What is the best textbook?

i have looked around the forums and couldn’t find any satisfactory so please can you give me recommendations? this is for self-study

That is more of a personal opinoon, but here is a list of reviews from Tofugu(the WaniKani creators)


The most popular ones would be the Genki series or Minna no hihongo みんなのにほんご


The most popular choice is Genki for beginners. Apparently, Tobira is a good textbook for intermediary learners, but I have no personal experience with it.

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Assuming this is for you to use, it would probably be good to specify things like your general Japanese level (WK is a poor representation of this), study methods (eg. classroom, tutoring, self-study, orthodox, immersive + lookups, ect…), things you’re interested in (eg. pitch accent, reading passages, partner exercises)…

I’ve seen a lot of good textbook discussions (this Bunpro thread had a lot of interesting discussions on this subject as well) on the WK forums, but you won’t get a really good answer without some specificity.


It’s hard to give an answer. Minna no Nihongo grammar translation offers good explanation of grammar points along various examples. It also has vocabulary. If you study by yourself, be careful to buy this one and not the “normal” edition.
I am also very happy Somatome that I use with a teacher. If you study by yourself, forget about this one though. It has some examples and a quick “how to use” but no explanation about the context or the meaning. With a teacher it works be alone it’s hard. However, I think it makes a very good grammar memo. I can review grammar very quickly.
For reading I looooooove ShinKanzen Master. I think the texts aren’t too easy but also very accurate for the level. For N3 I felt that it was just above my level. I don’t know for grammar, I need to try.
I don’t recommend books for vocab because… Well… It offers nothing.You can find list of vocab for free online. And watching vocab won’t bring anything so don’t waste your money.

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i do have MNN but i have no idea how to study the vocab since i hate flashcards (like anki) and i learn better like the WK flashcard way where you write it in but there is nowhere like that

Do you mean you hate making flashcards? There are premade decks on Anki and Kitsun. You just have to make up your own mnemonics.

i like writing them in instead of using flashcards like anki

also there is a mnn premade on kitsun???

Genki seems to be the most popular one. Really though it’s just a matter of preference and what will suit your needs. Some textbooks are better for classroom learning, others are better for self-studying

Personally I found Human Japanese to be best for me since I liked how they explained grammar and it’s inexpensive but still high quality. Genki just wasn’t for me (but I’d still say it’s a great resource)

What I would suggest if you can’t decide which textbook to use is to take a quick look at the first few chapters or so of the textbook and see if the teaching style, exercises, etc. are right for you

where does human japanese get you to? im guessing N4-N3?

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Human Japanese is great. It explains everything in lots of detail with examples.

I’ve nearly finished the first one. Then I will go to Human Japanese Intermediate and then Satori Reader.
The guy just knows how to explain things really well.

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I’m not really sure since I’ve never really paid attention to JLPT levels so I’m not sure what counts as N5 vs N4. It’s definitely not N3. Maybe somewhere in N4? Sorry if that’s inaccurate though

Yes, same for me. I think there are some ways to implement wanikani in Anki. For the vocab, you can practice it with the lesson, since most of it will appear in the lesson. But the grammar is the interesting part. The vocab is a bonus. As said, I don’t recommend to buy books (study book !) to study vocab.

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I don’t know if there is a Minna no Nihongo deck, but there are a lot of decks for vocab. You can even remove the vocabulary already taught by WaniKani from some of the decks, at least on Kitsun.

i honestly want to get a new textbook since MNN is awkward and Genki has a vocab deck on Kitsun

For self-study, I think Japanese from Zero is the best series. The digital editions are pretty cheap.

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