My Memrise Experience & Kitsun, The Better Alternative

Hello everyone,

Today I received an email in my inbox notifying me of upcoming changes to Memrise, and I’m sure that’s been done to death already, so I won’t talk about it here. However, this did prompt me to finally speak out about my personal experience with Memrise. My ultimate aim with this post is not to complain, not to slander, but simply to state the facts of my experience with Memrise. You can do with that information what you will. At the bottom of this post I’ve described an alternative to Memrise,, which is in my humble opinion, a much better experience for everyone involved - creators and users.

I was going to paste an excerpt from an email I sent to the official Memrise support email on the 22nd November 2018, regarding an extremely serious bug I experienced which has not yet received a response to date: However, this post is far too long already so I’ll spare you all finer details. If you’re interested, you can PM me. I have not received a response nor any official acknowledgement of the email, or the bug.

Here’s a TL;DR for what happened:

  • Around November 2016, I downloaded the official Japanese courses that were available at the time (only 3). They had “kanji levels” but did not use this kanji in vocab levels, only hiragana. (There are now 7 or more).
  • Downloading the courses froze them and disconnected them. While the official Japanese courses continued to improve over the following two years, adding kanji in vocab levels and new videos/audio files, my courses never updated.
  • If you get into the finer details, the data suggests that the official courses I was using were actually discontinued and Memrise created entirely new courses, hence why the older ones never got updated.
  • For two years I was paying premium rate membership for a horribly outdated app with barebones features. To top it all off, even though I had the courses downloaded, I could never access them without an internet connection. Wait, isn’t that the point of paying for premium?

Any of you serious language learners out there may be able to imagine how utterly floored I was when I discovered that I had been wasting two years of my life and two years worth of annual membership on outdated content that was difficult to work through to begin with. I was never warned. For those of you that now rely on kanji to make reading sentences easier, you may appreciate the hell that is trying to parse the correct answer out of a string of 50 kana characters.

The lack of response to this issue, which has affected many users (I’ve confirmed this by talking to others online), was very disconcerting. The potential ramifications for the bug are that if you have EVER downloaded a Memrise course, the potential exists for you to be completely cut off from updates. Essentially, using a premium feature nullifies the entire benefit of paying premium in the first place. How much this even matters anymore with the changes in the pipeline, I don’t know.

Ultimately, this completely dissolved any confidence I had in Memrise as a company, and since then I’ve stopped using Memrise. As it currently stands, I have completed all three of the official Japanese (script) courses that were uploaded to Memrise back in 2016 - courses which no longer exist, and an achievement I can no longer be proud of. I’ll be honest, I’m ignorant of most of the current drama around Memrise going website-only. What I can say is that I know enough about the company to know that my future learning Japanese is better spent elsewhere. As for you, you can make that decision for yourself, either on account of my experience, your experience, or all of the other posts you’ll read on these forums in the coming days or weeks. The choice is yours.

Kitsun, The Better Alternative

Kitsun is a flashcard based SRS system that I’ve been using ever since I stopped using Memrise last year. This post is already too long, so I’ll try and keep this short and sweet. Here’s what really matters to me about Kitsun and why I think you should check it out:

  • Frequently (weekly) updated, user-feedback is respected, encouraged, and in many cases suggestions are implemented. I’ve made multiple feature suggestions to the owner and he’s always willing to hear me out and discuss new ideas.
  • I find it very easy to create new cards using the integrated Jisho tool. Seriously, it’s a life saver. If I find a word I don’t know in a book, I can jisho search it, make a card, and add it to my SRS in seconds.
  • The UI, settings and entire construction is simple - easy to configure, and easy to understand. This matters a lot to me, as I found Anki too convoluted and too hard to set up. With Kitsun, you just log in, find a community deck, and start learning. It’s that simple.
  • There’s a community centre with dozens of Japanese decks to date and more being added every day. There’s decks for manga, anime and even textbook aids for Genki, including the famous Core 10K deck equivalent and a 4.5K Katakana deck. I’m working through both of these right now, and they’re butter smooth to use.

To conclude this behemoth post, I’ll just say this. When I discovered the Memrise bug that plagued me for two years, I felt pretty bad. But any website can have bugs, right? What really made me leave Memrise was not getting a reply to my email and the realization that nobody at Memrise really cared. Kitsun is the opposite of that.

I’m aware of the problems many creators have been having with Memrise as of late - not in detail, but taking a quick look through the forums paints a very grim picture. The owner of Kitsun always welcomes new creators to bring new content, new decks, and new languages to the community. Kitsun is for all kinds of languages and topics - not just Japanese.

If you’re a Memrise deck creator, I think you’ll find the respect you deserve, the features you want, and the communication you need on Kitsun. If you’re just an SRS learner like me, you’ll find a welcoming community of people on a platform that’s already stellar and improving each and every week.

At the end of the day, no words of mine will convince you to use Kitsun, but I’m confident enough to say that if you log in and have a look at what’s on offer, you’ll understand what it’s about pretty quickly. With a bit of luck, I’ll see you on the forums someday.

Here’s the link:


I just checked out and tested that website, and it seems alright. But at least for now i’m sticking to memrise. I bookmarked the website as a backup if memrise actually screws over the user created courses too much.


Does it have an app? Seems like its in open beta ( I’m not much of a tester, I get frustrated when things don’t work) and there is no app in the play store.

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Tried out this website. Seems to me it is mostly for Japanese. I am not interested in Japanese and right now I am trying to learn Chinese. Right now the biggest Chinese deck has absolutely no sound, which of course isn’t useful when you are trying to learn a language.

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put off immediately by the ‘try for free’ and the charges that are TBA…


The following list is what I wonder about Kitsun.

  • Performance : When it comes to this, TinyCards is terrible, and Quizlet is a little better.
  • SRS Algorithm : Is it the same as Anki or better?
  • Pronunciation Feature : memrise can upload audio files as I want (although it is a little bit uncomfortable.) TinyCard’s TTS is good, and Quizlet is so-so.
  • Easy to aware repetition : TinyCard is extremely bad. memrise is simple and good because it shows me the number of what I should repeat! (Very simple, isn’t it?) Quizlet has a bothersome bug, but not too bad.

Kitsun’s beta user here.

Nope. However, the Android web version works as good as an app. For iOS, there are some problems due to the limitions that Apple has established (for example, notifications for when reviews are available aren’t allowed on iOS as far as the creator knows). There’s an user creating an user-based app for iOS, so that can also be solved in the future.

Bugs get fixed in every update (every Wednesday/Sunday), so they’re never long-lasting. Right now, there’s not a bug on the platform that I’m aware.

True! The creator created this platform because he’s learning Japanese. Japanese was the main focus for the sake of market focus. I’d pass by and let the creator know about you wanting to learn Chinese. He’s highly motivated to build something for the Chinese learning community, but he lacks the knowledge of knowing what’s available in the Chinese market. For example, what’s the best EN => CN dictionary?

In terms of audio, there are plans to fix that.

It’s free since May of last year because it’s in beta phase (so no asking for banking info). The prices are TBA because the creator recently decided to aim for lower prices than he was initially thinking. There’s no absolute confirmation yet, but expect around $5/month.

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Kitsun’s beta user here :slight_smile:

The website works pretty well in general. The only complaint I could see valid is the fact that the search tool only shows 20 items at first (you have to click on “Load More” to unlock more items). This is for the sake of server efficiency, I believe. Loading thousands of cards at once would be a nightmare for the server.

Nevertheless, search is next to improve.

Better than Memrise, worse than Anki, depending on what you’re looking for. The SRS system can be modified by any user. The only limitations are:

  • There are only 9 SRS levels. This limitation is established in order to “remind” the user that SRS isn’t everything and that once you start getting fire boxes (SRS 9), you need to go expose yourself to native content. In other words, the SRS doesn’t go on forever. However, this is on the list of things to improve, just not a priority right now due to lack of demand.

  • While on Anki you can manage SRS intervals by %, on Kitsun is by time. The default SRS interval is 4h, 8h, 23h, 1d23h, 7d, 1m, 4m. However, this can be changed by the user in the deck’s settings.

There’s no tool for the platform to obtain the audio for you (aka do the whole job for you), but it’s on the plans. I’m sure it will be released while the platform is still free (beta phase). However, audio works if you have the files with yourself. You just need to import them to the platform during deck import. You can also add audio to individual cards (if you have the audio file with you).

Not sure what you mean by this. Extra repetition outside of the SRS system? Like extra study? If so, this feature was actually released yesterday. It works just as if you were doing normal reviewing, the difference being that it doesn’t influence the SRS at all. You can do it as many times as you want (no weird limitations here). The website also lists a “top 10 leech” section for each deck. Leeches are cards you have the most trouble learning (think of a leech sucking your blood). In a few clicks, you can study these top 10 leeches.

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Thank you for checking it out and having an open mind.

No app yet, but the Android experience from browser is good already. I see another Kitsun user here has already posted more info above regarding iOS.

This is a valid observation. @XiaoCottonCloudy Do you know of any Chinese deck creators here on the Memrise forums I could talk to? I’d love to see who would be interested in setting up more Chinese decks for Kitsun. If deck creators have audio files for Memrise, there’s no reason they can’t add them to a Kitsun deck. Chinese is also on my cards, if you’ll excuse the pun, so I’m personally interested. Please check back again regularly to see if someone has added a new deck, the community is growing quickly and you never know when a new Chinese deck will pop up.

If any deck creators are reading this, Kitsun has great import export features, from Anki, CSV and TXT with advanced configurations. Give it a shot.

I’ve just created an account and did a little test, both on the web and on an Android tablet (web). Looks quite alright! It’s not Memrise (yet?). There’s no multiple choice answers, I can’t to more than the “open” reviews, no audio (at least in the course I checked which was “Dutch - B1 Vocabulary”). It sure takes a while to get used to, but I suppose it might be worth it.
The most negative things after around 10mins testing:

  • you have to go through a complete deck (5 cards seems to be the default), only seeing the words one after another, but without typing them
  • the system lets you get away with spelling errors and even tells you you did it right

As stated, this is just a mere 10min test, but I like the design and it does look promising - better than stuff like Anki, Duo’s Tinycards and others. Since it’s a beta, it might well be worth to keep an eye on the development. I sure will!

@Krispy_101 and @jprspereira: thanks for bringing it to our attention!


Yeah, that’s a community deck. Not every creator uploads audio because most people uploading aren’t actual creators (since it’s pretty easy to be a creator on Kitsun). There’s plans for audio, just not in the priority list (I believe?).

This is basically lessons. The goal is for you to study 5 cards and then review them all mixed up. You can change this number in the deck’s settings: “Edit Deck => Advanced => Lessons Batch Size”.

Very true. This is partly because since the main market has been the Japanese language, the system allows typos for English (but not for Japanese). I think that might be the reason why. Nevertheless, as a “quick fix”, you can click “backspace” and it will give you another try (as if you didn’t answer that card yet).

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@Olaf.Rabbachin Glad to see you gave it a try. I’ll respond to a few of your queries as best I can, but if you join the Kitsun forums (aka The Den), you can ask questions of the entire community, or even the owner himself, and I’m sure the people there are better equipped to answer any questions you have, especially if they’re regarding deck creation (I don’t make deck layouts). You can find the link here:

This answer format does exist, but it is up to the deck creator to select it as part of their deck. Any deck can have multiple choice answers, and if you’re making cards yourself you can choose to set them up too.

I assume you’re talking about lessons here? You can unlock more lessons at any time beyond what your daily limit is set to by clicking on the lock symbol where it says “Lessons” on the deck dashboard page. If you are talking about reviews, there’s now a self study quiz that lets you review unlocked items independently of the SRS. You can also change the daily lesson unlock size in the deck settings for each deck.

Valid point. While it is my hope that more decks containing audio will be uploaded in the future, there’s one way you can help this happen, if you’re willing and if you were considering switching to/using Kitsun. If there’s a deck you like w/ audio on Memrise, contact the creator and ask them to consider adding it to Kitsun. Or, you can just give me their ping and I’ll ask for you :wink:

This is designed to create a sense of flow, that you learn a couple of words before being quizzed on one. It improves memory retention and your working memory in general, which has benefits both in the short term and long term. Getting quizzed on the words you learn in a random order means it’s not just a simple process of repetition, the emphasis is on recall from the very outset. However, you can change this to any number you want on a per deck basis in the deck settings. 1, 10, anything you prefer.

There can be an error tolerance for typos in words. The degree of tolerance for the spellcheck is decided by the creator who made the deck. For the Japanese decks I’ve used, there is no tolerance. The Japanese word for “supermarket” is スーパー、 when I typed in スーパ it was marked wrong. (missing an elongated syllable, if you’re not familiar with JP). I’ve never made a typo that was marked correct in the Core10K Kitsun Optimized deck or the 4.5K Katakana deck. Maybe you could make a suggestion on the Kitsun forums to implement an option for users to change error tolerance in the deck settings? There’s a big chance that the developer will implement it, he’s very receptive. :rofl:

Hope this helps clarify what you experienced, and I’m glad you checked it out.

hmm, I’ve just created an account. Kitsun seems a mixture of Cerego and Anki, some desks have been around on Anki for centuries, if I am not mistaking. And it is a bit slow… (cerego feature!, lol)

Have a bit of trouble importing one of my desks, but I’ll see more in the weekend. Without audio, me cannot advance…:slightly_smiling_face:

the point with the pricing known at a later date is a bit annoying, one would not risk polishing a desk to find herself later unable to access it, or?


Why would I pay 5 dollars a month for this? Decks is free…


Because you’re assuming that Decks is the best thing you can ever use. Memrise did best in terms of being user-friendly, but not necessarily in quality of learning. For 17 cents/day I’d totally choose to improve the latter.

Nevertheless, Kitsun is still limited due to be in beta.

You can export your decks out of the platform (except community ones of course) :slight_smile:

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This about sums up my experience with Memrise pretty succinctly. I wasn’t aware of just how much better than Memrise other SRS systems were until I tried them out. And I’m not even specifically referring to Kitsun when I say this. Memrise’s implementation of SRS leaves a lot to be desired.

If you still can’t get it to work, be sure to ask someone on the forums, there’s a lot of creators there more familiar with the process than I.

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Since you are pretty active answering people ill ask another question.

I’m currently studying for N1 for the JLPT. I just want vocab and Kanji lists. Does this website have them? Are they based on any credible or logical sources? ( the memrise decks follow the soumatome books) I just use community decks, I don’t upload my own. If it indeed runs better on web mobile than decks I might switch.

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People are mad because Decks have no app and offline mode so I don’t see people choosing this as an alternative.


At the moment there’s a community deck for N5 and N4, uploaded by the Kitsun creator, and as far as I’m aware he’s planning to upload more. I’m sure they’re based on a credible source but I don’t know which off hand. If you head over to the forums and ask I’m sure someone will know :slight_smile:

Offline mode and an app are only the only two features you’re focusing on there. I know they matter a lot to a large number of people (I was one of those people), but there’s a lot more features to consider than just those. Personally, I’d sacrifice an offline mode and an app for the immediate future if it meant getting access to a plethora of other, more well executed features. However I know not everyone would, and I didn’t specifically make this post about an offline mode or app, but rather the whole Memrise experience and feature list.

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All I’m saying is that it’s a good alternative for certains users and not everybody.I don’t have access to wifi whenever I want and my phone contract have no data at all.I was using memrise 99% of the time offline so I can’t sacrifice offline mode.

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