Genki vocab vs WaniKani

As per fellow japanese learners’ recommendations, I started Genki almost immediately after starting Wanikani (level 3); the low-res PDF version of it.

It’s very fun to go through - that’s what I thought until I hit page 84, when I got bombarded with lots of complicated looking vocabulary. As you know, WaniKani teaches vocabulary not immediately, but after teaching its respective kanji. WaniKani would teach me all this kanji and vocabulary way smoother and more efficient than I’d teach it to myself.

I need your advice. Should I continue Genki later, after advancing through WaniKani more, or try to tackle the Genki vocabulary by myself? How did it go for you?

Thank you

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Continue Genki now. Can learn vocab in just kana now, add the kanji later. Plus, teaches grammar, which I feel is more the point of textbooks.


I personally recommend the hi-res paper version. :wink:


RL resolution is all hype. And, while RL may have great bandwidth, the latency is awful.


Defiantly keep going with Genki now. What’s important at this point is the grammer and and vocabulary, not the kanji attached to the vocabulary. Just by knowing that ねこ means cat will make learning the kanji for it 猫, much easier, as you’ll have had exposure to the word beforehand. You don’t have to go memorizing any difficult kanji right now outside of wanikani, but sometimes just seeing a kanji with the furigana above it, will ingrain it into your memory, so when you finally get to it on WK, you’ll be like, “ah! I recognize that one!” It’ll happen nice and gradually. :grin:


This is a great question especially considering there are so many people using Genki alongside WaniKani. I am in a slightly different situation as I completed Genki 1 & 2 in a formal Japanese class and only later joined WaniKani to start taking Kanji more seriously, but you might find my experience helpful as you plan your study road map.

In general, I found that Genki should primarily be used as a grammar series rather than a vocabulary series. In both Genki 1 & 2, most of the vocabulary words are there just to compose the example dialog. The consequence for the student is that it feels like there are just a random mish-mosh of unrelated words thrown into a list. In Genki 1, there are some important adjective and verb lists as well as functional language vocabulary lists at the end of a chapter (i.e. “At the Train Station”), but those sort of disappear in Genki 2.

I agree with the other people here that focusing on grammar and basic vocabulary would be best idea to start. WaniKani is light years ahead of the Kanji reference at the back of the books, so continue here as soon as you can start to compose beginner-level sentences. My recommendation is to get comfortable up until the te-form and short form in the middle of Genki 1. Then you’ll be in solid shape to compliment Genki with WaniKani without feeling overloaded. I’m currently reviewing the Genki series and WaniKani shooting for the N4 JLPT (or higher if I have time!).


Alright, thank you!

The orders in which WK and genki teach words have different purposes. If you are interested in learning the most generally useful Japanese vocabulary early on then you should continue with genki. WK is structured to generally put simpler kanji earlier, so it teaches a lot of useful and common vocab late if that vocab uses a complicated kanji. An example off the top of my head is 難しい (むずかしい) which I think is learned pretty early on in Genki but is a level 20 word in WK just because of the difficulty of the kanji.

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I’d recommend continuing Genki. I waited until I was level 60 to truely start grammar studies, and now I’m paying the price (the price of not really being able to read/write/listen/speak well).


Yeah, continue with Genki. You can use the Genki vocab deck on the SRS platform Kitsun to SRS the vocab while you study Genki. I just checked and both Genki I and II have around 400~500 words in hiragana and katakana (no kanji). You could just learn those and the ones that use kanji u already know.

I’m stating this not to disagree, only to inform. I believe WaniKani recommends digging into grammar at level 10 for whatever that is worth.

On your other comment. I have printed the PDF version of Genki, (by the time I went to buy books for my class literally every bound Genki was sold out, even on Amazon, go figure.) and the “resolution” of the Kanji is just as bad as in the bound versions that my classmates have, which surprised and irritated me. So as far as the vocab in Genki goes, I dropped tabs onto the vocab pages and the dictionary section in the back so I can refer to them and save my eyes some strain.

I actually had this same question a few weeks ago. The consensus was to continue through genki, and memorize the vocab from wanikani separately in Anki. However, don’t worry about learning the vocab’s kanji if you don’t know it already. You’ll learn the kanji in wanikani. Just memorize the vocab in hiragana. However, Tofugu does recommend starting Genki at level 10, but many members recommend starting as early as you can.

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I started genki like a month ago, I kinda wish I did that earlier. I study the grammar points, read more about them through bunpro readings and then add them to the srs. Also running through the vocab deck on kitsun. I’m a bit ahead with grammar than vocab, so I’m trying to let that catch up a bit.

After the midway point I’ll try to review everything again. It will probably be more rigorous if you also do the exercises, but I’m not that interested in doing them atm.

I hopped on my WK journey around the beginning of July and started げんき 1 right around the same time (I’m currently at Lesson 10). From my experience, some vocab/kanji do overlap, especially the very basic ones, while others are completely new (i.e. not taught in WK until specific levels). For these, I would make an Anki deck and learn them separately. You could also look up all the new words you’ve seen in the book and use mnemonics provided by WK to help you along. A bit of advance learning doesn’t hurt :nerd_face:

To answer your question, though, you should definitely continue げんき

And if you really want to get your vocab game on, this below might come in handy:

I started Japanese about two weeks ago. I am using Japanese Pod 101 for listening and speaking development and have ordered げんき for grammar studies. Additionally, I want to read Japanese kid’s books, and round it out with TaeKim after I gain some ground.

I planned on starting Genki after getting to level 10, but thanks for your advice! Especially about “Torii”! I will check it out very soon!

I must say Tae Kim’s Guide has been a huge help for me as well especially when I just need a quick refresher of grammar points I’ve learned from Genki :blush:

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