[Beginner] Genki VS BunPro


Currently at level 3 and i’m very, very motivated. Now I want to start with some extra resources besides WaniKani, but I don’t know what to pick.

  • GENKI 1 (I already have the textbook and the workbook)

  • Tae Kim Grammar

  • BunPro (heard some good things about this, also uses SRS - I like that)

Anybody got some thoughts about this? Maybe something else?

Thank you very much.

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My advice is not paying attention to how Genki explains grammar, it’s often confusing or just wrong. A great resource is the dictionary of Japanese grammar, or watch cure dolly videos on YouTube. Also tae Kim you mentioned already is very good.


What kinds of wrong grammar does Genki teach? I’ve never used it.


Genki is a good place to start, I think. There’s also an ongoing Genki study group in the forums here where you can ask questions and do group exercises.

If you feel that you are forgetting grammar points or not seeing them enough, bunpro is a good addition, but it’s probably easier to learn grammar from a renowned textbook first and then review it using bunpro.
However, looking at the links and further readings bunpro provides for grammar points might also be worthwhile, to get several takes from different sources on the same grammar.


So there is a BunPro path dedicated to the Genki chapters? That would be nice! SRS seems te help me a lot.


whatever you choose, i would without hesitation recommend supplement it with Curedolly organic japanese youtube videos, in the order from the very first video. Turning on subtitles recommended though.

It can help clears up confusions about japanese grammar happening during course of average learning paths, including through genki. Plus comments in those videos, where author usually thoroughly answer majority of questions so far.

At least, i never encounter something similar to Curedolly. Was game changer for me.


Just looked on YouTube for Curedolly. A lot of information but the doll is a bit freaky tho. I hope i’m on the right channel!


Yeah, that’s the right channel if you found it freaky.

Basically, Curedolly teaches grammar by explaining things from the same perspective that Japanese people learn about grammar in school as natives, as opposed to the typical framing used to teach people who are learners of the language.

Personally, beyond just the creepiness, I don’t love how she frames this as something being “hidden” from learners, and she’s revealing “the truth.”

When someone creates learning materials, they do so with the goals of the target audience in mind, and, generally speaking, learners of Japanese do not need the level of detail or viewpoints that natives receive in lessons.

You can find loads of videos on youtube that talk about the same stuff she talks about, but they’re in Japanese, made as supplemental resources for Japanese middle schoolers who have to study grammar. They aren’t learning how to use Japanese, they’re just learning how to analyze it.

That’s why there’s a usually a discrepancy in how things are framed. Not because the way they explain things to natives is “the truth,” but because the purpose of the resources for natives is not for teaching them how to use the language in the first place.

At the end of the day, sure, it’s all interesting information, I just don’t find the presentation or her attitude about it appealing.

If I want resources for natives, I watch the above-mentioned videos made for natives.


If you have Genki, I definitely recommend using the workbook along with it. The workbook exercises are designed for individual work (as opposed the classroom/pair exercises in the textbook).

One drawback of the workbook is that it only provides one listening exercise per chapter, and so I like this website for additional listening practice.

Also, don’t forget about the reading/writing section in both the textbook and workbook! They’re hidden in the back of each book, but it’s designed to be used in parallel with the conversation/grammar lessons.

Oh yeah, and there’s an answer key available, which is really helpful for self-learners!


BunPro contains links for Free Online resources explaining each grammar point taught by it. Sometimes it’s videos, TaeKim’s text and/or others like Imabi, Dictionaries, etc.

I would highly recommend it if you are a motivated learner, as you’ll be encouraged to read the explanatory material and not just fly through examples and reviews. It also allows you to sync with WaniKani, and to choose if you want furigana on Kanji you already know (that’s not already included in your WaniKani data) by just clicking on the example text, individually.

The problem I see with textbooks is that they only give you one perspective. BunPro usually throws at you several sources, where you can get different insight into nuances not easily found in simple grammar books. It also always indicates Page and Chapter for Genki/Minna no Nihongo if the material is to be found there.

There’s one issue, though, but since you are just beginning, you might not encounter it in the future: It’s still missing some grammar, even for earlier levels. They are constantly updating, so I feel it’ll be complete fairly soon.

For something else, If you want to practice in SRS style some of the vocabulary and/or acquire more, iKnow would be the place to go to. I really enjoy the style of exercises, the variety, the active/productive aspect of it, paired not only with recognition but also listening comprehension.


Do you have specific examples of what they teach that is wrong? Genuinely would like to know since I’ve been using the book recently as a grammar supplement.


I suggest to watch the videos of Japanese cure dolly, she makes plenty of examples of why and where Genki is confusing or wrong. There are plenty of examples related to the difference between は And が, why you would use が with 好き or ほしいい, or the so-called ‘verb conjugation’. Reading Genki it seems like you have to learn by heart a lot of things that are in fact not random strings of characters to memorise but have a very intuitive meaning (for example the construct -なければいけません, or -ほうがいい).

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I mean, does Genki really do that? “Here’s a random string of characters なければいけません, it has no semantic meaning so you just have to memorize it!”

Again, haven’t used it, but it seems kind of hard to imagine.

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It might not go into super detailed expressions, but it definitely breaks it down adequately. Just looking at the lesson, there’s a little paragraph that says "なければ and なきゃ mean “if you do not do…” and いけません roughly means “you cannot go”; なければいけません and なきゃいけません therefore literally mean “you cannot go not doing…” with the double negatives giving rise to the affirmative sense of the mandate.

That’s not even the whole lesson, but I’m not typing up the whole thing.


You can try BunPro for 30 days free using the Genki paths to see if this is right for you. The moderators have been helpful for specific grammar questions on the message boards and they have been really open to suggestions to improve the platform.

For thorough references and nuances, the dictionary series and handbook have been essential for me.


Cure Dolly does give a lot of information and I don’t see Genki going into that much detail. I Guess you can use cure dolly as a supplement for Genki - right?

Of course i’m just a beginner, but I can’t believe Genki is ‘Wrong’ because it’s a very commonly used text book.

Genki’s great and I love using it as my primary textbook because I mostly like the order that it explains things. No matter what someone uses though I think they should supplement it with something. I follow Genki and do all workbook exercises, use Bunpro for review, watch the Japanese Ammo videos, and I add notes from the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar when I’m first going through a Genki lesson.


I can’t say I’ve run into this at all when using it. I was hoping you had an actual example that I could reference, though. :man_shrugging: But I also don’t use it as my only reference, I use the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar and a few other sites to round out any grammar points.

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I’m using Tae Kim and BunPro extensively and supplementing with Genki. As others have mentioned, I find Tae Kim to explain things better than Genki. Sometimes what Genki explains seems to be “here use these magic words”, other times I just find it’s explanation of things (especially conjugations) to be really confusing.

I’ve been using the Genki I path on BunPro for about 20 days and I’ve found it really useful practice to reinforce the concepts. I’ve got about a chapter and a half left to complete The Genki I path.



Genki and Bunpro together would be a really great pairing. Especially since, as people mentioned, Bunpro has a preset path you can choose that goes through all the Genki grammar points.

Another nice thing about Bunpro is that each grammar point has a section for readings you can do for each grammar point. Genki should provide you with the bulk of information of grammar that you need, but using resources listed on Bunpro would also be good to supplement your understanding. Tae Kim is also excellent.

I don’t know about Genki providing “wrong” information. It gives enough background information on meaning and implications to be comfortable with basic grammar without feeling inundated. No “WHAT BUT GENKI SAID–” moments so far after about a year off of those books.