Level for all Genki 1 Vocab?

I have been looking for a textbook to use for practicing grammar, but the vast majority use vocab I am not familiar with. Everyone says that genki is the best grammar book for beginners. I feel very demotivated when I find a word I can’t read while I am meant to be learning the grammar, not looking up words. I know that all of the loan words and hiragana only words will have to be learnt elsewhere, but at what level can I go through genki 1 without having to look up words that have kanji?

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It took about 30 seconds of flipping through the glossary at the end to find a level 43 word, しゅみ 趣味. But that is also an N5 vocab, you really should know the meaning before you get to level 43 of WK.

The chapters themselves teach vocab, so shouldn’t you just be able to use that? I’ve never actually tried to use Genki, I just have a copy lying around.

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I think the words are right there for each chapter and in a glossary, at least you can look it up in the same book, and it uses basic vocab repetitively.

Doesn’t Genki use furigana? You don’t have to be able to read the kanjis in Genki one.

Furigana doesn’t help me know what the word means.

Found a higher one かわいそう 可哀想 is level 47 on WK.

And maybe the nail in the coffin, たんざく 短冊, which is not taught on WK at all. Not even this reading for 冊 is taught.

WK officially useless for finishing Genki.


WK doesn’t go in the same order as Genki whatsoever (I’m just now learning some words from the first few chapters), so I wouldn’t recommend trying to use it as a resource for learning Genki vocab before going through the grammar. I feel like at this level (level 30), I’ve seen a good number of Genki vocab words, but as Leebo mentioned, you’ll have to get to a pretty high level before you get to some of the more “basic” words, which will put you quite far behind in your grammar studies. You may want to look into finding a Genki-based Anki deck or Memrise course (depending on your platform of choice) - you can drill the chapter vocab with that before getting into the grammar, which should help you cut down the amount of looking up you need to do.


It just feels like a massive extra hassle to learn more vocab outside of wanikani before I can start trying to understand the grammar :c

Well, WK is a kanji resource. It uses vocab to teach kanji, but it’d be wise to get a vocab resource.

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There are 130 vocab~ per level, and ~30 kanji per level. Each kanji gets multiple vocab. I would definitely call it a vocab resource not a kanji resource, but it does also teach kanji. If Wanikani didn’t have the vocab I would not find it at all useful.

WaniKani doesn’t even really teach core vocabulary. I did both Genki books years ago but I still think they are amazing for learning both vocabulary and grammar. Go chapter by chapter. Each chapter has vocabulary lists that also teach you the meaning of the word in English.Then those same vocabulary words are used to teach you the grammar and throughout the whole book. There are also memrise courses for both of the books that are super helpful for beginners. Learning a language is a hassle, yes. Wanikani isn’t some almighty source for all Japanese anyway. You have to do a bunch of extra work outside of it, even for vocabulary. Especially if you are a complete beginner.


You don’t have to take my word for it, it’s a kanji resource. How can you tell it’s not a vocab resource? There is almost nothing on the site with regard to proper usage, which is essential to a vocab resource. The vocab is chosen to teach the associated readings. Plenty of obscure words are given priority over common, but perhaps high-level and nuanced, words that are excluded.

As I said, you will encounter vocab here, and it’s better than not studying vocab at all. But as someone who is preparing for N1, it’s essentially worthless for really knowing vocab to the extent I need to know them.

Having reached level 60 here, I can sound out Japanese like nobody’s business. It’s very common for me to be able to pronounce all the words in a given text. But WK’s one-word English meanings don’t tell you how words are actually used in Japanese. 解釈 is “explanation.” Sure, that’s how it would be translated. But it’s a specific kind of explanation, and an N1 vocab question will have 4 choices where “explanation” will sound like an appropriate translation, but only one will be the right kind of explanation for 解釈 to be the answer.


It is a bit of a pain, but as someone who waited to start grammar, I would suggest doing whatever you need to do to get through that ASAP xD At least with Memrise and Anki, there are a lot of pre-built Genki decks, so you wouldn’t have to create the deck from scratch. Getting all your vocab through WK is definitely not the fastest/most efficient way to acquire vocab for any beginner grammar resource that you might want to use.

I would agree that WK teaches a lot of vocab, but a lot of that vocab is (dare I say) useless for a beginning learner without a lot of grammar knowledge. By the time I acquire enough grammar to read sources that use these words, I will probably have to look them up and refresh my memory anyway. WK simply isn’t designed in the ground-up way that Genki is.

Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting your core vocabulary (using sources outside of WK) up to even like 1.5K-2K before starting to learn grammar. It would make creating sentences way easier.

You can just study vocab with Kana<->English alone. Personally, I focus on English->Kana.

Relying on knowledge of On and Kun reading of some Kanji, Level 16 might be a good place (all JLPT N5 kanji).

Relying on vocab knowledge from WaniKani alone, I feel that Level 20-30 is a good place (2k-3k vocab, as WaniKani has 6k vocab).

At some point, you’ll need Kana vocab beyond passive learning anyway, like Onomatopeia. You’ll have to actively memorize it. Also, sometimes vocab have rare Kanji; you don’t have to wait to learn it.

I know that Anki or Memrise might be trouble. Why don’t you try Houhou 1.2 - Dictionary and SRS application for Windows?

Thank you :smile: I will start Genki at level 16 then.
I will try using that app, it seems like a way less time consuming way of doing custom SRS cards. Thank you <3

I recommend you start studying grammar immediately. If Genki gives you vocab with kanji you haven’t learned yet, just look at the translation provided and don’t worry about memorising them, you’ll get to it later.

By level 16, you will have learned over 1500 words. If you don’t know any grammar, you won’t be able to read at all, which is a wonderful way to forget those 1500 words.

Plus, beyond level 10, you start to get fewer words like dog, fire, go, walk and more words that are nuanced and dependent on context. If you don’t know any grammar, you will not understand how these words are used.

At Level 16, with a knowledge of basic grammar, you should be able to read (with the help of a dictionary) stuff like NHK Easy and graded readers. You could also join the beginner’s book club.


I’m trying to learn the grammar, and not worrying so much about the vocab… I’m in lesson 11, however only halfway through learning the vocab from lesson 2 with an Anki deck - largely because I don’t consistently open Anki anymore…

Wanikani is obviously great for learning kanji, and I probably wouldn’t know any of them without it, but my main goal in using it is not for the 2k kanji, but the 6k vocab (and being able to read them as kanji is a big plus). I have realised there must be some difference between the vocab that apparently have the same meaning (地下 and 地中 both meaning underground for example) so how would I go about learning the proper usage for the vocab I have learnt on here, and how are you going about that right now?

Yeah, that’s a good example.

First off, I’d recommend looking for books that are dedicated to vocab. There are also general series, like 新完全マスター that also have vocab books within the larger scope of the series, although usually those are aimed at particular levels of the JLPT.

When I learn a new word on WK (and I do still have a bunch of lessons left to get through), the first thing I do is look it up in a Japanese dictionary, because that will actually give the full scope of the word in Japanese.

Both 地下 and 地中 have the baseline meaning of 地面の下, below the ground. But 地下 goes beyond that, into the more abstract meanings, such as a place where the souls of people who have died might potentially go, or covert activities of businesses or governments, etc. 地中 just means beneath the ground, in a literal sense.

At least, that’s what I gleaned from those definitions, but I wouldn’t feel 100% confident on something without doing more research. For me, I want to be comfortable in using a word to know it from a vocab sense, as opposed to just consuming it in text in a reading sense.