Which one would be better between Hacking Japanese Supercourse or japanese textbooks?

Currently, niko, the owner of nihongoshark.com, offers a comprehensive course on japanese, called Hacking Japanese Supercourse 3.0 Beta. It currently costs 120USD per year. After Beta phase ends, it will cost 240USD per year.

It seems quite comprehensive for learning japanese. It teaches japanese from JLPT N5 to N1. It also teaches 2,200 kanji characters and more than 2,000 japanese words. It offers native voice recordings for japanese sentences accompanying grammar points. I have already reviewed 2,200 kanji characters and a few hundred japanese words offered by that course several times on Anki.

An alternative to Hacking Japanese Supercourse 3.0 would be the following textbooks.

  • Genki 1 and 2 for JLPT N5 and N4
  • Tobira for JLPT N3
  • New Kanzen Master N2
  • New Kanzen Master N1

Does anyone know both well? How do they compare?

  • Learn all 2,200 standard use Kanji in 97 days.

Whew that’s pretty spicy. I’ve seen some whacky dudes on the Kanji Koohii forums pull off stuff like that, but that’s a little hard to swallow.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know anything about the course but given the above and the fact that they only seem to be offering year-long payments, I’d definitely wait for someone to review it before jumping in.

Also N1 in a year is 100% not happening so you should consider the fact that you’ll definitely be paying for more than one year. In fact, the package itself says it’ll be teaching 2000 vocabulary words. It’s recommended you know 10k if you want to pass.

Just some things to consider. You can use Tae Kim’s free grammar guide while you’re researching, if you want to get started on Japanese as soon as possible.


Technically, the end of the course teaches you how to become independent in your learning, using J-J anki. So you would be adding the rest of the words yourself.

I have two problems with the course itself:

  • It’s nowhere near finished; only N5 and N4 stuff are completed (even though in the progress newsletter I got a few days ago niko mentioned “hundreds” of cards completed for higher levels).
  • The pricetag is steep considering what they are offering. At that price, I’d rather use a textbook, or a free resource, like the one @Raionus mentioned.

So “phase 1” of their program does not even apply to you then. So there’s really little in there for you, I think.
I have seen some of their sample grammar lessons, and they are a fun read (since they are written in Niko’s style), but again, I don’t think they are worth that amount of money (talking about the beta price; the full price just makes me roll my eyes)


Oh, sorry I didn’t read very carefully :sweat_smile:

Well, it sounds like for OP it’ll basically just be $120 for an unfinished grammar course so that doesn’t sound so hot.


I think the quality of grammar lessons is better on Genki and Tobira than on Hacking Japanese Supercourse 3.0

What does anyone else think?

I don’t think the 120USD to be too steep actually. If I have to think in the price of the Genki I material (around 85USD) I bought (textbook, workbook + anwser key book), and then the jpod101 subscription for two years I got (super discount at around 70USD), then it doesn’t come out as any more expensive than that.

Both of the mentioned materials are accumulating dust now. I mean, I finished Genki I (though didn’t continue with the second book), but Jpod101 subscription it’s totally unused by now. But for the first 4-6 months they where my main tools for getting me in touch with japanese and japanese learning. So in the end some materials are good for getting you on track to create yourself a routine, an habit of studying.

There’re free alterative of mostlly anything they can offer by now, but it’s hard (or it was for me) to come up with the discipline to make a routine on my own, so this tools were okay up to the point that I had a more well informed notion on what learning japanese was about and then how I could tackle it in a way that suited me best.

So I would say go for it, it’s not an outrageous price, but most likely don’t count on it to go for N1, or actually learning 2000 kanjis or any promised vocab landmark.

I don’t think the cost is nessesarily too high (you are gonna spend a money on dictionaries, books, manga, video, etc). That being said I don’t think that the course (from what I have read) really provides anything excetionally special in terms of the material it provides. It has been said many times that “the best program is the one you don’t quit”, so maybe dropping some cash and having structure will keep you motivated.

I always make the same recommendation:
One year plan:

  1. do WK at a pace somewhere around 10/day level
  2. get genki 1 + 2, do a chapter a week completing all the writing assignments
  3. have a 1 hr a week italki.com lesson with a teacher who will do the speaking practices from genki with you, correct your work, correct your pronunciation
  4. put all the vocab and example sentences from the textbook chapters in a anki deck and review those daily
  5. around level 10-15 (or whenever you feel comforterable) start adding in native material to you daily routine

If you have the dicipline to do that, at the end of a year you will have gained the knowledge of how to proceed with your studies and what you want to focus on.

I think something like the above will yield strong results for most people. But you should of course always be honest with yourself about your dicipline level and motivation. And also what works best for you. Ppl all learn differently…
So good luck!

Edit: This maybe didn’t come across as what I was really trying to say.
In a nutshell, there is stuff you are going to have to learn one way or another: kanji, basic grammar (morphology/verb conjugations etc), basic vocab (kana vocab), basic grammar (usage), etc.
Any of the resourses you have mentioned will give you these tools. I think it is much more important that these things get done than how you do them. So if the supercourse looks good to you and seems like a good way for you to do these things, then go for it. I think you could get all of those things as well by doing the things I outlined above. But in the end, ppl who don’t get where they want to go fail because they quit, not because there is one method or resource that is so much better than another.

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