I graduated my Japanese Language school at Bunka Institute of Language in Shibuya. The textbooks used was Shin Bunka Nihongo which is an original textbook made by Bunka Institute of Language. I think the textbooks are pretty amazing.  However, the textbooks only explain Japanese in Japanese. Therefore, I spent most of my time using an electronic dictionary to figure out the meaning and translation. You can get the latest version at Kinokuniya or purchase directly at Bunka Institute of Language bookstores. You also can get the older version of Shin Bunka Nihongo at Amazon.

I did not know anything about GENKI textbook until I started teaching Japanese at italki. As a Japanese teacher, I found GENKI I is one of the best Japanese textbooks for beginners.  Most of my students love this book too.

There are some reasons why I think GENKI is the best textbooks!
Firstly, GENKI has an English translation, and since you want to develop basic knowledge, it’s very helpful for beginners. Having English translation will help you understand the material quickly. You can compare the differences between Japanese and English grammars and structures.  However, you need to be either native English speakers or at least intermediate level English speakers. GENKI is not the only books offering English translation, other books like NAKAMA and MINNA NO NIHONGO also have English translation.

Secondly, what makes me like GENKI is the structure. GENKI has almost the same order as Shin Bunka Nihongo. You will learn basic or dictionary form before you learn formal and informal. Some books begin with formal Japanese, and I agree that it’s useful to learn formal Japanese first because you can use it right away to talk with Japanese speakers. However, you might get trouble to understand the basic form, which is very important to construction grammars in Japanese.

The next reason is the features to support your studies. You can purchase additional GENKI workbooks and practice on your own. You also can download GENKI apps at Google Store and iTunes to help you learn effectively. If you don’t want to spend the extra cash, you can get additional resources to guide your studies from their official websites.


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