I'm confused. Kanzen or Tobira?

So I was reading this post called “How to use Tobira” or something along those lines and most people started with Kanzen then went to Tobira. I was wondering if I should do the same. I borrowed Tobira from a library and I read the first reading and at the third or fourth sentence and this was what I wanted to do.

So to those who started Tobira straight from Genki, did you find it hard and frustrating at first and then got better? How did you use Tobira, did you supplement it with other materials

For the Kanzen people. What is it basically, is it also like a textbook. I heard Listening, Grammar, and Reading are all different books. Please tell me more.

My Tobira is going to arrive in Tuesday and I plan to turn the delivery man away.

1 Like

I hate Tobira (lost all interest after that ramen chapter) :smiley:

I just went with the Sou Matome and Kanzen route. Although, I did the Sou Matome equivalent before doing the Kanzen equivalent since SM eases you in better.

Be sure to combine grammar study with actual reading though!


LOL. those three words sum it up huh? I saw that there isn’t much grammar exercises here. ASDFSA

1 Like

Haha dude just pick one and go with it. You’ll get the info you need somehow.

Tobira = run of the mill traditional textbook experience a la Genki

Kanzen master = not run of the mill traditional textbook experience a la Genki because it is specifically still geared towards the JLPT. It’s just grammar, no textbook fluff. Can you use it to study grammar whether you want to JLPT or not? hell yeah.

Personally went tobira which I supplemented the crap out of it but I do that anyways. I’m not picky though. To me it was a textbook that did it’s job and I was done with it fairly quickly. Before I finished Tobira I had already been looking through Kanzen N3. After that I went through N2 and N1. Love them both to pieces.

Yes there are several different books because this is geared towards the JLPT. So for each level there are 5: vocabularly, grammar, reading, kanji, listening. The exercise are drills to prepare you for JLPT. Do you need them all if your main aim is grammar? nope. Just make sure you’re reading. Supplementing with all the free crap online helps too.

I don’t see much point in picking up both Sou Matome and Kanzen unless you want to spend money on them both. Personally feel like Kanzen has more breadth but sou matome is cuter imo. White rabbit japan has samples of a few pages so you can see for yourself. Kanzen Master vs. Sou matome. Personal preferance is everything and you gotta find what works for you good luck mate.


Good idea. I’m going to buy Tobira+ grammar workbook and then for the kanji. Wanikani sounds good. I think the Satori Reader anki vocab also does good. For the grammar points, how did you reinforce it or how’d you make it stick in your mind?

1 Like

Tons of reading! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Satori Reader!!! Also bought this book called Japanese Graded Readers. It was a level a little bit high for me LOL.


1 Like

say again?

I love Tobira. I started it after Genki II and several other books, and when I was at about level 30 in Wani Kani. I was able to get through the first several chapter without too much trouble, and then it slowly got a bit harder. I’m studying back and forth between chapters 9 and 10 right now, but also continuously reviewing the earlier chapters and also trying to read other stuff.

In a way, Tobira is almost more like a reader than a textbook in that the training wheel are definitely off. But I said almost, because it does still have a grammar section, a conversation section, and the readings are carefully constructed to build on each other. For example, once a grammar point or vocabulary is introduced in an earlier article it is often in the later parts of the book. I think that once you’re on the level of Tobira, you can really start reading a wider variety of stuff in print and on the interwebs.


I had no idea what asdfsa is. I tried looking it up, and didn’t find anything meaningful but a website saying:

asdfsa - Why are you really searching for it!?

Which then made me think of tnetennba. Google it and you’ll understand. :slight_smile:


I think Tobira can be overwhelming when you first open it, but if you could do the Genki readings, there shouldn’t be anything that’s above your level in Tobira as long as you use the vocabulary and grammar sections as reference. I had some trouble with the first reading until I realised every bit I didn’t understand was in the vocabulary section or the grammar section.

That said, I dropped Tobira not too far into it for various reasons =P For learning grammar, anyway. I’ll probably do the rest of the readings at some point.

1 Like

LOL I don’t know if you’re sarcasting or not but I’ll answer it anyhow. I type that to show that I’m nervous or scared.

[quote=“rfindley, post:8, topic:18371, full:true”]

[quote=“akirayonsanrokku, post:3, topic:18371”]
ASDFSA[/quote]tnetennba?[/quote]rfindley is never sarcasting. covfefe


I KNEW IT! Somebody would bring covfefe into this!!!

1 Like


I’m using Tobira, though right now it does feel a little bit like a slog compared to Genki– I miss having the listening comprehension and speaking drills, especially. I got the grammar power workbook to go with it, which definitely helps, and am supplementing with satori reader and NHK easy for reading practice (and I have some manga I’m supposed to be forcing myself to muscle through, but, idk yet how I feel about that). It has gotten better somewhat since I first started, though I get the feeling that it’s really meant to be used in a classroom setting rather than for self-study, and the organization of materials is non-intutive; I still don’t feel like I’m using it “right,” which is something I never really felt with genki.

I have Tobira but am not using it at the moment cause I am travelling :D. For me it is a decent textbook. Since my aim was going for N3 in July, I supplemented with Kansen Masters and eventually dropped Tobira completely. Not because I didn’t like it but more because of time constraints.

I feel like Tobiras texts are masterfully crafted, don’t make you bored, and use a lot of grammar from previous chapters. It also has a decent amount of really useful vocabulary you can learn from it. If you use their online resources you can even get some okayisch listening out of it. I don’t feel it is the best book for grammar though, especially if you don’t buy the grammar excercise book alongside it. The difficulty and usefullness of the Grammar points (at least in the earlier chapters i did) varies greatly.

That being said if you have specific things you want to work on it might be better to just get a Sou-matome or a Kansen master. These books are VERY dense and honestly sometimes bore me to death. But I think they are an excellent preparation for JLPT!

Whatever I do, I like to be able to look up at least two different grammar explanations. So I plan to slowly work through Tobira and do masters when i’m trying to supplement for a specific aim I have (JLPT, better listening etc).
It worked great for N3 for me so I plan to stick with it even if some of the grammar in Tobira is only review and pretty easy.

Like all the others have said. Find your own preffred way to use the materials you have. If you are pressed for money and wanna advance fast for a JLPT I would recommend different books from Tobira though!
Also take a look at the TRY! series of books if you are really scraping for money. They offer a great overview over what you need to pass each JLPT level for a pretty cheap price.

1 Like

Have you checked out the supplemental videos that Tobira has on their website(http://tobiraweb.9640.jp/video/)? They have a video for each chapter all in Japanese that’s specifically made for the grammar points used in each chapter. I found these videos to be much more enjoyable to any of the material provided in Genki.


At least ASDFSA is a sensible acronym for “Why are you really searching for it!?”.