Switch to Minna no Nihongo?

I have a question for those of you who have studied with Minna no Nihongo, and especially for those who have also used Genki and/or Japanese for Busy People.

I’ve just recently completed Genki 1 and have started the beginning of Genki 2. Generally speaking, these textbooks are fine… but I have several gripes with them as textbooks. The 2nd edition needed some extra editing, and the layout is odd. That being said, I do want to continue to use these books a bit… but I’m concerned that the textbook design is somewhat illogical.

Also, I have heard good things about Minna no Nihongo from who those who have used it. So, I kinda want to start using it. But I’m curious how the levels compare… How do the Minna no Nihongo books compare level-wise to the Genki books? How do the practice activities compare? How about the listening and reading practice? How well would it prepare me to move on to an Intermediate book?

What I’m looking for is simply a way to get more practice and review, and hopefully in a more systematic way that encourages me to think more in Japanese, which is what those who have praised MnoN have shared…

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as someone who went through the whole Minna no Nihongo series (both 50 lessons for beginner and intermediate series) I would say that it’s pretty solid for class usage. You will need to have someone guild you grammar for sure. Practice materials are not that resourceful as you may imagine so be warned :D. I think Genki will offer the same, plus the resources of Genki, the design, etc… is newer, more interesting I believe.

The series is pretty established (like more than 20 years ago), but doesn’t mean it will be better than Genki. To be honest, I would prefer to use Genki if I have to start over again xD

Eventually you will be familiar with casual and polite but in general:
Genki teaches you the casual Japanese (the way you talk to friend. the things you will encounter most on Internet, mangas…) while minna will focus on the polite first (the masu form where you can safely talk, use them to everyone). That’s said, I’m pretty ‘shocked’ with how mangas, books and things people use on the Internet after leaving minna no nihongo :D. So, in terms of real world-ish things Genki will give you better taste.


That’s a hilarious description! (I recently watched the first 15 minutes of that film).

But actually, that’s one of the things I want… (perhaps)… with Genki, it seems like the tasks are designed for partner work… but too often… they mix up too many target language points without clarity… (i.e., present, past, positive, negative) and I’m left without remembering clearly what the forms actually are… The presentation in the book is inconsistent. And I wouldn’t mind a little clearer drilling.

I may be ready for that ‘separate’ book clarification (but I do wonder about the presentation within that supplemental book).

When I started learning Japanese, I did MNN 1 in a language school, then I moved and switched to Genki 2 in another language school.

I much preferred Genki. I felt the grammar explanations were clearer and the text and exercices were more fun


It was a while ago, so I don’t remember well, but the levels felt quite similar, both MNN and Genki teach about the same basic grammar. They don’t do it in the same order though, so if you decide to switch, it would be maybe better to quickly go through MNN1 grammar to check if you are missing a few things.

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It’s pretty good if you have a teacher because it tends to cover a lot of different cases for the same grammar point. This helps you really solidify those fundamentals that will used to learn N3+.
That said, I don’t know how good it would be for self study. I think the grammar explanation book is good enough, but others might think otherwise.

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yeah, that’s the sort of thing that makes me interested in it. :slight_smile:
Pictures may help, particularly of MnN, as I’m somewhat familiar with Genki’s approach.

How about if I have a Japanese wife? :smiley:
She’s not a trained teacher, but she should be able to help a bit.

last one is the grammar book, it also has a bunch of example sentence and a small scenario(+ translations/vocablist in the grammar book)


This is basically what I’ve decided to do. I bought Book 1 today, and I’m going through MNN1 to check and review my understanding. As soon as I finish this first book, I’ll pick up MNN2 assuming I like this one, and I’ll keep Genki 2 around to briefly progress forward in the meantime.

So far, though, I do like the layout of MNN as a book to embed what I’ve learned more firmly in my mind. Thinking in Japanese is definitely a benefit now that I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

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