :slight_smile:

All the best in your Kanji journey!

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Well, I dunno, based on anecdotal evidence of a seemingly high number of users, many like to take their sweet time. I must have seen dozens of stories of people taking years long breaks every now and then. Personally, I’m set to finish after a total of a bit over 1 yr, which I had planned from the beginning (going at a fairly quick pace), but even at a more moderate pace, 2 years assumes you really do keep with it every day, which doesn’t happen with a lot of people. Plus if you don’t use reorder, could be even longer.

So all in all, I’m not sure if I’d be confident about that average, especially among WK users, so I wouldn’t hesitate recommending lifetime to someone who doesn’t think they can keep a constant pace even when life gets in the way.


I definitely feel that it’s worth the money. I’ve been here a while (don’t be fooled by my level; I reset back to 01 about a week ago) and I definitely don’t think I’d be able to learn this many kanji without it. I love the system and I love the community. Even just knowing some of the earlier kanji has helped me study other aspects of Japanese such as grammar.

If you’re like me, I definitely recommend getting a lifetime subscription, but of course it’s not necessary for everyone. It all depends on your study schedule and how much time you’ll be spending on WK each day. If you don’t have a ton of time for lessons/reviews, lifetime might be best so you can go at your own pace and not have to worry about a time constraint. That’s what I like about it. But that’s completely up to you to decide! Good luck!

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From what I’ve tried, textbooks << nhk easy, graded readers, satori reader << normal news sites <<< light, web, visual novels, ect. Manga and anime tend to vary, but fit somewhere around the middle of that in general, familiarizing myself with N4 grammar was what made the big difference. There’s a whole list of stuff you can take a look at over here.

@Visceral The 1.5 to 2 years was something I remember reading from the WK staff somewhere, but the wording was also something along the lines of “of users who finished” which is a very small proportion of the overall user base. Considering the attrition rates and number of users who seem to have stopped paying (see here) I’m more inclined to accept survivor bias than anecdotes from active users. However, I will concede that I’ve read plenty of posts from users who hit level 60 after more than two years as well.

Overall, I’d say it’s an awkward decision to make based on individual goals and dedication. Considering the dropout rates and sales I’d say the safer bet is to pick up a monthly or annual sub, then snag lifetime at the holidays if you know you’re committed to progressing.

Ah, well if we narrow the pool to those who have finished, I could get more on board with that. Unfortunately, there probably indeed are quite a few who get lifetime but don’t finish or take forever to. That’s the double edged sword of lifetime - you’ve got time to take it easy, but that also makes it easier to just use that as an excuse to never or barely progress and say “it’s ok, I’ve got lifetime.”

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I’d say if the system and mnemonics work for you, go for it. I got the monthly subscription (couldn’t afford yearly or lifetime) just last week and I know it’s worth it in the long run since mnemonics really bridge the gap between kanji and memorisation for me.

I have this issue too! The reviews are so frequent I get determined to do them ASAP so I can feel that great sense of pride when levelling up and then I end up putting other resources aside. Another side of it is that when I’m really busy (e.g. I’m working EdFringe right now and I’m either working or watching a show with no day off for a month) WK is great because even if I’m only doing reviews at least I’m doing something. Not to mention it’s easy to access on web or mobile and there’s always something to do.

On top of that, small victories like being able to read kanji in tweets, titles or names definitely makes me feel WK is worth it when it’s already paying off in such a short amount of time. I’d say to do all 3 levels to get a feel of the program and see what you think at the end - don’t subscribe right now, take advantage of the free levels first and have a hunt around to see if there’s any other apps/programs that take your fancy.

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For a good 30 seconds, I kept wondering who “ug” was and why he/she/it/they was hitting you :thinking:


Y-you’re worth the money!


Hahahahaha, I’ve never had anyone say that to me before or noticed it could be read like that either!

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I have a tendency to read names like yours (without caps or spaces) any wrong way first :3

Can’t skip. I think it’s worth it. I’ll be signing up for Lifetime when my yearly expires.

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Do you know when you’re yearly expires? If you go ahead and move up to lifetime, you’ll get some money back for your unused yearly. Of course, seeing if the sale happens at the end of the year first would probably be best.

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I got a year and there is a coupon for 50% off flying around so I only pay more like $3.50 a month and it is so worth it to me right now. I need something that will get me ready to read Japanese quickly, and this is increasing my retention and keeping me focused. I can’t speak for you, but I would search for wanikani coupons and go for a year.

This is definitely what I need right now. I need something that I can follow, and something that can hold my hand and pull me step through step through learning kanji. I am stuff my brain right now and I thank wanikani for taking for of the wondering out of it, I don’t need to ask where to start.

A coupon for 50% off? Where?! :open_mouth:

When I was buying it I saw a coupon code box… so I did what any sane person would do and google searched “wanikani coupon code”. I feel weird… giving it to you out right. But you should find it easily with a google search. First result is a reddit page with the code in the first post.


@Everyone Thank you all so much! =D You’ve all been super helpful! ^^

after reaching hell, it’s easy to say it’s worth every single penny. get a lifetime subscription if you can afford it, it’s cheaper in the long term. think about it like getting an expensive but amazing textbook plus a learning system that will keep you on track no matter what if you are committed to it. been using wanikani for the last two years and it’s amazing being able to read wikipedia pages and books and manga and to understand dialogues in anime and movies and speak to natives and understand a lot of what they’re saying. just level 37, and there’s a long way ahead, but no regrets :slight_smile:

Shhhh, we don’t talk about coupons other than the end of the year sale. :wink: