WaniKani is a popular kanji learning tool from the producers of Tofugu. I only have positive things to say about their team and products. Since they have so many users (way more than Jalup!), one of the most commonly asked questions I get of course involves them.
Does WaniKani and Jalup mesh well together as learning companion tools?
Some general thoughts
Using more than one language learning tool comes with benefits: you get the best of multiple worlds. It also comes with risks: you might suffer from resource overload.
I do almost always encourage people to try different things, and there is nowhere on the site I’ve ever said don’t use X (except English subtitles, which I still stand by). It’s important that I recognize there are aspects of Jalup that click with some people, and other parts that are as far from a click as possible.
But the problem isn’t as easy as combining textbooks with different explanations. There are important implications when you do both together.
Using WaniKani with Kanji Kingdom
Kanji Kingdom teaches kanji. Wanikani teaches kanji.
However, both use English keywords to represent kanji. And while there is overlap, there are differences. Different keywords for the same kanji cause confusion. The same issue exists with using RTK.
One solution is to turn the Japanese-only keywords on for Kanji Kingdom. This will prevent keyword collision. Another solution is getting the keywords to align together (choose which keyword you like better and edit the other’s keyword to match).
But if neither of these work for you, you might want to make a choice. Try both. See which you like. Kanji Kingdom isn’t a requirement to use Jalup Main (the sentence decks).
Using WaniKani with Jalup Main
Jalup Main is all about sentences, grammar, and vocabulary. No conflict with kanji learning. But another possible issue arises. WaniKani includes vocabulary words with English definitions.
This won’t seem to matter much while you are on Jalup Beginner. But after that, you drop the English, and go Japanese-only. This is where you learn how to use a Japanese dictionary, how to think in Japanese, and really get used to the formation of Japanese sentences. If you’ve already learned all these words in English, the effects of J-J are lessened.
There are people who do both J-J and J-E at the same time (Core and Jalup are another often-used combo). While some words do overlap, many do not. And even when you already know the word in English, struggling through how the definition works in Japanese still has powerful results.
What’s your experience?
I know… this post really isn’t answering the question directly. There is too much personal study style involved to make things straightforward. And since I’ve never used WaniKani, my opinion doesn’t really mean much.
Which is why it would be awesome for anyone who has used WaniKani and Jalup to leave their experience below. Did you use both? Or did you choose one over the other? What worked and what didn’t?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.