Handling of Kanji in the Genki textbooks

Sooo, I dusted off my old Genki textbooks and realized I don’t really like, that they use Furigana for two books straight. They only ever drop them in the dedicated “reading” sections in the end of the books.

Of course, this is to not overwhelm learners, but I think they could have enforced the 15 or so they teach in each chapter.

But yeah, their focus was the grammar, obviously, so I get the reasoning. What do you guys think of it?


I think it’s a fair trade off

It’s been over a decade since I touched Genki in school, so I can’t really remember what it was like. I guess in parts of the book that is trying to teach you grammar, they don’t want you to worry about the kanji on top of that and so they add the furigana. In exchange, they don’t add it when reading is the focus, and that seems fair.

By the end of school and Genki II, I believe we had 300-400 kanji under our belt, though the way we learned kanji was very “traditional” (brute-force by writing it 100 times).

Genki is still an excellent textbook for beginners, evident from it being the textbook of choice for self-learners and a vast majority of schools alike.


Just because they showed it to you once, doesn’t mean you’ve absorbed it yet. And depending on the pace your class/self-study goes, it could still help.

1 Like

Minna no nihongo is the same (though they don’t actively teach any kanji through the main textbook). Only in the intermediate textbook do they start to leave out some furigana. As ai was going through the books, as I became more confident in kanji, I actually started crossing out all the furigana ahead of reading the chapters. Only sparingly would I need to look up a meaning or reading, so it didn’t take up too much of my time when studying grammar. It does completely destroy any resell value, of course!

1 Like

I think it’s helpful. If you don’t want to use them you can always score them out - but if they aren’t there you can’t add them in as easily.

That’s why I really like those red plastic thingies that are common in Japanese vocab books. Furigana would be written in red, so if you don’t want to read it, just read through the clear red plastic to block it out.

Maybe not ideal for a whole textbook, but I like the idea.

You could also get your hands on some Frixion highlighters and highlight the kanji, drawing your eye toward it instead of the fuigana. Then erase it!


As someone who is new to Kanji (only level 4) I definitely appreciate it. I’m halfway through Genki 1 and the furigana so far has been printed underneath the Kanji.
Whenever they have example lines of text I always use my bookmark to hide the translation that is often printed underneath, you could do the same to hide the furigana.

1 Like

Ooh! Good-quality washi tape should also do the trick!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.