Summary: Wanikani is an innovative, useful site for beginning learners of Japanese kanji. The site provides mnemonic devices and a spaced repetition system (SRS) to teach radicals, kanji, and vocabulary. Although it offers a phenomenal foundation in kanji, it doesn’t provide everything you’ll need to learn the language. Still, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, Wanikani is an excellent supplementary program.
Quality Easy and fun to use, so long as you don’t fall behind on your lessons.
Thoroughness It won’t teach you stroke order or too much grammatically, but it provides over 2000 kanji and 6000 vocabulary words.
Value Wanikani is constantly adding new material, so even if you finish all the kanji, there’ll be more to learn. If you put in the effort, it’s more than worth your money.
I Like The mnemonic devices/stories are hilarious and make learning fun and memorable.
Wanikani keeps track of which radicals, kanji, and vocab you’re struggling with in its “critical condition items” feature. You can easily look at this resource to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and you can restart a level if you’re having trouble with the new material.
Each kanji and vocab provides an audio reading by a native speaker. These recordings help you get an ear for the sound of the word, alongside the written form.
I Don’t Like If you skip a day, it adds up. Wanikani does allow you to pause via vacation mode, but if you forget, or if you need more time, you’ll potentially have hundreds of lessons to catch up on.
Some of the mnemonics are hard to remember.
Wanikani is great for reading, but if you’re trying to speak or write the language, this site doesn’t offer much. And while example sentences are provided, the actual process of learning grammar is left to each individual.
Price: A monthly subscription costs $9, a yearly subscription is $89, and a lifetime subscription is $299. The first three levels are available for free.