Is 80/20 Japanese worth it?


How does 80/20 Japanese compare in terms of coverage compared to Genki or Japanese From Zero? His website says that it should cover roughly N5 and N4, but can anyone with the book confirm this? Also, is there anything unique about the book that makes it worth getting if I already used Japanese From Zero (books 1-3)? Finally, does it come with exercises to practice, or is it just paragraphs and paragraphs of information?

Thanks :slight_smile:


You asked about this once before, here’s what @rfindley had to say about it then regarding what it covers: Japanese Syntax

I can’t compare to other grammar resources, I haven’t done Japanese From Zero and couldn’t really get into Genki whenever I tried, which is why the comments linked above convinced me to give this a shot. I’ve read through most of the book but not done in depth study yet. There are exercises. Here’s a quick example just from near the very beginning.



The instructions are followed by the sentence to create in this instance, as well as a grid containing the main words you’ll need in case you don’t already know the vocabulary. The start out super simple (‘This is a pen.’) but get more complex through the course of the exercise for that chapter. Answers are provided in the book, so no need for a separate volume. There are a lot of paragraphs of text, but I found it to be written well and easy to understand. Sorry I can’t compare on coverage, but I hope that helps a little! If you want to see a few other examples of stuff from the book just let me know and I’ll see what I can provide.


I enjoyed reading 80/20 Japanese.

Here are some screenshots of the table of contents from the latter chapters that you (the OP) are probably most curious about:

Overall, I thought it was worth it. I have also skimmed through Genki 1 and 2. I can’t really compare them for you in detail though.

There are some exercises in the earlier chapters, but the final chapters are indeed just paragraphs and paragraphs of information and example sentences. The example choices are good (practical, well-chosen, easy enough to explain a particular grammar point), and the conceptual explanations are concise. I’m not sure if the OP would find any new information relative to their past studies, but it would certainly at least serve as a good review of various grammar points.


To add to what @Tru said, I have a language partner who teaches Japanese to foreigners in Japan, and he recently mentioned that he’s using 80/20 Japanese. He likes the author’s teaching style, and thinks 80/20 does a better job of conveying the structure of Japanese (compared to what, I’m not sure).

Incidentally, he uses a kanji-teaching method essentially the same as Wanikani. He hadn’t heard of WK, though… so if the Tofugu staff sees an uptick of subscribers in the metro Tokyo area… :wink: (Though most of his students don’t speak English, so probably not)