Anyone used genki before? I need some help with using it

Genki is one of two textbooks I am using - you can see my study routine here. It’s in Japanese (copied from the books), but just focus on the stuff in orange.

Basically, I do 3 WK sessions a day, and study a small section of the Genki text or workbook immediately after each of the morning sessions which keeps it from feeling overwhelming.

I’m also using the Genki vocab deck in Kitsun to drill any vocab I don’t already know.


Hi @SuperSaabrio! Welcome to WaniKani.

I am doing Genki I now and studying on my own for a few pages a day. I held off on Genki I until after I reached past level 10. I found that most of the kanji used in the book will be covered by WaniKani by then. So far, I have not encountered any kanji here that WaniKani has not taught me yet.

Please note that his was a personal decision after reading through some posts in the forum as well as looking at the kanji that Genki I teaches. So please factor this in regarding my comment. I am not suggesting you do it like me but I am letting you know my thought process and hope it helps you with a different perspective.

All the best in your studies!

inspectatoro :nerd_face::steam_locomotive:

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For what it’s worth, Koichi also recommends getting to level 10 before diving in to grammar.

I’ve never tried Lingodeer, but I’d definitely recommend Bunpro for grammar review. It has a mode where you can sync it to Genki so it follows the book. I read Genki 1 and Japanese the Manga Way, but using Bunpro really made the difference for retaining grammar points.

I’d also recommend the Cure Dolly videos on YouTube. She explains things in a much clearer, systematic way than textbooks like Genki do, which will probably help you a ton, especially as you start out. She’s got a Japanese from Scratch course that I’d recommend as a starting point.


I still personally don’t see the point of that piece of advice. The article claims it’s to stop kanji distracting you while learning, but the vast majority of resources aimed at absolute beginners eschew kanji to begin with. Some even avoid kana for a time. I’ve seen some people treat that line about reaching level 10 like it’s gospel (not saying you do, but I’ve seen it), while they delay the point that they can actually start engaging properly with Japanese.

I think they should have left it at a warning that starting with everything at the same time as a complete beginner in Japanese can make you feel overwhelmed. So it’s important to be wary of burn-out and feel free to drop kanji or grammar for a while if it feels like too much, until you get your learning routine settled and have gotten your head wrapped around a language that’s likely very foreign to most.

I very much agree. ^^ CureDolly helped me tremendously. I just couldn’t get the important basics down with some of the well-known traditional resources. CureDolly’s method really clicked with me, and it made a huge difference. There is no one resource that everyone connects with, but her channel was a life-saver for me.


To be honest I like this idea. I’ve noticed the main thing screwing me up is not knowing the kanji during the gramma work. I’ve found that when I do know the kanji then its super easy to learn the accampanying vocab or words that are spelt entirely in hiragana/katakana. I might just focus on getting my kanji reading to level 10 before I dive back in then, I’ll just do the lingo deer reviews every couple or so days to maintain the gramma stuff I’ve learned, but I won’t go any further.

Thanks, it’s cool that even koichi reccomends it.

There is a genki study group where you can study the book together with others. I think it would really help you.

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I have been learning via GENKI for about a year now, using a tutor. I discovered WaniKani recently.

The two resources work well together. I highly recommend finding a local tutor to work through GENKI with you. It’s “ok” to use on your own, but having someone to answer questions, create exercises, and correct your pronunciation is priceless. I pay $50 CAD per session and it is well worth it!

I’d start WaniKani and GENKI at the same time. I don’t see the point in waiting. Many of the kanji learned will overlap, so they actually sync well together.

I’ve been using Genki before I even started using Wanikani. I did what they recommended first, learning hiragana and katakana. After that, I did 3 chapters until I found out about wanikani. I don’t think you should wait until you get to level 10 because the first chapters don’t use kanji at all and after chapter 3,if i remember well, they use furigana next to kanji. You can learn really easy without knowing a lot of kanji
I think you should concentrate about understanding a grammar rule as much as you can than to concentrate on how many hours you study. Some concepts can be hard to get and can leave your mind tired and slow. What if you have another hour to go?
Just concentrate and try to understand well how the grammar point works. Do a lot of exercises with that grammar point, even if you don’t use kanji. What matters the most is to understand and to be able to use that concept with ease. I recommend using Bunpro too. Not for learning but for cramming part.
But, in the end, take your time. Enjoy the learning process, have fun with it, feel proud of what you learn and don’t forget to take a break from time to time. :grin:


I did follow the advice myself, though I used the Pimsleur audio course to engage with language while I worked my way to level 10. Can’t say that’s the best way to do things, but I don’t feel too bad about it. I certainly agree with the spirit of Koichi’s advice, which is that if kanji are getting in the way of your grammar studies, you should pause your grammar studies (or find a different resource) while you solidify those kanji.


I did lingodeer for a while, but dropped it for studying with Genki. Genki covers stuff better and dropping lingodeer gives me more focus and time for Genki.

Typically I’ll start a chapter by reading and listening to the dialog at the beginning, then read, listen, and write down the vocab. Once I’ve done the copying down of vocab, I’ll go through the Anki deck I have for the vocab in the chapter. I’ll read and write down notes for the grammar, then move onto the back of the chapter exercises. Once I’ve done some exercises, I’ll go through the grammar points on bunpro so I’ll have my daily reviews there.

Usually there’s space in my day where I’m away from the book, so I’ll be doing wanikani, anki, and bunpro reviews as they come up.

After I call it done with the back-of-the-chapter practice, I’ll move onto doing the workbook exercises for the chapter and also the reading/writing exercises for the chapter at the back of the textbook.

Once I’ve done all that, I move onto the next chapter.

Edit: I did start genki after lesson 10, and I think it helped some, but also I don’t think that’s necessary, start asap imo.

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Genki 1 and 2 are the only beginner textbooks that I’ve used, so I can’t really compare them to anything else out there, I also was going to an actual physical class at the time which used Genki. From my experience, though, I definitely would recommend it.
I like Genki because it jumps right in with hiragana and katakana and none of that pointless romaji crap.

I would recommend finding a tutor, as someone else mentioned, who knows the genki books and who can help you work through it. I personally learn best when I have a teacher helping me. But if there’s no one around you that can do that and if you don’t mind spending some money, I know that on you can find teachers and tutors to help you via skype/facetime/whatever. If you find a teacher/tutor that you learn well from, then you and that person can create a lesson plan together using genki. That way you can not only solidify the grammar you’re studying, but you can also start practicing speaking with an actual person, which I think is it’s own challenge beyond memorizing chunks of grammar.

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I recommend you give Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide a shot. It’s free. (I’ll address Genki exclusively eventually, I promise. Please skip to the Genki heading below if that’s all you’re looking for.)

I have used Genki in formal (classroom) education and have otherwise referred to and reviewed it on and off for years. I don’t take issue with its content. After reading Tae Kim, though, his work helped me put into words what I felt about Genki in general. I don’t much prefer Genki’s pedagogy. Genki is written in many parts to teach Japanese in ways that fit more easily into the English-thinking mind. In this way, it’s approachable in schools and easy to build a curriculum around. I didn’t realize this was suboptimal at the time because I didn’t realize there was any other way of approaching Japanese language-learning from a textbook, was naive enough to think that the meaning of some phrase X in one language can always be sufficiently captured in a translated phrase Y in another language.

I find that Tae Kim’s work puts the learner in more of a Japanese-language mentality (vs. English-language) when learning. You’ll read things translated like, “I read book,” which sound silly to native English speakers. There’s a very good reason why things are translated this way, though, and Tae Kim explains why he often leaves out indefinite articles, as one example, in translations. I find Tae Kim’s presentation helps me grok grammar more easily than Genki’s presentation.

Tae Kim presents grammar in a slightly different order than it is presented in Genki, too, and I find Kim’s ordering to prepare me more efficiently to parse increasingly-complex Japanese sentences.

A Word on English

I don’t mean to presume that your native language is English. My comparison of English-language vs. more Japanese-language-like mentalities is generalizable. All I’m getting at is that I find Genki’s approach more along the lines of, “you’re already good at <language that’s not Japanese>, so here’s how you can think about Japanese in <language that’s not Japanese>,” which may train you to form Japanese thoughts by mapping from <language that’s not Japanese> instead of training you to think more like a native Japanese speaker earlier on.


Okay, at long last, addressing your statements and questions about Genki itself directly in case you have no interest in Tae Kim or alternatives (no worries, use whatever tool works for you)!

Firstly, to be clear (since I mentioned earlier that I don’t prefer Genki), Genki is not bad. Once upon a day, I traveled around Japan using grammar learned from Genki alone. It works.

I’m just not retaining a lot of the kanji and gramma with [lingodeer]

This will apply to Genki in ways, too. SRS is the key to long-term retention here. Make flashcards, sentence cards, etc., whatever is your weapon of choice.

I have no idea how to efficiently use genki alongside wanikani

In my opinion, there is no such natural way, only artificial (your style fit to your tastes). Here is what my style was (post formal education). Adjust ingredients to taste, of course.

For any given chapter:

  1. Read the intro skit. You won’t understand some parts, no worries.
  2. Read the list of new vocab. Slap that ish into an SRS. Do not skip the SRS part. (PS: Vocab out of context can get very boring…)
  3. Review your new SRS material. (This is optional if you proceeded from Step 2.)
  4. Read one or two grammar points.
  5. Skip to the exercises and work through the exercises pertaining to the grammar points you just learned.
  6. If you have the workbook, do the associated workbook exercises, too.
  7. (Next day) Optionally go to step 1, skip step 2, and then proceed starting with step 3. When you finish the chapter, go back to step 1.

Often associated with Genki are materials such as Kanji Look and Learn. I recommend you don’t even bother with these things. WaniKani and general SRS are leaps and bounds more effective. If you find kanji in Genki that you haven’t learned yet in WaniKani and that you want to start reviewing, either use user scripts for WaniKani to access reviews for such an item or create that item in whatever SRS you use for vocab.

Finally, I found Genki most effective when worked through with a partner with whom I could speak in Japanese and do the pair work.

You mention you’ll be using Genki for about two hours every day. At this pace with the above steps, you’ll complete at least one chapter per week, maybe two, depending on what your completion criteria are (ex: mastered, whatever you choose that to mean, all vocab in the chapter in your SRS). Assuming one chapter per week, that’s about 12 weeks per volume, which would put you at about 24 weeks (6 months) for both volumes, if memory serves.

Regarding grammar not sticking, I find this to be the general case for me to if I am not reinforcing my grammar lessons with interesting input. Read what you enjoy and are generally capable of understanding (manga, magazines, books, websites, etc.), watch and listen similarly.

Best wishes to you on your search for the perfect blend of material and methodology in your Japanese language-learning, finding what works for you! Keep at it! As others have said, do check out the Genki reading group if you’re going to stick with Genki.


Alright so I’ve decided to just start genki then. What you said about completing a chapter every week seems good to me. I’m a bit confused on when or how to use the hearing comprehension files that come with genki and whether or not I should just devote the first day or two to just learning the kanji.words introduced. Thanks everyone for your input btw.

There’s a symbol used in both the text and workbook at the beginning of any section that has accompanying audio along with info on which particular audio file you need:

I mentioned it in the second post in this thread, but if you want to work on the Genki vocab I highly recommend using the Genki deck in Kitsun, which has audio for all items.

This has already been done for you with the Kitsun Genki deck…

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For cure dolly, do you reccomend her vids as a replacement for genki or as a supplement?

I’m not sure Cure Dolly would work as a replacement. But you could watch the Cure Dolly video on a topic first, and then use the book to reinforce it, fill in gaps, and do the exercises.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ See what works for you.

I know some people dislike Genki and textbooks in general, but I have had better results with Genki than anything else. I use Genki and I love it. I have also read through some of Tae Kim and Imabi, I’ve watched some Japanese Ammo no Misa and CureDolly, and they aren’t bad. However, I’ve found that Genki gives me a good foundation with the way it gradually introduces new concepts building on top of what you’ve already learned, and it gives you a ton of practice, especially if you buy the workbook. It’s perfectly i+1, meaning it only introduces 1 new thing at a time so you’re never feeling overwhelmed. And the variety of exercises are great as well, there’s listening, speaking, reading, and writing exercises of all types. I do use those other grammar resources to supplement what I learn in Genki, but lingodeer and bunpro could also be great for supplementing Genki (I just don’t use them cuz I’m cheap).

I also don’t think it’s necessary to wait til level 10, since all the kanji has furigana anyway and a lot of words in the book use kanji that won’t be learned until at least level 30.

As for your question, this is my general routine. I study about 2 hours every day also, and get done as much as I can in that time:

  1. I skip the dialogue at first, maybe I shouldn’t, but I find it unnecessary to read it before I know the vocab or grammar used in it. I start out by reading through the vocab for a chapter. I add any vocab I don’t know to my Anki deck. If you come across a word that uses kanji you don’t know, just add the word in hiragana. I was very conflicted about this at first and even made a post on here asking what to do, and the consensus was to just add the word in hiragana until you learn the kanji in Wanikani. I then let Anki’s SRS do it’s thing and I learn the words in a few days.

  2. Begin reading through the grammar points. I have a google doc where I take notes on every grammar point I read, including explanations of the grammar and the example sentences. The amount of grammar points in the chapter and the difficulty of them will determine how long this takes you. Sometimes I can get it done in an hour or two, sometimes it takes a few days of repeatedly reading over the points.

  3. This is optional, but I’ve found it helps me understand the grammar better than anything else I’ve tried. I will then take the example sentences Genki provides and put them into Anki, E-J, meaning the card will show me the sentence in English and I will have to come up with the Japanese translation. You can do J-E instead if your primary goals for Japanese involve reading, but I want to learn to speak it, so being able to produce sentences has made this infinitely easier. It does take more time, and I happen to have a lot of free time, hence why this is optional. However, if you’re doing Bunpro, then you’re already getting grammar SRS, so this method probably won’t be necessary, but I wanted to include it anyway.

  4. Begin working through all the chapter exercises. Use the audio for exercises that involve audio. If you don’t have the CD, you can still get all of the audio here. For the exercises that involve a partner, you can just have a conversation with yourself, try to adapt them for solo use, or skip them. There are plenty of solo exercises, so I don’t find this to be a problem. Also work through the exercises in the workbook. There are also reading and writing exercises in the back of the book that correspond to the chapters. Doing all of the exercises in the textbook and workbook takes me at least a few hours, sometimes a day or two. I also like to revisit the audio exercises occasionally just to practice listening.

  5. All of the above could take me between 3 days and a week to get through. Once I’ve finished all of that, I go to the dialogue, listen to it several times, then read it several times. After that, I move on to the next chapter.

I will say that I am taking Japanese 101 in college and we use Genki, but we go through it so slowly that I use the above method for studying on my own, and use the class basically as practice, so the fact that I’m in class won’t really affect the routine.

I don’t think Curedolly could work as a replacement, though I also don’t think Tae Kim should work as a replacement either. Both resources are great for supplementing what you learn in Genki. They give you a more native-focused perspective as well as giving you additional info. But Genki helps get you started understanding the basics of each grammar point in an easy-to-understand fashion. I think it’s best to have a basic understanding of a grammar point before trying to understand it on a deeper level or from a more thorough perspective. That way you’ll be building on top of what you already know, instead of being confused. At least for me, I found Curedolly’s videos confusing when I knew absolutely nothing about the grammar she was discussing. Once I knew a little bit about the topic, then suddenly her videos made perfect sense.

I literally do every single thing you’ve just said, except the taking a class thing, as there are none avaible to me in my city, and the Bunpro thing. That is because I’ve barely have any time, but I do get through Wanikani and Genki I. And I’ve finally downloaded Tae Kim’s book, so I’ll prolly get started after a couple more of chapters in Genki.
I felt personally proud of point number 1 where you said you always skip the dialogue. Why would I listen to it when I wouldn’t be able to understand it? haha

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