Textbook Discussion 🧑‍🏫👩‍🏫

This is a thread for reviewing and recommending textbooks.

The goal is for members to share their experiences on Japanese textbooks. These could be JLPT textbooks, IT textbooks, financial certification (CFP/CPA) textbooks, or other non-fiction textbooks.

Ever since the pandemic, many exams in Japan allow you to take the test online in your home country, so you could be certified without ever having to step foot in Japan. Some even mail the certificate to your home country. :email: :earth_africa:

The biggest advantage here is that you can read Japanese and refresh your domain knowledge, killing two birds in one stone. This also helps a lot with speaking about your field in Japanese as you get familiar with all the half-English and half-Japanese words they use in your industry! :joy:


Genki Kanji look and learn textbook + workbook

I feel like it’s a great “in” to learning Kanji even if it doesn’t get you to a really super high level since it puts a lot of it’s exercises into using and writing down kanji in words and vocab as well as reading it.

The intro goes a bit into how to write kanji direction wise and what the different strokes are, as well as very much a bit into radicals and kanji parts + teaches some.
Afterwards, the kanji are assembled into groups and makes logical connections into words or uses between them regardless of JLPT level so it makes them easier to memorize.
The kanji there are mostly all kanji that so far into reading I have seen often so that makes it essentially a very useful step for learning.

I don’t know how much it will help with the exam (never took it myself), but as a textbook introduction to kanji I do recommend it.

(pretty much an of course but all the kanji in the textbook have picture mnemonics)


My own recommendations would be the みんなの日本語 textbooks. For me they helped to vastly improve my reading comprehension and reading speed early on and also helped me to practice vocabulary, early grammar and kanji. If you’re looking for immersion style learning they are great as they are all in Japanese and they have books that specialize in specific areas, like the kanji textbook and workbook, the reading comprehension and the listening comprehension books.

Cons: they can be expensive and the intermediate level ones have not been updated. (For some people the all Japanese text may be a con but it worked great for helping me to learn so I look on it as a pro).


Has anyone else here used the Japanese for Young People series? I used it back when I was way a beginner and I haven’t met anyone in any community online who used it since.


I’ve not used it, but it looks similar to one of the other textbooks I bypassed which I think is by the same company. I wasn’t able to see inside it to see if it would be of use so decided not to go for it.

How did you feel it was when you were using it?

I didn’t really have too many thoughts about it at the time because I was like 9 or 10. But looking back on it later it was pretty mediocre. I think it might have been designed for schools to use rather than individuals to use, but I don’t really know. Also, the similar one you were thinking of is probably Japanese for Busy People, that’s by the same company for sure.


For my fellow N3-crunching fellas and gals who don’t feel like Tobira, Quartet is a good choice. First one + workbook covers N3 while the second one goes up to N2, minus some vocab from what I’ve heard from other people. Same publisher who made Genki, and it’s high quality. The additional workbook really helps cement some things imo


Would be cool if people could put a natively link to the book they are talking about. in it’s own line, so you get the cover displayed. makes it easier to scroll through a thread and find something interesting, imo. and it’s also easier to distinguish between rec posts and replies or questions.


I’ve read Quartet 1 | L20 and Quartet 2 | L27 and had great experience with them. The books include fun contents (both reading parts and listening) and many insights into Japanese culture. Really recommended for intermediate level.

But let me just add that imo vol 2 does not cover JLPT N2 fully, but prepares you for dealing with (upper) intermediate material with a strong base, as it lacks a lot especially in vocabulary but also in grammar compared to what is required for JLPT.
So if you are preparing for the test don’t forget supplementary and practice books!


Ahh I see I didn’t know that, thank you! I’m still very much practising for an N3 level (registration opens in Sept so I got a decent chunk of time haha), but what did you use alongside Quartet 2 for N2?

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No problem!
There are different books out there, I personally used 新完全マスター (series) | L15-36 series.
Those books might feel a bit overwhelming as they cover so many things with each lesson.
I still haven’t got my results, but even without the results I can say that thanks to this series I answered vocab/grammar and reading parts very confidently, but the listening book wasn’t enough. Consuming more native contents or doing practice on YouTube might’ve helped. :thinking:

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I see, thank you!

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I hate textbooks. I’ve got a rubbish attention span so the only one I’ve ever managed to fully get through is Tae Kim, and that is very different from a standard textbook.

The shin kanzen master books are good but I never get through them completely before getting bored of them.

For me it’s reading native stuff and doing sentence decks that helps me grow.

I sat the n2 recently, not sure if I passed, but if I do n1 in the future it’ll be after I’ve read a lot of novels and I’d just see how I go.