Advice for Genki self study?

So I’m using Genki. I like it but I’d like advice on how to use it. Just for grammar? Or should I try and muddle my way through the sections on like telling time or saying your phone number? Those of you who use it, what works for you?


I’ve never used it, but I’ve seen a few pages, and I feel that it would be such a waste to use it for grammar alone when it’s clearly designed to teach you so much more. I don’t know if it’s designed in a manner that makes it usable for self-study, but I know that some of the dialogues come with translations, which should make it possible to study the words used and their meaning fairly easily. Also, if you look for them, you’ll find pronunciation guides on their website that show you how your tone should vary as you read the sentences in the book. That will help you get a head start on pitch accent, which most people don’t learn to pay attention to early on.

Here’s what the Genki site says:

Grammar items are explained in English in an easy-to-follow manner using many example sentences, so that students can go through the material on their own. Also, typical mistakes are thoroughly described in the commentary and footnotes. If students read the explanations before class, more lesson time can be devoted to exercises, rather than explaining grammar.

I think that means you’re in good hands. Also, some stuff you might want to check out on the Genki website:

All the best!


I would go over ALL sections. In each chapter, all new grammar points are introduced in the opening dialogue and one can see how they are used in real-life. You will learn lots of vocabulary. I would only skip the pair exercises since you are studying by yourself. After doing the practice exercises and the workbook exercises, see if they have an audio mark, if so, try to listen to the recordings. For some reason, the 読み書き編 section is separated from the main sections but each chapter in that section correspond to a chapter in the main section. The 読み書き編 section becomes more and more interesting as you progress thru Genki. But if you just want to have a notion of grammar points (enough to more or less read stuff but not to write stuff) and want it quickly, I would not bother with Genki, I’d just go with Tae Kim. Genki is very good for giving you a solid foundation (reading, writing and speaking). In the beginning, I hated the drawing Kanji exercises but they actually helped me a lot in better recognizing kanji.


Thank you! Exactly the info I was looking for. I feel so disorganized studying by myself so I needed some input on using the book! Appreciate it!

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You are welcome. I started using Genki 1 for self-study and paid someone to grade my answers to the exercises but I think one can find Genki exercises solutions somewhere on the web… Last semester I was able to enroll as a student and took half of Genki 2 in an online classroom setting. Lots of time was spent with the pair exercises (in part I guess because it gives the teacher a break… :slight_smile: so I would suggest if you can find a Genki study group (I think there was one here… not sure) so you can do the pair exercises.

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There have been a number of Genki study group threads here in the forums - with the new year about to start, now might be an excellent time to kick off a new thread and invite fellow newbies to join.

If your feeling of disorganisation goes beyond just using Genki, you could have a look at some of the study logs to see how others are organising themselves.


You might find this website useful as you are going through the material


Just amplifying the Seth Clydesdale GitHub website recommendation. I’m taking an accelerated Japanese language course at my university (full-time employee, part-time student) that uses Genki I and II for their curriculum. All content on Seth’s GitHub is directly sourced from the Practice section of each Genki chapter, and it has been useful practice for my individual study, as we often don’t even use it for homework or in class sessions.


Thanks for the suggestions! I may try and find/start a Genki study group. I have no idea how that works so I’ll poke around a bit.

I’ve read some study logs but I have adhd so studying is more like start, get distracted by all the other Japanese resources out there, remember 2 hours later I was studying and repeat. :slight_smile: it’s frustrating. Maybe I’ll resurrect my old study log and try again.


Thanks to both of you for suggesting this site! What an awesome resource!!

Woah, cool! I’m using Genki but have only been doing what’s in the actual book. Now I have more resources, thanks to this thread :relaxed:
@crmsnprincess89 are you going through Genki 1 or 2? I may or may not be able to participate in a study group (I can’t promise but I would like to).

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I’m going through Genki 1. Planning on doing chapter 1 this week.

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Oh…I’m doing Genki 2, although I skipped Genki 1
Not sure if that was a good idea but when flipping through it I knew those concepts already
By the way, I kind of modify the group/pair exercises so instead of talking with someone, I write some dialogues between the two people by myself
Just a tip :slightly_smiling_face:

I tried to make it through all the sections of Genki 1 and 2 but gave up 4 chapters into the first book. The problems I experienced with the books were that the readings were contrived/boring, the exercises were clearly not designed for self study, and WK covers almost all of the kanji and vocabulary in Genki using SRS. However, the grammar sections were concise and well written, so the way I ended up using Genki was:

  1. Cram all the grammar points (1 week/book).
  2. Unlock the BunPro Genki I and II path.
  3. Suffer for a few days with a lot of reviews.
  4. Ease up as reviews come down.

In my opinion, grammar is something you ‘get used to’ through exposure, and letting it seep into my brain using SRS worked for me. I’m now comfortable with all the Genki grammar points and their nuances, despite spending no time doing textbook exercises.

Of course, this is just what worked for me, and you should just use whatever method appeals to you. However, I would recommend BunPro no matter what method you use, it’s a great resource for building your sense of grammar. Good luck with your efforts! :octopus:


I’m going through it slowly and pairing it with Japanese for Busy People.

The textbook design of Genki is flawed in that…

  • They bunch up (dump on you)… loads of grammar, vocabulary, and dialogue…
  • … … …but then also bunch up their grammar activities…
  • … so as an independent learner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and difficult to find out how to get your footing with their practice activities (which are sometimes great and then sometimes not that great)

The strengths I’ve found with Genki are that:

  • The kanji and presentation seem to resemble real (although contrived) Japanese
  • The characters are differentiated well enough
  • The audio samples provide good modeling, so

What works for me is to listen to the sample dialogues. Read the sample dialogues. Then go to the vocabulary pages. Read all of the vocabulary but mainly focus on the words I don’t know. Read the dialogues again. Read the grammar sections. Look at the practice exercises. Flip back to read the relevant grammar section(s) again. Look at the practice exercises and sample sentences. Guess at the answers. Listen to the audio samples. Move on. Practice with other sources for more clarity. Look again. Move on.


I know this path all too well. If I may suggest what is working for me at the moment to keep focused. There are many Live streams of Japanese students studying for exams and I keep it running in the background. They are extremely diligent and have a set schedule which is posted. This is what I’m currently studying to:
And, it really keeps me accountable as I feel I have a ‘study buddy’ alongside who is disciplined and diligent as I desire to be. When I feel like wandering my attention about, seeing this student in real time studying his butt off gets me back into it.

Also, I recommend: as well for a nice background ambiance that keeps the focus dialed in. I find the coffee shop and fire background to be nice combination.

Happy Studying!

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You might find this website useful as you are going through the material

This is AWESOME!

Thanks for linking to this! Been trying to find decent quality way to test myself with my self study of Genki.

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I’d be down to join something like this, I seriously need a grammar refresh. Being able to read a sentence full of kanji and still have generally no idea what’s being said because my grammar is weak is pretty useless :upside_down_face:


@plantron mentioned some good points on this earlier!

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What I am doing is going through each chapter and practicing everything. In the workbook, I make sure to write in Kanji because that helps me practice my writing and memorization of Kanji. Making you you know everything from each chapter is important because they build off of each other as the chapters go on. I am also using Genki and so far, I am on chapter 4, and doing well so far. Although, I am looking for people to practice with so I don’t forget what I am learning.

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