Japanese Self-Study Guide 1

Welcome to our Japanese self-study guide. In our 1st edition, we will compare Minna no Nihongo and Marugoto. Read on and see which one suits you better.

Japanese Self-Study

Japanese Self-Study

Minna no Nihongo Vs Marugoto

Welcome to our Japanese self-study guide. There could be many reasons why you are studying on your own. Maybe you are not learning Japanese from an institute and decided to challenge the Japanese language through self-study. It is also possible that you are resorting to self-study due to the current situation.

In our 1st edition of the Japanese self-study guide, we will compare Minna no Nihongo and Marugoto. Read on and see which one suits you better.

1. Minna No Nihongo

This textbook can be considered as the standard of Japanese language education. It is used widely, not just in foreign countries, but even in institutes in Japan.

It has a comprehensive set of supplementary textbooks. All you need is the complete set and you don’t necessarily have to purchase another brand of books at least till N3. The purchase of all the books is not necessary to learn.

It has a supplementary translation book in various languages including English. This book explains the grammar patterns and also gives translations of the dialogues from the main textbook.

It is a time tested coursework. The lessons are quite intensive and you manage to learn a lot even while studying at a slower pace.

It becomes very expensive if you want to buy the entire supplementary set even for 1 level. It has the main textbook, supplementary grammar/translation book, picture card book, standard exercise book, kanji exercise book, grammar exercise book.

Most of these are not available in India. Only the main textbook and grammar/translation books are published in India by Goyal publishers.

2. Marugoto:

Marugoto is the textbook developed by the Japan Foundation. It is based on something called the JF Standard for learning the Japanese Language. It is very new coursework and is yet to be adopted in many institutes not sponsored by the Japan Foundation.

Pros: Each level has 2 textbooks, Rikai and Katsudo. Rikai focuses on the structure/grammar, while Katsudo focuses on practical application. Marugoto aims to equip students with real-life applications of what they learn in each chapter instead of focussing only on theory.

Cons: It might get a little confusing deciding how to proceed with the chapters as both the books have the same content just presented differently. You may need the guidance of a teacher initially to help you understand how to use the books.

These books are not enough to prepare for the JLPT since this coursework is still new. (However, if you’re learning as a hobby and don’t mind spending more time learning the concepts, this is a good book).


You should keep in mind the following minds when deciding which books to use.

  • Your learning style: Are you a fast learner or a slow learner? If you are a fast learner, pick up the Minna no Nihongo series.
  • Time Constraints: If you cannot devote many hours a day to learning Japanese, pick up the Marugoto books as the chapters are lighter and not too intensive.
  • Your purpose of studying Japanese: If you aim to clear the JLPT exam, then the Minna no Nihongo books are a better option.
  • If you aim to learn the Japanese language, then both books are good. The main difference is that the Marugoto series is more laid back and focuses a lot on practical application. Keeping this mind, the Marugoto books may help the students with their speaking much better than Minna no Nihongo.

Let us know which books you are using, and why?

Click Here to read other articles.

Please follow and like us:

1 thought on “Japanese Self-Study Guide 1

  1. Hi Mam,

    Thank you for sharing the article. It was very useful and informative . Moreover now a days it has become very difficult to decide which book to study but if we get the information that which books contains what sort of information then it helps to decide what to choose.. I really liked your article.

    I have studied minna no nihongo books earlier and I also agreed with the thoughts you have. Now I am searching for the books where I can explore Japanese Language more. Example culture book, business level books in Japanese..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)