Resource for entering into functional Japanese?

I combed through the resource list that’s pinned, so apologies if my inquiry falls under a header there and I didn’t find it.

I’m looking for recommendations for a resource to build off of a knowledge of Kanji and Kana into basic reading/speaking. For example, I can look at a JP tweet, sign, etc. and (usually) make out a majority of the nouns and verbs, but I don’t understand anything surrounding the Kanji. I’m well into WaniKani and I want to learn to put together sentences with the knowledge I’ve garnered.

Is there a good program you’ve personally used that’s gives sentences in full kanji/kana (furigana is alright) and explains the individual parts and how to use them? I need to learn how to conjugate verbs, and Japanese particles most of all.

Thank you in advance for any help :smile_cat:

I’d focus particularily on grammar in your case. I like bunpro ( due to it being an SRS, if you start out at N5 you’ll get the chance to build up a solid foundation. The one downside to using an SRS for grammar though is that due to the limited number of sentences (12 per grammar points) if you are constantly failing a certain grammar point, after a while you will have just memorized the sentence itself instead of the grammar point. While using bunpro I would suggest doing the provided readings for each grammar point. If doing it through SRS isn’t your thing, or you prefer more rigorous methods A dictionary of basic Japanese grammar is a great read through (though I am quite annoyed that they use Romaji alongside the sentences). There is also wasabi (, Tae Kim ( and several other free ones.

If you want to practice reading in general, a good way to practice this is Satori Reader ( It breaks down the sentences completely, but also gives a direct translation of the entire sentence. These translations are completely hidden unless you click on them, so you won’t rely on them directly, but you can still check whether you understood it correctly. Graded readers can also serve as a stepping stone if you find the transition to native material too difficult.

For the rest, I’d just recommend reading, then reading some more. There are a lot of great book clubs here on the forums, you can read a manga and find a translated copy to check your understanding, … the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Honestly, I’ve found the problem with Japanese being choosing which resources to use, there are just SO many of them.


Good ol’ fashioned Genki and a tutor.


Unfortunately not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to or to afford tutors.


Everyone has access through sites like iTalki, but yes, it isn’t as affordable as self-teaching. But if you can swing it, one-on-one with a native speaker is very beneficial.

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as a programmer, for a second I’ve been like “wtf is functional japanese” :sweat_smile:


it’s like normal Japanese but with more lambda calculus…


I am using the Genki series of books for self learning. Works great for me. It also works fine in combination with Bunpro because Bunpro offers a Genki path for lessons. One issue with self-learning is that there is no one to correct us when we are wrong. Bunpro alleviates that a bit because the SRS can mark us wrong when we answer wrong.


For verb/adverb conjugation, I found the Genki verb conjugation app super helpful. It’s a bit more expensive (it was around $8USD I think when I bought it?) but it was indispensable for me understanding past tense, which verbs were -る verbs or not, and how to conjugate negative and negative past tense. I’ve never tried Bunpro, so that may actually be better, but I did really enjoy the Genki conjugation app.

For particles, plain old Genki textbooks. They give great breakdowns for why certain particles are used. And tbh particles are one of those things that are great to know for reading, as a grammar point, or for tests, but irl people tend to omit them a lot, so for speaking, I wouldn’t stress about them too much


Thanks all. I own Genki but was waiting to start combing through it. Satori reader sounds exactly like what I was imagining I’d learn fastest from, so I’ll be giving that a try first in conjunction with my Genki textbook.

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object oriented japanese perhaps…


People learn differently and it seems there is a wide range of tolerance against frustration, but at least in my case I couldn’t use Satori Reader while working on Genki, it was way too difficult. However, later, it was a great intermediary resource to help bridging the gap to native materials, I really liked it.

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Its got a limited amount of content but I really liked JA audiobook for the sheer detail that is put into it. Its basically a small collection of short stories with a a ton of grammar and vocab information packed in. Its also all voiced. I think this is a great way to improve your grammar and vocab by actually reading.

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