Genki AND Wanikani at the same time?


I used Wanikani in my Japanese 102 and 201 (both of which used the Genki 1 textbook) classes this past year and I only had to do minor studying to cover the difference between what was included in Genki that I hadn’t yet reached in Wanikani.

The big difference for me was that there is no practice of how to write the kanji (which is very important) included with Wanikani. But if you’re just trying to learn how to read, it’s a much better solution than trying to memorize kanji from a textbook.


Just want to tell you that even as a lvl 60 who went through Genki 1+2 I’m really enjoying her videos.

She makes learning seem so fun and natural and not something to be slogged through like Wanikani Reviews for example.

Might just be that I find it easy because I’ve already learned it once, but I still feel like those Videos are helping me so thanks :slight_smile:


thanks that sounds like that worked for you

Okay, I decided to give this a try. Not that I have a hard time understanding some of the grammar I’ve been reading about, but I’m always down to hearing multiple sources to see which is best for my brain, and I am really digging this Organic Series that KawaJapa CureDolly is doing. Thanks so much for the share, she’s already clarified something that a whole bunch of textbooks just kinda think you’ll get in your own head I suppose after a while (though Japanese the Manga Way helps a lot with those moments too). Specifically the infamous が・は particle.


Usually I don’t like videos cause I learn far better from reading than listening, but those videos are really good!! (once you get over the weird voice)

The one on ‘japanese conjugation made easy’ was one of those ‘why did I never see that’ moments. I know all those ‘conjugations’ but I learnt them through rote memorization, I never realized it was shifting the column and adding a verb/adj.

I will definitely be watching the rest of the vids! Once again the WaniKani community proves invaluable for pointing out wonderful resources! :smiley:


Is it worth getting her book, Unlocking Japanese? Or should I watch her videos? I prefer reading to listening.

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I’ve heard that the book is pretty brief, and it being older, it may not cover as much as her channel does at this point. :thinking:

In this thread @Jul3 and @banira talk about how the book is a bit sparse.

I wish she’d post articles that are at least a summary of the points made in her video on her website, but it’s often more an article to lead in the video, rather than an accompanying piece. That would definitely help those that prefer to read. :confused:

Doing both at once works really well. I’ve also supplemented with Nihongonomori videos on YouTube (grammar) and hinekidori’s G-Anki deck (a Genki deck for Anki, divided by chapters, colour coded and styled like WK!).

The thing is, you have to decide how you want to balance your studies, and how much time you spend on it yourself. Only you know how you learn best.

If you’ve got both, go for it! But be sure to give yourself (and your brain) some breaks from time to time. : )

EDIT: I’ve also recently noticed that has been revamped, and I find it easier to understand and well laid out (whereas previously it was incredibly dense. Good information, but waaay too much on the screen at once for me to take in, seemed really advanced and wordy, even for simple grammar points).

I’m able to understand up to 75% of an NHK Easy article (depending on the article) since about chapter 7 or 8 of Genki I at my level (I’ve been at 16 for close to two years now… Not proud of that, but the last year it was necessary). Get yourself to level 15-20 on WK and at least halfway through Genki I and you’ll be off to a good start.

Practice as early as you can.


I’m doing this now-genki 1/2 and wanikani at the same time-but also I’ve done a lot of different types of “studying” Japanese so maybe a semi brief list of those will help you:
-first thing i tried was duolingo-it was great for learning hiragana and some VERY basic sentence structure but it sucked otherwise and I hardly retained anything. I did this for almost a year before trying to actually study using text books etc, sadly. I’ve also tried drops and lingodeer-two other apps- and while they are both better than duolingo, they’re still really limited. I haven’t found any apps so far that are worth using-but they can be ok for reviewing on the train or something.

-I started wanikani about 6 months after duolingo, and it helped me get into the habit of studying a little bit every day. Also, for me at least, knowing that I could read a lot more kanji than your typical in-classroom(hs/college) Japanese student was a big confidence booster. It still makes it 100x easier for me to learn and retain vocab.

I tried studying genki independently to no avail and switched to tae kim which worked pretty well for the first couple of chapters and then I really fell off because it got too boring to just read and read-maybe that’s not you and if so you’re lucky! I like tae kim’s structure personally, but I found out later in the game than i’d have liked that I really gotta be in that classroom setting to learn anything.

The first japanese classes I took were in small groups using the japanese for busy people textbook-it’s even more basic than genki honestly, but it has tons of exercises and i thought it was a good foundation. After that I was more or less able to skip through the first half of genki 1.

I finished up genki 1 in about 2 months, maybe 3? If you keep using it consistently and keep moving forward you’ll find that it’s obviously cumulative so I didn’t find it that hard to retain. As a tradeoff though, I’ve reaaallly slowed down on my lessons and vocab reviews so that I could apply the wanikani material i already know to the new stuff I was getting out of genki.

tl;dr : apps suck, tae kim is ok, super baby basic beginner: (especially if you’re studying on your own) Japanese for Busy People is pretty good but can oversimplify some things. Genki is solid but I had a tough time studying it on my own, and now that I’m in a class I find it hard to put equal hours into Genki and Wanikani. If anything, I’d recommend getting through your first 4-5 levels of wani kani and then start Genki, or study them on alternating days so you can avoid information fatigue. I do totally ignore the genki kanji cause it’s usually furigana’d but I’d think if you see it enough in the exercises you’ll eventually learn it, so maybe dont stress over that too much? These are obvs just my experiences and learning process, but maybe it’ll help you avoid some things that won’t work for you or find stuff that will!

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As @Omun mentioned the book, it’s worth checking out the table of contents of the book on Amazon using the “look inside” feature
It really feels like an introduction to her way of thinking about the language. As the book states, it isn’t designed to replace an existing grammar textbook or resource, just a short thing to read alongside it to think about things in a different manner than traditional textbooks say. In fact, most of the book is simply saying how her thinking about Japanese grammar is different to that of traditional textbooks.

I feel like what you say in your last paragraph is a hurdle every learner has to overcome, no matter what language they’re learning. It’s just a bigger or smaller hurdle depending on the two languages.

For example, English isn’t my native language. I’m German and we started English classes in 3rd grade so we had ~10 years of school English. That’s quite a lot. Also of course there’s so much English media that practicing your English outside of school really isn’t hard to do at all. So I’d say I’m pretty fluent.
The thing I noticed is that sometimes I read or hear a sentence in English and understand it perfectly well but I’d be unable to immediately translate it to German for you. I took some linguistics classes where that was explained. In short, there’s 3 layers to a language, the written word, the spoken word and the concept of what it means. Like if you read or hear “tree” you just know what that is.
When learning a new language, people at first go “word in the new language → translate to word in your own language → concept”, and to become fluent you have to take out that middle part so reading or hearing a word or sentence in that new language is directly connected to the concept instead of first having to translate it to your own language.
Works the other way around too of course. Getting to the point where you don’t think of the sentence you want to say in your own language first and then mapping that to the other language but just saying it.
And all of that is despite English and German being fairly similar languages! Because even though they’re similar they still have lots of differences and can’t be switched 1:1. Like how German just does not use the Simple Past. Like at all, ever. You’d sound like an old-timey poet or something. We almost exclusively use Present Perfect for talking about past events while in English there’s a distinction between when you use Simple Past or Present Perfect. Could I explain to you what those distinctions are? Hell no! Can I see them and use them subconsciously? I think so, most of the time.

And I think Genki does a decent job of not having you try and map everything to your language. Of course to initially explain grammar things to you it tries to compare it to English sentence structure so you get a basic understanding of what it is and when to use it.
But I like how for example instead of translation exercises, which I loathe because of what I said above with those connections in the brain, it has a lot of dialogue exercises where you just speak Japanese. Or Japanese texts where you get Japanese questions you’re supposed to answer in Japanese. That helps you stay in that “mode” where you just think in Japanese without going back to translating the stuff in your head. You just have to make a conscious effort to get to that point, everything else then just comes from practice and seeing new things and making new connections in your brain “oh so that can be used like this as well?”.
Did that make sense? I feel like I was rambling a lot.


It does, and that last part–asking the learner to exercise Japanese using Japanese–is why I continue to recommend Genki over its other online and textbook counterparts to new learners despite some misgivings.

Also doing both, although we’re using Genki I in a class, so 先生 is able to provide more context around things. TBH I really like learning kanji from both angles, it’s helping reiterate to my brain that learning kanji is, ya know, sorta important :sweat_smile: the nice thing is that I’m now able to fully read and understand some of the context sentences in WK with what I’ve learned in Genki I.

Also I didn’t check if you’d seen the post that there’s a WK thread for doing a study group with Genki I: Genki I study group [home thread] - #178 by animuse

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This is totally true, I think genk/tae kim, with vigorous and sustained effort will lead to getting better at Japanese. Personally the less I reflect on my studying the more I can put toward the actual effort of reading/writing/speaking/listening.

I use Genki, WK and have a Japanese teacher for one hour twice a week. We spend the first half doing conversation in Japanese, and the second half reviewing grammar topics using Genki as a guide. This has been really nice as a native speaker will tell me things like “using や to join nouns makes you seem very bookish, in casual conversation use とか instead”. It’s helped me to maintain my thinking IN JAPANESE for a whole hour which, living in the USA, isn’t very easy without a tutor.

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