Elementary Japanese by Tuttle - Worth it for self-study?

Merry Christmas, I am a beginner Japanese student. I was looking at textbooks to start with from Tofugu’s list, presented below. I am looking at “Elementary Japanese” by Tuttle. My question to you is simple - would you recommend it to a self-leaning Japanese student?

The following are details which may aid you in reaching your verdict.
My WaniKani level is 7. I have only studied kana and kanji at this point. I will soon start learning Japanese phonetics with Dogen’s courses. I eventually want to work in Japan, entering through the JET programme. I want to work on my pronunciation early on so that I can avoid ingraining poor pronunciation habits. I also plan to study grammar wih Tae Kim’s Guide and (after a few months) BunPro. I will be studying Japanese for the length of my 4 year International Relations degree, and the year after it’s completion.

Thank you in advance.


I haven’t read the book so maybe my advice here is not the best but seeing as how no one has replied to you have 23 days (from the time of this reply), I thought maybe saying something would help you. Before I say anything, I am only level 9, so I am myself a beginner in Japanese so again maybe my advice is a little misguided but anyways here goes:

Is this book worth it? Well tofugu says: “For self-learners on a budget, this is one of the best values. It’s packed with information and teaches it really well.” So I guess this seems like a very good book. I know you have probably read that and are seeking another opinion so here you go: https://thejapanesepage.com/tjpforum/viewtopic.php?t=16646

That is a link to a forum post of someone who reviews that book and their reasoning for choosing that book over others, I have not read it fully so maybe it isn’t great (apologies if it wasn’t helpful).

I also found this from a reddit thread with a small review about the book (link to the thread):
"Oh, this is the textbook my class used last year.

It’s not bad, as the reviewers say the grammar explanations are good and I think it’s well-organized. It also introduces a handful of kanji with each chapter, maybe not in the most efficient way compared to other kanji learning methods but it’s not overwhelming. Definitely helps to pay attention to the kanji part if you’re serious about using this textbook though, since the exercises assume you’ve learned them.

Some of the exercises are more designed for a classroom setting, but overall I think it’d be fine for self-study.

So yeah, not saying it’s better than Genki or Minna No Nihongo, but if the price is right I think it’s a solid choice."

Again take that how you will, I’m just trying to give you more information about it to help you decide.

Lastly, regardless of what book you end up choosing, don’t worry too much. Whether it be Genki, Minna ni Hongo or some other famous book series, your bound to get a good teaching from it and sometimes one book for you will be better than for someone else. So long as you follow roughly a guide like Tofugu’s then you won’t go to wrong (or wrong at all in some cases). Really what I’m trying to say is take the plunge and buy the book instead of hesitating too much as sometimes its better to do rather then decide between all these great options.

I hope this was helpful, best of luck with your studies!

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Hey, thank you for the reply. I’ve already bought the book and am studying with it now (using Anki to make cards as I go). I haven’t had a problem with the book yet and I think it works well for a self-studier like me.

Thank you again for taking the time to write up a reply.

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Anytime dude! Best of luck with the book!

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