Zero Japanese to WaniKani

Hi team,

I’ve recently started WaniKani is basically no Japanese experience. I have learnt HIragana and knew some basic words but had no exposure to Kanji etc

I’ve managed to get through Level 1 but feel like learning some Japanese grammer would assist with WaniKani as there are most likely rules regarding vocab endings etc that would assist in recognising/remembering vocab…otherwise I’m struggling to think how people just plough through WaniKani as there is so much to remember

Any help from people who went through a similar experience would be appreciated




Wanikani is mainly a kanji learning website. You’re right that grammar and vocab would complement Wanikani, but it is purposely out of the scope of this website. If you’re looking for grammar, I would recommend bunpro, which follows a similar system to Wanikani. In addition there are multiple books, like Genki I and II.

I think it wouldn’t be bad to start a few levels of Wanikani (maybe 5 or 6?) and then start practicing or reading up on some grammar.


I went the route of just plowing through WaniKani reviews until almost level 10, at which point I picked up Genki text book and started learning some grammar. It has been very nice to be ahead of the kanji game. I think you’ll start to recognize patterns as you can continue in WaniKani that will help you get used to the endings. At the end of the day though, it comes down to memorizing. I’ve had much better luck this time around by starting with memorizing the Kanji and moving into conversation / grammar afterwards. It’s so helpful to be able to read through Genki and already know the Kanji in the back half of the book. Helps me focus my learning time on the Grammar instead of splitting that focus to looking up / struggling to remember Kanji.

We all learn differently though! So by all means, check out some resources for grammar and see if that helps your learning style. I think the Genki book is a very popular choice. I also use the site to have WaniKani style flashcards for grammar rules.

Go at your own pace and remember to have fun!

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You’re not alone. I hated genki, with a passion. I found other resources much better for me.


To be fair, Genki does drop romaji after chapter 3. I’d guess it’s not much different for Japanese From Zero in that regard? After all they’re both made for people without any prior knowledge of Japanese.

The big problem I have with textbooks is going through them is boring and gets me easily frustrated because it reminds me way too much of school.
At the moment I’m just watching CureDolly and Japanese Ammo and do Bunpro (as well as read and watch the linked ressources there). I’m not sure if this approach is worse than going through a text book, but I dont think so.
What I feel is lacking w/o a textbook is practice for producing simple sentences and I might at least get back to the Genki workbook for that if I don’t find anything else.


I’m not necessarily a proponent of Genki, but I would like to point out that it only uses romaji for the first chapter or two, so I find it odd that you emphasize that issue so much. As for free resources, I’d recommend Tae Kim (though he does simplify things a bit, it’s a decent place to start with) and IMABI.

A lot of people like bunpro or whatever but I personally don’t feel like grammar is something that you can just drill into your head with the same example sentence over and over - you really have to read about it and think about it and then practice using and/or recognizing that grammar point going forward.


I halfway agree with you. Grammar is a beast and you need a lot of exposure to it in the wild to fully understand it and a lot of varied practice to get good at it.

But a few good sample sentences repeatedly beat into your brain can go a long way towards helping you retain different points, at least the gist of them, especially in those first years where you’re probably not reading a volume of manga every day.

(I personally use sentence cards with English fronts so I’m forced to recall the Japanese and it’s worked well for me so far.)


Everyone learns differently so if it helps then by all means. I just worry that it might be similar to some of those phone apps where it feels like you’re making progress because you’re checking off boxes, but you’re not really learning very much while doing so. The problem with learning grammar by memorizing one example sentence and repeating over and over again is that you will later encounter sentences that don’t follow the exact pattern you’re used to, and if your understanding of the grammar point is only in terms of a single example, then it might lead you to struggle or ask “why does this sentence not look exactly like that one example I learned?” When really, learning grammar should be more about recognizing patterns and understanding how they work in a variety of different settings and in combination with other elements. I think it’s especially important for some grammatical words in Japanese that attach differently to nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc., where if you only learn one example sentence with a noun, you might form that pattern wrong every time you use it with a verb, or fail to recognize it when you see it used with a verb and so on.


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