The top 5 textbooks for learning Japanese effectively :Today we are going to discuss the top 5 textbooks for learning Japanese.

We are literally spoilt for choice with the number of Japanese textbooks there are out there. From “Learn Japanese with 15 minutes a day” to “Learn Japanese through pictures” there are thousands of textbook proclaiming that they are the most effective. But which should you choose? Today we are going to talk about our top 5 favourite textbooks and tell you why these are the ones you should be investing in.

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The beginner’s holy grail: Genki

The Genki series 1 & 2 are the absolute holy grail for beginners. Finishing the Genki series will ensure you have a solid Japanese foundation that you can be proud of. The series takes you through lessons in a chapter-based format and provides clear and direct explanations in all areas.

You can learn, kanji, grammar, vocabulary, listening (it comes with a CD) and practice reading with the Genki series. The fun activities features within each chapter really help you to get to grips with applying the material and does a great job of keeping you entertained throughout.

The Genki series come in at about $50, which does seem quite pricey for a textbook, but let us guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed.  

Kanji mastery: Remembering the Kanji

Number two on our list is none other than the world famous, “Remembering the Kanji” by James Heisig. This renowned book has earnt its spot on our list for being super effective when it comes to mastering the kanji. You can start this book with absolutely 0 knowledge of kanji and finish the book knowing around 2,200 kanji. It’s clever teaching method uses funny stories and memory techniques to make remembering the kanji fun and easy.

The book first breaks up the kanji into smaller pieces (radicals) and uses them like lego to build your knowledge progressively in an order that works well.

Without a doubt, this is the only book you should be considering when it comes to kanji studies. If you are looking to purchase this book you can pick this up for around $30 online.

JLPT focussed: Nihongo Sō-Matome

If you are studying. with the specific goal of taking the JLPT exam, then the Sō-Matome series is something you should think about investing in. There series focus on test specific lessons and offer a series of books across each level, reading, grammar, kanji, vocabulary, listening and a workbook. This is a great way to focus on your specific weak points in Japanese and focus on the books that you need to invest the most time in.

The down side to these books though is that they don’t offer much in the way of English explanations around the grammar. Nevertheless, if you are looking to really hyper focus your Japanese study specifically for the JLPT then this will be a fantastic option for you.

The Genki alternative: Minna no Nihongo

Minna no Nihongo is a great alternative to the Genki series. It teaches the concepts in a similar way that is easy to understand but continues the series on into the intermediate range and beyond. If you are looking to invest in your study for the long game, it might be worth getting used to how Minna no Nihongo do things and continuing your journey with them all the way from beginner level to the upper intermediate level.

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Breaking through to the advanced levels: Tobira: Gateway to Advanced Japanese Learning Through Content and Multimedia

If you looking to break through to the advance level, this is the book that is going to bridge the gap for you. Forget the hand holding like in Genki and Minna no Nihongo, with Tobira things start getting serious. The material is approachable whilst remaining practical. The situations and constructs they use can be applied to various situations without becoming too abstract. You can also down supplementary materials from there website too to take your learning experience with tobira to the next level. If you are really looking for a challenge this is the book for you.

Obviously these are just our suggestions from our own experience, there are probably other great textbooks out there and we would always advise you to do your research, look at the reviews and figure out for yourself what is best for you.

Although textbooks are essential, remember you also need to take the time to take what you’ve learnt and apply it into real life situations. If you can find the right balance between real life application and textbook study, you will certainly be on for a winning combination.

So guys this is the end of today’s online Japanese blog, we really hope you got a lot from the information and will be more informed when it comes to making decision on the perfect textbook for you. 

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